NC Schools ‘Tools For Learning’

With the rise of technology in the classroom, the use of cell phones and other internet related device use, kid are exposed to all kinds of information. Some very useful and some… well, not so much. In fact, the ability for kids to roam to inappropriate materials in the digital age both at  home and at school is a real concern for parents.

After a few tweets about NC Resources, I did some digging.  Well,  there’s a whole set of online documents in a ‘live binder’ out there on the interwebs.   Parent should go explore this live binder for NC Public Schools.  The Web Resources A-Z  located in the NCDPI Information Technology Toolkit caught my eye, mainly because I’d never seen it before. Why isn’t this made more prominent so parents can view it?

The majority of these web links are good or useful applications, but there were a few that were not. One suggested sketchy one is Dipity, which is an internet meme timelines site.  Dipity is not somewhere I would let my kid wander. Just a few examples below – NSFW language warning:

  Another I found questionable was Bitstrips. Yes, that same annoying cartoon one on Facebook. While mostly innocuous, it has no value and is pretty much a time suck that causes you to lose IQ points.  Think I’m kidding?  Having said that, kids in High School likely look at this junk on their phones constantly. Just like they do with Tumblr and Flickr – both of which are on the Web Resource A-Z list.

Tumblr and Flickr both have their drawbacks and inappropriate content. Heck, Tumblr even has a ‘Worst of  Tumblr‘ Facebook page and loads of porn.  Flickr isn’t a heck of a lot better and kids can figure out the safety filters in a snap.

At least that list doesn’t have Instagram on it, which seems to be the app of choice for posting nude photos of your classmates online. The use of online and digital technology is not going away. Having said that, some of the resources and social media being suggested and/or used by our kids is frankly horrifying. Idiocracy is closer in time and reality that we think.  


Oh by the way, the report from DPI to the NCGA on drop out rate, violence and suspensions is now out.  Crime, violence and suspension rates all dropped. The drop out rate also decreased.  I’m sure NC HEAT will call the report racist and evidence of the “school to prison pipeline”, as black males were the lead in every category.

There are charts on p.16 that compare the last two school years. Disturbing to see the numbers associated with Pre-K through 5th grade. All of these statistics are included in the data tracking of your child under Common Core, by the way. 

One nugget worth mentioning is corporal punishment. Is this what Dr. Atkinson meant about ‘Schools of Terror‘?

There were 203 uses of corporal punishment statewide in 2012-13. Corporal punishment  was used at least once by nine LEAs. Charter schools and the remaining 106 LEAs did not use corporal punishment.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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2 Responses to NC Schools ‘Tools For Learning’

  1. Rod Powell says:

    LadyLiberty 1885

    I really do appreciate your writing and Twitter presence. As a voice for the conservative element, you do an excellent job of capturing and consolidating all the misinformation surrounding education in NC, particularly that surrounding Common Core – kind of a “get it all in one place” outlet. Keep it up! I think your efforts give teachers who follow policy debate in NC a true sense of how little people understand the classrooms of today.

    I do know that your postings and the subsequent retweets reinforce my sense of importance of the value of Common Core and that the urgency of teaching their critical skills daily in my high school social studies classroom. I am concerned that our “good ol’” NC standards are pushing us to a “sit and get” “teach to the test” classroom that values test scores above learning and true thinking.

    This post in particular piqued my interest. As a teacher in a 1:1 school (all students 3-12 are issued MacBook Airs – not funded by Bill Gates), this is part of my daily classroom experience – student use/misuse of the internet. True – Sponge Bob and Two Girls One Cup was inappropriate. But that begs a question: Can we shield all children 24/7 from inappropriate content? I don’t think so. And as you stated in your article, kids are whizzes at navigating around school filters, and with mobile phones – who needs the school server anyway?

    I really can’t think of a teacher who would use the Sponge Bob or Two Girls/One Cup resource for a lesson. Can you? Remember – it’s a suggested resource to be used at teacher discretion.

    And I can’t imagine a teacher who would not be circulating among students with internet access monitoring student activity. Are all parents monitoring children’s internet usage at home? Some – maybe….. but my guess is ….not a lot.

    So – back to Common Core! Being a High School social studies teacher, I had to check the standards for earlier grades for teaching how to handle the inevitable stumbling across inappropriate content on the internet. I went back to the 2nd grade standards:

    Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
    There’s that word – evaluate paired with diverse media and format. Now here’s a Common Core teaching moment that I don’t see delinated in the older “better” Standard Course of Study. I would write the standard on the board and expect my 2nd graders to “get it”.
    Here’s my take on how I would handle it – adapted from high classroo experience…
    Remember 2nd graders here….
    “Billy – let me see your laptop….Hmmmm – SpongeBob’s a little over the top here, don’t you think?…Everyone….close your laptops now. Billy ran across SpongeBob using language we don’t approve of in our classroom. And it won’t be the last time that will happen to you when you use digital resources here or at home. But we have to think – how does wasting time on sites like that help us in this class? Probaly not much….And, what would your Mom or Dad think if they knew you were spending time on those sites instead of your lesson? Probably be pretty mad – right? So let’s remember – if you see anything like that again as we use our digital resources. let me know immediately so I can report it and move on to a more appropriate site. OK open your laptops back up and continue working”
    Notice the teacher role – monitoring and teaching kids (at a second grade level) to sift through inappropriate web resources.
    I don’t think I’m too far off base thinking that those who follow education but who have no view into the classroom might think that we turn kids loose on resources and “away they go”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We teach kids to evaluate information for credibility and relevance everyday – even 2nd graders.
    I’ll close with some questions:
    Is this teaching happening anywhere else in our student’s lives? Maybe – But probably not.
    Do we lock down and potentially inappropriate or “time sucking” resources completely, or do we open up the digital world and all of its information and model and teach how to harness it effectively?
    Look forward to your response – and those of anyone else happening by to visit your blog. I practice what I preach in class. I consider all points of view. I just haven’t heard anything convincing yet from the anti – common core camp – just the same old rehashed arguments that have no day to day classroom relevance.
    So to foster relevance, how do we give parents that “window” into our classroom that highlights our use of the Common Core and other great teaching practices?
    I’ll post this at CTQ’s website. Hope you’ll reconsider my invitation to join us there – traffic generation aside.
    It would be a great chance to hear authentic teacher voices. You coud reject them if you’d like – but hey, that’s critical thinking!


    • Thanks for stopping by.

      I don’t believe teachers can control every single bit of the suggested digital/online resources for every student. As I said, kids – especially older ones – will find a way around it. Parents also have to find a way to get into the picture there. Clearly, if kids are using tech at school to view inappropriate things, they likely are at home. Parental engagement is not just required, it’s imperative.

      I am not a fan of using social media or related websites as resources or teaching tools. We hear the term ‘dumbed down’ quite a bit these days. In my opinion, using social media sites is like putting that ‘dumbed down’ on steroids. There’s a difference between pushing a theme and pushing knowledge. The internet pushes themes, teaching pushes knowledge. The two are not mutually exclusive, but sources matter. If there is questionable material on a site, it shouldn’t be used, period.


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