WebLog 1: Introductory SURVEY
1.Name, hometown, primary email.
Sheldon C. Smith, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44121 Sh_Smith@chuh.org
2. What name do you prefer to be called? Sheldon
3. Undergraduate and graduate degree(s), education license(s), current employment: grade level, subject(s) if applicable, district.
I graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga in 1988. I received my B. Arts degree in Communications, with a minor in Business and Public Relations. I received an MBA from Clark Atlanta University in 1991. I moved back to Cleveland in 1992 to start Doctoral work in the Urban Education program at Cleveland State University. In this process, I received a Master of Special Education of the Multi-handicapped in 1994. I received my administrative Certificate in 1995. I received my Superintendent’s Certificate in 1996. I was a substitute teacher in Cleveland for 3 years. I Taught Special needs students for 3 years at Audubon Middle School.
4.What are a few of your more interesting hobbies, travel experiences, somewhat “unique” aspects about yourself that would help our classroom community get to know you a bit better.
I try to stay in shape on a regular basis to no avail. I work out regularly. I love to travel, and take advantage usually during my spring break and the summer. One of the more unique things about myself is that I am an adoptive parent of 5. My aunt died years ago and I have been taking care of them since they were very small. Two of my boys are grown. I currently have 3 at home. A 14 year old, 15, and 16. Two boys and a daughter. They have presented some significant challenges to my life in that I have tried to give them the same types of things as a parent that worked for me as a child. This has not worked, and has thus made me look at how I parent them. Each child has presented a different set of challenge. Out of the 5,Three of them have really struggled with school. Out of the 3 at home, 2 struggle with school, and 1 has significant behavioral problems, and a serious problem with stealing.
A great deal of my life has focused on them. I am divorced, and have pretty much been single for most of my life as my marriage was annulled. With the intensity of being a school principal and a single parent, there has been very little room left for a personal life. So I really look forward to my trips in which I use as an escape from the stress at home. My best friend moved to Chicago 4 years ago, so I look forward to visiting there on a regular basis. I have traveled to Mexico, Jamaica, San Domingo, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Miami, Tampa, Houston, LA, New Orleans, Las Vegas, etc. My favorite places are Las Vegas and the Essence Festival in New Orleans.
I am energetic, and passionate about my work as a Principal and Instructional Leader. I am very dedicated to this work. I wake up each day with a chip on my shoulder. I am dedicated to making a positive impact on the students that I serve. I am very involved particularly with African American males. I feel the need to go beyond the call of duty in regards to their well being. I wrote a grant this past year to formulate a leadership empowerment group called Youth Of Promise. Each month we have a theme and a guest speaker. We take fieldtrips etc. I am working with about 25 young men. I also monitor their progress in class and take an active part in being a mentor to them. Along with monitoring the entire school, this particular venture has been extremely rewarding personally.
Learning Style and more:
5. Being as specific as you can, what must be in place for you to feel comfortable taking intellectual risks in a classroom?
I really don’t get into situations in which I feel uncomfortable in class. I love being in a classroom with intellectuals whom have something to say about the work that we do. I am always intrigued by the conversations that take place in classrooms. More importantly, I have a great deal of respect for what people think and have to say in regards to today’s student and technology.
I am constantly looking at ways to be a better Instructional leader, and finding ways to motivate my students be better people and better learners. These particular goals drive me in my everyday learning.
6. I am interested in your perception of yourself as a student. Please describe it. Consider such criteria as a) active oral class participation; b) responsible, timely class preparation (of readings, projects, etc.); c) honest, candid self-assessment; d) awareness of your own preferred learning styles/approaches; e) first thing that you do when you cannot or do not understand something; f)other dimensions you believe to be relevant and informative.
For the most part, I am active Oral. I love to participate in things that I have a passion for. If there is something that I do not understand, I always ask questions. I am very passionate about the work that we do. I feel it is essential to learn and know how students think in regards to education. I try my best to be extremely attentive and timely with classroom responsibilities that are assigned to me.
7. Is there anything I should know about you, your learning style, or life situation that may be relevant to your successful performance in this course?
I am a working definition of what I do for a living. I bring that passion with me every moment and every day that I breathe. I am dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people. I get frustrated when young people don’t respond to the positive energy that I bring. Thus does not happen very often at the workplace. But it happens at home. My kids at home are adopted, and are not responding in the way that I would like. This is frustrating in that I am doing everything possible to make their lives better, and for some reason, they are not responding in a positive way. They make me feel as though they are working against the value system that I have set in place. It often creates a sense of chaos in my life.
8. What do you believe was the most important technological invention in history? Why?
I believe that the computer is the most important technological invention.
The modern world of high technology could not have come about without the invention of the computer. Computers are used throughout society for the storage and handling of data—from secret governmental files to banking transactions to private household accounts. Computers have opened up a new era in manufacturing and information. I can’t imagine a world without computer through the techniques of Automation, they have enhanced modern communication. They are essential tools in almost every field of research and applied technology, from the construction of models of the universe to the production of tomorrow’s weather reports, and their use has in itself opened up new opportunities and jobs that do not exist yet.
9. Please list a number of technologies you currently believe to be essential to your life. Star (*) those you (tend to) believe to be insufficiently promoted in education.
*Computer/daily source used for information/ work/calendar/planning
Ichat is a tool that is used on the Mac computers at school that is often associated with inappropriate behavior.
*Telephone/daily methods of communication with job/family
Text messaging is often abused in that students do and say things that are not appropriate
*TV- Used as a method of relaxation/entertainment/source of information/ prior to resting each night
Camera-used regularly to capture positive moments and events at school
Surveillance Camera-used to keep school safe and
Smart board-used to enhance daily instruction.
10. In relation to technology, please describe what life is like for you after a typical school day?
From the moment I took over as the principal and Instructional leader of Monticello Middle School, my life, has been in- fluxed with technology and its use in school and daily life.
The one to one initiative has changed the way that I do business and the way students and teachers conduct business. The positive aspect is that hopefully it will expand and enhance our students’s education. The negative aspect is that there is a great deal of policing that must be done. Sometimes my assistant and I take a step back and realize that we must deal with the changes proactively.
I use the computer on a regular basis, as a source to collect information for work, or personal use.
11. Indicate any uses of technology that you believe tend to be inappropriate or used excessively (by children in or out of school, by teachers in or out of school ) or promoted excessively (by the media, the computer industry, schools), i.e. ones that should be restricted or regulated in key ways.
With the full implementation of technology one to one at Monticello, One of the main items is in dealing with:
Internet abuse, cyber-bullying, inappropriate websites, suggestive pictures, text messaging, in-appropriate videotaping, I chat etc.
It is essential to that with all of the new technology that we make it all relevant and important in a positive way.
12. Let’s imagine, humbly, that this course is definitely going to be the most meaningful and relevant educational technology course you’ve ever experienced. EVER. Drawing on your past experience in classrooms, and thinking uniquely, specifically and BIG, describe what we need to (1) DO (activities/projects), (2) STUDY (content topics and compelling issues/questions), (3) BE (interacting with each other) and (4) AVOID (in the previous three categories) in order for your visionary views of an ideal course to be mostly realized.
About Dr. Shutkin:
13. Write down two or three questions you would like to ask me about myself or the class.
I just want to know more in regards to making sure that the students in our district are prepared for 21st century learning.
What will we learn?
How will we learn it?
What additional skills do I need to be successful in this class?
How can I develop better techniques to challenge my students to be better learners?
With the one to one initiative, How can I find better ways to assist my teachers in making my students more engaged and interested in their own learning?