Over the course of the semester, I took part in more debates then I ever have before! This class has open up my eyes to a world full of controversy. I have gained a completely new group of educators that I can collaborate and learn from via Twitter. Technology is a driving force for why I teach, and how I teach. Take a look at my summary of learning and find out how my experience in EDTC400 has been!
Thanks for tuning in to my learning journey in the wonderful class!
Over the course of the semester, EDTC 400 students provided a mentorship role to EDTC 300 students. The expectations of the mentors were to provide support, guidance and navigation tips while going through the EDTC300 class. One of the major projects EDTC300 students were required to partake in was a learning project. I was blessed with four mentees that demonstrated passion and hard work all throughout the semester. I wish I could provide photos of my mentees, but I am cheap and only have the free version of Weebly which limits my storage space. Because of this I have linked all of my mentees blogs below, and I highly recommend checking out their progress! You can find my mentoring log here!
Mackenzie Lautamus: https://mackenzielautamus98.wordpress.com
Mackenzie’s learning project was focused on learning and practicing yoga. Over the course she found the importance of practicing yoga, and expressed the benefits it has had on her life. Mackenzie was even able to get her fiancé involved and help him relieve some of his stress that he experiences. Mackenzie mentions in her “Ditching Old Habits and Creating Healthy Habits” blog post that she ditches her pack of smokes for lemon water. I think it is so inspiring to see how small changes in Mackenzie’s life has lead to her feeling healthier and happier! If you want some good resources for learning yoga, Mackenzie’s blog is definitely a website you should check out!
Brooklyn Mantai: https://brooklynmantai.wordpress.com/category/edtc-300/
Brooklyn’s learning project was all about learning sign language. Over the course of the semester, Brooklyn has progressed in her ability to sign, and challenges herself to learn something new each week! In one of Brooklyn’s blog posts she announces she is an early childhood educator. Currently she has been working with her non verbal students to sign their wants and needs. HOW COOL IS THAT! Go check out Brooklyn’s blog and see how she is changing the lives of others.
Hanna-Marie Wosminity: https://hannawosminity.wordpress.com
Hanna-Marie has done a fabulous job on her blog! She has included all of her blog posts in one place throughout the semester which makes reading about her experience in EDTC300 easy and approachable. Hanna-Marie focused on learning knitting for her learning project. The photos and resources she has provided are really unique and show the passion she has had with learning this new hobby! Go check out Hanna-Marie’s blog to find out all about her experience in EDTC300.
Miss. Brinkworth: https://becomingmissbrinkworth.wordpress.com/
Miss. Brinkworth has come along way with her learning project. She decided to learn how to sing and play the ukulele. I follow Miss. Brinkworth on other social media platforms and I always got so excited to see and hear the progress she was making. I even requested a song and she learned how to play it, HOW COOL. Miss. Brinkworth explained in her last blog post that this semester has been challenging but one of the highlights was learning a new skill. She mentioned that she is so excited to bring her new found skill into the classroom. Teaching through music is so powerful! Go check out Miss. Brinkworth’s blog if you want to learn more about her journey, or better yet learn how to play!
As your final blog post for the semester, please reflect on the process of mentoring this semester. Were there elements that you found particularly challenging and/or rewarding? What did this process teach you about what it might be like to teach an online class? What did you learn about teaching in general?
One of the challenging parts I found about supporting four mentees was time. If I were to start over from the beginning I would definitely set more time aside in my week that was dedicated to mentoring. I found the mentor role to be unique, fun and kept me accountable throughout the semester. I loved going on to my mentees blogs and seeing all of their progress and experiences with their learning projects. I also enjoyed having Twitter conversations with them. Throughout this process, I have definitely gained a new perspective on what it would be like to teach an online course. You have to be connected all. of. the. time. Which can get exhausting. However, setting goals and strategies to help with accountability is beneficial and something I definitely could’ve done more of this semester. One of the major lessons I learned throughout this course was the importance of building relationships and staying connected. I love the learning project, passion project, or genius hour idea. These projects let students explore what they are capable of and come to love something that is important to them. I will 100% be incorporating an assignment like this in my future classroom. All in all, I enjoyed mentoring and getting to learn about other people in other classes. This was a unique experience and I look forward to continuing to collaborate, learn from and connect with my mentees from this past semester!
Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression: Agree or disagree?
The last debate of the semester, and it ended with a bang! This topic was both exhilarating and infuriating. There are many people who believe teachers overshare, expect students to take their political stance and if they don’t there could be trouble. However, throughout the debate I have come to realize the importance of sharing fact over opinion and providing students the opportunities to make their own political opinions. Take a look at the battle between agree and disagree…you won’t be disappointed.
One of the major dilemmas teachers face is staying neutral. We as educators hear this all the time, “why don’t you just say nothing?” If in fact teachers said nothing, we would be repeating history of silence, ignorance and hurt. Staying neutral ignores fears, interests and concerns of students. This can be damaging towards students and their moral that we are trying to help develop. To me, the main reason teachers should not stay neutral is the sole factor that if we do, we are endorsing the status quo. Teaching for social justice is incredibly important to me, and is my underlying groundwork and reasoning for teaching. What does this mean? MESSING WITH THE STATUS QUO! The way we ‘do’ school needs to be interrupted if we want to see any social change. Avoiding controversial issues in the classroom only creates more questions, and leaves students to make up and believe in stereotypes and biases. Valerie Strauss wrote an article showcasing a written letter by numerous Teachers of the Year that advocates and raises a voice against staying neutral. They say, “We are teachers. We are supposed to remain politically neutral. For valid reasons, we don’t want to offend our students, colleagues or community members. But there are times when a moral imperative outweighs traditional social norms. There are times when silence is the voice of complicity. This year’s presidential election is one such time.” I’m not saying us teachers should march into classrooms and demand political righteousness or dominance. Not at all. Instead, we need to bring in critical literacy, current issues and provide opportunities for students to challenge the status quo and think critical about why our society is the way is it.
Another point that came up in the debate, was the question of whether or not it is beneficial for teachers to stay quiet on social media? Some risks that were expressed throughout the debate talked about the absence of modelling and leadership of digital citizenship. By speaking out about social issues and joining the conversation online demonstrates to student’s what appropriate online behaviours look like. In a world where everything is online, students need to learn how to navigate these fast moving waters. In the article, Modelling Digital Citizenship in the Classroom, the author Matthew Lynch provides four broad areas that students need to be taught: digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital responsibility and digital security. By being active online, students can learn from the modelled behaviour.
On the flipside, society believes that teachers have a strong influence over students. And while that is true, teachers are influencing students to be active and engaged citizens to go out into the world and reach their dreams and goals while also being kind, caring and inclusive to others. One of the arguments from the disagreeing side focuses on curriculum as product. In other words, teachers have the ability to brainwash students into thinking things that they may not necessarily believe in. Some believe that students are not given the opportunity to have their own opinion. Valerie Strauss wrote an article responding to the “those who can’t do, teach,” and she provides an infuriating message on how the public perceives teachers. I quote, “Like my teachers, I have chosen a career in education and don’t make a lot of money. Unlike them, I’m a professor. I’m continuously astonished at the pass that gets me among the people I grew up with. Had I chosen to be a high-school teacher, I’d be just another loser. But tenured professors are different. Especially if we teach in elite schools (which I don’t). We’re more talented, more refined, more ambitious—more like them. We’re capitalist tools, too.” It is evident society is uncomfortable with teachers challenging and disrupting the status quo. But it makes sense, they’ve never been challenged before and this work makes them uncomfortable. There are many stereotypes that teachers have to face unfortunately, and doing this work only justifies people’s belief’s.
Teachers have to navigate tough waters as well, which is why it is important to keep fact and opinion separate. In order for people to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, we as teachers need to provide them with the facts, and allow them to form opinions around these facts. Although this was a debate, I am not stuck in the middle at all. I truly believe great work and big change can come from joining the conversation both offline and online. Showing students how to do this will be life changing for them, literally. There are far too many social injustices in today’s world, and students are at the forefront of change. Let’s be advocates for them!
Here is some additional reading that relates to this debate:
Political Neutrality in the Classroom: click here.
Teachers, Political Neutrality: click here.
Agree video: click here.
Disagree video: click here.
I want to end on a quote that is very near and dear to my heart.
“You are not being oppressed if people gain rights that you’ve always had!” –unknown
I absolutely adore this quote and hope this blog post as inspired you to join the conversation.
We have become too dependent on technology and we’d be better off returning to the “good old days” before the Internet and smartphones took over: Agree or disagree?
Lol, what are the good old days anyways? Technology refers to all inventions that has enhanced the way of life in any way. To me, the “good old days” had their own technological advancements. I swear it’s a generational thing where people of the past critique, get uncomfortable and want things to go back to the way they were when they were growing up. Our world moves at an unstoppable rate and the future only has more technological advancements planned. People are learning about technology, coding and innovations at an earlier age than ever before and this enables the future to continue to grow. Additionally, with all of these new advancements people are “locked in” to the internet, apps, social media, etc. more than ever. The question is, are people becoming too dependent on this technology, or are we using technology to enhance our lifestyle and create new innovations? Read more to find out…
Have you ever walked across the street while also texting your friends to meet up for a coffee? Well, if you have you may want to cut that multitasking skill out of your life. According to our debater from this week, people are actually getting injured while walking and texting. CRAZY! Check out this article for more information on how an augmented reality video game has caused at least 2 people their lives.
People relying on their phones have not only lead to horrific consequences such as death, but there are also many other health affects. In the article Could You Be Addicted to Technology, Shainna Ali explains all of the different negative affects people are facing due to their addiction to technology. Below are only a few of the problems associated with excessive technology use noted by Ali:
Another concern that is facing the technological literate age is that people are becoming too dependent on technology, they are actually losing basic skills. One of the examples that came up in our debate was the reliance on GPS navigation systems. In the article, Have we become too reliant on GPS? Brad Plume discusses the negative affects GPS is giving people. Plume believes that, "navigation is a real skill we have, it's something very fundamental and something we’re really really good at. And we should be thinking about how to augment those skills with computers — not just trying to overwrite them." Other skills that we discussed in the debate were losing the skill to memorize a phone number and the inability to write and communicate face-to-face.In conclusion, according to the facts stated above people are becoming too dependent on technology. It is evident that people are being consumers first, before they are giving back. People are missing big moments in life because of the addiction to their smartphone. People are booking trips for the sole purpose of capturing a perfect Instagram photo. As a society, we need to think about ways to be more productive with the use of technology and not so reliant and dependent on these tiny devices to bring us happiness.
Counter to the above argument, there were many legitimate reasons as to why we have not become too dependent on technology. The first reason being there is in fact many benefits of using technology. Technology has connected people from around the globe and has given multiple platforms for different forms of collaboration. Technology has allowed people to overcome distance and time, as well as give people the opportunity to create and share projects with others. Dex Torricke-Barton’s blog post, How the Internet is Uniting the World comments, “the internet is the largest community in history — as big as the global population in 1960. It crosses every border and culture. And enough people are connected that the internet has become a planetary infrastructure for communications and collaboration. The tools and knowledge of one nation now belong to all nations.” THIS IS SO COOL.
Global collaboration has never been stronger, news is able to spread like wildfire and people are connected to each other whether they know it or not. Because of this, the internet acts as a powerful tool for opportunity. People are able to share and collect information anywhere, making technology one of the most efficient sources in the world. We are able to quickly research information where we are at our own convenience. We can use technology as a tool that serves as a medium of connection, power and opportunity. Because of technology, education has become digital. Online courses and MOOT’s have enabled people to stay at home and still get an education.
In the end, there will always be a problem with or without technology. As consumers, it is our responsibility to use technology responsibly. There are many negative side affects to too much use of technology, but that bright side is that we have control over all of it. If we are concerned about losing the skill to navigate, use paper maps, if we are becoming so involved in social media our mental health is being affected, take a break. We are the ones in the front seat, driving technology. Meaning, we can be the ones to push the breaks.
I have to admit, this debate was another challenging topic. I fall in the middle AGAIN, because there are pro’s and con’s to both. I definitely do not want to go back to the good old days, but I do think that people have created some negative digital habits that could be revisited. I love technology, and the advancements and opportunity is has brought into society, how we use it, well that’s up to us.
Here are more resources that were shared in my debate class!
The quote I want to leave you with will hopefully give you a “aha” moment and change your perspective on how you think about robots taking over jobs.
“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary [women]. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary [woman].” – Elbert Hubbard (Yes I changed the wording slightly…)
Have a great week!
Public Education has sold its soul to corporate interests.
What a powerful sentence hey? A sentence one may not want to read, think about or participate in a debate. For the last couple of debates, I have been very on the fence, switching back and forth anytime one of the debaters made a strong argument. However, this week was a little bit different. I was challenged to understand the disagreeing side way more than for the agreeing. Below I outline the debate, pro’s and con’s to both and from their you can make your decision!
There were many examples outlined throughout the debate that did justify how public education is selling its soul to corporate interests. One of the bigger arguments that acts for the debate topic is standardized testing. In a video shared, viewers are exposed to the secrets behind standardized tests and Pearson’s roles with these. Some background knowledge on Pearson is that it is the biggest textbook company in North America. They tailor their textbooks specifically to this demographic because Texas is their biggest buyer. Pearson has generated relationships with specific people to be able to largely impact the laws and regulations of standardized testing. In other words, Pearson makes money every time a specific standardized test is written. In the same video I referred to earlier, I learned that every time a student fails one of these tests, they have to retake it to move on to the next grade. Meaning that every time a student retakes a test, Pearson is getting paid. Looking at the bigger picture, you can see that Pearson makes money off of student’s failing and having to re-write tests once, twice or maybe even multiple times. How does Pearson making money off of student failure create a culture for success? It doesn’t. This sends a message to administrators, students, teachers, families, community members that corporations such as Pearson are making a profit off of education…instead of thinking about bettering student success and their future.
Anther example that came out of the debate was how schools are being sponsored by corporate companies. According to an article, over 80% of schools are sponsored by either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Allowing these companies to have a foot in the door, gives them consistent advertising to the growing population. When students are exposed to these companies at school, they are more likely to want these products outside of school as well. Not only is this buying into the fact that education has let corporations dictate what is placed in schools, but it is also a major health concern. Young people should not be exposed to this type of advertisement in a space where they are trying to learn. During the debate, my classmates and I dug into this issue a little deeper and exposed the other companies that buy into education. We talked about hot lunch and the food that gets brought in for that. I remember it was KFC or taco time, and it was only costing $2-3/ lunch. Again, when people are exposed to different companies at school those places stick with a person. I guarantee you I ate at KFC more because I had it for hot lunch and thought it was the best food I’d ever eaten. If this is the case, then as educators we need to think critically about the food/corporations we are getting sponsored by. Potentially getting Freshii for hot lunch rather than KFC would be a healthier alternative.
The article, talks about how universities have turned into/act like corporations. Every year students see a rise in tuition rates, textbooks, fees, etc. Not only this but universities try to hook their potential ‘buyers’ in through consumerism. They market their amazing dorms, the cafeteria, book store and other campus amenities and make them attractive on the market. Unfortunately, in today’s century you almost always need a degree for a corporate job. Before you even get a degree, you are having to buy into the consumerism/corporate idea.
Counter to the agreeing side, this perspective looks at corporate companies as an assistance to public education. Corporate companies play a role in education regardless of what stance you take on this debate topic. The difference however is whether or not corporate companies are helping or hinder educational spaces. In the article, EdTech Investments Rise To A Historical $9.5 Billion: What Your Startup Needs To Know, Belsky shares these following tips:
In addition, public education has to think about where they can get funding. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in budget cuts recently creating all sorts of different challenges. One of those being the ability to afford the necessities to succeed and learn in the 21st century. When do we stop asking for more funding that we now will be turned away? The government doesn’t want to let any more funding than they already are, so turning to corporations may be our only option. Schools need sponsorships.
One of the questions we were left with in the debate was, how much are corporations actually influencing our culture? Corporations have the ability to sway education from one direction to another. I talked about this in my agreeing arguments, but think about the type of computers we use in school. Chrome books, PC’s, Windows. Believe it or not, but using these brands of technology has had some sort of influence on you determining which computer/laptop you want to purchase. If it’s this easy to influence people to buy what is being used in schools, how easy is it to influence what is being taught in schools…
Thanks for reading, that is all for now!
This week’s quote comes from the movie Fight Club. I thought it related to both the agreeing and disagreeing side of the debate topic this week! “The things you own, end up owning you.” Tyler Durden
Technology is a force for equity in society: Agree or disagree?
During the pre-vote of the debate I couldn’t click disagree faster. And then the debate came, and I couldn’t click “agree” or “disagree” slower! The debate topic this week made my head spin around and around and around. I was back and forth the entire time, and finally chose dun dun dun…read more to find out my answer!
When you think of all the advancements technology has provided for society, agreeing with the debate topic makes sense. One of the developments for example is that Google Chrome has created extensions for talk-to-text and text-to-talk. This helps users who may need assistance with reading and writing. In the debate, the pro’s that were discussed included how technology helps impairments and disabilities, enhances quality of education around the world and is a platform for youth voices. In the article EdTech and the Promise of Quality Education for All: On the Americans with Disabilities Act at Twenty-Five, the term “born digital” really resonated with me. The article talks about the advancements of books and curricula being more accessible for communities of individuals with disabilities. Instead of being born for paper, education is focusing more on digital platforms to develop more integrated accessibility. A major part of creating a space for equity falls on the how of the situation. How are we implementing technology to benefit everyone? How is a specific device being utilized? How are all perspectives being considered? These are all questions that need to be answered to create a more just and equitable society. Charles Kenny, who is a senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development says, “young people are natural adopters of new technologies and certainly the potential for technology and digital media to be a force for innovation, education and change is just beginning to be realized.” He also points out in the article Technology can empower children in developing countries – if it’s done right, that the goal of technology wasn’t to be a driving force for change, however it has become now one of the greatest tools. In the debate, the class talked about how technology has become a platform for young voices to rise up and speak out about changes they want to see. I think this is a wonderful experience for young people to stand up for what they believe in. Using technology to fight for equity and spread awareness globally is an initial that everybody should get on board with. The question however is who has access to technology that are able to take part in raising their voice digitally? Is it everybody? Are there limitations? Keep reading to find out more!
One of the biggest problems with technology is the availability and accessibility for all consumers. Unfortunately, technology is not a tool that can be available for everyone. Technology can be a financial barrier for many people which in turn can result in an even more unjust society. When we talk about technology enhancing the lives of people, we often forget that these advancements are not accessible for everyone. The article Tinkering Spaces: How Equity Means More Than Access, explains that creating a makerspace program doesn’t bypass equitable measures. In other words, as educators we can’t create a space where technology is utilized and expect that to be enough. Shirin Vossoughi says, “we feel there’s not enough of a focus on pedagogy.” Vossoughi is brilliant for saying this because it isn’t what we teach, it is how we incorporate proper resources, and think about the multiple perspectives of our students. This can be a major equity issue as a whole, but in regards to technology we as educators need to start thinking about if our pedagogy and actions is harming or helping close the digital divide. Research states that over 5 million households do not have access to household internet. Imagine being given work to do at home that required a computer, iPad, laptop, or some sort of digital product and the reason for being unable to achieve or complete the work is because you simply don’t have access to the required resources. Educators need to understand it’s not simply because our students are not capable of completing digital assignments, it’s purely do to the fact that technology is not accessible to all. In addition, students may all have a cell phone or some sort of digital technology, but not all students have the access to programs or additional resources that can be utilized through technology. Because of these reason, I don’t believe technology is an equitable force for society. I believe technology has enhanced the life proficiency for many many people. However, the digital divide is still very prominent in society, creating an even more unjust culture. If you’re still on the fence (because this debate is very tricky), check out these great resources that were provided by my awesome classmates who debated this topic!
That takes me to the end of my blog post, but as always I will leave you with a quote!
Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master. – Christian Lous Lange
Take the quote as you wish..kind of like this blog post!
- Ms. S
Social Media is Ruining Childhood
Wow, wow, wow is all I have to say about this debate! Back and forth, back and forth I went between arguments. One moment I was thinking social media is ruining childhood, the next minute I was thinking how can we live without it! Check out the debater’s arguments and see for yourself just how tricky this debate is.
Lauren was the head debater for this side. She provided a solid base of arguments that really made me think, yes of course social media is ruining childhood. In her video she focused on four main ideas about how social media is ruining childhood:
Lauren suggested we read the article, Smartphone and Anxious Kids: Mental Health Issues and iGeneration by Melissa Riddle Chalos. In this article, Chalos explains, “A 2015 report from the Pew Research Center found that 24 percent of teenagers ages 13-17 say they’re online “almost constantly” and that 73 percent have a smartphone or access to one.1 The digital generation communicates more in pictures and via text as they ever do in person. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and the social media they deliver have informed and shaped everything in their lives.” Due to these statistics, children are communicating less face to face interactions, less time outdoors, disenfranchised from their parents, they are sleeping less and could be affected by higher suicide and depression rates. In another article, Is New Technology and Social Media Ruining Our Children’s Lives by Aoife Reilly states 17 per cent of children under 3 own a smart phone or tablet. Parents believe it is important for their students to be familiar with technology before they start school. But is this affecting their readiness with other skills such as communication, sharing, and cooperation?
Kylie took the lead with this side of the debate. She too had solid arguments that backed up her debated. Kylie stood her ground and provided the facts about why social media is not ruining childhood.
1. Opens doors for children
2. Children can take a stand against the injustices in society“If social media is bad, how are kids taking a stand against bullying? How did children organize a national walkout of school day to pretest against gun laws?”
3. Promotes mental health initiatives
4. Social media is unavoidable
In the same article Lauren used, Melissa Riddle Chalos mentions a few positive statistics caused by social media. Children are less sexually active because they are leaving the house left. This generation is also less likely to try or regularly use drugs and alcohol. In another article provided by Kylie, 5 Reason Why Social Media Might Actually Be Good for your Children, Michael Sheehan gives readers multiple different reasons as to why social media is good. The reasons are:
Find each debaters video below!
Thanks for reading, I hope you too are just as on the fence as I am!
Cell phones! They are everywhere...or are they? This past week in my EDTC400 class we had a very interesting, head scratcher conversation about the great cell phone debate in classrooms. Should we allow students to be able to use their cell phones in the classroom? There were three sides to this debate; yes, no and only in high schools. My opinion? Read more to find out!
100% Yes they should be allowed!
Many people who are against cell phones in the classroom may or may not fully understand all the pros to using cell phones in class. It's not about the actual device, but how the device is utilized. Like many things used in classrooms, its not about the actual resource. We could plant a computer in front of a student without any instructions or direction on how to use it. But what exactly are the expectations for students if we were to do this? How do we encourage learning if we don't actually encourage learning? The same goes for cell phones. It's all about using these tools in efficient ways to expand student learning and engagement. Students are going to be on their phones not matter what. They will be using it in their hoodie, under their desk, in the bathroom or in the halls. It will only be a matter of time before they get caught, an argument breaks out and not only are the teacher and the student involved disrupted but also the rest of the class. Instead, as educators we need utilize and adopt cell phones in ways that expand on student learning and help bring 21st century resources into the classroom. Some of the pros that can be considered when using cell phones in the classroom are the ability to use educational games/apps, utilize digital platforms for lessons, supplement lessons with digital material and provide easy access to more information. These ideas come from the article Should Cell Phones Be Allowed in Classrooms? As well, this article presents readers from the opposite perspective. Distractions, cyber-bullying, cheating and disconnection from face-to-face activities are many cons provided. However, in my opinion, many other tools can also cause these sort of problems. Take paper for example. Paper can be used for doodling or drawing causing a distraction and taking away from student learning. Students can write notes to other students that could be deemed as bullying. Small pieces of paper can be written on, crumpled up and then used to cheat on assignments, tests, exams, etc. Lastly, being immersed in whatever activity involves paper can also cause a disconnect from face-to-face activities. My point is, is that anything and everything can be a distraction. Educators have laid out student expectations when it comes to what we do with paper. The same needs to happen with cell phones! They can be a great resource for students to quickly search information up, used to engage students with technology and help students learn what it means to be a digital citizen. As educators, we can find ways to help out students learn with their cell phone, and if they don't have one students can pair up, and practice their collaboration and team work skills. I am 100% for cell phones in the classroom. There is nothing more relevant in our students lives than connecting their precious cell phones to their learning.
I want to share an interesting point that was raised in the debate that really got me thinking. One of my classmates brought up their experiences with cell phones in the classroom as a high school student and the biggest thing they struggled with was consistency from teachers. Some teachers didn't care, some were quite the opposite and would take it away if they saw it and some had strategies implemented in the classroom to help reduce distraction and promote them for student learning. Even as a university student I find this very relatable. There are some classes where cell phones are prohibited but some that enjoy using them as a tool for learning. Consistency and routine definitely play a major part in helping students eliminate distractions and unwanted behaviour. This is why I believe school culture and classroom expectations should be discussed and the collaboration of the community working together to combat inconsistency. Students wouldn't play the, "well this teachers lets me do this" card. Is the answer to this challenge to just say no straight across the board? If one classroom is all in for cell phones because there has been expectations in place for when/how to use cell phones in learning spaces but then the next classroom has a no cell phone rule because they really have been too distracting and expectations have not been met, where is the line? What do you think would be a good solution to resolving this debate? Do you allow cell phones in the classroom? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
Well folks, that was the end of my yay for cell phones debate! I want to leave you with this quote from a very powerful article written by the Star Editorial Board, A blanket ban on cell phones in class would not be smart.
"Smartphones are powerful technology that we have put in the hands of our children. We have a responsibility to teach them how to use it wisely. Schools need to play their part."
Thanks for reading!
This past week, my EDTC400 class debated whether or not the openness and sharing in schools is unfair to students. One major advancement in education over the past decade has been the ability to share students work digitally, online for other educators, classrooms, and schools to see. However, questions have risen about fairness to students and how this can affect their digital identities. How far is too far when it comes to documenting online what is happening daily in schools, and who really has permission over what gets posted? Read more to find out!
I believe technology has enhanced the ability of global collaboration in educational settings. The ability to share exactly what we are teaching our students, and what our students are learning is at our finger tips. We can dive into other classrooms virtually, and they can dive into ours…if we let them. In my opinion its important to give students the choice, always asking if they would like their work shared. Students can begin to question, “why is it important to protect and navigate my online identity?” The article written by Tammi Sisk and Richard Stegman, focuses on how teachers can support students to create a positive online identity. Tools such as portfolios, blogs, Voice Thread and Google Apps for Education are suggested to teachers for students to showcase their learning in positive spaces. It is extremely important for students to understand that we can all have a digital identity, and if we are online then in fact we do have a digital identity. The real question is what type of identity are we portraying ourselves online. Students and teachers both need to recognize that showcasing learning and growing online is a way to highlight strengths and personality. Referring back to the article by Sisk and Stegman, they pose five questions educators can ask students to kick-start meaning conservations about online citizenship.
I believe sharing is caring. However, we need to be aware of the challenges that can come with documenting student learning online with others. It is about the approach we take to create online identities, understanding the depth of the digital world and how that can benefit and open up a world of opportunities for every student.
The article, Pros and Cons of Sharing Your Kids Photos Online shares a number of reason why we should be hesitant and protective about what we share about our students.
In conclusion, I do believe creating an online identity is important in this technological dependent society. Although there are some cons that could come from creating a digital identity, there are many pros to celebrating ourselves online. More ideas, more opportunity and more sharing are all benefits that come from creating online identities. It is important that students learn now because they are presented everyday with technology. They need to learn what it means to have a digital identity, and how to navigate it safely, effectively and positively.
With that, I will leave you with an interesting quote that may or may not make you scratch your head.
“Identity will be the most valuable commodity for citizens in the future, and it will exist primarily online.” – Eric Schmidt
Have a great week,
This week in EDTC 400, the debate topic was Schools should not focus on things that can be googled. Truthfully, I wasn't aware that this topic was so controversial in education today until listening to the debaters points. Initially I was 100% yes with incorporating Google into our teaching and learning. After listening, viewing and reading more about the debate topic, has my ideologies about google changed? Read more to find out!
In the article, Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to Education, there are a plethora of great points arguing for the use of google. Sigata Mintra, the author of this article talks about the generational change of education and the out dated methods that are no longer helping our society grow. He says, "we have a romantic attachment to the past," and the main reason for this is the curriculum educators must follow. There are no explanations as to why the curriculum is set up the way it is. In fact, because of the arbitrariness of the curriculum Mintra believes it's the reason our education is out of date, our teaching styles require tedious, old fashioned methods where tests, memorization of facts and lectures are encouraged. However, with the help of Google and 21st-century skills education can and should be relevant to the lives of our learners. Advent of Google article describes an example where a teacher challenged traditional ways of learning and used google search engine to teach her students. Instead of lecturing the class, having them copy notes while unsuccessfully engaging them, she allows her students to be in charge of their learning. In my opinion, this is a 21st-century skill that will help students become lifelong learners. Giving students the autonomy to feel capable to learn on their own validates to students what they can accomplish and leaves them with feeling of pride and success. Using google is not just about getting the facts, learning them and then moving on, much like you see in a traditional learning environment. Instead, google offers a world of learning to everyone. It's inclusive (speech to text or text to speech apps), readily available, provides multiple perspectives and allows students to be at the forefront of their own learning. By shifting education into this phenomenon our curriculum would need to be different, it would have to change. Instead of emphasizing on facts, dates and figures, Mintra suggests the curriculum should be question oriented, tapping into students creative minds and digging deeper for answers. He says questions need to, "engage learners in a world of unknowns. Questions that will occupy their minds through their waking hours and sometimes their dreams." Having the ability to research, gather information and then put facts together to solve problems is a critical skill to have Mintra suggests. Old fashion, traditional ways of teaching and learning are not helping our students develop the essential skills they need to be successful, engaged citizens. Google is here, google is now. Let's use it!
Is google affecting deeper learning and the ability to engage students negativity? Have we become too reliant on using google's search engine? In the article, How Google Impacts the Way Students Think, readers are introduced to ideas on how society is becoming masters of the google search and how detrimental this can be to learning. I am definitely guilty of this, especially being a university student myself. If I don't know a word I've come across in the textbook, google it. If I can't remember a specific theory, google it. Realistically, google has provided the world with a source to E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. According to the article above written by Terry Heick, this type of learning has become problematic. Terry argues that google creates an illusion of accessibility. They explain this by saying, "google is powerful, the result of a complicated algorithm that attempts to index human thought that has been digitally manifest." Because of this power that google has over people, Heick believes an illusion is created, suggesting to people that answers are always within reach even when they aren't. Again, I would admit that I am guilty of this. However, when I go onto Google and the answer I am looking for isn't right at my finger tips, isn't that a positive for learning? It means I have to be creative with what I am looking for, think outside the box and possibly gather other perspectives that could lead me to finding an answer. Looking at this idea from an educators lens, allowing our students to use Google and engage with the internet using critical thinking skills is a positive learning experience. Heick's second point in the article states, "Google naturally suggests "answers" as stopping points." The author suggests that having quick and easy access to information will halt student learning suggesting that the learning task is over and completed. I completely agree with this point, however student learning stops not because of using Google but from the lack of engagement and creativity of what to do with the answer now. Educators should not expect students to use Google, find the answer and then move on. I talked about this phenomenon earlier and said that it applies to traditional teaching and learning. Lecturing, writing down notes and moving on. I'm hesitant to bring up George Couros quote about the use of technology because I have used it in the past 3 blog posts (whoops!). It is just so good! He talks about the teachers role in implementing technology, and I think this is extremely important to ensure Heick's points do not become reality.
In conclusion, as educators we need to be preparing our students for a life outside of school and this includes allowing them to explore Google for learning purposes. Using Google allows us to expand knowledge that isn’t just deemed “important” as well it allows all perspectives of learning. The world is always changing, we as educators need to prepare them with all the information out there and at the same time we also need to remember that google and technology will not and should not replace teachers. Google has changed the way we access information. 21st- century education needs to understand, strategize and and develop ways to enhance engagement levels of students, and I believe Google is a perfect source to do so.
Thanks for reading my opinion on this interesting debate topic! As always I like to end my blog posts with a relevant and meaningful quote. This one came from the article Google not, learn not: why searching can sometimes be better than knowing.
"There is only one cure for ignorance, and that will always be asking questions." - Jeremy Gunter