Summary of Learning

I have learned a lot of new things from different perspectives during this class. I would like to thank my all classmates for sharing their knowledge and experiences. Also, I appreciate how our instructor Katia has given us the freedom to express ourselves in the way we want to. Thanks for keeping things so flexible.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkpxCg8p954

EC&I 830: Summary of Learning

It’s hard to believe both my school year and my student’s school year is coming to an end! It’s been a highly enjoyable semester, and I’d like to thank everyone who was a part of it. Below is a link to my summary of learning for this semester. This is my first time using an unlisted YouTube Video, so please let me know if something doesn’t work properly!

Good luck to everyone continuing with their programs, and congratulations to those who are finishing up. Have a great summer!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner… Face-to-Face Learning or Zoom Learning?

Debate Topic – Online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children.

Our final debate centered on whether online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children. I struggled with choosing a side in this debate. Again, the topic felt “muddied” because I had a hard time separating myself as a learner, taking an online course, versus online learning for children. Another issue with the topic was my ability to separate pandemic learning and online learning that is created and taught intentionally. As I have mentioned before, teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic was extremely challenging. Sadly, many of my students did not participate due to internet access issues, as well as personal reasons. 

On the agree side of this debate was the team of Colton, Britney S., and Kayla. They made some compelling arguments as to why online education negatively impacts students. And on the disagree side of this debate was Arkin, Kat, and Chris. This team also had a well-rounded argument. There were many facets to this discussion topic. 

Let’s have a look at both sides… 

Agree

1. Online education furthers digital access inequities.

Students who have a low socioeconomic status may not have access to internet or devices. The effectiveness of an online schooling program assumes that all students have equal access. As we saw during the pandemic, many families struggled with learning due to poor wifi, no devices, not enough devices or inadequate devices. Try doing assignments or working off of a tiny phone or tablet each day for a few months! Not fun. This digital divide will only separate the “have’s” from the “have-nots.” From a personal perspective, this digital divide impacted many of my students. Some of them live in a rural area in Southern Saskatchewan and were not able to join our zoom sessions. Some drove to a family members home just to join in. Others had spotty connections and had to deal with the frustrations of lost connections. Sadly, I also ran into a mom in the grocery store a few weeks into online teaching and she was saving money to purchase a Chromebook for her son. The impacts on low socioeconomic status youth was described by Onstad in the article, The miserable truth about online school. Here, Onstad describes how students were developing headaches from typing full essays on a tablet. Some were tired from being logged on early in the morning until evening time, while others relying on Tim Horton’s wifi. The challenges faced by many students were vast.

2. Online learning provides a lack of programming variety.

Some argue that it is not possible to provide the same type of programming in an online version as in-person classes. Classes with practical, social or group component may not be delivered with the same quality as in person courses. As a self-professed “hands-on learner,” I would have felt slighted if I had to miss out on in-person physical education classes, art or science classes. 

3. Schools provide social encounters and safety.

At the start of the pandemic and during online learning, concerns arose over the missing social aspect of online learning. Specifically, early years teachers were concerned about providing adequate programing and recreating classroom experiences online. For older students, in middle years and high school, this meant more “socializing” over a screen. Hardly ideal. For others, including some of my own students, the school day was yearned for. Schools are safe spaces where students are loved and get attention that they may not get at home. Certainly, I recognize the flipside of this, where schools are not-so-safe spaces for students who may be bullied or lack friends or “community.”

Disagree

1. Online learning is flexible.

Online learning can provide flexibility to students who have medical needs, participate in sports or arts that pull them away from school, or for older learners who may need to work to support their families. 

2. Online learning develops important skills.

In their video, the disagree team noted that online learning teaches students time management, self-discipline, self-motivation and communication skills. All of these are important and transferable to the workplace. 

3. Online learning is customizable.

Students who require specific programming can find courses that suit their unique learning needs. Whether it be courses that are offered at certain times of the year, courses offered for diverse learning styles, or simply courses on certain topics, online learning can provide unique learning opportunities. As I mentioned previously, online learning could be a good fit for athletes, artists, and those with varying family dynamics.

4. Online learning benefits those with health challenges and differing abilities.

Students with mobility challenges, chronic diseases and illnesses, visual and hearing impairments, and those with different learning needs may find the online learning environments more convenient, comfortable and supportive. In the article titled, ‘How Online Education Can Benefit Students With Disabilities,’ it is noted that it is important for students to “still have an opportunity to connect with teachers in other ways while attending online courses” and luckily, they can do that through the use of email, discussion boards, messaging and video conferencing. Furthermore, online learning could be beneficial for those with mental health challenges like anxiety, those who are impacted by bullying, or those dealing with grief and loss. Having the ability to transfer to online learning for a short period of time or for longer durations could benefit students dealing with any number of life’s challenges. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, when deciding whether online learning is detrimental to student social and academic development it is important to look at each individual student’s situation. Online learning can certainly hinder a Kindergarten student’s social development and likewise, online learning can be difficult for a high school student who is not a self-starter and lacks time management skills. In the end, we need to look at what is best for each individual student. As educators, we know that one size does not fit all when it comes to learning. Online classes, if done well, can be beneficial to some students.

Summary of learning

Welcome to my learning summary. This was my first class for my master of education. My classmates and I have already learned a lot from “Katia,” the instructor, in our first class together. I now know how to blog, podcast, and create videos, which I can use to teach my students as well as include in my lesson plans. The knowledge I’ve received will enable me to use technology in my teaching with greater enthusiasm and purpose. The debate format was really interesting to me, especially when I had the chance to participate. I’ve learned a lot from our debate talks and have been able to put it to use in my everyday life. All of you and Katia are appreciated.

Thankyou everyone and Katia

Online Could be the Glue

Topic 8: Online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children.

I’m sorry this is going to be a short blog post. Do I think that online learning is ruining children’s development? No, I don’t think it is ruining it. Do I believe that students get more if they are in-person learning? that is when I go back and forth on. I talk to the virtual school teacher frequently and hear about all the fantastic and wonderful things they’re doing and the resources they are utilizing. However, I think those things are more accessible in person, and kids are gaining those relationships with friends, just those everyday social skills, and learning how to regulate themselves in a group setting. There are many adaptations and compromises made in person that I don’t know if I made in the virtual school or Virtual learning. That being said, I know that virtual teachers do a fantastic job. I know those kids are gaining developmental skills and having those connections made online, so I am just unfamiliar with it. I can’t say that I was the greatest online teacher, so I haven’t had enough exposure to make a definite statement about my thoughts.

What I do know is that during covid-19, learning wasn’t an option. Online learning was fantastic, and I look forward to the groups I had every day and the reading we did. I had students that did move up and were able to share and connect with the group that I had, and I was able to personalize learning easier when we were online. Many of the skills that I learned during that online learning time throw covid utilized in person as well. I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to adapt and grow as an educator during those times.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I hope you’re having a great week.

Do Teachers Have to Teach Everything?

Topic 7: Educators and schools have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint.

This debate was interesting because there are many differing opinions on how far a teacher’s reach stretches. Do teachers have a responsibility to impact students’ digital footprint as well. My initial thoughts with this one are that we don’t because we already have plenty of duties that fall outside the side of our scope of what teachers should be teaching. However, I think it is important that teachers support and teach safe practices online, not necessarily to develop students’ digital footprints. However, a teacher should influence a student’s digital footprint.

I appreciated that some of our classmates were willing to stand up for what a teacher should and should not be responsible for. This commonly falls on teachers because when people don’t know who is responsible for putting it into our society, It generally Falls onto teachers or the education sector. I think that we as Educators need to be promoting and teaching digital citizenship and digital literacy to our students. I also believe that there is an opportunity to help some of our families who would not have gone to school when digital citizenship and digital literacy were a focus. I know that may be an unpopular opinion as it puts more pressure and stress on teachers and education. There just aren’t many opportunities or places that pull in so many people and have such an ability to make a positive impact in their community as a school.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that you are having a great week!