Author Archives: alyssamckenzie

Defining Contemporary Educational Technology

Classroom“Classroom” by James F Clay is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

When first thinking about what contemporary educational technology entails, I thought of all the modern digital technologies being used in classrooms today to either teach or support the learning of students. For example, SMART boards, online learning environments, Chromebooks, and the Google Suite, just to name a few. However, after our most recent EC&I 833 class and some further reading, my thoughts on this term have changed significantly.

There is a great historical basis to the current technologies and methodologies being used in classrooms today. During class we learned that centuries ago Aristotle described three different types of knowledge.

Episteme- scientific and universal knowledge

Techne- technical knowledge

Phronesis- practical knowledge

By recognizing that there are different types of knowledge it makes sense that there are different ways of acquiring this knowledge. In modern times, this idea that there are different kinds of knowledge and different ways of acquiring this knowledge could be summed up using the TPAK model.

https://educationaltechnology.net/technological-pedagogical-content-knowledge-tpack-framework/

This model demonstrates how technology with a pedagogical directive can be used to deliver and facilitate learning. Another way of looking a the different types of knowledge and ways of acquiring it is through Dale’s Cone of Experience.

During class, I found it to be very interesting that none of the information found on Dale’s Cone of Experience is scientifically sound, yet is often used for instructional directives. It does however provide a good visual for different ways of using media.

Through the examination of different kinds of media we began to discuss the difference between soft vs hard technologies. Hard technologies are those such as a refrigerator or basic telephone. Soft technologies are those in which the user has control and can manipulate such as the modern iPhone and its many apps and tools that can be used. Our professor Alec made an important point stating that “creativity belongs in the mind of the person using it”. This made me think of all the different kinds of technology we use in the classroom that might not be deemed “technological” but are in fact a kind of technology.

In the article called A short history of educational technology, the author Tony Bates discusses the different types of educational technology that have been used throughout the centuries, starting with oral communication, to written, to radio and TV and right into today’s digital age and the dawn of social media. To some extent all of these different types of technology are being used in classrooms today. A point in the reading that really stood out to me was that “new technology rarely completely replaces old technology”.

I read an article awhile back titled How the Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive, written by Josh Giesbrecht. The article examines how the design of the ballpoint pen better supports printing, while its predecessor, the fine point pen with its fast and smooth running ink was a great tool for handwriting. Now while cursive writing is no longer in the school curriculum, I sill think there is a need for students and adults alike to know how to hand write in certain situations. For example, when a person needs to sign their name for a passport, driving license or when writing a cheque for the bank. I believe that a handwritten name is part of a person’s identity. This demonstrates that while a new technology ay not fully replace an old technology, certain skills may become lost or no longer deemed necessary when new more “efficient” technologies are developed.

I agree with Giesbrecht that through the “process of examining the historical use of ordinary technologies as a way to understand contemporary ones”. In conclusion, when I think of what contemporary educational technology entails I think of all the different means teachers and students alike use to learn, create and gain knowledge about the world around them. I think that students benefit from using a variety of technologies both old and new to gain the knowledge they need to be successful in today’s society; after all one size doesn’t fit all.

My Summary of Learning

Through this class I have gained a better understanding of the role technology plays in both our classrooms and everyday lives. It has helped to broaden my perspectives and has led me to reflect on many of my current teaching practices. In addition, I have gained new ideas in how to implement technology into the classroom in engaging and educational ways.

Thank you Dr. Alec Couros and fellow EC&I 830 classmates for helping me to continue to grow as an educator; for challenging me to think critically about many of the issues surrounding technology and its use, for sharing your personal stories and for all the new ideas and perspectives you shared that I know I will find useful well into the future.

Alyssa

Uncomfortable Conversations Are Usually Those Worth Having

Route of Shame 2017“Route of Shame 2017” by Public Services International is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The other day I was talking with a fellow co-worker and she told me a story about a conversation two little boys in her grade 1 class had. The one little boy turned to his friend and excitedly said “Hey do you know that I’m Asian?”. The other little boy responded with “What’s Asian?”. To me this demonstrates that children are not born with the concept of privilege or racism, rather this attitude or the way people treat people of different races is learned. The topic of the last debate of our EC&I 830 class was by far the most emotionally charged topic of the class, especially given the current state of affairs happening in the USA, Canada and around the world. I had to take a few days to really digest all that was discussed during this debate as it challenged me the most as educator as well.

The debate statement was “teachers have a responsibility to use tech and social media to promote social justice”. As an educator, I have always felt it is my job to remain neutral, to not “rock the boat” as some would say. I feel this is especially true when it comes to highly controversial topics on social media. I feel that at times, people have to best of intentions for a post, but through misunderstandings or misconceptions the post is blown up out of proportion in a negative way. Sometimes, this results in someone’s reputation getting ruined or even job loss. This really puts me on the fence about this topic.

In their opening statement Mike and Jaquie made valid points supporting the use of social media and tech for social justice. They argued that teachers can not be bias. They pointed out that it is the job of teachers to turn students into justice oriented citizens, and that often the most uncomfortable conversations are the most important. It was also pointed out that when people say nothing on social media, they are actually saying a lot; as demonstrated in the article “White Silence On Social Media: Why Not Saying Anything Is Actually Saying A Lot.

Brad and Michala presented strong arguments for the disagree side. They discussed how using technology for social justice can result in “slacktivism” and how what people post lasts a long time. Over the course of the debate questions such as; “Is it true or untrue?” “Where is the line?” Is this a hill I’m willing to die on?” came up with regards to posting about social justice issues online.

I feel as educators we are upheld to high standard, as we are the role models for the youth of the future. I think this holds a lot of responsibility. What I think is missing from social media is face to face connection. I like how the article “Is Social Media a Tool for Social Justice?” states that “social justice comes in many forms and all forms of wrongs need to be realized and understood as a precursor to gaining any form of social acceptance for the cause”. I feel that at times, when posts are misunderstood it is because people can not read the facial expressions, tone of voice or body language the person had when they wrote it. I also think that sometimes people do not fully understand the context behind some of the issues they post about. I believe that as teachers it is our job to help educate today’s youth about injustices that have happened in the past and are still impacting people today. I just don’t think that social media is the best route to go about doing this.

At the end of the debate a few classmates told stories about their personal experiences of living under a communist regime and dictatorship. I left the class somber and I could only think of how lucky I am to be a Canadian and to live in a country where I can share my opinion with others and not fear persecution from the government for doing so. Social justice is something that as a whole society we need to stand up for. I think it is our job as teachers to educate students about the injustices that are happening around the world. I think when we talk about these issues it is important to keep age in mind and to remember to show all sides of an issue and find that middle ground. We need to give them the tools to be justice oriented citizens in an ever evolving global world. I think it is important to have face to face conversations about these issues and show the youth of the future the importance of doing research, making informed decisions, and the treating everyone with respect and dignity.

What to Share, What Not to Share. Growing Up In An Online World

As a millennial, I have never grown up in a world where there wasn’t the internet or computers. I got my first “flip phone” when I was 17 (which I had to buy myself) and it wasn’t until I was 20 that Facebook really started to take off as a social media platform. As a result, people could share pictures, thoughts and connect with others online in a way they never could before. It was the beginning of the social media era and the time when people started to develop an online presence and identity that they shared with others.

Today, many kids have an online presence even before they are born. So is sharing pictures and information online about our kids unfair to them? At what age should children be able to choose what can or can’t be posted about them online? The article Posting About Your Kids Online Damage Their Futures points out that “parents are already some of the biggest violators of their kids’ privacy leaving potentially harmful digital footprints well before the age of consent”. It discusses the risks of identity theft, humiliation and future discrimination that can occur as a result of the digital footprints children’s parents have created. In the video Are Parents Exploiting Their Kids On Social Media the phenomenon of “sharenting” and its lasting impact is explored.

As educators, we also have to examine how we share student work and information about our students online with the public. When you compound the information parents are posting with the data schools collect and post, do children really have any privacy online today? Are we being fair or unfair when we share student content on online platforms such as SeeSaw or Twitter? During Tuesday’s EC&I 830 class Altan and Melinda demonstrated why sharing and openness in schools is unfair to children.

For Dean and Sherri though, “sharing is caring and openness is everywhere!”

After having the opportunity to explore both sides of this topic, as an educator I do not feel that it is unfair to students to be open and share educational material. I agree with Sherri that being open and sharing material online can provide deep and meaningful learning opportunities for students. I think it is important as educators we use the social media platforms as a way to help students build digital citizenship and help them learn how to safely navigate the online world. Amanda posts a great list of ways to protect students privacy online in her blog post, Is it Fair to Share?

In conclusion, I think that parents should be mindful what they post about their kids online, the same way they are thoughtful about what they post online about themselves as adults. I don’t believe that social media will be disappearing anytime soon, but through thoughtful and constructive conversations parents and teachers can work together to help educate children in how to ultimately build a positive and safe online profile for themselves.

Should Cell Phones Be Banned From the Classroom?

In this week’s debate, our #ECI830 class discussed if cellphones should be banned from the classroom. It was an especially important topic this week, because this was the debate topic that my partner Skyler and I chose to debate about.

We both agreed that cellphones should not be banned from the classroom, and here is why… 

Agree

Before we discuss our viewpoints on why cellphones should not be banned from the classroom, we want to acknowledge the great work that our opponents Jill and Tarina did.  They brought up a lot of valid arguments as to why cellphones should be banned from the classroom, including:

  1. Cellphones are Distractions
  2. School Devices are Safer
  3. Cellphones increase negative behavior 
  4. Detachment from Personal Device 

As a rebuttal to these reasons we stated that: 

  1. Distractions are still going to take place in the classroom whether this is on cellphone or otherwise.  We are living in a society where we are pushing for people to collaborate with each other in order to problem solve. A student who is not focused in the classroom will find a method to be distracted, regardless if we ban cellphones or not.   
  1. When looking at how cellphones increase negative behavior, this type of behavior such as cyber bullying can include on other types of devices such as iPad and even school Chromebooks.  By not allowing cellphones into the classroom we do not give students the opportunity to learn how to properly engage with them. A classroom is a safe space, where students can make mistakes and learn from them.   

3. So here is the solution, teach students how to use cellphones positively for educational purposes. This would also strengthen the relationships with students.  Not only is it our job as educator to teach the curriculum, but it is also important for us to teach the hidden curriculum. We need to teach digital citizenship to students so they are able to interact appropriately and effectively in the digital world.  Cause lets face it, we are currently living in a digital world. 

Disagree

DON’T MAKE A BAN, HAVE A PLAN

To begin, the first problem with the question “Should cellphones be banned from the classroom” was that we disagreed with the terminology of the word ban.  We felt as though banning cellphones was only trying to eliminate a problem, rather than solving the problem.  Instead, we support the term restricted.  One of the methods that we discussed to do this involved the stoplight method. What is funny is that before we had the opportunity to discuss this method, Alec was already ahead of us, sharing his own experiences of it in classrooms. During the conversation, Michala also pointed out at the school she teaches at, she finds that cellphones have given students a place to communicate and connect.  

Other points that we had to encourage the use of cellphones in the classroom are:

  • Medical Situations
  • Emergency Situations 
  • Educational Purposes 
  • Special Needs 
  • Digital Citizenship 

Watch the video for more explanations behind these points that support cellphone use in the classroom.

In conclusion, what should take place in classrooms are restrictions not bans on cellphone use.   During our research, we came across an article regarding thee Dr. Alec Couros, and his experience over the years of watching schools implement a  “bring-your-own-device” policy to fill in gaps and encourage more responsibility.  To ban cellphones is to put students’ lives at risk, limit the abilities of students with special needs, rob students of engaging and purposely learning experiences and leave students unprepared to live in an ever-evolving technological global world. 

Understanding skills related to how to act appropriately around other people face to face such as being polite, kind,and fair are just as important for students to understand when communicating in a digital setting.  According to common sense media teens spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes on their phones and tweens those aged 8-12 are not far behind.  This is why rather than banning cellphones from the classroom, we need to allow them in the classroom where we can teach students how to use them appropriately. As educators it is our job to educate students how to properly use cellphones, in a safe space, where they aren’t afraid to make a mistake and where they can learn vital life skills that will help them to be successful in today’s digital age. 

To conclude, we are disagree to a ban of cellphones in the classroom, but agree that there do need to be restrictions of cellphone use in the classroom that are monitored by the teacher.   Don’t make a ban, have a plan!

You can check out the results of this debate found on Skyler’s post.

Social Media and Its Effects On Childhood

social media

“social media” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I found this week’s debate topic to be incredibly pertinent to today’s society. Both teams made valid claims for and against the argument that social media is ruining childhood. On the agree side Laurie and Christina pointed out how social media use is detrimentally affecting the mental health of today’s youth, as well as being responsible for exposing students to content that is beyond their years. In addition, they demonstrated how social media is resulting in the “FOMO” or Fear of Missing Out phenomenon and how most often parents are left unaware of what their children are doing on social media. While a person’s brain is not fully developed until they are in their early 20’s, these issues are disconcerting.

Disagreeing with the statement that “social media is ruining childhood” Amy and Dean pointed out how through the use of social media people have access to more open communication, it provides a platform for creativity and provides a way for students to stay connected. It has also opened up new job opportunities as many companies are hiring people specifically to monitor and present information about the company via social media. As with many things in life I feel that too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing.

I found the article Disadvantages of Social Networking: Surprising Insights from Teens that Laurie and Christina shared to really resonate with me. The article examines essays written by grade 10 students about how they feel social media has affected their communication with others. One student is quoted saying ” there has been a dramatic decrease in face to face communication, which reduces our generations ability to interact with others on a speaking level”. The article points out how the students felt that social media has diminished their understanding of people’s feelings, has created a skewed sense of self image for them and has resulted in feelings of disconnectedness even within the family unit. The article points out that research has shown that if people monitor their social media use and limit themselves to only going on social media platforms for 30 minutes a day, they will feel significantly better than those who use social media for longer periods of time.

Personally, I feel that social media use does have the potential to ruin childhood. However, I do believe that through education and moderation social media can be an effective means through which children can communicate and have fun with their peers. I think that both parents and educators have an important job in helping children understand both the benefits and drawbacks of social media use. I think as adults we have to recognize that this new way of communicating won’t be going away anytime soon and that although social media is relatively new to us all, we are responsible for helping to ensure children are using this means of communication in a positive way.

Should Educators Teach Skills That Can Be Easily Googled?

Google

“Google” by warrantedarrest is licensed under CC BY 2.0

An interesting topic of discussion came up at our last EC&I 830 class. We discussed whether or not teachers should teach things that can be easily googled. During this discussion, fellow classmates Daina and Jocelyn pointed out that on average there are nearly 5.6 billion searches being made on google each day! To me this is an astonishing, although not surprisingly high number, considering how many google searches I find even myself making in one day. This makes me wonder; what skills or knowledge can not be googled and needs to be taught to students in the classroom? From the information that Lisa, Curtis, Daina and Jocelyn presented I found there to be three invaluable sets of skills that can not be gained through a google search. These include:

-critical thinking skills

-basic knowledge skills

-soft skills

When examining the impact google has on critical thinking Lisa and Curtis acknowledged that google does not support the critical thinking skills needed to understand the process of something and rather simply allows students to search up an answer and regurgitate it. For example, students can look up the answer to a math question, but by doing this, they do not necessarily understand the process of how to solve the problem. They won’t be able to apply this knowledge to a similar situation in the future. The article “How Has Google Affected the Way Students Learn” points out that when people continuously rely on google, they lose their ability to contemplate and concentrate. It discusses the need for teachers to develop questions that are “google proof”. By doing this, students are challenged to not only use their critical thinking skills, but also exercise their ability to focus and deliberate.

Another set of skills that can’t simply be googled are basic knowledge skills. In his article John Merrow, defines reading and writing, numeracy, creativity as well as health and nutrition as the four basic knowledge skills schools need to focus on. He stresses that schools should be spending less time on preparing students to take tests and more time exploring knowledge and applying it to real world situations. We need to be giving students the opportunity to express their creativity through the arts and other means. I could not agree more! As a grade 4 teacher I have noticed that when students do not have basic reading, writing and numeracy skills they struggle to complete research projects in higher grades because they have difficulty reading the information google provides. I find that they struggle with being creative and they want strict guidelines with questions they can directly answer. I also find they struggle with writing and even rephrasing the answers they find on the internet. With that being said, I do feel that even though google can help students find answers to their questions, it does not support students ability in understanding and applying these skills to situations they may be faced with in the real world.

I think that one of the most important set of skills that simply can not be googled in any shape of form are social and emotional skills. These “soft” skills need to be explicitly taught and learned through face to face human interaction. This past year, I taught a group of students who struggled to get along socially and understand how to deal with their issues emotionally. They had difficulty understanding how their own actions impacted the actions of the people around them. They did not understand that wherever they went, they were a part of a “social space”. As a result, our school’s learning facilitator and myself implemented a program called “Social Thinking and Me”. This program was originally developed by speech pathologists Michelle Garcia and Linda Murphy. As described in Garcia’s video students need core social thinking concepts such as “what’s going on around me?” and “what’s expected” in order to be able to navigate through the various social situations they will find themselves in. I found this program to be highly effective in helping students not only control their own actions, but respond appropriately to the actions of their peers.

I personally feel that as educators we need to spend more time teaching students explicitly social and emotional skills. I think more students need help developing these skills because they are spending more time on devices and computers. I think as adults, we too are spending more time on technology and this is resulting in less time talking face to face. In her book Kids These Days Jody Carrington discusses the impact face to face connection has on a child’s ability to appropriately cope socially and emotionally in society. In this audio clip from her book, Jody demonstrates how showing genuine interest in what another person cares about is one of the five keys to reconnecting with the people around us. In conclusion, I feel that while their is a great deal of knowledge that is easily accessible through google, critical thinking skills, basic knowledge skills and soft skills can’t be developed through a google search and it is our job as educators to connect with our students and help them develop these skills.

Always remember “The influence of a good teacher can never be erased” (author unknown).

Is Technology Leveling the Playing Field for Equity in Society?

Track, field, and seagulls“Track, field, and seagulls” by thetorpedodog is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

During the second EC&I 830 Ed Tech debate, two teams battled for support as to whether or not technology is a force of equity in society. During the debate Kalyn and Natalie took the stance that technology is indeed a force of equity in society. They gained momentum with sound reasoning about how technology provides greater access to information, allows for personalized learning and gives students with disabilities more access to assistive technologies. With evidence about the digital divide, non-neutrality and techno- colonialism, Jasmine and Victoria stole the ball back to their court. It was a close game with 48.3% of participants in favor of technology being a force of equity in society while 51.7% were against. Personally, I agree with Jasmine and Victoria and feel that in many ways technology is creating more inequity, especially when examining the impact of the digital divide.

Not only is the digital divide about who can or can’t afford devices, it also takes into consideration accessibility to the internet as well as the varying abilities of people to use the different technologies available. With the outbreak of the Covid-19, the reality of how many students do not have access to the internet, are unable to access online material due to disabilities or simply can’t afford a device has become critical when deciding how to teach students outside of the four walls of the classroom.

In June of 2016, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations General Assembly declared access to the internet to be a basic human right. The document states:

Emphasizing that access to information on the Internet facilitates vast opportunities for affordable and inclusive education globally, thereby being an important tool to facilitate the promotion of the right to education, while underlining the need to address digital literacy and the digital divide, as it affects the enjoyment of the right to education, expressing concern that many forms of digital divides remain between and within countries and between men and women, boys and girls, and recognizing the need to close them”.

Yet when we examine the numbers, statistically speaking, Canada is failing to provide this basic human right. In the article Canada’s Digital Divide and How it Can Be Solved, Kajeet states that while 96% of Canadians have access to the internet, this number does not accurately demonstrate the number of people who do not have access to internet in Northern and Indigenous communities and is disproportionate to the number of people from low income households. For example, “at least 42% of low income families in Canada lack internet access” and only 79% of people living in Northern Canada have reliable access to the internet.

Our neighbor to the South is facing similar challenges. In the article, “Should Schools Teach Anyone Who Can Get Online-Or None At All?, author Neal Morton points out how a number of schools in Washington State decided to not provide online education, because not every student would be able to access it. Education has often been seen as the vehicle to moving forward, a mode of opportunity for those who face inequality, yet when looking at education through the lens of the digital divide, it is no longer a model of fair and equal for all.

As a teacher providing supplementary learning I find myself faced with the realization of this predicament. I have had a few students opt out of participating in the supplementary learning opportunities because they do not have a reliable device at home. Even after the school offered to provide Chrome Books to any students who needed them, some still could not participate because they had no internet access. Others did not participate because they had difficulty understanding how to use the online platforms and apps, even with additional teacher support. It makes me wonder what teaching and learning will look like in the fall if we are still unable to teach face to face in a classroom. Will learning continue to be optional or will it become mandatory? If it is mandatory, will we be able to send out paper copies of materials to those students who are unable to access material online? How will we reach those students with certain disabilities that can not be taught online? Will significant changes to be made towards ensuring internet access for all?

A little food for thought.

Does Technology Enhance Student Learning? That Depends…

When examining whether or not technology enhances student learning, I would say, “well that depends”. During our last EC&I 830 class, Nancy, Amanda, Trevor and Matt presented convincing arguments for both sides of this topic. It was pointed out during the debate that when deciding whether or not technology enhances student learning, it depends on a number of factors. These factors can include the kind of technology that is being utilized, how the technology is being used, who is using the technology and whether or not the users have a strong understanding of what they can do with the technology they have access to.

Dr. Rueben Puentedura created the SAMR model to describe the process of how technology can be integrated into the classroom. This model demonstrates the different ways that technology can be used in the classroom setting. In support of how technology enhances student learning Sarah Kessler wrote an article describing 8 ways that technology is improving education. One particular point she makes is on how technology has allowed for greater global connections. I feel that this is a very true statement. People can build connections with others around the world, even with people they have never met in person.

A few years back I went to a presentation that was put on by George Couros. He demonstrated how teachers could help their student learn about geography and build connections by meeting with other classes around the world via Skype. Each class would create a list of ten hints about where they are located in the world. The classes would meet over the course of a few weeks researching the hints they were given. I have done this a couple of times over the past few years, both with high school and elementary students. Each time I have found the students to be highly engaged and interested to learn not only about another country, but also with getting to meet the other students. This phenomenon of building global connections without physically meeting people is further exemplified in the YouTube video Born Friends, where two girls who never met in person have grown into very close friends.

This video also supports the notion we discussed during the debate about how technology can provide students with a voice they didn’t know they had before. Since teaching from home I have had the opportunity to hear from my students who generally would not talk in the classroom. Some of my most shy students seem much more comfortable speaking over a google meet or typing their thoughts or questions into the chat bar.

While there are many ways in which technology can enhance student learning, I feel that there are also some limitations. I was reading a report from the Stanford Graduate School of Education titled: How Technology Can Close Achievement Gaps and Improve Learning. The article states that research has shown that technology when used properly “can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk”. It is important to note that the success in student achievement is found only when the technology is used “properly”. In the report it points out the importance of providing teachers adequate professional development for how to use the technology as well as support in how to manage the hardware, software and connections to the internet.

As a teacher who has now had to move to teaching exclusively online, I sometimes feel the pressure of using platforms I am not fully comfortable with. At the same time I need to be a trouble shooter for students and parents when the app or platform is not working the way they or I thought it should. When this is the case, I would say technology does not enhance student learning, but rather can lead to frustration and disengagement from students. I feel this supports the recommendation in the report that teachers need adequate professional development in the use of certain types of technology. I feel that in future school divisions will be providing teachers with more support in how to use technology, especially if teaching from home continues to be the new “normal”.

Overall, I agree with the statement that technology enhances student learning. Even though there are some limitations, I feel that benefits of using technology out weighs the drawbacks. After all, without the help of technology we would not be able to reach our students or continue helping them learn valuable skills, even if its not in the way had planned.

A Transition From Teaching Face to Face to Teaching Online

I have been a grade 4 teacher for five years now and during this time have found myself teaching more in the traditional sense of using paper, pencils, booklets to deliver material and help students gain a strong understanding of the outcomes. More recently I have begun using iPads and Chromebooks more regularly in the classroom with my students. However, a typical day in the life of teaching has significantly changed now that teaching and learning is taking place at home, online, via the internet.

iPad

“iPad” by Yagan Kiely is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I find myself missing the face to face social and emotional connections that are made between teacher and students. Rather than welcoming students each day with a morning greeting and a handshake, I have transitioned to meeting with the students a few times a week over google meet. Students generally arrive to the google meets excited with enthusiasm. These meets replace our face to face and direct instruction time. To assist with learning online, I rely heavily on the google classroom platform as well as the Seesaw app to send assignments out to students.

I find myself sending and receiving a lot of emails each day, from parents, students and other teachers. I have found myself on a learning curve of being submerged in the use of constant technology. Part of my job now is to be a troubleshooter in technology when my students or their parents are having difficulty accessing material or using apps. This “new normal” has challenged me to find new ways of teaching and to continually look for new apps and online platforms that will best assist students with their learning. I feel a bit like a student myself nowadays. I recently learned about some other valuable teaching apps including Flipgrid, Desmos, Quizzizz and Mentimeter. I look forward to trying these apps out with my students in the future.

I do feel that this new challenge will help me when we return to the classroom once again. I think the new knowledge I have gained about technology and different apps at this time will prove very useful in keeping my students engaged in the classroom and online in the future.