Author Archives: Amy.CrossEC&I830

My Google Extension Exploration!

Alec presented us with a great deal of classroom resources/teacher resources this week! I decided for my blog post that I am going to experiment with some of the Google Chrome Extensions Alec has provided for us. I have not used any of the extensions presented in either my personal or professional life. Instead of investigating all of them, I am going to choose three that I am most interested in using in the future. I will reflect on my initial thoughts of the tool, how the tool could potentially improve student learning in the classroom,  and the privacy issues the tool may have.

First, I explore Distraction Free Youtube (DF Youtube). I use YouTube 6/7 times a week in my own classroom. I am constantly bombarded with advertisements and commercials when showing a video. I feel like this extension will be an awesome tool for the classroom!

My Initial Thoughts How can this tool improve
Student learning?

Issues of privacy

  • Love this tool.
  • Make planning online projects easy as there will be no worries of unwanted pop-ups/adds
  • Super easy to navigate as a teacher.
  • I often use YouTube to show video and need to skip over advertisement in the middle of my video. I now would not have to worry about that!
  • Students will be  free from distraction adds that pop up
  • Comments are hidden and so students will not be able to see inappropriate comments IF any.
  • Students will have more learning time!!
  • My initial thought is that there are very few privacy issues.
  • My only concern may be if children accidentally view an inappropriate video.
  • According to the creator, no history is tracked.

Grammarly is the next extension I chose to explore. I am always looking for different ways to teach and help students become better writers! When I saw Grammarly  on the list, I instantly wanted to explore it. On top of wanting to become a better writing teacher, I am always looking for ways to improve my own writing skills!

My Initial Thoughts

How can this tool improve
Student learning?

Issues of privacy
  • I would definitely use this tool when writing papers!
  • Has many users and therefore seems credible.
  • I did notice  when testing out the free version it only had so many features. It kept trying to upcharge me.
  • Haiming Li from our class said it perfectly! “It’s not only helped to check wrong spellings but also it gives me lots of grammar. suggestions such as articles and syntax” …students can very well benefit in this way!
  • Students can become better writers by going through their errors and making them correct
  • Encourages students in a positive way to improve their writing.
  • Not MANY concerns
  • May be concerned about the privacy of my own/students papers as they are being inserted into the web.

Lastly, I explore Tweetdeck.  Tweetdeck is definitely something I could see myself using in the future. I have heard many great things about the way it is set up and used.

My Initial Thoughts

How can this tool improve
Student learning?

Issues of privacy

  • Love the format of Tweetdeck, It is super organized.
  • You can choose your interests and it will automatically sort the tweets into categories
  • When taking an Edtech class with Alec, will be super easy to follow classmates tweets and follow along with any tweet that is being posted by them (track hashtags)
  • Can be beneficial when using twitter as a classroom/school communication tool for parents.
  • For older grades, it can be a away they can keep track of school announcements and due dates
  • Once it on there, it’s ON THERE.
  • If students “accidentally” tweet something they are not supposed to, it is hard to control that as a teacher.
  • If YOU as a teacher accidentally tweet or share something could get in trouble.  

On a side note, I found a great article that outlines 50 ways you can use twitter in the classroom! Check it out…

Overall, I have enjoyed all of the google extensions that I have explored. I definitely will be taking the time to check them all out as I am always looking for ways to incorporate new and engaging ways to use technology in the classroom!

Which google extensions were your favorite and why?!

My Teaching Philosophy!

Wow! This week’s zoom session was interesting to say the least! It was very insightful to learn about the many of the educational theories that have existed over time and how some of their beliefs have carried over into today’s educational world.

I definitely think my teaching philosophy and beliefs have shifted and changed over my five years of teaching experience. My first year of teaching my goal at the end of the day was just to have a plan for the following day. As well, to create the most engaging lessons I possible could with the materials and resources I had at that time. Over the years however, my philosophy has become much more clear as I now have a better sense of what I truly believe as a teacher. I  have a few underlying beliefs that I can describe for you in a few points. These include:

  • I believe that every child in the classroom should feel SAFE and welcomed.  
  • My three classroom beliefs are Respect Self, Respect Others, Respect community (the following is a picture of the beliefs posted in my classroom). I believe that it is my duty to model these important concepts in the classroom.
  • I believe that every child should be set up for success regardless of what their challenges, strengths, and needs are.
  • I strive to make sure every child should leave the classroom with a smile on their face everyday.

I think my beliefs continue to deepen as I continue my career as an educator.  Are your beliefs somewhat similar or completely different than the ones I have outlined? Which ones do you agree with the most and which ones do you disagree with?

Switching gears here to Alec’s presentation on Presentation on educational theories of knowledge and learning. There was one particular theories in which I could comply with. The way Robert Gagne described how an instructional period should be set up made complete sense to me.

The process he describes is very similar to the way I set up and plan for any type of lesson in my classroom. I believe that providing learning guidance and feedback are two of the most important steps in this process. Ongoing informal assessment is key to the success of our students success in the classroom.

Lastly, these weeks readings/ resource were very insightful. Over the course of my masters classes, we have talked and learned about many educational philosophers. The resource Alec posted called A map of learning theories is an excellent resource! I find it presents the philosophers and their believes in an easy to read and straight to the point matter. As I read read through the map, I find myself saying things like……Oh! Right, we talked about Piaget in EC&I 804! Vigotsky believed in zone of proximal development ! Oh, right Dewey is all about experiential learning……..we learned about him last semester.

                                                        Which article stood out most to you?!


My Understanding of Educational Technology

What a fantastic beginning to EC&I 833! I feel that this class is going to be very insightful in many ways. I am looking forward to hearing my classmates opinions about their understanding of what technology should look like in the classroom. As well, being a part of a variety of  presentations centered around technology.

This week blogs post will be focused on the following questions:
What is my personal contemporary understanding of educational technology?
What might a contemporary definition of educational technology look like?
How has your own understanding of educational technology been shaped (consciously or not) by the rich historical and philosophical contexts?
I will do my best to explain myself however if something does not make sense feel free to ask and I will clarify.

First off, my personal definition of educational technology is:
Educational Technology is when an educator incorporates technology into instruction and/or assessment in a variety of ways throughout the curriculum with a vision and purpose.

Therefore, my understanding is that students need technology. There is no arguing that as our world today is very technologically dependent. However, the way in which a teacher chooses to use the technology can either have huge benefits or not. I think it’s important for teachers (including myself) to do some self questioning/checklist before integrating technology into a class or lesson. The following questions/checklist could look something like this:

—Will using this technology enhance student learning?
—Is using this technology purposeful?
—Will students see the purpose in this technology?
—Will this technology be engaging for students?
—What is the goal of using the technology?
—Can using this somehow benefits students in the real world?

I think if we as teachers can answer some of these questions positively, than we should definitely proceed with using the technology.


I am now going to talk about what has shaped my own beliefs of technology. When I was in grade school, I remember when we first got a desktop computer at home! It was the coolest. I could play games, chat with my friends, and do the odd school assignment. In terms of  at school, I remember loving using the computers in my elementary/high school. I remember being so engaged and excited especially when we using power point! My excitement carried overs in high school when being able to spend time in the computer lab.

In saying that, my understanding of educational technology  has definitely been shaped through my own experiences with technology both in my personal and professional life. I definitely have  experienced both the negative and positive sides of technology in both instances. With that being said, I believe that technology can STILL be a wonderful, useful, and purposeful tool used in all aspects of life.


Summary of Learning

Hello everyone!

What a wonderful class. I had a great time working AND learning alongside everyone. I want to briefly talk about what MY Summary of Learning will look like. Each week we discussed a new topic around Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology.  Each week, I chose a KEY TAKEAWAY. In saying that, I will be outlining the KEY takeaway I had each week. I took most of the videos after each class!

Thank you for watching!


Is technology is a force for equity in society?

My first first reaction to this statement is that technology is absolutely a force for equity in society. There are so many positive ways in which we can use technology to promote equity as well equality in society.  As Daniel mention in the zoom chat, technology can be a great equalizer. The problem lies within how the technology is being utilized and the ways in which people choose to use it. This week the debaters were Jen, Dawn, and Sapna vs. Amy S. and Rakan.

I wanted to try something new for my reflection this week! I decided that I would create TWO mind maps of the key points that stuck out the most both on the agree and disagree side.

The agree side made some wonderful arguments about how technology can be an equalizer is society.  I think one of the ones that stuck out most was the fact the technology can connect everyone in the world in many ways. This provides some great opportunities for positive environment. I also appreciate the fact that technology can accommodate everyone no matter who they are, especially because I am a teacher. There are so many needs in my own classroom, that technology gives those students will challenges an opportunity to receive the equal opportunity.

Next, comes the disagree side. This statement was definitely a touch one to argue! The following are the main points I gathered from both Amy S. and Rakan. Although I more so side with the agree side, the point they made that technology has the potential to negatively influence many aspects of ones life is quite frightening to me. I guess you never know how one will react to things posted online. Another point they made was the fact that “Low income people do not have the same access to internet as higher income/middle class individuals“. In saying that, this then cause unequal opportunity for low income individuals to search and apply for jobs online.

Overall, I still believe that technology can be an equalizer in society. The ways in which we choose to use technology, educate our children about technology as well, promote technology  is very important when determining if it will be successful!


“Social media is ruining childhood”

The statement social media is ruining childhood was debated this week. Melinda, Alyssa, and Lori were on the agree team while Erin, Brooke, and Daniel were on the disagree team. It was very difficult to choose a side for the  pre-vote .this week.

After the debate, it seemed even MORE difficult, especially after each team presented their sides of the argument. I seemed to be more on the fence about this statement than anything, although I did end up choosing agree for the pre/post vote. As the opening videos were taking place this week, I was jotting down important points each side outlined. Below is a chart of the important jot points I made  for both sides:



  • Can cause depression
  • Being judged by peers(not getting enough likes)
  • Girls feel judged
  • Attitudes behaviors and knowledge of children
  • Videos of smoking, fighting, so on ,
  • 20% of teen sends nudes
  • Future jobs can become jeopardize from digital footprint
  • Cyber bullying
  • They lack self regulation with computer
  • 71% of teens use more than one social media
  • Children and parents are not aware of age limits
  • 8/10 parents were not able to give correct guidelines
  •  Enable users to share content
  • Benefits outweigh the risks
  • Allow a sense of belonging
  • Teen around the world to connect with other who can encourage and inspire them
  • Teens use social media to stay in touch with friends
  • Helps autonomy and self identity
  • Social media is the new environment of kids sorting out their autonomy
  • Can encourage learning
  • Can share ideas, important educational value
  • Allows youth to make a better place
  • Create a positive change
  • Prepare students to be digital citizens

There were some  great points outlined by both teams. I bolded the points on each side that most stuck out to me in term of the ones I feel most concerned about as well the ones I agree with the most ( not saying the other are not important).

In terms of the agree side, it was concerning to me   learning that social media can truly cause depression. As stated in the article The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families by Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, “Facebook depression,” defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression”. In saying that, being cautious is very important when allowing your children to be a part of social media.

On the flip side, preparing students to be responsible digital citizens is KEY. The argument was made that technology is not disappearing.  So with that, exposing, teaching, and introducing social media is very important to the safety of our children, and future children. A Generation Zer’s Take on the Social Media Age by The Learning Network stated that:

“so, I urge adults to back off, to encourage young people to use the internet to their advantage. Because while it’s easy to understand the mental and emotional drawbacks that can be associated with the cyber world, this connection to a diverse plethora of information has given us the opportunity to reach our own conclusions about the world, to make our beliefs known, to mobilize in efforts and take a stand”. In saying that, I completely agree with the fact that we need to be the advocates of social media. I myself use social media. One thing I could start doing sharing ways in which I am responsible when using social media as well other ways you can be responsible and safe.

So you see now how one could be on both sides of the argument. I think the BIG takeaway I got from the  debate this week is that teaching is KEY as well parenting is KEY.
In other words, I think it is definitely a parent’s responsibility to educate, monitor, and coach their children of the positives and negatives of social media. On top of that, teachers should be reinforcing these key aspects of social media at school. Having both families and teachers involved I feel would be most effective for our children.

How do you feel about about our children being on social media?

My thoughts on openness and sharing in schools……

Posting Student Photos on the Web By by Scott McLeod caught my attention. Mostly because I often struggle posting picture with using any type of social media or applications in my classroom.

Scott admits that “schools should solicit parents’ permission to post photos of their child on the Web. The permission form should clearly describe the anticipated ways in which the school will use student pictures”. I think this is absolutely true. The form itself needs to outline exactly what the photos are being used for. For me, I consider myself a bit over cautious when it comes to this topic even though we have a media release form. I always think twice about what I post. Kyla made a great point in our zoom chat. She states that “I find I have stopped sharing as many things on social media as there are a lot more students without consent for photo sharing and I am always worried they will be in the back of a photo and then I cannot use it. Our school division has also made us think more about the photos we are sharing on social media surrounding student work so this has made me limit the amount I have been sharing in recent years”. I would have to agree with Kyla on this one. I think reviewing exactly what the school divisions policy is that you work for is very important and should be done by all teachers before posting.
In saying that, I am not totally against openness and sharing in the classroom. In the future, I think I need to step out of my comfort zone and try some new things around technology because there really are some great benefits that come from using technology as outlined in the weeks debate. In the article Exploring the Potential Benefits of Using Social Media in Education by Rdouan Faizi, Abdellatif El Afia and Raddouane Chiheb explore the potential advantages of social media in education. He makes outlines some great benefits.


They state “It has also been found out that social media are an effective way to promote students’ engagement as it enables shy, intimidated or bored students to share ideas and to express their opinions in a more comfortable way”(2013, p.53). In other words, children can easily express their opinions in a more comfortable way. Another benefit they talk about is the fact that it has been shown that “social media enhances communication and interaction among students and between teachers and students”(p.53).


In the end, I really do need to step out of my comfort zone  and think of all the benefits sharing and openness can have on students!



“Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids”

The statement, “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids” was debated this week.

Wow, this week might have been the most interesting one yet. Some GREAT conversations took place tonight around this topic. Both teams presented excellent rationals that were backed up by some great articles in which I will address in later posts.


Below is point I made in the zoom chat that I think relates to making any decisions as a teacher, including whether or not sharing and openness is fair or unfair to
our kids:


“Although I’m hesitant to use technology in the classroom, We are professionals. So if we as teachers are making the professional judgment to use technology and social media to truly benefit our students learning.. I think we can fall back on that when being challenged”

I absolutely believe tha before anything you do as a teacher you need to ask yourself these questions….  Will what I am doing will benefit student learning? Do I believe that what I am doing is going to set students up for success? Do I believe what I am doing is purposeful?

If the answers are YES, then you are making a professional judgement and you should have no hesitation. You then have the comfort of knowing that you are truly doing it for the benefit of student learning. If someone were to ever question your strategy or approach, you will be able to explain why you are using it and the benefits the students are gaining from it.


In saying that, if I believe that using social media and other apps ( in which I do) to share and be open in my own classroom, then I will..with confidence!


Most importantly, what are YOUR thoughts on this?!

Next Weeks Debate

Happy Friday everyone!!!!

I am looking ahead and am really  looking forward to our next debate taking place on Monday, June 4th. This upcoming week the debate topic is…….
Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.
My first thought is that openness, and especially sharing in schools, is a GREAT thing!
Does anyone else  have any pre-debate thoughts?!

Have a GREAT weekend everyone….See you Monday:)