Author Archives: cdegelman

Sesame Street: All learning should be as engaging!

As a child, I do not remember watching much TV but I do remember watching snippets of Sesame Street and being enthralled with it. Shows like Sesame Street, Barney, and Mr. Dress Up were shows that hooked children and parents because of their educational offerings.

Melanie shared in her blog post the ultimate goals of Sesame Street. She shared from the book “Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street” that Sesame Street was created and geared towards young children and preparing them for school. The goal of Sesame Street was to “create a children’s television show that would master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them.” I think this quote is very interesting as it shows how writers and parents knew that AV right from the beginning would be addictive to children so they began looking for ways to use this as an educational tool while still allowing it to be entertaining for children.

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When we were children audiovisual technology was really just beginning to make its way into homes. As Postman states, parents had less guilt allowing TV to seep into their homes when it was educational and they knew that it would teach their children something. Sesame Street was known to be engaging, educational and geared towards preparing young children for Elementary School. Parents were happy to let their children spend time watching TV as they felt that it was, in fact, helping to educate them as they were watching TV.

Sesame Street had the goal to help children to love school or so we believed. How could children not love school if the school was going to be anything like Sesame Street? Sesame Street was highly entertaining with lots of singing, dancing, colors, characters fully engaging children in learning. This is how a school is and should be, correct? Postman begins to challenge the idea that schools are not engaging like Sesame Street and that Sesame Street may, in fact, undermine the ideas of traditional schooling.

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Educational programming such as Sesame Street really did challenge the traditional approaches to teaching and learning. In many cases, the behaviorist learning theory was a prevalent approach to teaching during this era when Sesame Street was first introduced. They were now beginning to challenge the traditional schooling with an engaging program where children were learning and were entertained at the same time. This shows that children will, in fact, learn best when they are interested and engaged. These beginning days of AV meant that now the traditional teaching methods in schools were being challenged as students now had access to other ways of learning that was fully engaging and not just lectured on to them.

Schools then had the challenge of incorporating AV into the schools to keep up with this change. With Audio-Visual being a part of students lives at home in order students to be engaged in learning a teacher lecturing is not going to warrant their attention like the use of Audio-Visual will. Over the years with AV becoming so widespread and children having access to it at very young ages schools needed to begin to make this shift in using AV in teaching. We now know that there are many benefits of using AV technology in teaching and learning. Not only is it engaging for students but it also allows them to take their learning beyond the immediate classroom. It allows them to connect with and learn from others all over the world.

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Students today use their devices non-stop. Some studies show that students spend upwards of four out of school hours a day on their devices. Although this may seem outrageous we have to realize that this is the reality for our children. So as teachers we have a responsibility to teach them how to properly engage with technology, teach them boundaries with technology and teach them how they can use technology to further their learning. Using technology in the classroom is highly engaging for students. As teachers, we need to use this to help engage students in the learning process. This engagement is beneficial to their learning experience and in return they are building on the technical skills that will help them be successful in the 21st century. This is a win, win in the classroom. As teachers, we need to push ourselves outside our comfort zones and overcome our uncertainties and barriers with technology to ensure that our students are highly engaged and practicing the skills that they most definitely will need in order to be successful in their futures.

 

Logo, Scratch, Bee-Bots: Let’s Code!

This week we were introduced to the program Logo. The logo program is one that teaches users how to program or instruct a computer to do something. Within the Logo workbook, it shares that computers can only understand very simple instructions so one must work to program a computer by combining many simple instructions to carry out complex sequences. When flipping through the Logo workbook it is easy to see many math outcome connections to this program. In going through the curriculum this fall to make my yearly school plans I did not see ‘coding’ as an outcome in any of my grade 2/3 curriculum outcomes. Has anyone found a specific curriculum link for coding?

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Working through the Logo workbook I found that it was very easy to follow once I could wrap my head around the direction of the turtle. Being able to place yourself in the turtle’s position was key I found for successfully programming its movements. I found the beginning of the workbook to be very helpful where it explains all of the movements and gives good visuals to demonstrate how the turns and movements will work. I really liked the instructions where it talked about turning and it shows pictures to show a 90 degrees turn, a 180 degrees turn, and a 270-degree turn. These visuals were very helpful! I feel that teachers could easily make a cheat sheet for students with these visuals to help them get started with this program!

Moving forward I realize that as a teacher coding is a task that I need to incorporate more into my classroom as experiences for my students. Looking at our current curriculum I can see that coding is not a priority in education in Saskatchewan. I do however understand that it is a skill that students need to be exposed to and hopefully in the near future coding will be written into our curriculum. It is evident that in comparison to other provinces in our country Saskatchewan has some work to do! As teachers, we need to be committed to bridging these gaps for our students. I plan to look into Hour of Code to find out how I can prepare and encourage my students to participate in this!

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ism, ism, ism! Where do you fall?

This week we are challenged to begin to look at our own understanding of which teaching theories make up our own teaching philosophy and classroom practices. As teachers, I think in many cases it is hard to step back, understand and verbalize the teaching theory your practices fall under. Through the process of my grad classes I feel that in the past two years, more than any other years in my teaching career, my teaching theories and pedagogy have been challenged. These challenges have inspired me to change and grow as an educator. Throughout these years, I have come to understand that teaching as a practice for me, is fluid, meaning it will change and change often.

When reading this weeks reading “Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism : Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective” I found that I could identify times within my teaching practice where I used most, if not all teaching and learning theories to some extent. Different subject matter, different learning styles, different learning environments and many other factors challenge teachers to combine different teaching and learning theories throughout their day and year in order to provide all students with an educational experience that caters to their individual learning needs.

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In the beginning of my teaching career my comfort level was greatest when I had more control over the teaching and learning environment. I placed a lot of importance on the way my classroom was run and the order in which things were accomplished and done. When reading this weeks reading I see can identify with behaviorism in many of my original approaches to teaching and learning. Throughout the years this has began to change and although I am still a firm believer in routines and procedures being the foundation of the classroom, I do offer more choice and student lead learning then I did in the beginning of my career.

Throughout my career I have learned the importance of passing control over to theDSC00743 students and allowing them to take the lead on their learning. With this shift in my teaching I would say currently I am teaching using more of a constructivism approach to teaching. Ertmer and Newby share that, “Constructivism is a theory that equates learning with creating meaning from experience.” I believe that in order to provide our students with the 21st century thinking skills that we have talked about so much over the last few terms, it is crucial that we are allowing them with choice and opportunity to build their own understanding. Similar to what we have discussed about the role of the memory in this generation of children where they have access to information at all time as well as the idea that knowledge is becoming obsolete constructivism provides students with the skills to handle this rapid change of knowledge. “The goal of instruction is not to ensure that individuals know particular facts but rather that they elaborate on and interpret information.” Constructivism can help in fostering the 21st century skills that will allow students to think critically about, elaborate and create their own meaning within learning.

This week Alec shared how ‘Connectivism’ is a learning theory that should be considered when beginning to look at how we shape our learning environments and teaching pedagogy. Over the past few terms of my masters degree I have come to truly understand the importance of technology in the classroom and helping students navigate the online world safely and efficiently. Like I mentioned above it is important to consider how our teaching practices are preparing students with the 21st century skills that they will require to be successful in their futures. The article “Connectivism: A Learning theory for the Digital Age” shares the following, “The life of knowledge was measured in decades. Today knowledge is growing exponentially. In many fields the life of knowledge is now measured in months and years.” The focus is moving away from teaching and memorizing facts and is now moving towards teaching students the skills in order to keep up with this fast pace change in knowledge. Connectivism helps provide them with the skills they need to keep up with this rapid change.

Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical -Siemens

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As teachers we need to ensure that we continue to challenge our teaching practices and our teaching pedagogy to ensure that our practices are growing and changing to address the needs of our students as well as the demands of society. Professional development opportunities as well as these grad classes have allowed me to really step back and begin to address areas within my teaching practices that I can continue to improve on. I mentioned in the beginning of this post that I would refer to my personal teaching theory as ‘fluid’. This is because as an educator I understand that different scenarios, different students and different changes within our society will push us teachers to continuously challenge and change our teaching practices to meet the ever changing needs.

 

Educational Technology: My Views

Hello new EC&I 833 friends! I am looking forward to semester of great learning with you all!

This week we are challenged to share our understanding and personal journey in the use of educational technology. Similar to many other educators my confidence in using technology to enhance learning in my classroom is a work in progress. Over the past few years I feel that I have become much more confident in incorporating and using technology within my classroom. What has changed this you ask? My number one reason for this change is my professional growth in Educational Technology through my Masters program. This has allowed me to really understand different angles of technology and the importance of teachers incorporating it and teaching about it in our classrooms.

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So how do I feel about educational technology in my classroom today?

I believe that using technology is an integral component of a child’s educational experience. I feel that in order to prepare students for this every changing world it is crucial that we are teaching them to use the technologies that allow them to keep up to that fast pace. As teachers we need to consider how the constant access to technology changes the way in which we approach teaching this generation of students. With technology students generally have access to a wealth of knowledge at any time. We need to be teaching them the  skills that they will require to access and critique this information that is so readily available to them.

In order to do this we must be teaching students how to use technology to build their 21st century thinking skills. These skills are crucial in helping them to understand, challenge, communicate and further their understanding of the rapidly changing world. As teachers if we are not bringing technology into our classrooms to build these skills, how are students supposed to know how to navigate and use technology efficiently outside of the classroom. As teachers we have a responsibility to create an environment where we can build these skills and guide students to use technology to build their 21st century thinking skills.

We need to find time within our teaching to help foster the future skills that our students will require to be successful in their futures. Statistics show that 65% of grade school children will have jobs that do not even exist yet. When looking at this statistic it is crucial that we consider what skills we are focusing on within our classrooms. It appears that the content may no longer be the main focus, rather we need to begin to focus on the skills that will allow students to build their own knowledge. The 21st century skills encourage students to have choice, learn to collaborate, communicate, use critical thinking skills and use their individual creativity. Our teaching needs to allow room for students to practice these skills with guidance in our classroom. We also need to consider how technology can enhance the learning in these areas and push the boundaries outside the four walls of our classrooms.

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The book Building 21st Century Skills Through Technology provides teachers with specific ways to meet the 4Cs through the use of technology within the classroom. The following quote provides us with questions we should consider when identifying ways to incorporate technology into our teaching where the focus stays on the learning and not on the technology.

We know the impact and transformational experience technology brings, but it is important to look at the use of technology in the classroom by asking ourselves “What do we want students to learn?”, and after we have the objective, “How can technology transform the learning experience and foster the 4Cs?” Asking these questions in this way keeps the focus on learning and not on technology integration

 Within the use of technology we need to remember to consider the SAMR model to help examine our use of technology. The SAMR model is a great way to look at the effectiveness of using technology within your teaching. The different SAMR levels allow teachers to consider how technology is enhancing the learning for the students. It allows teachers to consider what level the technology integration is at. The use of technology should be purposeful and used to enhance learning and not just used for the sake of using technology. Technology must be used to further learning and not just used because it is available to use.

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My views and comfort level of using technology in my classroom are a continuous work in progress. I feel that over the last few years I have really challenged myself to look at the way I use technology in my classroom and have really considered how I can continue to work on this. These classes have really opened my eyes to the importance of using technology in the classroom for the future of our students. Some may feel that technology is a distraction in the classroom but if lessons are thoughtfully planned and technology is purposefully integrated with familiar routines and expectations it can take learning places that are not reachable without the use of technology. I still have work to do in this area but I feel like I continue to  make progress each and every school year!

Thanks for stopping in friends!

 

 

 

Calling all Technology Leaders

Well, this is a wrap on my third consecutive Ed Tech class with Alec. These classes sure have opened my eyes to an entirely new side of education that I quite frankly before was a little nervous and hesitant of. I feel that through these three classes I have become an advocate for technology, aware of the benefits and risks within the classroom and have gained some great teachers to lean on and learn from. I feel that I am now able to have difficult conversations with my colleagues and be a support for them as well as an advocate for our students in encouraging teachers to take the leap of including more tech in their classrooms. That being said I have created an “expression of interest” video that outlines what I feel are the skills a successful technology advocate would have as well as the areas they can support other teachers in their incorporating technology into their classrooms. Thanks for another great semester friends!

 

 

Education, Technology, Equity

Wow! What a debate. I feel like this debate more than others has many, many layers to it. This weeks debate topic Technology is a force for equity in society really challenged me to think about this question from many different angles and although I right now will say that I agree that technology is a force for equity, I am not 100% convinced that I couldn’t be persuaded the opposite direction still.

Both teams agree and team disagree did a great job of presenting their points. Both teams proposed strong arguments and there was not many overlays or middle ground in their debate positions and arguments this week like we found in other weeks. For the sake of my arguments, I am going to look at technology and equity when it comes to education and the roles of education in finding equity for our students among technology.

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Team agree shares the idea of the digital divide and how technology actually has the ability to build a bridge over that divide. I agree with team agree in how they state that technology isn’t pushing people apart but yet it can assist in bringing people together. Team agree does a great job of sharing how technology is a driving force that allows students to move from the cannot side of the spectrum over to the can side of the spectrum. Technology and assistive technology does, in fact, have the ability to help students become more independent and it can help them to accomplish tasks that they may not have been able to accomplish before. I have witnessed this first hand in my classroom in how powerful technology can be in helping students complete grade level tasks that without assistive technology they would not have been able to accomplish. This evens out the playing field for these struggling students and allows them to also reach and feel success within the classroom. This is powerful!

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Team agree also shared the Ted talk video What We Are Learning From Online Education that features Daphne Koller who shares how college education used to at one point in time only be for the privileged. Daphne shares how she is the co-founder of Coursera and that with the use of technology they were successfully able to break down the barriers of traditional education and are now able to ‘take the best courses from the best universities and provide them to everyone around the world for free’. She goes on to share how there are now 640 000 students from 190 countries being educated on Coursera. This development in education with the use of technology has transformed inequality in post-secondary education. It provides people who may not have been able to before, an opportunity to be educated at the highest level possible. Resources like this allow for everyone to have access to post-secondary education and no longer is this level of education just for the privileged it is now for the willing to learn. This also is powerful!

Similar to the above video team agree also shared the article How OER Is Boosting School Performance and Equity From the Suburbs to the Arctic. This article outlines the power of Open Education Resources and how this greatly benefits student learning. The Open Education Movement allows isolated communities to have access to top-notch resources that are online and free for everyone to use. It allows classrooms to learn from the most updated resources and allows teachers the ability to meet the needs of their diverse learners. The article shares how divisions are using OER to address the many complexities of today’s education. The article shares how OER has the ability to:

help students learn with the most up-to-date materials, allowing teachers to do more with limited time, and adapting resources to meet the needs of diverse learners at varied levels, some whose first language is not English—all in the face of budget cuts.

OER is extremely powerful in helping reach the goal of equality in education. Prior to OPen Educationthis, isolated communities were being faced with tough budget cuts and unfortunately, the quality of education dwindles when budgets get cut. With OER this allows these communities to improve education for their students by having access to these top quality resources online. This allows all children access to the greatest level of educational resources that possibly their division could not afford to update themselves. I feel that OER most definitely works towards equality in education and it aids in preparing all students for success in their future.

With OER, districts can adapt content to meet their local needs, maximize education budgets, and ensure access to resources and educational rigor. By being able to serve all students — whatever their race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, family background, or family income — OER supports the goal of educational equity.

– How OER Is Boosting School Performance and Equity From the Suburbs to the Arctic

One discussion that hit the chat room hot from Monday’s debate was the inequality of technology between the ‘rich and poor’. Many of us could relate to this and we as teachers were able to relate to being able to see this in our local schools. This was also brought up in team disagrees introduction video. Within this video team disagree shared that ‘lower income people do not have access to resources or opportunities that are offered by technology’. This is one inequality that I feel is very unfair, the fact that people based on their socioeconomic status will or will not have regular access to technology and the internet. Many will argue that the internet should and could be considered be a basic human right and that currently there is a divide in society between the rich and the poor and the access to the internet. In the article Has The Internet Become a Basic Human Right Pavel Marceux shares that several countries are declaring internet access as a basic human right. The article states that,

Internet advocates believe that the web can significantly improve standards of living, especially as key segments such as health and education are increasingly becoming accessible online.

Although ideally, the internet would be a basic human right we are well aware that currently, this is not the case. We can see this within our own community and also within our own classrooms. In our schools, we see families who do not have access to the internet and how that can impact their lives and their education. This is where I Image result for basic human rights internetfeel that school boards have a role to fulfill and they need to do a better job of increasing the access within our classrooms and within our schools. While students are in the education system they ideally should have daily access to technology which would allow for them to learn and build the skills that they need to be successful in the 21st century. As teachers, we need to ensure that we are incorporating as much technology and access for our students into our teaching to ensure that we are giving them full opportunities to build and practice their skills. Once again education is a key factor in helping to create equality within this digital divide.

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I feel that this debate, as I mentioned above in my post has many layers to it. I chose to focus my discussions mainly on the education system. I feel that as teachers we can participate in the OER movement by sharing our resources online to help others who may not have access to what we do while we are teaching where we do. Although this debate feels very large in scale and debate most definitely is a global topic for debate there are still little things that we as teachers can do to help in building equality. Get online and share resources, give others access to what you are doing within your classroom. This may just help someone!

 

Social Media and Kids: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Social media is ruining childhood: Agree or Disagree

Yet again, another great debate topic.

There is no question that social media use has become a part of and for many the center of almost every adolescent’s life. The topic of social media is similar to all of the other topics covered in that it can be debated with the pros and cons of how it is impacting students lives either negatively or positively. Once again both sides this week did a phenomenal job of laying out the risks to our youth who are using social media as well as the benefits of using social media.

 According to the article The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families, “Using social media websites is among the most common activity of today’s children and adolescents.”Adolescents no doubt will be ready to jump into social media use before their parents are ready for them to take that next leap. As parents and teachers, we truly need to understand the dangers associated with social media and what our roles and responsibilities are as adults to keep them safe after we have provided children access and permission to use these sites. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this debate!

The Cons:

 Social media was not designed for them: Although adolescents are drawn to social media because it allows them to communicate, be social and learn new skills social media sites were not designed for the use of young children. The article Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids shares that middle school children’s frontal cortex of their brain is not fully developed making them unable to deal with the distractions of social media as well as the temptations that come with social media.

“While you start teaching responsible use of tech now, know that you will not be able to teach the maturity that social media requires.” – Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids

 As teachers and parents, we need to look into the terms and conditions of social media sites to ensure that our students are ready to be using these sites effectively. Team agree shared the statistic that 50% of children between the ages of 10 and 12 years of age have a social media profile. Considering the majority of social media sites require students to be the age of 13 in order to have their own profile this statistic shows that parents are not taking these age limits seriously. This decision can have huge repercussions in that children will be using these sites inappropriately until they are older and able to make the age-appropriate decisions to use social media properly. This, in turn, can damage a child’s digital footprint in that everything online is permanent and if they are not mature enough to make decisions these decisions can damage their reputation for years to come.

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Cyberbullying: words do hurt: The article Teen Cyberbullying and Social Media Use on the Rise shares that “Cyberbullying occurs when individuals use technology to write aggressive, embarrassing, or hateful messages to/about peers in order to intimidate, harass shame, and control.” With social media allowing students to be in constant communication with one another anywhere at any time, it allows for more communication to happen than ever before. Social media also allows children to communicate online rather than in person. This site also shares that cyberbullies often feel that it is easier to get away with bullying online because it is not a face to face interaction.

cyberbullying is quite common, can occur to any young person online, and can cause profound psychosocial outcomes including depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and, tragically, suicide       -The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolecents and Families

There are many detrimental outcomes that can happen due to cyberbullying. The lines between students online lives and their real lives are becoming more blurred all the time and cyberbullying most definitely has an impact on their personal lives. Many studies share that students become depressed, sad and worried about going to school because of the bullying that happens online. Team agree shared that there is a link between cyberbullying and students having low self esteem. The most terrifying statistic for parents and teachers is the statistics that link cyberbullying and teen suicide rates. Statistics show that 1 in 4 students who have been bullied online have contemplated suicide before. These statistics are alarming and show just how serious the repercussions of negative social media use can have on kids.

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‘Facebook Depression’: Social media sites allow children and teens to follow and connect with many friends online. Being connected online is an important part of many teens lives. Although this connection can be satisfying for teens it also can be intense and trigger negative emotions within teens. With the connection online increasing the number of ‘friends’ teens have, teens are known to fall into what Nichols calls  ‘social comparison’ in the article How to Avoid Facebook Induced Depression. Social comparison is the act of being online and negatively comparing themselves to their many friends online. They become envious of what others are posting online and cannot understand that their friends ‘virtual identity’ may not be a true representation of their friend’s lives. They begin to compare themselves to that virtual identity that is not realistic. Because of this constant comparison teens begin to slip into  ‘Facebook depression’ which The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families states puts them at  ” risk for social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for “help” that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors”. As parents and teachers, we need to be educated on and watching for the signs of depression caused by social media use in teenagers. It is important that students are educated about the risks of using social media and the negative impacts that it can have on their mental health.

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Team agree did a great job of identifying the risks involved with children who engage in social media. I feel that there are many risks to young children who engage in social media. As listed above social media was not made for children and by allowing children who are under the terms and conditions suggested age on social media apps can be very dangerous. Parents often feel that social media is harmless but they need to truly understand the risks and impacts that it can have on their children. It is crucial that parents and teachers are familiar with these apps and are constantly monitoring of their children’s interactions online. These risks need to be taken very seriously to ensure that children are safe and that their mental health isn’t put at risk.

Although there are risks with teens using social media there are always many reasons why social media when used appropriately and safely can be productive and useful for teens.

The Pros: 

Social Media allows them to do good: Social media allows students to have their voices heard. It gives them a platform in which they can connect with others and advocate for causes that they are passionate about and want to get involved in. Social media allows them to become empowered and allows them to get involved and stand up for things that they believe in. Student-led campaigns can be very powerful in that they inspire others and help work towards making a change. It is important for teachers to show students and demonstrate how social media can be used in a positive and productive manner. Campaigns such as the #Iammybeautiful campaign, or the #neveragain campaign were started by passionate teens who successfully spread awareness about causes near and dear to teens lives. It allows teens to take their feelings and have an outlet to turn these feelings into positive actions. Social media gives students an outlet to reach millions of people who are interested in the same causes and allows them to collaborate and be a part of raising awareness and making positive change. This is extremely powerful!

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Allows them to connect with others and strengthen their own identity: Social media has the power to allow teens to connect with others from all over the world. This provides students who may feel alone or isolated an outlet to be social and meet others who can encourage and inspire them. In the article, 5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media Knorr shares that students who feel isolated “report feeling less isolated and have actually become more socially adept, partly due to an increase in technology use.” It allows them to meet people who share their same ideas and values, in turn, helps them to strengthen their own identity. Students can gain acceptance from others who understand them and are interested in similar subjects and hobbies as them. This is powerful for students as it allows them to be themselves and find acceptance and support in these online communities.

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Enhanced Learning Opportunities: Social media is a great aid in helping enhance learning opportunities. It allows students to learn from and connect with others outside of their immediate classroom. Technology allows students to move beyond their geographical location and allows them to reach all around the globe for collaboration. Students can reach out via social media to learn from and connect with experts, authors, and professionals on any given topic. Social media also allows students to connect with others in their classrooms to work and collaborate on projects and learning opportunities. Social media provides students with an audience that extends their purpose and pushes them to share their learning with others. Social media also allows students to start a dialogue about topics with other students and professionals. The use of hashtags can bring like-minded people together where everyone can collaborate and communicate about topics they are passionate and knowledgeable about. Social media most definitely breaks down boundaries and provides unique learning opportunities for students.

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My personal opinions:

Do I think Social Media is ruining childhood? I do not. I do, however, believe that the adults in charge of introducing and monitoring teens and children on social media are allowing social media to negatively impact children’s lives. Here is why:

There are age restrictions on these apps for a reason. I feel that many parents and children ignore these age restrictions and kids are on these apps to early and are not mature enough to make the age-appropriate decisions that they will need to know. Parents need to value that these age restrictions were set for a good reason and comply and set the expectations that their children cannot be on social media before the required age. We do not let students drive a car before they are 16 just because they want to. The reason being is that it is a rule that needs to be followed to keep us all safe. Parents cannot be afraid to delay access to their children until they truly feel that they are mature and ready to act appropriately online. Children’s safety should always be the number one priority and social media requires a level of maturity in order for them to be safe online.

Many parents will admit that they feel they are out of the loop and do not know how to supervise or monitor their children being on social media appropriately. Parents need to do their homework, do their research to learn about all of the apps and how they work so they can fully understand what their children are doing online. It is impossible to set appropriate boundaries if you are unaware of what boundaries need to be set. Parents should follow their children online so they can help coach and monitor what and when they are posting. Parents need to understand the apps so they can set boundaries and can investigate their children’s social media use if they are suspicious of anything unsafe or inappropriate. Children need to understand that parents want to keep them safe online and these boundaries and rules will help do that.

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Parents and teachers need to work together to teach children about social media and how they can positively use it in their lives. There is no question that teens will at some point be on social media so simply ignoring it is not the answer. Teachers can teach students about social media safety by incorporating social media into the classroom in their teaching practices. This allows students to use social media in a safe and monitored environment. Teachers can help students navigate the social media world and teach them how they can begin to build a positive digital footprint. This allows teachers to set expectations as well as coach the students in using these different apps appropriately. This teaches students how they can use social media for education, connecting and collaborating as well as sharing their work and knowledge. Social media can be an extremely powerful tool when used appropriately and monitored by an adult to ensure that students are safe online. I believe that with the guidance of adults as well as positive role models students can successfully navigate social media to use it in positive ways. With all this being said I am all for social media for students once they have reached the required age and have successfully demonstrated that they are aware of the negative and positive impacts that social media can have on their lives. Once again it comes down to setting expectations, monitoring and finding balance!

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Another great debate, another thought-provoking week! Great work teams!

 

Green Light!

Sharing online: yes or no for educators?– the chat room was hot with debate this week!

I feel that the idea of sharing online in schools has become a hot topic over the last few years. Team agree did a great job of presenting the possible dangers associatiated with posting online as well as the privacy concerns that teachers need to be aware of. I feel that privacy has become at the top of the priority for many people as well as the education system for good reason. With many of the tools that educators need and want to use being online or connected online, privacy, no doubt needs to be a huge priority when considering what is safe and what is needed to accomplish the goals that we have set out. Team disagree did a great job of proposing what teachers need to truly be mindful of when posting online with students. Though they outlined some great concerns I truly feel that the educational benefits and learning opportunities that students recieve from the digital world far outway the concerns.

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As teachers, although we may feel nervous and unsure about sharing online within our classrooms we must acknowledge the fact that we have a responsibility to really look at the pros and cons of helping students to navigate the online sharing world. Esther, Kari, and Shelly outlined in their debate introduction video that sharing online is truly a reality of childhood in today’s generation. As adults, we need to embrace the fact that students will no doubt exist online and that we can either safely help them navigate their new world or we can turn away and allow them to potentially dangerously navigate the online world independently.

In the article Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity: A Practical Approach for Educators, Students, and Parents, the authors share:

” as learning becomes more digital, educators at all levels
are instrumental in building students’ understanding about how
technology impacts both their personal and future professional
lives. Educators are also instrumental in helping students develop lifelong habits to create and maintain a positive online identity.”

This article outlines the important role that teachers play in helping and teaching students navigate the online world safely. The article shares ways in which teachers can help students to understand what their digital identity is and how they are creating that identity  maybe unknowlingly each and every time they connect online. As teachers and parents we cannot forget that our students are no doubt growing up in a digital world and they will need guidance and support to help them understand how to interact appropriately and safely online. The article reminds us that, “for teachers, this means understanding, advocating and modeling appropriate online behavior to help students effectively navigate this complicated landscape as well.” I do feel that schools have a responsibility to teach children about digital citizenship and thier digital footprint.

Digital Playground

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I feel that in order to teach children about digital citizenship and being safe online teachers need to be role models and give students the opportunity to practise their digitial citizenship as well as building their digital footprint within the classroom in a safe place where they are guided by a teacher. Programs like Seesaw allow children to share thier work with their families and others in the classroom, post videos and pictures of positive things that they have been working on at school. It also allows students to view eachothers work and comment on one anothers work leaving positive feedback allowing them to learn how to effectively interact socailly online. Programs in the classroom such as these allow teachers to teach students about appropriate posting and allows teachers to model and guide students so they can learn to positively interact with their peers and others online. Seesaw gives students a safe and closed starting space to practice and foster these digital skills.

Team disagree also shared how technology can be used to engage students. Students today are familiar with and interested in technology so by incorporating this into their education we can use these as engagement tools to engage our students. Online tools allow students to both become engaged due to interest as well as this gives students who are not necessrily comfortable with expressing themselves in class an outlet that they may be comfortable with to express themselves online. The article Exploring the Potential Benefits of Using Social Media in Education shares how social media can help and encourage students who are non participators in class and how it can encourage them to participate,

A student who hardly ever participates in class may get actively engaged in co-constructing his learning experience with his teachers, collaborating with his fellow colleagues, and may feel more comfortable to express himself and to share his resources and ideas on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

The article also shares the benefits that social media has in helping people get connected. It allows students, teachers and families to connect with one another. This can be powerful in enhancing communication between all parties involved in the education of a student. I do see this as a beneift but completely agree with what Kristen shares in her blog post that students do need to learn to have good and confident communication both online and in person. As it does help students who are shy or quiet it is also important that they foster the skills that they need to communicate in person as well.

Esther, Kari and Shelly also share the benefits in getting connected with the wider community. They share how social media and online tools gives students voice more agency and in turn propels them to become more active participants in their learning. This allows the students to have a platform outside of their immediate classroom and allows them to engage with others from around the world that have the same interests. Technology allows students to collaborate with others that they may not have had the opportunity to do so without technology. When surveying my class about our happiness project most students commented that their favourite part of the project was the fact that they could connect and share with others outside of our classroom. They felt empowered to do their best quality work to showcase their learning for others. I found this to be very powerful in motiviating and inspiring my students.

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This week was a great debate and a hot topic for conversation in the chat on zoom. There were lots of great questions, examples of real world experience and fears shared around this topic. I agree with the Dani, Joe and Amy’s team and many of my classmates when we discuss the concerns around privacy and how concious we as teachers need to be when it comes to supervising students as they navigate the online world as when we share students pictures and work. As teachers it is crucial that we are aware of our school divisions policies on posting students pictures and work online. I think teachers should not fear posting online given they have taken all the correct steps in order to have permission slips signed and parents are aware of what platforms as well as what types of pictures and work will be shared. Team agree shared the article Posting Student Photos on the Web which has great advice to teachers of the precautionary steps that need to be taken prior to posting any work online.

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. When posting photos, schools should try their utmost not to post accompanying names at all – the next best option probably is to post students’ first names but not last names.

We cannot let the fear of technology and the fear of change stop us from incorporating new technology and 21st centruy skills and lessons into our classrooms. We need to embrace the change and take all the appropriate steps to ensure that we are preparing our students the best way we can for their future. Great debate friends! I feel that this one really allowed us all to question some uncertanties and fears we have around this new and quickly changing world of technology in the classroom! Great work teams!

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Educating The Google Generation

Why teach anything that can be googled? Though this may seem like a bizarre question to consider as a teacherit makes you think about what would be left to actually teach then? But once we actually sit down and really dig into this question and begin consider all angles of this question it really is a good and deep one!

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These debates, I feel are a great way to allow teachers to look at their current teaching practices and begin to challenge themselves to really consider if they are in fact using practices that are in the best interest of our current students and the skills they need for their future. With technology helping advance our world at a rapid rate we as teachers really need to begin looking at our teaching practices to ensure that they are keeping up with these changes and meeting students needs with current and best practices.

Below is our introduction to this debate. We agree that schools should not teach anything that can be googled.

Our arguments: 

Knowledge Is Becoming Obsolete 

Pavon Arora in his Ted X video Knowledge is Obsolete, So Now What makes the argument that we are living in a world where knowledge is becoming obsolete and the value of knowledge continues to decline. We know that knowledge is changing faster than ever before. All knowledge now has an expiration date and we need to find ways to stay at the top of the knowledge food chain. In traditional schooling, memorization has often been mistaken for learning. In today’s world, there is no more need to memorize facts as they change so often. Not only does knowledge change so quickly but students often forget memorized facts as they memorize them to regurgitate them for an exam and promptly forget them after.

Arora shares that human knowledge now doubles every 1-2 years. This has increased significantly over the last hundred years. With knowledge doubling every 1-2 years, it is crucial for teachers to consider how they are keeping up with this change in knowledge. Every 1-2 years the facts that they have been focusing on in their curriculum are likely already out of date. Teachers and the ministry need to begin considering how we as educators of the future generations can adapt our curriculum and teaching practices to meet these changes.

Teachers also need to begin to consider how access to technology changes the way in which we approach teaching today’s generation and the way we approach knowledge. Today with smartphones and the internet most everyone has immediate access to human knowledge at any time in any place. With this access, it really changes the way in which students need to learn. No longer is memorization of all facts necessary as students have access to a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.

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Photo Credit: Teaching The Google Generation

How Are We Preparing Students for Knowledge Change?

We understand that knowledge is changing in our world and with this, we need to ensure that we are preparing our students for this change. As teachers, we need to look at our teaching practices and understand what changes we need to make to make the shift in our teaching to ensure that we are making room for the competencies that our students will need in order to be successful in the 21st century.

Joe Ruhl in video Teaching Methods for Inspiring Students of the Future shares his thoughts on ways that teachers can inspire students of the 21st century. This allows teachers to really begin to reflect on their teaching practices and begin to consider if we are providing our students with the essential skills that they will need to be successful in their futures. This most definitely requires teachers to consider a shift from the traditional teacher-centered classroom towards a student-centered classroom. Traditional education focuses more on the idea of teaching rather than learning. Instead, we need to move towards allowing students to explore learning on their own agenda.

Teachers need to begin moving towards allowing students time to foster the skills that they will need in order to be successful in their professional lives in this generation. We need to make room in our teaching practices for students to have a choice, collaborate, communicate, foster their critical thinking skills and be creative. This framework allows students to engage in topics they are interested in allowing authentic learning to happen. As teachers, we need to consider what skills employers will value in the 21st century to ensure that we are setting our students up for success.

Choice allows students to choose the topics that they want to learn about. This allows students to create meaningful knowledge as they are able to choose where they want their learning to go rather than told by the teacher where their learning needs to go.

Communication allows students to share their thoughts, ideas questions, and solutions. Technology allows them to communicate their understanding in many different ways.

Collaboration allows students to work together to reach a common goal. Technology allows students to collaborate much differently than in the past. Technology allows for collaboration in areas that before were not possible.

Critical thinking allows students to look at problems in multiple ways across all subject areas. Technology allows students to move away from memorizing facts and allows them to dig deeper into learning reaching areas of learning that are much more in-depth and complex.  

Creativity allows students to try new ways of learning and completing assignments. It allows them to be innovative and allows them to use technology to create new ways of learning and showing their learning.

Photo Credit: The 4Cs of the 21st Century Skills 

Technology Efficiency 

” the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting” -Plutarch 

Moving away from traditional ways of teaching we must move away from teaching students what they need to learn towards teaching students how to learn. Traditionally teachers lecture to students at the front of the classroom and then expect them to regurgitate those memorized facts back to them on a test. With the change in technology and skills needed to be successful in the 21st century this way of teaching is no longer effective. Instead, we need to provide our students with meaningful learning opportunities that allow students to gain knowledge through meaningful learning situations and that knowledge, in turn, will stay with them for life. Meaningful learning allows the students to be active in their learning and fully engaged in the learning process. This process allows students to remember information because it is important to them and not just because someone told them to remember it. It is time to consider and think about your teaching practices to consider if you are allowing your students to learn in meaningful ways.

When we allow students to access technology tools this allows them the opportunity to gain knowledge through meaningful ways. It allows students with access to a wealth of knowledge and allows them to construct knowledge in their own way and allows them access to building knowledge in areas that they are interested in and not just in areas the teacher decides they need to know. Technology allows students to move beyond rote learning and allows them to access all types of knowledge. In the article Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education they share,

Teaching in an environment where the internet and discussion are allowed in exams would be different. The ability to find things out quickly and accurately would become the predominant skill. The ability to discriminate between alternatives, then put facts together to solve problems would be critical. That’s a skill that future employers would admire immensely.

We need to provide our students with an environment that allows them to create and answer questions that engage them as learners. This would challenge learners to consider questions that spark interest them and use new technologies to find the answers. This would transform education from teachers providing students with knowledge towards students learning to find, create and analyze information to create their own knowledge.

This debate no doubt has allowed me to dig deeper into what skills education of the 21st century is lacking and what we as teachers need to begin to consider in order to make change within the education system. This is a loaded topic that is much beyond just looking at whether or not schools should be teaching anything that can be googled. Let’s just say this topic has inspired me to look at my own teaching practices as well as the curriculum and begin to consider how I can begin to reform my teaching to fully meet the needs of my 21st-century learners.

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For or Against Tech to Enhance Learning: Where do you stand?

Technology in the classroom–this most definitely can be debated on whether or not it enhances learning or distracts from learning. Like many things when it comes to education, there are pros and cons to almost everything. I do however heavily favor the idea that technology most definitely does enhance learning in the classroom– that being said, when used appropriately. Like anything in education, there is always a time and place for everything and I feel that teachers need to consciously consider when technology should be introduced and used in the classroom.

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One reoccurring point that was brought up on both sides of the debate this week was the importance of the teacher’s role in implementing the positive use of technology in the classroom. Teachers need to be aware of their goals in using technology and consider what routines and procedures they need to set out in order to ensure that their goals are met to enhance learning. I agree with what Dani states in her blog post Post Disputandum Week 1:

“regardless of how much or how little technology we have available in the classroom, without the direct support and guidance of the teacher, there will be no opportunity to enhance learning or deepen learning for our students.  Teachers play an integral part of ensuring that technology is used properly and safely for students.”

Image result for tech pd for teachersI am a firm believer in setting out expectations with familiar routines and procedures. I feel that when it comes to technology many teachers do not understand how to set appropriate expectations as well as feel lost when guiding students to use technology to enhance their learning. I do feel that teachers need to be trained in ways that they can use technology in their classrooms and not just provided technology to use. This will ensure that technology is being used to deepen learning and not just used for surface level learning.

I feel that the disagree side in the debate did a great job of presenting concerns with technology enhancing learning. I feel that as a teacher it is important to consider what negative impacts technology could have on learning to ensure that you are able to positively use technology to its full advantages. Team disagree shared the article Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom. This article is a great article that outlines aspects of technology we as teachers need to be considerate of while planning to incorporate technology into learning opportunities for students.

One of the negative effects that this article list is student distraction when using technology. As we are well aware technology can be very distracting to students. In many cases, students become more focused on the technology itself than the actual learning. The article shares how many students are consumed with creating their presentation and in turn, the research and learning falls to the side as they are putting more time into creating a presentation with tech tools than using the technology to dive deeper into learning a topic. This is a good reminder to teachers that we need to set the expectations to focus on the learning of the information prior to the presentation so that the technology is in fact used to enhance and deepen the understanding of a topic and the learning.

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As stated above I do believe that if used appropriately technology has the opportunity to enhance learning. The article Teaching in a Digital Age: How Educators Use Technology to Improve Student Learning as shared by team agree shares many pros to using technology to enhance learning. One pro shared in this article that I completely agree with is how technology improves access for students. Technology allows us to access the most up to date learning resources at any given time. This allows students to develop a deeper understanding of topics as they have access to up to date information and access to a variety of information on any given topic. In a time where information is changing and progressing at a rate where many can’t even begin to keep up with, technology allows students to access the most current and up to date information. This allows us to more than only having access to textbooks that unfortunately in many cases are outdated quickly due to the permanency of information in print.

Another way technology enhances learning also listed in the above article is that technology extends purpose and gives an audience for student work. I find this aspect of technology to be extremely powerful and beneficial for students. This allows students to be a part of a larger community beyond the four walls of their classrooms. They are able to collaborate with students and experts from all over the world with the use of technology. It is known that students will put greater effort into their work if they know that the will be published online.

This past term my classroom launched a large project. We called it the The Happiness Project. For this project, my classroom launched a classroom blog. Each week different students had the opportunity to be a guest blogger and share what we were learning about in our happiness project. This project allowed students to use the blog as a platform to share their learning with others outside of our classroom. It was an extremely rewarding experience for my student and they felt extremely empowered to be able to share knowledge with others. The students commented on how they would ensure that they put great effort into writing on the blog making sure they use their best possible work as it is published for others to view. This project allowed them to connect and learn from others that would not have been possible without technology. This was a great experience for me to see how powerful the use of technology can be in my classroom.

I feel that both sides of this argument are very important to consider when looking at how a teacher can effectively incorporate technology into the classroom. One major barrier that I feel teachers have to work with is the access to technology and how costly it can be for schools to purchase the appropriate technology so all students have access to the technology that they need. I agree with what Shelly in that the access to technology can be an extremely frustrating challenge for teachers.

 “due to the limited funds available and therefore limited access to technology in our schools. Many of us as teachers seem to have a willingness to embrace technology, and move teachers and students along the SAMR model, however, regular accessibility is a feat in frustration.”

I feel that this was a successful debate and both sides provided lots of great points that allowed us all to consider the pros and cons of using technology to enhance student learning. I feel that as a teacher we need to deeply understand both sides of this topic in order to effectively incorporate technology to enhance learning in the classroom. Great job team!

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