Welcome to review my Summary of Learning for EC&I 830!
Here is the link you can view as a full-screen:
Welcome to review my Summary of Learning for EC&I 830!
Here is the link you can view as a full-screen:
All educators approach online education with varying degrees of enthusiasm and concern. I think I hold an optimistic perspective about online learning. Delivering courses online could offer more learning opportunities for students. For teachers, parents, and students, it is important to consider both the pros and cons of online learning so teachers and parents can help their children better prepare to face the challenge of studying online as well as embrace the new opportunities that it has to offer (University of Illinois, 2021).
Strengths of Online Learning
Anywhere & Anytime
There are many reasons why online learning become popular among teachers, parents and students. As the disagreed side mentioned, online learning is flexible compared with in-person learning. It allows students to participate in high-quality learning when a location becomes an issue. For example, my niece in China can learn English online with a foreign tearcher who might be in the USA, Canada or Australia. Online learning allows her to practice oral English with foreign teachers through an online platform. This has created a positive English learning environment for her. Nowadays, many American English teachers are remotely teaching English to Chinese students. Here is an example:
Every morning at 5 a.m., Autmn Fletcher walks into her home office in Monmouth, Illinois, and switches on her laptop, just in time to teach English to Chinese children arriving home after school in Beijing.
Tens of thousands of Americans are teaching English remotely, connecting to a massive Chinese population eager to learn the language, and aided by advances in global communication technology (Zhang, 2019). Technology has made remote teaching English and learning English easier, and helped students improve academic performance in English.
Students can participate in classes from anywhere in the world, provided they have a computer and Internet connection. In addition, the online format allows physically challenged students (and teachers) more freedom to participate in class. Participants access the virtual classroom through their computers instead of having to “go to class” physically (University of Illinois, 2021). Online learning makes education accessible.
Student-Centered Learning (SCL)
In traditional in-person schools, students respond to learning content differently. Online learning can be a more student-centred learning experience for students. For example, online learning classes can be a one-on-one model. Teachers can provide learning materials based on the students’ understanding level and abilities. Students can choose what they are interested in and want to learn, and have more control over their studies. Online learning is usually very interactive. The use of interactive learning environments as contributing to self-direction and critical thinking. Many traditional classes are still based on lectures and memorization of materials. Self-directed and student-centred online learning provides innovative and creative approaches and creates a dynamic learning environment.
Supplement to In-person Learning
The disagreed side also mentioned that online learning can act as a supplement for traditional in-person learning, and online learning cannot replace in-person learning. i agree with that. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has been adopted in all stages of education. This sudden change from traditional learning to 100% online learning may affect students’ learning effectiveness (Hong et al., 2021). Teachers and students mush adapt quickly to a new learning model which differs from face-to-face learning. However, the vast majority of online courses lack hands-on activities requiring experimental operations. When online learning becomes the only method for teaching, such as during the pandemic, it has caused ineffective learning for students, but if online learning act as a supplement for in-person learning. Students would have more opportunities to study something that may not be covered in the in-person classroom, and learn more about what they want to learn.
Weaknesses of Online Learning
Limitations of Technology
The agreed side argued that not every student and every family has access to high-speed Internet and digital devices. Technology also has its limitation. When everything is running smoothly, technology is intended to be low profile and is used as a tool in the learning process. However, breakdowns can occur at any point along with the system. For example, the server which hosts the program could crash and cut all participants off from the class; a participant may access the class through a networked computer which could go down; individual PCs can have numerous problems which could limit students’ access; finally, the Internet connection could fail, or the institution hosting the connection could become bogged down with users and either slow down or fail altogether. In situations like these, the technology is neither seamless nor reliable, and it can detract from the learning experience (University of Illinois, 2021).
Quality of Education
A successful in-person course does not mean it can be successfully transformed into an online course. Some teachers do not acquire essential online teaching abilities. For example, they are not properly trained in designing online class curricula, delivering online classes, interacting with students online, and using online platforms and tools. Thus, the success of the online classes would be compromised, and the quality of online classes would be reduced. Teachers who are teaching classes online need to have enough knowledge and skills to facilitate online classes. Teachers need to know how to create a supportive environment in a virtual classroom where all students feel comfortable participating. If not, an online class would be weakened.
Responsibilities for Students
Not every student is suitable for online learning. As previously mentioned, online learning allows students have more control over their own studies. Thus, students need to become more mature and self-disciplined. They need to have more responsibilities to manage their learning experience. The features of flexibility and accessibility for online learning require more management for students over their schedules and calendar. Online learning may not be appropriate for more dependent learners. For these reasons, online education is not appropriate for younger students, such as elementary or secondary school age, and other students who are dependent learners and have difficulty assuming responsibilities required by the online paradigm (University of Illinois, 2021).
I am just listing a few of the strengths and weaknesses of online learning, and I am having an optimistic perspective on it. Although there are many weaknesses to online learning, I think with a balanced practice from teachers and parents, students would benefit more from both in-person learning and online studying.
Thank you for reading my blogs throughout the EC&I 830!
Internet usage is now thoroughly embedded in many children’s lives. Although young people are frequently online, they do not consciously consider how their usage affects their digital identity, focusing instead on the short-term benefits of being able to network with friends (Buchanan et al., 2017). As Dan mentioned in his video, “Teaching Students About Digital Footprints and Digital Citizenship,” what you put online today, may stay there forever; anything you put online or sent to someone can be saved or screenshotted, will exist forever and you can’t take it back. It’s your digital legacy. Children need to be aware of their digital footprint and digital identity because they will have a long-term impact on their lives and will affect their employment and career development in the future. Thus, I think educators and schools have a responsibility to help students develop a positive digital footprint, and children need to know how to manage their digital footprint.
Digital Footprint and Children
As the disagreed side argued, children have developed their digital footprint and digital identity before they enter the school. I agree with that, but having a digital footprint does not mean children understand how to build up a positive digital identity. Children may not know the definition of a digital footprint, digital identity and digital citizenship. Children may not be aware that how a negative digital footprint would have serious consequences for their future. Children may not know how to manage their digital footprint. Their parents may not have knowledge, awareness and attitudes toward digital footprints and strategies. Younger children and adolescents are much less likely than adults to consider how their present actions could have an impact on their future (Buchanan et al., 2017). I think children and teenagers should be systemically taught by educators and schools to curate a positive digital footprint even though they have already developed one. They would become cautious about the future use of the Internet and social media. They could share what they have learned from schools to educate their parents and let their parents become aware of the appropriate practice of media release and the impact of what they post on children.
Digital Footprint Management
The need for education about digital footprint in the primary school curriculum is supported by the children (Buchanan et al., 2017). To achieve successful digital footprint management, this mission does not solely rely on educators and schools. Without parental involvement and systemic support from the government and schools, this mission is hard to succeed. As the agreed side said that teachers have responsibilities to educate their students, protect them from digital attacks, and help them distinguish between the real world and virtual world, but without support from schools and the government, teachers would feel isolated in this mission. I feel the supports need to come from both schools and the government. For example, the disagreed side mentioned that teachers are not well-prepared to teach students about digital footprint and they feel resources and guidelines are not enough. Can the government make the course about digital footprint part of the mandatory curriculum? Can schools provide more resources and professional development opportunities to educate teachers about this topic? Can the government and schools provide more funding to support this course? I feel these methods could help teachers to be well-prepared and become confident about teaching digital footprint. It is a shared responsibility among the government, schools, teachers and parents because it is important that children receive formal education about strategies for digital footprint management that enables them to understand how to develop a positive digital footprint for their future (Buchanan et al., 2017).
Parents Involvement and Education
The disagreed side points out that not all parents are accountable or capable to educate their children about their digital footprint. Parents may not realize that their digital footprint can impact their children’s future. For example, they may not know sometimes it’s not okay to share their children’s photos online because it will expose a child’s digital identity to a global audience (Anson-Smith, 2021). Some pictures have geotags. Those tags stay with your pictures when you share on online. All the information stays with the pictures and can contain clues to where you live (Spada, 2019). So parents need to be careful when they share photos online and also need to educate their children about the risks of sharing information online. In addition, the disagreed side also mentioned that parents may not understand the digital release forms, such as newcomer families or low-literacy families. Educators need to spend more time explaining to these families and helping them understand the importance of it.
In conclusion, I think educators and teachers have the responsibility to teach digital footprint, but need supports from the government, school management, and parents. For the policy level, the government could change the particular policy to provide more funding for creating a mandatory course on digital footprint; school management could provide more professional development opportunities and resources to equip enough knowledge for teachers; parents need to know the important impact of the digital footprint on children and monitor children’s online behaviour. A successful education on a digital footprint requires multifaceted efforts from teachers, government, schools, and parents.
On the agree side, I still stand by my point. Cellphones should be banned in the classroom. Besides the few reasons that have been elaborated on during the debate, as Breanna (2019) mentioned, she has noticed in her own classroom that students have become increasingly dependent on their phones, and students are dealing with nomophobia, the fear of not being able to use one’s phone or the many apps that these devices now offer. This phenomenon leads to other issues including the inability to focus, stress and anxiety, and the inappropriate use of cellular devices.
Nomophobia & FOMO
How many of you are attempted to check your phone, like text, social media notification, etc., during your work or study? How many of you are felt empty or missing something when your phone is not around? How many of you are felt fear of missing out (FOMO) important notifications? I certainly do. I start questions myself: are they really important?
Similar to students, they need to mature enough to control the urge to compulsively check their phones (Smale et al., 2021). As the whole new generation was born into the digital world while growing up, technology is natural for them. Their brain is constantly seeking information. To ban cell phones in the classroom, we will reduce the seven or eight hours that students will have on their phones and let them focus on what they need to focus on. There is no doubt that the notorious dependence of children on their mobile devices is a problem, that why the strict rule of banning cell phones need to be implemented in classrooms.
Cyberbullying & “Sexting”
During the debate, we have not had too much time to elaborate on cyberbullying and sexting. They are also part of the reasons why cell phones need to be banned in the classroom. In the context of cyberbullying, the cell phone is a “potentially offensive weapon. More recent studies reported that children who owned cell phones in Grades 3 to 5 were more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying compared to those who did not own cell phones. Cell phones in classrooms could contribute to increases in written and verbal threats due to these devices’ inconspicuous nature, especially when cyberbullying is compared to more traditional, overt forms of bullying (Smale et al., 2021). Banning cell phones is one of the methods that could help reduce cyberbullying and stop it at the school gate.
Related to cell phones, there is an ever-growing prominence of students’ use of cell phones to engage in “sexting.” “Sexting” is defined as the “self-production and distribution by cell phone of sexually explicit images in the course of
consensual, voluntary activity.” 48% of the youth had received sexually suggestive text messages, 31% had received nude or semi-nude photographs or videos, 38% had sent or posted sexually suggestive text messages, and 20% had sent or posted semi-nude photographs or videos (Smale et al., 2021). Banning cell phones can stop students photographing and then texting images of their peers without their permission.
I mentioned surveillance capitalism in the opening debate statement video. The ban on phones in school will effectively limit the data collected on children by not allowing them to use their personal devices during school hours (Selwyn & Aagaard, 2021). Surveillance capitalism refers to the collection and appropriation of device users’ personal data by third parties such as advertisers, data brokers and other beneficiaries of the so-called “data economy” (Holloway, 2019). Phone bans will significantly disrupt students’ exploitation by commercial data brokers, stop relentless tracking of and marketing to children, and avoid excessive commercial incursions into classrooms.
I can see the benefits of allowing cell phones in classrooms from the disagreed side, such as increasing accessibility, improving the connection between teachers and students, students and students, and students and parents, engaging in learning, interacting with students etc. There are many successful examples of integrating cell phones in the classroom. For example, Kunnath and Jackson (2019) research about incorporating Twitter into the class to implement critical literacy. Students and teachers utilized their cell phones inside and outside of the classroom to access Twitter for purposes of research, communication, and interaction.
To not ban cell phone in the classroom, teachers need to change their mindset and design curriculum to incorporate these devices in class, update school policies and classroom expectations to reduce distractions, provide guidance and supports towards cyberbullying and sexting, and find ways to use phones as academic tools.
I was initially on the agree side of this topic, but after the debate and reading provided materials, I start questioning my position and questioning if social media is ruining childhood. I need to admit that social media does have some negative effects on children, but it’s not ruining childhood. We need to be aware that the time is different now, childhood for kids is different now, and parents’ responsibilities are different now.
Stop Making a Comparison
I hear both debate sides as well as as the videos from Matt and Dr. Brenna mentioned somethings like “when I was a kid, I don’t have so many screens in front of me except TV,” and “when I was growing up, I spent times playing in the field,” “when I was growing up, I didn’t have a phone, which turns out fine.” I just want to say stop making a comparison between your childhood and nowadays kids’ childhood because times are changing. We can never go back to the 70s, 80s, or 90s. There is no standard about what is a good childhood and what is not a good childhood. If children enjoy the moment, that’s a good childhood. We enjoyed the moment when we were having a lot of physical activities and when we were running around and playing on the field. It was a good childhood for us. Today’s kids enjoyed technology, enjoyed digital activities on iPads, and enjoyed social media. It is a good childhood for them. If we hold a biased opinion that I had a good childhood because it was full of physical activities and no social media and too much technology, kids in today’s childhood are ruined because they may not have as much as physical activities than I had, and it is full of social media and advanced technology, we will never have an impartial perspective to analyze the effects of social media on children. Our childhood and kids in today’s childhood are not comparable.
The Social Media Dilemma
I admit that social media has negative effects on children. As the agreed side mentioned, social media is an online predator. It spreads sexual messages to kids and affects children’s mental health. Social media would cause obesity issues because it affects children’s physical development social media is lacking physical activity and also losing sleep (Bizieff, 2021). Social media is superficial and impacts children to build long-term face-to-face relationships. Online advertising through social media provides false information to children. As Matt (2021) mentioned in his video, social media for children causes stress, anxiety, depression, lower life satisfaction, and makes kids lonelier. Moreover, Dr. Brenna (2021) mentioned that social media are horrible for kids. Pre-teens and teens who are always on their phones are addicted to their devices. She provides an example of a 14-year-old girl who does not want to get up from bed because she lost her phone. Children on social media will have unfiltered and unprotected information. I agree that social media does have a lot of negative impacts on children’s physical, mental and social well-being, but social media has positive impacts on children as well.
As the disagreed side mentioned, social media can allow children to connect with their friends. Social media provides more learning opportunities, such as children can use TikTok to share culture and language. Social media doesn’t just have to be fake news, trolls, echo chambers, and clout chasing, it can be used for empowering children and helping others (SmartSocial, 2022). Moreover, social media can make space for children to have a voice and advocate for children globally. Like Bana, a 7-year-old girl, uses Twitter to write a story about her experience in the challenging war and advocates a voice for peace (Chelsey, 2020). Social media then becomes a powerful tool for activism and advocacy.
People with disabilities often encounter challenges in establishing the social relationship and sustaining connections to their community. Social and physical barriers often make it difficult for people with disabilities to mobilize, hear, or understand others, to speak, or communicate. Social media is a wonderful platform for people with disabilities to connect, build friendships, connect with communities, receive or give information, share knowledge, find social support groups, and advocate for themselves (Sweet et al, 2020). The development of social media is essential and inclusive for all children with disabilities.
Parenting Children in the Age of Screens
Although social media has those negative effects, with proper guidance and supports from teachers and parents, I think social media will become a powerful learning tool for our children. A lot of parents don’t know what to do, like Dr. Brenna mentioned in her video, they would say what am I support to do or do I just take their phones away from them? Parenting has never been easy, and the rise of social media has introduced a new wrinkle to the challenges of parenthood (Auxier et al., 2020). Parents need to say “I am going to protect you no matter what.” Same as the disagreed side mentioned, teachers and parents are the rule makers, we need to enforce the rules towards our children, and determine what is best for kids in the long-term. Social media cannot be used as a method to engage with children if parents are busy. Parents cannot throw children a phone and let them do whatever they want to on the phone without monitoring them. If parents are unsure about how much screen time is too much for their young child. The World Health Organization issued strict guidelines on the amount of time young children should spend in front of screens.
Parents need to monitor how much time children spend on screen and monitor what social media apps their children would use. There are many parental control apps that parents can install on their phones and their children’s phones. Parents can use parental control features to monitor their children’s screen time, protect children from inappropriate content online, such as pornography or other adult content, and restrict what their child does online. Unlimited social media apps and unlimited screening time would harm children’s well-being.
Digital leadership is new terminology for me and I was inspired by ideas of digital leadership. As Miller (2018) mentioned, digital leadership is defined as using the vast reach of technology (especially the use of social media) to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others. Digital citizenship is the norm of appropriate, responsible behaviour concerning technology use. Under the guidance of digital citizenship, students need to learn how to use the Internet and social media in a responsible and ethical manner. Compare with digital citizenship, we need to educate children to develop digital leadership skills. Using social media as a tool to advocate for social inequality. Teaching students to be a part of the online community is not enough, educators should teach their students to shape and influence the online community in a positive way. Students are not only to be good digital citizens but also to be good digital leaders. If today’s children are living in the world of screens and spending so much time engaging with their peers in the digital world, simply knowing how to behave is not enough, they need to learn how to lead. Using social media as a platform to advocate for others’ well-being and social injustice. They need to know how to influence others appropriately online. I like the idea of digital leadership. I think educators have a responsibility to teach children how to become digital leaders, which is the correct way for us to guide children to use social media.
In conclusion, firstly, we cannot make a comparison between our childhood and today’s kids’ childhood, and use our standards to judge if children have a good childhood today. Social media have some negative impacts on children, but with appropriate guidance and supports from parents, social media can become a powerful tool to give and receive information and knowledge as well as advocate and influence others positively as a digital leader.
I was originally on the disagree side of this topic. After the debate and reading about articles, I kind of switched to the agreed side: Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice under the condition that educators will do it appropriately and have actions back up.
Kari, Jessica and Jenny mention that education is not neutral either, such as curriculum design. It makes to think about the foundational question of education, “what is education for?” As Henry Giroux mentioned, education always plays a central role and transforms the world into a fairer, more caring and democratic place, education is key. If that is the role of education, it is impossible for education to be neutral. Education is teaching what kind of future you want for young people. Neutrality, in the context of education, seems appealing on the surface (Kamara, 2021). For example, when one teaches about a historical event such as the invention of the electric lightbulb, students will just simply memorize the date. It is neutral because political commentary does not take priority. However, when one teaches about the history of residential schools in Canada and asks students to answer, “What is the legacy of the residential schools on our indigenous peoples?” it is not neutral. Similar to math or grammar, it is neutral, but in terms of certain things discussed in slavery or race in America, it can never be neutral. Thus, it is important to admit education is not neutral, and make education a valuable resource for giving students a voice.
Social Justice in Classroom
I was really inspired the example from Angela’s podcast about “send them back.” If one of your students experiences that, will they feel safe coming to you to talk about it? How to let your students know that you are the safe person to discuss certain issues? To talk about social justice in the classroom. Like the agreed side mention, many students will directly impact by racism or discrimination. If you express your opinion about anti-racism and anti-discrimination in the classroom, students from marginlized group would have the courage to discuss with you about their experience becaume they know you are on the same side with them!
First of all, teachers could let students express their opinion about certain social issues to practice critical thinking skills. Sometimes, students struggle with not knowing exactly where they stand on issues and not having the language to articulate their thoughts on these matters (German, 2020). Often, students don’t have spaces in which they can really dig into what they are thinking, process what they are hearing, and ask questions to better understand what is going on, the first thing that teachers could do is to create a place where students can do all that (German, 2020). Second, after students have a chance to critical thinking about social issues and express their opinions in the classroom, teachers could express their opinions too to let their students know where do you stand. Sometimes, teachers need self-development to work to unpack their own biases (German, 2020). Listening to what students say about an issue is also a self-examining process to check if teachers have any bias. What if teachers have different opinions than their students? Like the disagreed side mentioned, “be silent if teachers against the majority they face public. It is better to say nothing at all and keep your voices close to you”. Lastly, teachers could use different materials and resources to educate students about a certain issue, for example, the picture showed the Anti-Racism Awareness Pathway education program from the University of Victoria. Using different online materials to design a specific educational program to increase students’ awareness of certain issues. Moreover, teachers could also bring students into the community and have the knowledge and resources to support the community to do the same. Therefore, it also aligns with what the disagreed side argued that do not just being slacktivism without any efforts towards what you are supporting!
Social Justice on Social Media
After teachers have done these efforts with their students in the classroom or in the community, teachers could post on social media about what they support, probably with the pictures from the classroom and/or community. Therefore, the post that teachers showed on social media is accountable and professional. I agree with what Dalton and Brooke argued to avoid slacktivism. It is okay to be a social activist, but avoid posting something without actions to back them up. The action could be from your classroom, like how did you educate your students regarding the issue, and the action could be from the community, how did you help the community to be a better place. No matter where the action comes from, it is essential that teachers have some actions to back up what they support, not just simply post a statement with hashtags on Facebook or Twitter.
Another suggestion I have for teachers to use social media is to set up high privacy. I work as an Employment Instructor, and after each workshop, clients always want to add me on Facebook as a friend. I respectfully remove their friend request because I don’t want to mix up my personal and professional life. Same as students, they may be curious and would like to find you on social media. It may not be appropriate for teachers to add their current students as a friend on social media. Besides not adding students as friends, another thing teachers could do is to check their Facebook privacy settings before they step foot in the classroom. Once students know teachers’ first names, they like to search for you to see what you post anything on social media and check your online profiles. If you post something that you don’t want the entire public to see, make sure you change its privacy.
In conclusion, teachers have the responsibility to address social inequality and use appropriate methods to create a safe space for students to gather information and express their opinions. Teachers should self-examine their own biases, and keep silent if their opinions are against others. If teachers stand on the same side as their students, teachers should speak out in the classroom about what they believe or support. Therefore, if students encounter an inequal experience, they would have the courage to speak it with you. Moreover, teachers should create educational programs to increase student’s awareness of social issues and combine them with out-of-classroom activities. Thus, teachers would have something accountable to put on their social media and avoid slacktivism. Finally, teachers could set up high privacy for their social media accounts.
I would like to start this blog by introducing an interesting paper I recently read, “The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization?” by Carl and Michael from the University of Oxford. In this paper, they develop a novel methodology to category occupations according to their susceptibility to computerization because of the recent advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Mobile Robotics (MR), and then they implement this methodology to estimate the probability of computerization for 702 detailed occupations and examine expected impacts of future computerization on US labour market outcomes. They find out some occupations have a high probability of computerization, such as Bus drivers, transit and intercity, Light truck or delivery services drivers, Word processors and typists, Interpreters and translators, Taxi drivers, and Cashiers, Mathematical technicians, and so on. These occupations could be replaced by ML and MR in the future, so now should schools still teach skills that can be easily carried out by technology? My thought on this topic is that schools should switch the focus to teaching skills that cannot be easily replaced by computerization instead of focus on teaching menial skills.
As David Middelbeck mention in the video about “Re-inventing Education for the Digital Age,” sometimes technology raced ahead of it first leads to social pain and inequality, and then, at some points, the whole educational system changes to keep up with the technology. Like Sushmeet and Leah argued, if some skills would eventually be replaced by technology, why do we spend so much time teaching the next generation skills that can be accomplished through technology. By removing menial tasks, we can teach children how to use technology creatively and learn meaningful knowledge. I think it is the time the educational system needs to reinvent based on the current technology, but be cautious about the pace, because modern technology has not developed enough for us to get rid of some skills, for example, basic math skills, spelling, cursive writing. Educators still need to teach the foundation of these skills, but focus more on Uniquely Human Skills, like empathy, content creation, interpersonal skills, tech management, etc., that cannot be replaced by technology.
As the disagree side argued, accurate spelling is critical when seeking employment or promotion. It is true. Worked as a career development practitioner, I always tell my clients that when they submit their resume and cover letter, they need to make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes, it is more like to receive an immediate rejection from the hiring manager if you have spelling mistakes in your application documents. On the other hand, your resume would also get rejection if it is boring and ineffective. Should you spend more time on correcting spelling, which can be easily corrected by some software, like Grammarly, or spend more time on drafting phrases and sentences and making your resume more effective and eye-catching, which cannot be replace by computerization? The answer is obvious.
Similar ideas can also be applied to the marketing and advertising initiatives of a company. I agree that one minor small mistake can become costly for the company, but one wrong marketing strategy can have a dramatic influence on the company. Should the company pay more attention to the marketing strategy itself or spelling? Again, the answer is obvious.
It does not mean that the spelling is less important, but the focus is different. How can a person compose an effective resume or an attractive marketing slogan without a good foundation of language? The focus of the educational system needs to be more on content creation and build a strong language foundation instead of just checking spelling mistakes.
English is my second language. When I learn English, I have never learned cursive writing. I was taught by writing like a computer, and we were graded by our handwriting, which is still the same nowadays in China (Tracy, 2015). Thus, I have a hard time reading someone else handwriting if it is too scratchy. I remember Nicole‘s comment during the debate that handwriting is still important in an emergency especially if a nurse writes one letter wrong, it would be a grave mistake. Nowadays, the technology does not automatic enough to replace all handwriting processes with computer typing, so medical professionals still need to have good handwriting skills. The value of writing skills acts as an addition to the medical school curriculum. Writing in a legible manner is imperative for good clinical practice and poor prescribing and documenting can have harmful consequences for the patient (Malik, 2017). However, I believe that one day, all the handwriting processes are replaced by computerization. The educational system will be reinvented. Cursive writing will not be part of the school curriculum.
In conclusion, technology and education should be kept in the same race. Educational systems and pedagogical approaches need to be updated based on the current technology. It will painful to get rid of our traditional educational approaches to embrace new approaches, but we still need to do it. As David mentioned in his presentation, the “one-size-fits-all” teaching philosophy needs to be changed and creative learning methods would be innovated because of technology. What educators teach should involve with the dramatic shift of technology that is required nowadays.
Debate #4 Reflection – Does Educators Have a Responsibility to Use Technology and Social Media to Promote Social Justice? Coming soon…
Today’s education technology has lifted the limitation to the walls of a classroom, especially for students with disabilities. We are entering a time where equity in education has the potential to be closer than ever before. According to the opening debate statements by the agree side, technology has created more equitable opportunities for people with disabilities to access and participate in education, e.g. mobility aid, hearing aids, computer software and hardware, so that they can function more independently in this society. Same as children with disabilities, they are more likely to actively participate in classroom activities and make meaningful progress. Education technology helps students to access education globally if they lack of information and materials in order to close academic achievement gaps comparing with students with sufficient learning resources. If you look at this point of view, technology has made to a more equitable society!
But what if students have access to technology only happened in areas with high socioeconomic status like the disagree side explained in the debate, where students have more resources, parental supports, and sufficient devices? Low socioeconomic areas seems still struggle with accessing Internet, resources, and devices. I think I am still on the disagree side of this topic.
I come from China where education has extremely inequitable. Nowadays, there is a popular saying among parents: Don’t let your children lose at the starting line. Like the picture above, if parents of high socioeconomic status can provide students with more resources (education funding, technology, etc.). Their children look like run in a fancy car. Compared with poor parents, they don’t have much more resources given to their children. Their children look like run with a poor cart and have to work much harder in order to catch up with the rich children. As shown in the following example:
A mother living in Shanghai describes the demands of her six-year-old child’s education, saying, “In kindergarten, children already need to spend the whole weekend learning pinyin.” Pinyin is the system of romanization of the characters based on their tones and pronunciations of Standard Chinese. “Then there’s mathematics, which includes addition and subtraction up to 20, and English,” she adds. Without this preparation, there is little hope that a student will be able to “catch up” to other students and the next grade’s curriculum, she says.
The urban-rural division contributes to education inequality most, followed in decreasing significance by social stratification division, age, gender disparity and regional gaps (Yang et al., 2014).
Unequal distribution of good quality educational resources between urban and rural areas. For example, although AI devices have a lot of critiques in use with students, schools that can afford AI devices are all in the big cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, etc. Compared with poor areas, students are still struggle with having classrooms and textbooks so that they can join the class. The education resouces have a big gap beween urban and rural areas.
Educational unfairness has commonly happened everywhere in the world. Education inequality is living with social inequality. Lacking funding, inability to access the Internet and parental socioeconomic status all contribute to this problem. How could we reduce education inequality? Policies and management changes are needed make to address existing inequalities in the system to reduce social inequality. Thus, education inequality can be reduced.
Technology in the classroom has both positive and negative impact on students’ learning. Before the first debate, I am totally on the agree side of this topic. I think technology is creative and innovative, thus, in the physical classroom, it is essential for increasing student engagement. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, perspectives are changing, classes have moved online overnight, and teachers have relied on technology more than ever before. However, after the debate, I start looking at the negative side of using technology in the classroom and begin to thinking the best practice of using education technology in effective teaching and learning that “harness the good, limit the harm.”
I. Technology on Accessing Information
Technology impact student learning in many ways. Teachers and students can access up-to-date learning resources and to materials at anytime and anywhere (McKnight et al., 2016). However, not all information is valid and verified. For example, students who use Wikipedia-like resources are not unique. This impact of technology on education can lead to mass disinformation (Patel, 2022).
According to Stanford researchers, high school students are unprepared to judge the credibility of information on the internet. They still have difficulty discerning fact from fiction online (Spector, 2019). Students are fluent in social media, but it doesn’t mean that they are equally savvy about they find there. More than 80% of middle school students believed that “sponsored content” was a real news story (Domonoske, 2016).
How teachers can help students fight “fake news” and get access to credible and reliable information that will enhance learning?
The concept of Media Literacy Education has been brought up to me. It is an umbrella term encompassing a variety of approaches that help students develop critical thinking skills around all types of media. Teachers can help students develop a “checklist” method that asks students to consider certain criteria as they look at an individual website and teach them how to consult the broader web to establish a site’s trustworthiness (Spector, 2019). Thus, technology can help students easily access up-to-date information and materials. With media literacy education approaches, they will learn how to find trustworthy information and will not lead to mass disinformation.
II. Technology on Communication & Feedback
As Brittney mentioned in the debate technology can help teachers communicate with parents. The use of technology to enhance communication and feedback between students, teachers, and parents. For example, students use technology to communicate and collaborate with their peers on assignments (McKnight et al., 2016). This usage focuses on building social interactions among students and promoting learning as a partnership. Moreover, technology can help teachers spend less time on grading, thus spending more time with students to improve their learning. Brittney uses technology to communicate with her parents at her workplace. Through email, text and classroom management software, it improves communication with parents and enables transparency for students and parents regarding student progress (McKnight et al., 2016).
However, the oppsite side thinks that students feel sense of isolation with virtual and distance learning, and it hampers their needs for collaboration, and using technology also hampers the rapport between teachers and students and forms an obstacle to easy communication between them (Alhumaid, 2019). Students become disengaged communication with other students. They are stuck on their phone and walking the halls with their heads down, like a “zombine walk.”
How teachers can use technology to improve communication between students and parents, but limit the harm of hampering their relationship?
I feel teachers can help students learn different education technology in class, and prepare group assignments by using these technologies. Students can be creative and use technology to complete their group assignments with their peers. Through these online platforms students could interact with, support, and engage with their peers. Thus, this usage of technology can improve collaboration between students and reduce the sense of isolation.
III. Teachnology on Class Engagement
Technology can help facilitate engaged learning. Children often struggle to stay on task or interested, particularly if it is not interactive. Technology can make school tasks more engaging, which will help your students to stay focused (Cullen, 2019). By providing students with tools and platforms they are familiar with they are more likely to be engaged and get more out of the learning experience (Cullen, 2019). The power of gamification in learning can help teachers to motivate their students, increase collaboration and leverage the power of storytelling to help improve the learning process (Skooler, 2019).
However, technology is also viewed as a distraction. Students can be easily distracted by the technology, especially if applying gamification in learning on tablet, children are being distracted due to the excessive reliance on tablets in learning (Alhumaid, 2019). Moreover, the widespread use of smartphones in the learning process leads to student distraction, the fragmentation of knowledge and the inability of teachers to manage classrooms.
How does innovative technology help students interact with classes but not be distracted?
I think teachers should have strong control of using which type of technology on what device. For example, teachers need to only use those platforms and software that will enhance learning on devices that the school provides only. Thus, those devices can be set up with limited access. It only allows students to access the platform and software that teachers require and not be able to access other applications. Schools could not allow students to bring their own devices to school to limit students’ distraction on other websites.
Before this class, I have never paid attention to the technology I’ve used although I am surrounded by various technologies in my daily life and work. I don’t think I am a tech person, and sometimes I even prefer the traditional ways. When I think of a tool that I used to connect with others. It depends on who I would like to contact, if I am going to contact people who are in China, the first tool that pops into my mind is Wechat. Some of you probably don’t know what is Wechat. WeChat (Chinese: 微信) is a Chinese instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment app developed by Tencent.
I used it in contacting all my family and friends in China. On WeChat, I can text, send voice messages, and video chat. It’s completely free. Wechat is everywhere in China. Besides communicating with others, you can use it to pay for your food, buy groceries, take buses, etc. Nowadays, Chinese people seldom use cash and credit cards, if you have a smartphone and install a Wechat. You can do EVERYTHING in China. Every morning, I check my Wechat first to see if my family sends me any text messages, and quickly browse the news. However, WeChat is also a tool that the Chinese government monitors their citizens’ speech, especially people who are living outside of China and whose IP addresses are not located in China. They have the function of doing sensitive keyword searching. If a person sends or shares some anti-communist words. The government will know that and your account will be permanently banned. Thus, I have to be cautious about what I say or send when using Wechat.
If I contact people in Canada, most of the time I would use Facebook messenger or WhatsApp, but sometimes I would also use traditional ways to contact people, like phone calls, texts, and emails. Sometimes, I also prefer face-to-face conversation with people because I might have phone anxiety or telephobia – the fear and avoidance of phone conversations. If I could communicate with people by text or face-to-face, I would never choose to call them!
With the COVID pandemic, I connect people from work by using Zoom or Microsoft Team. A lot of our employment workshops have been moved online via zoom, which I like and don’t like. I like it because it’s convenient that I can facilitate the workshop from home and don’t have to go to the office. I don’t like it because I feel it’s hard to build relationships in front of a screen and no human physical contact! When facilitating workshops, I use platforms like Google Classroom, Google docs, PPT, and spreadsheet. Google Classroom can help me organize my classes, communicate with my clients, leave assignments to them, etc. I would like to know more about different educational technologies to make my training more interactive and engaged.
I found now my screen time is much more than in the past, maybe like 10 years ago. For example, I use a laptop for my work and study. I read books on my iPad and Kindle. I watch shows and movies on my phone. I play games on Nintendo Switch, iPad, and smartphone. We haven’t turned on a TV for years, and I barely read a physical book now! You can never imagine it 15 years ago!
Technology has developed so much nowadays and I hope to learn different educational technologies that could help my clients and myself to learn knowledge and interact with the world!