Author Archives: jazzparent

Technology in the classroom…. Yes or No?

Technology is part of our lives, whether we want it to be or not because people have to use technology for some reason or another. We are surrounded by it! The question is, does technology in the classroom enhance learning or does it curtail it? Now, here is the thing, this is a pretty controversial topic if you ask me. It’s kind of hard to choose a “side” to this debate because research shows pros and cons to the use of technology in classrooms.

What do you think?

Pros…

  • For many different reasons, some kids don’t always feel compelled to share their voices in the classroom. Utilizing technology to gather opinions and ideas might encourage these kids to share in a more anonymous way. If technology is used to enhance learning, this would help students who have difficulties using their voice and wouldn’t enable those who love to talk to do so. Discussions should always be welcomed.
  • Integrating technology in the classroom will help develop digital literacy. We want our students to be able to become creative in the digital world. We also want them to be able to survive in the academic world which now revolves around technology. Whether they will become tech savvy or not, being digitally literate will help them conquer academic challenges in their post-secondary education while also helping them survive the challenges that will arise in their personal lives. Setting rules and bounderies, at home and at school, will help students learn the importance of being responsible with technology.
  • Using technology in the classroom allows teachers to explore digital citizenship which will help students become independent, self-regulated device users. It is important for them to know how to use technology in positive and acceptable fashion. We want them to be proactive and respectful. Everyone should envision a digital wellness to avoid problems while using technology. The New York Times article reflects how parents don’t allow their kids to use technology and are pushing for them to frequent school that are technology free. I believe this won’t help them become eloquent in technological language.
  • If teachers know and understand some of the models that exist, which explains the better ways to incorporate technology in the classroom, it will definitely enhance learning. Here are two models to go by to help you better do this:
    1. The SAMR model “is a framework through which you can assess and evaluate the technology you use in your class”. (Educatorstechology.com);
    2. The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Framework (TPACK) “outlines how content (what is being taught) and pedagogy (how teacher imparts that content) must form the foundation for any effective edtech integration”. (Educationaltechnology.net) Here is a YouTube video explaining the TPACK model.

Cons…

  • It isn’t always available. In our school we have 30ish computers for the entire school. We must reserve them at the library if we plan a lesson that would be best done with them. Usually, high school students have priority so elementary school students don’t have access to them very often. We also have distance learning classes offered in our school so students who take these classes have first dibs on computers.
  • Teachers and students don’t use it properly. It doesn’t always motivate the student. The activities suggested by teachers are not engaging and/or empowering. Instead of doing their work, they waste time googling meaningless stuff, watching YouTube videos for entertainment or messaging each other through Google Chat. Laptops, phones and other devices can cause students to be distracted.
  • As teachers, it’s imperative we address the in person bullying that arises in our classrooms but also, addressing the online aspect of it too. Being mindful and aware of the issues that can arise with the use of technology in the classroom is important. Talking about cyberbullying with the students will definitely help counteract this problem.
Frustrated?

It is important to show kids how to use technologies so that it benefits them. Digital citizenship is definitely important knowledge to share with students if we want them to be responsible in the digital world and mindful of their usage of technology. How do you utilize technology in your classroom and what is your opinion on this matter… does it encourage engagement, or does it become a nuisance to learning?

A day in the “technological” life of Madame Jazz

First blog post… I am a little nervous about this but here we go…

As some of you might know, I teach for the Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises. Our school district asks that we use Microsoft Teams to connect face-to-face with our students. Slowly but surely, I am learning how this program works and what features can be done with it. Right now, I mostly use it to connect with students and with staff members. Our principal shares important documentation with us in the document section of our “team”. Twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, we have an unofficial coffee staff meeting where we chit-chat like we would do in the staff room during recesses. I look forward to these “coffee breaks” because it gives us an opportunity to discuss what is going well in our classes, with our planning, how we are managing digital learning but also, how we are doing on a more personal level. With the social distancing and confinement brought upon is by Covid-19, I believe it’s important to take care of ourselves and others. Just seeing my colleagues’ faces makes my heart happy and shows me that, YES, these are hard times, BUT everyone is going through this nonsense in the same but different ways.

Continuing with my technological life, my favourite tool to use is Google Classroom. I love how everything for each class is in one place. I also love that Docs, Slides, Forms, and other add-ons are linked to it. It truly is a lifesaver. I find that it is so easy to stay organised because all the information, assignments, quizzes, readings, etc., can be placed in themes. Also, it’s easy to assess everything and give reinforcements and feedback to the students when necessary.

I also used Flip Grid for the first time this week. Oral communication is a very important part of our French curriculum and I thought this tool would be a great way to get the kids talking out loud. I created an educator profile and new Grids for my grades 7 and 8 class and for my grad 11 and 12 class. I’ve received a few replies already. I feel super proud of myself for getting the kids to join and chat with me and with each other. I can’t wait to see if they will give positive feedback about this new tool when I chat with them in our next Teams meeting.

Another tool I use is Zoom. We are not aloud to record our meetings with the students, so I find it’s easier if I record my explanations of assignments and read aloud of chapter books. I then share these videos, asynchronously, in Google Classroom, so students who aren’t able to connect to our face-to-face meetings can have access to all this important information while still being able to share with those who are attending the meeting and have discussions and questions periods after viewing it together as a group. It also allows me to have a little bit of fun with the editing and costumes.

This is me, sharing a chapter of the book we are reading together “Le Cri – Martine Latulippe

I hope you enjoyed my first post.

Feel free to leave a comment, share new and exciting technological tools with me or ask questions. I would love feedback, advice and I will try my best to answer your questions.

Cheers,

Jasmine