Author Archives: MrSkylerHart

The Great EdTech Debate: Episode 1 – Does Technology Enhance Classroom Learning

In our EC&I 830 course, one of the assignments that we have is to participate in a weekly EdTech debate. This activity is meant to bring enriched conversation regarding topics revolved around the use of technology in education. For the first debate, the two teams debated whether technology enhances learning in the classroom. I started off the debate by wishing both team good luck over twitter. Follow me @MrSkylerHart

Prior to starting the debate, we are asked to vote on our own opinion of the topic being discusses. The follow image depicts the date from those results.

PreVote: 89.3% in favour, 10.7% opposed

Agree

We saw @amandajebrace and @NSmith advocate about how technology enhances learning in the classroom. To begin, focused on the point that technology transcends the classroom. Nancy explained that the use of technology now allows us to open up our classroom to new learning opportunities, and for alternative methods of learning. She stated that technology allows us to engage students and deepen the learning. The alternative point was that technology is a great way to connect with others. Amanda discusses the 4C’s in 21st century learning, which you can read further about here. Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication are the 4C’s, but the argument was made for a fifth C to be added. Connection. We can use technology to connect the students to the material we are learning.

The 5th C… Connection

There are multiple times throughout the day where I have used technology to help students enhance their learning. Whether is be through watching documentaries, using Desmos for online graphing, or completing online research, technology is something that helps students out. But this only works when I direct students in how to use the technology they are using appropriately and effectively. Without sufficient reasoning behind the use of technology, the reduce the enhancement it brings to the classroom.

Disagree

On the alternative approach, @trevorkerr7 and @MattBresciani argued that technology does not enhance learning in the classroom. The main point that these gentlemen was that technology creates a distraction for students. Trevor provides examples such as using social media, listening to music, playing online games, and watching noneducational videos on YouTube. Matt added that the use of technology in schools bombard students with screen time. With the increase of technology in today’s society, more and more people are exposed to can cause many learners to become dependent on technology, resulting in an addition to technology. So lets MEGA (MAKE EDUCATION GREAT AGAIN).

Technology Does Not Enhance Learning

I agree with Matt and Trevor that technology can be a distraction in the classroom, but I would suggest that it is a distraction when there is nothing that monitors the use of the technology in the first place. As a teacher, it is our responsibility to make sure that students are using the technology for the intended reason it is meant to be used for.

The Results

PostVote: 58.3% in favour, 41.7% opposed

Conclusion

In all, I am am not shocked that a majority of voters still believe that technology enhances learning in a classroom. However, I will give credit to Matt and Trevor. Although they did not have the majority of voters, they were able to convince 31% of voters to change their opinions on technology. I believe that the underlying fact to this debate stems the term efficiently. How efficient are we with incorporating technology into the classroom. Both side admitted that technology in the classroom only enhances learning when it is embedded appropriately, and with a purpose. Those who try to incorporate technology into the classroom as a part of a list of things they need to complete are not using technology to its greatest potential. Curtis Bourassa mentioned that technology needed to have a purpose behind it… it is a vehicle to learn. Technology can transport a students ability to learn, but without proper direction and teaching, a student can be guided down the wrong path.

For a full recap of the entire debate, fell free to watch the video below.

Teaching amongst Covid-19

As an educator apart of Horizon School Division, one of the major focuses in regards to using technology in the classroom is the incorporation of the google platform in teaching. I would say that on a daily basis, I use multiple google programs including:

Google Classroom (A web service developed by Google that allows files to be shared between teachers and students in order for assignments to be graded in a paperless method)

Gmail (An email service developed by Google)

Google Documents (A word processor offered by Google)

Google Slides (A presentation program offered by Google)

Over the past 4 years, I have been teaching at Imperial School. One of my job titles at the school is the Technology Representative. I find that this is an important task seeing how much technology is evolving over the years. On of the best resources that I have been fortunate to collaborate with over the past few years is Jim Swan. Jim is a learning technologist. He is always learning about knew innovations involving technology and how they can be functional in the classroom. When Horizon School Division started to implement the plan of converting to the google platform, Jim made special visits to all schools in the division to teach educators about the technology.

As the Technology Representative of Imperial School, I would say that I have had more personalized meeting with Jim over the years. The expectation is that Jim would teach me the concepts, and I would pass the information on during school staff meetings. One of the first times that I met with Jim, he informed me that I should consider to upload all of my material onto Google Classroom. By doing this, I would be creating a web development cite for my students to access for further explanation on content, or to catch up on material that they may have missed from the day.

During my day in the life of currently using technology, I am very fortunate that I listened to the advise of Jim. I have created a Google Classroom for all of the subjects that I am teaching. On this site, I post a copy of my teacher notes for every lesson, a copy of the assignment that students are expected to complete, and a video that corresponds to the lesson that has previously been taught.

The other thing that I have been using to connect with my students online during Covid-19 is using Google Meets. Google Meets allows me to schedule conference calls with students to check in and see how they are doing with the course material. It also allows me to set up 1-on-1 conferences with students who are struggling to understand the course material.

Teaching online is way different than teaching in the classroom, but luckily for me the effort and work that I have put into teaching my students how to use technology in the classroom has allowed my students to be successful during this difficult time.