Category Archives: EC&I 830

Create, Edit, Present – an iMovie Review

For this week’s blog post assignment, I decided to explore iMovie. I decided to try out this tool because it is one that I have always wanted to be able to navigate well and additionally, I am hoping to use this is an video editing tool to document my learning project. I started out by watching this tutorial which I found to be very helpful as I am an  iMovie beginner.

Overview: iMovie is a video-editing tool for Apple users. You can choose pictures or video clips to create your movie and add titles, music and several audio and visual effects.

“iMovie is a video editing tool developed for iOS and macOS that can create a complete storytelling movie, with credit rolls and studio logos, using photos and videos. iMovie can be used by iOS and macOS users to make videos commemorating special memories, moments and sceneries and then share them with their family and friends, or even with a client. Users can also exercise their creative side by producing Hollywood-like trailers, either from scratch or by using the themes and templates available and then customize them to make their unique video. This video editing application is easy to use, supports 4k video resolution and the finished product can be played from any apple device and projected to a screen. It can also be shared to any video sharing platform or to the social media”.

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Highlighted features:

  • Voice-over abilities.
  • Picture-in-picture feature (I’m going to try this out next week)
  • Ability to fix shaky video
  • Ability to crop photos and video
  • Ability to add filters, and adjust white balance and make colour adjustments to photos and video.
  • Green-screen capabilities using 3rd party apps such as Touchcast or Chatterbox.

Advantages:

  • It’s free!
  • You can work on the same project from a variety of different Apple devices.
  • There are many keyboard shortcuts to use (my fave!)
  • Once you figure it out, it’s really easy to use.
  • You can import projects from other iOS apps such as iTunes, Photos, Garageband, etc.
  • It is very easy to download and share your work to social media platforms such as Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo or simply email your work to whomever you wish!
  • Students can work collaboratively on projects.

Disadvantages:

  • Although it is has capabilities on all Apple devices, it can become tiring to edit on iMovie using an iPhone or tablet. A device with a larger screen is much preferred.
  • The layout of iMovie isn’t initially very user-friendly. When I hovered my mouse over the different icons, it didn’t tell me what they were. The only way I found out was by watching Youtube tutorials and by trial-and-error.
  • Younger student would have difficulty using this tool. The review of iMovie by Common Sense Media indicates it is best suited for grades 5-12.
  • Unfortunately, my school division does not have Apple products and therefore students are unable to use iMovie. Instead, students in my division use WeVideo.

Things to be aware of:

  • If you try to use copyrighted music or images from the Internet you will be unable to upload your video to any public platforms and images will show up blurry. Therefore, it is best practice to always use original content or make sure you have permission via purchasing to use copyrighted content. YouTube’s audio library is one place to acquire royalty free audio to use on iMovie.

Personal Applications: 

  • Creating and sharing memories from any event!
  • I am thinking of using iMovie to create a video of my daughter’s first year in photos/videos.
  • Can also be used in entrepreneurial ventures.

Classroom Applications:

The list of classroom applications for iMovie is endless but I will highlight a few ideas. With each idea, there are many cross-curricular opportunities as well. For example, creating a how-to video could connect projects in writing, math, science, social studies, art and so on.

  • Creating a review of any kind. In my classroom, a favourite would be creating a book review.
  • Create a book trailer
  • Many opportunities for ELA representations…add audio/visual to reciting a poem, illustrate a story, record an interview.
  • Create any kind of presentation related to any subject area…a book report, a science report.
  • Creating a how-to video
  • Create a book summary
  • Digital storytelling opportunities
  • Create a summary of learning on a unit of study
  • Visual representation of nearly any classroom project
  • Self-reflection or process or learning videos
  • This interesting article gives some classroom applications of iMovie at every level of Bloom’s taxonomy.
  • Opportunity for teachers to use in a flipped classroom scenario.
  • Opportunity for teachers to record lessons / instruction for the purpose of differentiation.

What are some ways that you have used iMovie?

Learning Theories and Diverse Abilities: Taking a Student-First Approach to Teaching Practices in Today’s Classroom

This week, we were asked to consider which theories of knowledge and learning underpin our own teaching philosophy and classroom practice, and how these beliefs have shifted or changed over the course of our teaching career. After reading Ertmer & Newby’s article on Behaviourism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism, as well as Siemens’ article on Connectivism, it quickly became apparent to me that not only does my teaching practice encompass more than one philosophy, but my practice also shifts and changes based on the needs of my students. I also recognized a disconnect between what I believe best practice should look like vs. what I actually see and do on a day to day basis. Why is it that even though we may know what’s best for kids in order to deepen and extend their learning, it’s still a challenge to put that knowledge into practice?

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Having spent my entire career as a Learning Resource Teacher, I can relate to Kelsey when she speaks about her experiences as an LRT and her belief that “a teacher’s philosophies and theories of knowledge must encompass a wide array of practices from the behaviourism, constructivism, cognitivism and connectivism approaches.” Gone are the days where teachers can get away with a “one shoe fits all” approach to teaching. My classmate Adam makes an excellent point in his recent blog post when he states that “student needs play a large part in deciding what theory is best utilized within our walls and with the incredibly diverse range of students that are in our classrooms, one theory is not always going to work for all of their needs.” Supporting students with diverse needs and abilities requires us to shift our practice from day to day and moment to moment in order to meet the needs of individual learners.

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After reading this week’s assigned articles, I have come to understand that there are definitely pros and cons to each learning theory presented. As many of my classmates have pointed out, Behaviourism is a foundational learning theory that most teachers practice because it’s necessary in order to teach and establish routines and procedures. I don’t believe Behaviourism is all bad – as Ertmer & Newby point out, “behaviourists assess the learners to determine at what point to begin instruction as well as to determine which reinforcers are most effective for a particular student” (p. 48). Knowing where your students are at and moving them forward from that place is a key component of my personal teaching philosophy. Having students transfer their learning to similar situations can be extremely effective. For some kids, this stimulus-response association is challenging enough on its own, and they may not have the cognitive ability to demonstrate higher level thinking skills such as problem-solving, inferencing, and critical thinking. And yet, there are many students who need to be challenged in these ways, which is where other learning theories come into play. Cognitivism is an important learning theory when it comes to the acquisition of knowledge. Since students learn in a variety of ways, a significant part of my job involves supporting teachers, students, and parents in identifying and supporting the “how” of each individual child’s learning process. I encourage and support students in becoming active participants in the learning process as much as possible and often draw upon student ideas, beliefs, and experiences as part of the learning process. For many struggling learners, being able to connect their learning to personal experiences is essential in order for any sort of meaningful learning to occur. Many students also really benefit from the use of visuals or outlines to help them organize their thinking and learning which is indicative of a Cognitivist learning approach. However, as with both of these learning theories, knowledge is largely controlled and transferred “onto” the learner, and thus, there is not a lot of room for creativity and innovation.

When it comes to Constructivism, I begin to hit a bit of a roadblock. Maybe this is because of my LRT experiences where I’ve found that struggling students learn best with a Behaviourist or Cognitivist approach to teaching and learning, or maybe it’s because my practice simply hasn’t evolved to take on a Constructivist approach yet. Either way, I find myself really drawn towards a Constructivist learning theory, and yet, I don’t feel I (or most educational institutions) do a great job of authentically fostering this type of learning in our schools and classrooms. I still believe we are at a point where we expect students to acquire knowledge rather than create it. I love the notion that knowledge comes from within and can change and be shaped by one’s own experiences – I myself have learned in this way throughout some of my Indigenous Education Master’s classes – but again, I don’t think we as educators are there yet in terms of our teaching practices. Perhaps placing more of a focus on Indigenous Education in our schools and classrooms would foster a more Constructivist approach to learning, as lived experiences are a foundational component of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing.

There is no denying that “technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn” (Siemens, 2004). My learning journey throughout other Master’s courses, namely EC&I 832 and EC&I 830, has helped me to see the immense value in a Connectivist approach to teaching and learning. Since knowledge is growing and changing at a rapid pace, our students need to be able to find information vs. acquire it, and sift through that information (using critical-thinking skills) in order to access the most accurate and up-to-date knowledge. Furthermore, Siemens notes that “the field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn”. We as educators (and school divisions) need to ensure our students are fluent with new, emerging technologies and aware of how those technologies shape the ways in which we learn and interact with the world around us. Similar to Constructivism, I see Connectivism as a huge area for growth in schools.

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When it comes to learning theories and pedagogy, I believe a balanced approach and a willingness on the part of educators to shift and be flexible are what our kids need in order to be most successful as learners. Relating this back to my role as LRT, I think about the back and forth shift from a pull-out approach to a push-in approach for supporting student learning. I strongly believe that neither one of these approaches works best for all students at all times. We must consider the student, the learning task or concept at hand, the environment, the day, the tools and resources available, the strategies being used to teach the concept, the end goal, etc. before making any sort of decision about what learning theory and teaching practice is best suited for that individual student.

 

Education for All: ‘Tech’quity in the 21st Century

I can’t believe I am writing my last blog post for The Great EdTech Debate in EC&I 830! Where did the time go?!

Via GIPHY

This week, we focused on the topic, technology is a force for equity in society. Personally, I find any topic that examines equity to be particularly tricky. Perspective really is everything. For example, if you take a glass half empty approach, you could argue that attempts to bring technology/access to underprivileged communities (i.e. One Laptop Per Child) is simply a “white saviour” approach that is forcing western ideologies onto these societies. If you’re more of a glass half full kind of person, you might believe that bringing tech to these communities is actually helping them and allowing for more people to be connected worldwide. Of course, there are also technological inequities right here in our own communities when we consider things like technology allocations in schools, access to tech at home, and access to the internet. So how do we navigate this extremely challenging (but important) conversation?

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One thing I noticed during our debate was that both teams were ultimately advocating on behalf of marginalized groups, just from different perspectives. It truly does depend what lens you look through.

Rakan and Amy raised some important points that are worth discussing when we consider the ways in which technology might perpetuate issues such as racism, sexism, harassment, colonialism, and economic divide. However, I personally believe that technology is not to blame. Acts of discrimination, harassment, and colonialism have been around long before technology, and so I believe that we must use technology to overcome some of these issues that continue to impact society in negative ways rather than blame technology and focus solely on the ways in which it may divide us. Recent online movements such as #NeverAgain and #MeToo have sparked waves of social activism and demonstrate the positive power of technology when it comes to combating societal inequities and injustices of our time.

On the other hand, the agree team, Jen, Dawn, and Sapna made many strong arguments for why and how technology is in fact a force for equity in society. From their perspective, technology removes barriers for people, shifting the outlook from one of “digital divide” to one of “digital inclusion” (which I love)! Part of bridging this divide is the fact that education has become more affordable and accessible to people worldwide, and as an educator, I can’t help but see this as being the sole most important factor when considering ways in which technology increases equity in today’s world.

In her 2012 Ted Talk, Daphne Koller discusses the ways in which online education has opened so many doors for people who would not have had access to the same learning opportunities otherwise. She quotes Thomas Friedman when she says that “big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary”. I really love this quote and I think it speaks to the equity that technology can bring to learning in the 21st century. After recognizing what is “desperately necessary” (accessible, affordable education for all), Koller and a colleague created Coursera, a free online education site that consists of 43 courses from some of the best instructors and universities and is accessible for everyone around the world. What I found to be particularly amazing about this site is that these free, online courses have actually helped students get accepted into post-secondary institutions and land better job opportunities because it has given them the skills they need to be successful, sought after applicants.

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Personally, I fell on the agree side of this discussion, and I continually kept going back to my role as an educator when considering accessibility and affordability of technology. Although some may argue that technology has created a digital divide due to the high costs associated with buying the latest laptop or smartphone, the agree team proved that this is not actually the case. They noted that over half of those who earn $15,000 a year or less (ages 18-24) still own a smartphone. This means that wage or socio-economic status is not necessarily preventing people from accessing and/or being able to afford technology. It seems as though technology has become a priority for most people. And although many may still not have access to wifi at home, there are more and more free wifi zones popping up around many different cities (thanks, Sasktel!), along with free access to wifi at most public schools and libraries. Jodie made a great point in her recent blog when she compared the cost of a Google Chromebook to the cost of two textbooks and showed how they were roughly the same price. This just goes to show that having access to technology doesn’t necessarily mean having to spend thousands on the latest, greatest device. If school divisions take note of this, and allocate technology according to the socio-economic needs of their schools and communities, then I think we are well on our way to becoming more ‘tech’quitable institutions.

As a Learning Resource Teacher, I have seen firsthand the many ways in which assistive technology has made it possible for students with disabilities to read, write and communicate. Tools like Kurzweil or Google Read and Write allow students with learning disabilities in reading and writing to be able to access grade level text (audio) and communicate their ideas using tools like voice-to-text and word prediction. Communication devices such as the Dynavox allow students to use visual or audio prompts to help them understand or produce language. Additionally, technology allows for personalized learning which is so important given the diversity of our classrooms and the varying abilities and learning styles of our students.

As quoted in the agree team’s opening statement, “technology does not discriminate – it works the same for each and every one of us”. I would agree with this statement, however, as we have discussed through our weekly debates, technology is simply a tool, and it’s power is in how it’s used. Therefore, just having access to technology isn’t going to change the world – education and purposeful use are key. But I believe that in today’s day and age, technology and education go hand in hand, and with increased affordability and accessibility of education online, the opportunities for people worldwide will only continue to grow. This makes me really excited and hopeful for the future of global generations to come! #teamtechquity

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Summary of Learning

PHEW, I made it!  I am going to begin by expressing how much I enjoyed taking this class!  I have been working with technology in the classroom for several years now and every year I learn more.  Technology is always improving and changing the way we do things, the way we teach, and the way we learn.  Every year my students are experiencing new things and I am pushing myself to keep up with them!  These experiences mean that I need to ensure I am staying informed and up to date with the possible risks technology can pose to my students. Teaching and modeling digital citizenship is increasingly important.  I cannot simply complete a series and lessons and then drop it.  I must reinforce the skills and concepts continually throughout the course of the school year.  Students learn through practice.  The need to be reminded and they need to see their teacher also modeling those same skills.

The growth I continue to see with my students as they experience the digital world has been remarkable.  In this class I have heard several people comment about how we need to find a balance with technology.  I completely agree.  Digital integration is not about going paperless.  It is about reinforcing a solid pedagogy that is supported through the use of technology.  If a teacher does not know why she is using technology, then there is a BIG problem.

Thank you to everyone for continuing to add to my learning journey.  Though I have been working with technology in the classroom extensively, it has only been for two years!  I still have a lot to learn and I cannot wait to see what is in store.

Technology is a Force of Equity in Society

Boy, technology has come a long way.  I still remember being in grade 5 and my teacher telling me about a new opportunity where we are going to send messages to students in another country over the computer.  I could not believe it!  How would we be able to do that?  Basically we were emailing them and sharing information on a project we were doing in collaboration with five or six other classes throughout North America!  This was a big deal because it showed me that computers were for so much more than just practicing typing and playing games; we could connect to the world.

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Technology has made the world so much more accessible.  As a teacher, I can connect with specialists from around the world.  My classroom is currently connected to another classroom in Saudi Arabia and Chicago.  We are sharing our classroom experiences and learning about what it is like in those other classrooms!  It is great to see my students interact and learn about other places first hand.  We can also connect with specialists and live chat with them to learn more about any given topic we are learning about.  Technology has afforded us that privilege.

Technology has also brought education to more people.  Education is now way more accessible.  Our group this week talked about Open Education Resources, which offers university level courses free of charge taught by professors at universities around the world.  This is a great way for people who are interested in learning, but lack the finances, or availability to attend classes, to still get the education they seek.  In addition, we cannot forget about the emergence of webinars, distance learning (correspondence), online courses, or video conferences.  These are all due to the emergence of technology and they have allowed people, regardless of their location, to access courses, seminars, and even institutes, all from the comfort of their homes!

Technology has also narrowed the divide in abilities between those who “can” complete a task, and those who “cannot” complete a task.  As I previously mentioned, I am blessed to teach in a 1:1 technology classroom.  I have witnessed students who were several grade levels below average in reading and writing, be able to participate with our class and produce work that is at, or even above, grade level.  These technological advances have given these students the boost they needed to continue to persevere and push forward.  Students are also given far more opportunities and options to showcase their learning when technology is integrated into the classroom setting.  Student creativity soars and they definitely rise to the occasion!

Our debate saw a lot of comments come forward.  One that stuck out to me was the comment surrounding those who cannot afford the technology and how they are left behind or at a disadvantage.  Raj Dhingra discusses how technology can change education in this TEDx talk. He discusses how the argument surrounding cost and affordability is null.  One just has to be creative.

I have to admit, this video got me interested in some of the low cost options and made me wonder why more school divisions are not accessing this technology.  Perhaps we are all so attracted to the “shiny penny” that we forget the reason behind needing the specific devices we have access to.  Do we necessarily need all the features available, or are we attracted to the brand?  I am the first to admit that Apple products are great, but are their price tags really worth it?  If our goal is to provide technology to students so they can access and receive the benefits outlined above, then why are we breaking the bank doing so?

Education technology is huge!  People in the tech industry are constantly looking at how to get into that market and sell their big idea.  However there are plenty of great services available online that do not require a large credit-card limit to access.  SeeSaw is an example of a technology that showcases students and their capabilities.  It also features tools that allow students who “cannot” to still participate with their classmates.  All of these features are FREE!  There is no hidden cost or terms to work around.  I have used and accessed several other sites with the same feature!  If, as an educator, you are willing to search and be a little creative, then technology and integration does not have to necessarily be so far out of reach.

I am going to share with the video my amazing team and I put together outlining these points and more!

To close, I would like to mention how a lot of blame is put onto TECHNOLOGY.  We like to use it as a scapegoat to justify why society is the way that it is.  We use it to explain why bullying is getting worse.  We use it to explain why we see so much racism in the world.  We use it to explain why we have this whole “digital divide”.  What some of us need to do is slow down and remember that we had all of these issues before technology.  Yes, the prevalence and use of technology continues to push some of these issues to the forefront, but it is not the reason for those issues.  I guess we need to accept that technology is here and we need to take it (the good and the bad) and ensure each and every one of us is using it for its’ intended purpose and not abusing this remarkable tool!

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Summary of Learning

How on earth is this semester already over?!

I am so thankful for all the learning jammed into these 8 weeks, it has been both fun, and extremely engaging in the debate format!

For my summary of learning, I tried to focus more on some goals that I want to mindfully take into my teaching next year, as I feel that is the true testament of learning – when our practice grows and transforms. I apologize for it being a bit long!

Enjoy!

Summary of Learning

 

 

Equity for Inclusion

It is so hard to believe that I am writing about our 5th and final debate! This last debate topic focused on the question of whether technology is a force for equity in society.

Team agree made up of Jen, Dawn, and Sapna started off with a strong opening statement. They argued points about the barriers technology breaks down, the connection it helps create, and also brought up a great point of viewing the the term digital divide as digital inclusion.

Team disagree made up of Amy S. and Rakan, also had an informative opening statement, which brought up things I had never even considered or knew about. The stats regarding racism and sexism online were alarming, as well as the facial recognition and AI biases and issues that exist towards marginalized groups.

I stayed solid in my opinion before, during, and after the debate that I agree that technology is a force for equity in society. One of the major points that came up a lot in our group discussion was the number of technology resources and access various schools have. In many schools/divisions, this is not nearly enough, and sometimes schools are even capped on how much technology they can have regardless of the socio-economic status of their community in an attempt to even things out. As I was thinking about this, the quote/idea “what’s fair isn’t always equal” came to my mind. We need to do a better job in providing technology access and resources to those in the most need.

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I don’t really think it’s about having the best or latest chromebook, computer or iPad, but more so the access to information, skills to be good digital citizens and media literate individuals, and of course connection to the greater world around them that technology can cultivate. Schools need to make sure that they can provide enough technology, including wifi access and bandwidth, that students AND teachers, have an opportunity to practice digital citizenship into their classrooms, and begin learning skills they will use at home or work one day. Again, I don’t feel this needs to be 1:1 devices, and teachers once again play a huge role in knowing what and how much their students, families, and community have in terms of technology resources and access.

I also feel that mobile smart phones are going to be the reality for many students and families for how they are accessing information for and from schools. Some of the argument of the disagree group centered around cost, and the fact that lower income students, families, and schools struggle to receive all the technology benefits, as they simply do not have the resources, but I think mobile phones are a way to gain more access. The agree group shared stats from this TechCrunch report, which highlights these number of smartphone owners with an average income of $15,000 or less.

-Aged 18-24 = 56%

-Aged 25-34 = 43%

-Aged 35-44 = 31%

Although there are no stats for high school students, I would guesstimate in my school about 80% of students in my classes have a smartphone. Many of them are just a device, and do not have a data plan, but they are able to access the internet with wifi.

This article does a great job of addressing many issues created by the digital divide, and provides some suggestions to help teachers navigate equity in this area. Doing your research, and knowing what access your students and families have is vital, planning thoughtful lessons that use technology (based on what you already found out), putting extra efforts into teaching digital literacy, providing extra opportunities to access, and as we always do, advocating for more resources in our buildings.

If we take every opportunity we have to provide our students exposure and interactions with whatever technology resources we have, and bring the focus back to digital citizenship and media literacy, I believe we will foster both equity and inclusion for our students.

Riding Off Into The Sunset

Well, here we are. At the end of a spirited run in EC&I 830. An engaging, quick paced, debate filled run with contemporary issues in education technology.

It’s been a neat sort of summative experience that has allowed me to reflect on my growth through an entire academic school year of ed.tech courses. I came at these courses with a goal in mind, and I believe that I have achieved that.

As I have elaborated on  in many blog posts over the year, I was becoming increasingly aware that my negative views of social media were distancing me from my students in some pretty important ways. I knew that I was going to have to make some deliberate moves. Not to completely flip my perspective on social media necessarily (after all , my negative perceptions did spawn from something) but to have a more open mind.

Looking over my posts for this particular course, and comparing them to the work I’ve done as I was just beginning EC&I 831, I can see a change is there. It’s in my practice too, as I have implemented a pretty cool social media platform, Seesaw, to fantabulous effect in my small group reading interventions.

This summary of learning covers this class for sure, but it reaches back and tries to talk about my entire year with Alec.

Thanks guys!

Part One:

 Part Two:

Technology: Friend or Foe?

PRE-DEBATE(Education)

For me, in thinking of the role of technology as a force for equity, I can speak firsthand to the kinds of opportunities it provides students that were not there only a decade before. For students with learning challenges that delay literacy, accessing curriculum has been a challenge for as long as we can remember.

But this is changing. Thanks to dramatically improving text-to-speech technology, gone are the days when accessing science and social studies content was predicated by being able to read. As long as the content is available online, with a click of a button, students can following along with their peers bu having that content read out loud to them. Thanks to dramatically improving speech-to-text technology, gone are the days when the not being able to write was a dead end to being able to a student’s ability to express themselves in writing. The potential or students’ with learning disabilities accessing curriculum is there, and it no longer costs thousands upon thousands of dollars to do it.

My preconceptions of technology have never been in sync with my narrower, and darker views of social media. From my perspective, technology has revolutionized education, and there’s no turning back. (Nor would I want to)

DEBATE

Coming into last week’s debate, I empathized with the position Amy and Rakan found themselves in. I’ve typically tended to take a more conservative view of using innovations like social media. But when I consider this more general topic question,Technology is a force for equity in society, I don’t think there has ever been a time where I would have places myself as disputing that. From where I was standing, they were pushing an impossibly gigantic boulder up an impossibly humongous hill.  Like me on my own debate night, Amy and Rakan

I was thinking that this debate had the potential to follow the pattern of a few that came before it, especially the previous week’s debate on social media ruining childhood. In my reflecting blog post, I tried to approach the controversies surrounding social media from a historical perspective, thinking that our own present struggles with managing social media might resemble scares of the past.

I thought that some of the same arguments from last week’s debate might re-emerge. In some ways, they did. For sure. But this is where I tip my hat to Amy and Rakan. They didn’t zoom in and focus on minute details (as important as those details are). They very persuasively connected technology to some very current and pertinent issues in social injustice.

Rakan uses what we already know about Twitter, and social media in general, having the potential to being used as a devastating weapon:

Specifically, Rakan articulately points out how Twitter can be used as a weapon to further marginalize women. This certainly is a counter-spin to our more habitual narrative of social media being a tool to embolden and help people find their voices.

Amy advanced her team’s cause by making an argument for technology not truly being an instrument to promote equality. She points out that access to technology, and it’s accompanying opportunities and benefits, decreases for those of lower income:

This was a clever argument to make, trying to spin the argument that her opponents would inevitably make, and Sapna did just that in pointing out that “technology has removed many of the barriers people face in the past.” Amy also references statistics showing that 62% of Canadians in the lowest income bracket , which on its face does not seem particularly good. Internet is not exactly a new technology anymore, right? The only thing I would ask Amy is whether or not that 62% is an increasing or decreasing trend.

Finally, Amy compellingly cites Virginia Eubanks argument that technological systems that are “not specifically and explicitly built to dismantle inequalities … are poised to intensify them.”

Honestly, these are arguments that are hard to counter. Where I struggle, however, is their incredibly wide applicability. Looking back historically, you can make the case that so many innovations have been used to further marginalize groups, and won’t have any trouble finding examples. However, it’s equally possible to find arguments for those same innovations being used as a beacon to advance worthwhile causes.

This article by Abe Grindle, thank you Sapna, points out 6 ways that technology is seriously addressing inequality. As my peer Daniel points out, this issue is as far from being black and white as our other debate topics. I can’t help but recursively go back to the same argument that technology is not anything in and of itself. It’s the intent behind the user that determines the intent and impact of a tool.

Social media, for example, can be used to great benefit, as it has been for crisis mapping as part of disaster relief efforts. Crisis mapping has become a staple for disaster relief teams and helps to coordinate support and identify immediate areas of vulnerability. On the other hand, social media technology is being used to influence elections across the globe: “The spread of disinformation also contributed to the overall decline of Internet freedom across the world for the seventh year running, and contributed to violent attacks on human-rights activists and journalists, according to the report”

In the end – Realistically

As we have with most topics in our class, we arrive to a sort of compromise, or middle ground. Or perhaps it’s a realistic position that we come to. There is certainly no turning back the clock on most of the controversial innovations we have been discussing, and technology in a  general sense is no exception. There really is little point to occupying an extreme position, as all it does is give license to do nothing.

As teachers, doing nothing cannot be an option. It hurts me, by moving myself towards irrelevancy, and hurts my students. It hurts my students by not giving them access to the wonderful educational opportunities that technology provides, as well as the critical skills that I know they will need to work in their future economy.

I’m glad that I’ve come to that conclusion. Thank you EC&I!

 

My Summary of Learning

This is it!  The end of EC&I 830!  I cannot believe how fast this course flew by, and I also cannot believe how much I learned over two short months.  It’s amazing the community we developed and how much we were able to challenge each other to grow and learn in such a short time span.  It’s been a pleasure to learn with all of you.

I loved the style of this course and how it enabled us to be in charge of our own learning.  We brought a lot of debate to the table, and I thank all of you for challenging my thinking and opinions.  There is no one right answer to any of the topics we discussed and I think that makes this course so great!

Without further ado, here is my summary of learning video!  Thanks again all for a fantastic class and I hope you all enjoy my video (I had a lot of fun making it)!