Category Archives: EC&I830 Reflections

Is Unplugging From Technology The Answer?

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This week our eighth and final blog topic of the year was a quite fitting way to end our class.  The debate statement for this week was:

We have become too dependent on technology and what we really need it to unplug.

Agree or Disagree?

 

Janelle, Kyle, and Dean were debating on the agree side and debating against them on the disagree side was Tayler, Nicole and Angela.  Both sides did a fantastic job presenting their ideas to the class.  Tayler discussed in her blog post that she was hoping to argue the agree side on this debate because she felt more comfortable with the topic.  She made many great points throughout her blog and the one statement that stood out to me was, “I think I learned more than I ever could by arguing the opposite side of my initial beliefs.”  I think this shows that we need to take the time to look at topics through a new lens to allow us to gain new perspectives.  Personally going into the topic I was leaning towards the disagree side, but I wanted to be fair and listen to both sides to help me make my decision easier.

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national-day-of-unpluggingWhen talking to friends about this topic many of them believed that we need to unplug especially our youth.  The agree side presented many articles that explained why society needs to begin to unplug.   There has been a huge movement that tells everyone how they need to unplug.  When I was reading Kelsie’s blog she mentioned her discovery about National Day of Unplugging and that was a huge surprise to me.   I agree with Kelsie that “It’s an interesting concept: connectiveness has become such a ubiquitous thing that we need a day specifically set aside to justify unplugging.”   In the chat on Tuesday she asked, “What includes “unplugging”? Just devices? Laptops included?”  When I think of this “National Day of Unplugging” I also ask myself the same questions.  What does unplugging look like?  I am allowed to use my stove or microwave to make supper?  Are these types of technology included in unplugging?

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What does this mean for our children? 

I took EC&I814 Critical Perspectives on Preschool Education in the winter and was lucky to get into the summer early learning institute where I took EC&I811 Current Issues & Research in Early Childhood Education and EC&I813 Play & Learning.  In a Ted Talk Mary Beth Minton talked about the importance of unstructured play for kids and the need to make sure children unplug. From taking those classes from Patrick Lewis and Karen Wallace taught me about how children need to experience play in all of the different forms.  I know when Damon and I start our family we want to make sure our children go outside to play and have the opportunity to experience different types of play.  During the class we were able to explore and experience play and art while we were learning about the topics in our syllabus.  I felt so calm after each class was over!  I was able to connect and have great conversations with others while we were playing and creating art.  I am not going to say that when Damon and I have children that they will not watch movies or television, but we will not let our children interact with technology for seven hours each day as discussed in the Ted Talk.

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Kyle Ottenbreit discussed in the chat that it “may be easier for us to unplug rather than our children, who have grown up totally plugged in.” I think he raises a very good point because I can remember the days of no cellphones and high speed internet. The children of today and tomorrow have and will have very different childhood experiences than compared to the past generations.  I discussed in my blog, How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood?”,  that we can not compare our childhoods.  In Andres blog post he discussed his experience with talking about our debate topics with his grade 5/6 class.  I was interested in reading the students answers to Andres’ question “What is something you wish you could experience that your grandparents or older generations have told you about when they were your age.” 

Some of the students wished for:

  • “not having technology”
  • “being free to do anything you want, and not being connected to everything and everyone all the time”

The students explained they believe “that that their parents and grandparents had more interesting upbringings than them, and that they wish they could do some of the things their family members did when they were young.”  I would be interested to here the responses from grandparents if you changed the question to: What is something you wish you could experience that your grandchildren and younger generations have told you about growing up in today’s world?  Would grandparents mention that they wished they had technology? I encourage you to check out Andres’ blog to see the pros and cons to technology list that his class made.  His class came up with lots of great ideas!  Thank you Andres for demonstrating the importance to have conversations with our students about the topics they we explored in EC&I830.  I do not know if we need to encourage our students to be apart of long tech free challenge’s, but I so believe that we need to educate our students about the Ribbles 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship.  The two elements that link to this topic very well are:

Photo Credit: Taken from Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

digtal etiquette

 

*Digital etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.

Technology users often see this area as one of the most pressing problems when dealing with Digital Citizenship. We recognize inappropriate behavior when we see it, but before people use technology they do not learn digital etiquette (i.e., appropriate conduct).   Many people feel uncomfortable talking to others about their digital etiquette.  Often rules and regulations are created or the technology is simply banned to stop inappropriate use. It is not enough to create rules and policy, we must teach everyone to become responsible digital citizens in this new society.”

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Photo Credit: Taken from Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

*Digital Health & Wellness:  physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.

Eye safety, repetitive stress syndrome, and sound ergonomic practices are issues that need to be addressed in a new technological world.  Beyond the physical issues are those of the psychological issues that are becoming more prevalent such as Internet addiction.  Users need to be taught that there are inherent dangers of technology. Digital Citizenship includes a culture where technology users are taught how to protect themselves through education and training.

 

In this video the gentleman discussed how there are so many iMacs, iPads, and iPhones and our world is filled with many “I’s” and “selfies” and there needs to more of a focus on “us” and “we.”  He stated that Facebook should be an “Anti Social Network.”  Throughout his video he explores technology and social media.  Here are some of the main thoughts from his video:

  • broken friendships
  • big friend lists, but many are friendless
  • measure self worth from likes and followers
  • media causing over simulation
  • wanting to meet with friends talk to talk instead of talking through Skype
  • wanting conversations without abbreviation

The end of the video he talked about how he does not want to ruin special moments with a phone by taking videos, photos, or selfies.  Is technology ruining special moments? This reminded me of a video that I discussed in my “Selfie Sticks! Get Your Selfie Stick” post from EC&I832.  The idea of technology ruining special moments also connects to another video called I Forgot My Phone.

 

Have we become to dependent on technology, especially our cell phones? 

The agree side shared an article with us written by Margie Warrell called Text or Talk: Is Technology Making You Lonely? In the article it discussed how “Social media allows us to control what we share” and “We can pick and choose which photos we share and craftily edit our words to ensure we convey the image we want others to see.”  Are we representing ourselves in a way that truly reflects who we are?  In the article it lists different ways to build a social network away from using technology.

Strategies For Building A Real Social Network:

  1. Unplug
  2. Become a better listener
  3. Engage in your community
  4. Practice Conversation
  5. Find like minds
  6. Reconnect with long lost friends
  7. Invite people over

So does this mean…

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I am not 100% sold on the idea that if I disconnect from technology that I will reconnect with others.  If I was to follow the words on the image above I WOULD NOT reconnect with my family!  I use technology ALL THE TIME TO CONNECT WITH MY FAMILY I call my family on a regular biases and often we use Facetime so we are able to see each other.  I absolutely love this advertisement because it showcases how Facetime has truly helped me feel better about living away from my family.

As I discussed in a previous post:

I am the only person in my family who does not live where I was raised so it is nice to be able to Facetime with my family when I am not able to make it to special events that happen during the week.  My nephew and I have so much fun when we Facetime each other.  He tells me about play school, what they did during the day, and shows me all the new things that he has learned.  I love watching my ten month old niece and her reactions when my sister turns the phone to her so I can say hi.  Her expressions on her face is priceless!

Casey N. Cep wrote an article called “The Pointlessness of Unplugging.”  The parts that stood out to me were when it discussed people’s unplugging announcements:

  • “#digitaldetoxing”
  • “leaving Facebook for a while to be in the world”

She explores how “the Day of Unplugging is such a strange thing” and that “Those who unplug have every intention of plugging back in.” I found the comment about “leaving Facebook for a while to be in the world” very interesting because so many people do not realize that the “online world” and “offline world” are connected to each other.  This relates to what I learned about digital dualism and augmented reality in EC&I832.  I would never go online and state that I am leaving the online world and going on a digital detox. I am grateful for technology especially on a day like today!  My husband works with Saskpower and this weekend with all of the storms he has been very busy trouble shooting different outages so he can get the power turned back on.  I appreciate technology because he can update me if he is going to be home late through a quick text message and let me know he is safe in between jobs.   I can even download different apps onto my phone to help relieve stress and anxiety.  These types of apps can help me reconnect to myself! There are so many positive to technology!

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Unplug-4

I am very excited to reenergize this summer as my brain feels like I have been running a marathon! Shannon and so many fellow classmates have discussed the importance of balance and moderation.  I believe life is about balance and moderation, but  I also believe that it just takes time find the correct balance for yourself.  My balance and moderation for technology might look different than yours, but that is okay.  Everyone has different needs and personalities so we need to stop judging each other.  I thought Luke included an excellent quote in his post that connects to my thoughts on this topic of unplugging. The quote written by Anne Lamott states “Almost everything will work again if you unplug for a few minutes…Including you!” I believe this quote also connects very well to my philosophy!  I thought Angela stated it best in her post that  “…being connected in a balanced way enhances our realities and gives us opportunities to become our “best selves.”  I could relate to Nicole’s post because I am also ready to take a step back from technology for the summer.  I have enjoyed every class so much as each class has helped shape my teaching practices and philosophy.  I have not taken a break from classes since summer of 2014 so I need to unplug for a few minutes to recharge and get ready to work again for my new grade two class in the fall.  Does that mean that I will not turn on my computer to do planning over the summer?  Or that I will not log into Facebook or Twitter all summer long?  Absolutely not!  One of the ways that I recharge and reenergize is by being connected to my family and friends! 

 

IMG_1367I am looking forward to have more time to spend with my husband and not having to be so connected to technology to get my assignments complete and marking entered.  I want to thank my husband Damon for being so supportive while I was taken classes towards getting my Masters Curriculum and Instruction.  I am so grateful to have him in my life and that he was able to pick up the slack in the areas that I was not able to do as much at home, especially the semesters that I had to drive to Regina!

Also thank you to everyone who I have attended classes with.  I have learned so much from each and every person!  A big thank you to all the amazing professors I have had throughout these last two and a half years.  I am also grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from Alec and Katia for three semesters.  Thank you for designing courses that have given me a deeper understanding of educational technology.  I know my students have and will continue to benefit from everything I learned from those classes.  Finally thank you to everyone who took EC&I830.  I hope everyone has an amazing summer with family and friends!  Good luck to those who are continuing to pursue their degree and congratulations to everyone who has finished their Masters now!!  I look forward to seeing you at convocation in October. I have met so many fantastic educators through out my ten classes and students are so lucky to have those amazing and smart people as there teachers!  I thought this was a fitting by to end my 60th and final post:

 

drseuss597903

 

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Corporate Interests…Are The Devil?!?!

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On June 14th Tyler and I had the pleasure to debate against Dean Shareski.  Dean is a Community Manager for Discovery Education.  Going into the debate I was excited and a little bit nervous since Dean has so much experience as an educator and understands of the business side of education with his experience working for Discovery Education.  The debate was a lot of fun and I learned so much from listening to Dean perspectives!  The debate topic for this week was:

Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests in what amounts to a Faustian bargain.

Has public education sold its soul to corporate interests? Are corporate interests the devil?  Going into the debate I was  unsure about this topic since this topic has not been discussed it in previous classes that I have taken.  Tyler and I were faced with the task to present facts found from videos and readings to showcase our learning for the agree side of the debate.   It was very interesting reading through the different articles and watching videos on this topic.  As a teacher I feel very removed from this topic since teachers do not make the decisions about budget or what relationships their division should make with the different companies and professionals. This opened my eyes to a whole different side of education!

We came across an article written by Alex Molnar called Corporate Involvement In Schools: Time For A More Critical Look Even the title for this article drew me in because I was looking forward to look critically at this topic.  In our presentation we explained and stated how Corporate Involvement in education has been happening for years in different ways such as:

  • Exclusive Agreements such as the Pepsi and Coca-Cola. In 1997 a school district signed a 10 year exclusive vending agreement potentially worth $8 million with Coca-Cola.  In 1998 Pepsi donated 2 million to build a school football stadium- in exchange for exclusive rights to sell soft drinks in all 140 district schools and to advertise in school gymnasiums and athletic fields. That deal is estimated to earn the company $7.3 million over seven years.
  • Incentive Programs such as the Pizza Hut “Book It” reading incentive program.
  • Sponsorship of Programs & Activities such as Duracell Invention Challenge and Milk sponsorship in Athletic Activities SHSAA.
  • Fundraising– Alex Molanr discusses how fundraising appears to be the most wide spread commercial activity.
  • Appropriation of Space such as allocating school space to advertise.

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Photo Credit: Our Video Edit From PowToon

For school divisions and schools making partnerships with companies can lead to many positives for both sides.  Many times for programs to happen or for major projects to be completed schools need financial support from companies; therefore, they form and sign agreements to help them reach their goal.  The companies do help, but these agreements that are signed after they make donations allow them to make a huge amount of money in the end.  In the article How Corporations Are Helping To Solve the Education Crisis it shows the other side to this debate topic.   It discussed how corporations are trying to play a new role going beyond just providing money to schools.  When I was reading the article it caught my eye when it stated that “Education is key to keeping kids confident and America competitive. There is a clear business case for solving this crisis, which is why education is fast becoming a front and center issue for talent-hungry corporations, many of whom view the problem as an opportunity.”  I hope there are many corporations who believe in helping to support education and students in a positive way other than just making donations.

When I got home after the debate that evening from school I noticed a tweet about an article written in the StarPhonenix entitled “Salary increase for teacher not fully funded by province.”  At the beginning of the article it stated:

The 1.9 per cent increase recently negotiated by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation works out to about $18 million, but the province is only going to pay about $9 million and is asking school divisions to look for savings to make up the difference.

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Now that divisions have to make up the difference I wonder how many more partnerships with companies will need to occur?  In the article The Business of American Business Is Education “From goalscorporate donations to workplace restrictions, what’s taught in the classroom has always been influenced by American industry.”   At the beginning of the article it discussed “If you ask American leaders about the overall goal of the nation’s education system, you’d likely get a broad set of answers: to prepare young people for the workforce; to close racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps; to create informed citizens ready to participate in popular democracy.”  I think in Saskatchewan if you asked people what the goals were for education you would get a mixed response as well.  The goals of education for Saskatchewan have not been updated since 1985.  I was not even born yet!  On the document it stated that it was “reaffirmed in Actualization of Core Curriculum” in 1999, but that was still seventeen years ago.  I think that we need to look at our goals again to make sure those goals are still our beliefs.  Some of the areas maybe need to be reworded or expanded on while we may need to add to our goals since we are now living in the twenty-first century.

What do you think the overall goal of education should be?

Tyler and I also explored in our debate how many school divisions have “critical friends” with professionals who are sponsored by or spokes people for specific companies.  Often these professional have amazing ideas and have presented many wonderful resources that can be used to help with planning and in areas that educators need more support in.  Personally I have enjoyed listening to many of the professionals that our division has brought in to help support us.  This year I was able to hear Sue Jackson speak a few times about guided reading, reading strategies and guided writing.  I liked many of her ideas about shared and modeled reading and writing, but all of the resources she presented to us were Scholastic resources because she works for that company.  Tyler explained very well in his blog how many teachers feeling about this area:

Yes, [the resources are] very good but sometimes it feels that we are pressured into using “their” resources in order for us to have success.  Many teachers also feel pressure to abide by these “new” ideas because the division has told them to.  It is hard for many teachers to fully implement these ideas because they had little to no input into what new ideas they wanted to learn abut.  More and more teachers are feeling disconnected from the division personnel because they fell they do not understand the issues teachers are facing in the “trenches.”

Maintaining healthy relationships with everyone is critical to education.  Dean discussed the importance of relationships and explained that the company he is employed with, Discovery Education,  works very hard to develop a close relationship with schools and works towards developing shared understandings.  He gave a quote from the CEO of Discovery Education that he tells to his staff internally- “We do good by doing good.”  He went to explain that what his CEO is meaning by that is “the financial will follow if we do right by children.”  That is excellent to hear that their are companies who value the relationships with school divisions and care about our students, but there are many companies who do not share similar philosophies.  When Tyler and I began to look at Pearson Education I was shocked to learn about this company and read who they are as a company.  In an article I learned that Pearson Education even has its hands in teacher certification in New York State and has developed a Teacher Performance assessment by collaborating with Stanford University.  I am very thankful companies like this are not sending out agents to evaluate my teaching.

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245_pearson_educationThis video below showcases the amount of money that Pearson makes from students in the United States through standardized testing.  I was very surprised that how many standardized tests students in the United States needs to take.  In the video it discussed how to amount of assessments have increased over the years in many states.  I could relate to Carter’s opinions in his blog post as it was a huge eye opener for me as well when I learned how Pearson has been profiting from students failures through students having to retake those standardized tests.  Just thinking about Pearson profiting from students failures really gets my blood pumping.  Does that sound like the “We do good by doing good” motto that Discovery Education believes in?

Absolutely not!

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver even discussed on his show one evening about Standardized Testing.  I encourage you to check out this video too!  It further examines how Pearson is involved in the implementation of standardized testing.  I do want to give you a heads up that he uses some explicit language and offensive humor to help him get his point across about the negative side of standardized testing.   If I was a student who had to complete all of these tests  I would be have been very anxious.  Now there is even a protocol to follow when someone vomits on his or her test booklet.  You know there are problems with an assessment that needs to have this type of protocol set in place.  These assessments are hindering students health and are putting an enormous amount of pressure on the students and teachers.  This leads back to the question…what are the goals in education?  In my mind this amount and types of different standardized tests do not match any of the goals that I would want to see in education.

Logan’s blog post stood out to me when he was asking about where the line was and what the balance is.  Even though I was on the agree side for the debate I personally don’t fully agree that public education has sold its soul to corporate interests completely. Near the beginning of this post I mentioned how school divisions will have to find room in the budget to pay teacher’s salaries since the government is only paying for some of it.  The contract is a binding agreement so each school division is going to make adjustments in order to pay teachers increase.  Will there need to be cuts to staffing or programing?  What stays and went goes?  Will forming relationships with corporations and companies help support education and the lack of funding that education in Saskatchewan is currently undergoing?  As Andres mentioned in his post “education is a mind-bogglingly large market, NOT taping into it would be absurd, which is why I agree that we’ve definitely sold our souls to corporate interests.”  I could relate to his perspective that in many ways we have to.  There are lots of the partnerships that are helping fund major projects and much needed renovations.  Andres discussed that “we can’t be blindsided by these things along” because “They have a lot of money to spare, and truthfully speaking, they’re not only building a business relationship with school districts, but they are also creating new clients with the students.”  I want to believe that companies want to put student’s learning and growth first, but lets be honest…I think they are looking out for the future of their company and making sure they are making a profit.

This debate topic has truly pushed me to look at a different side of education that I have never really thought about before.  I am still left with more questions than answers, but now I will be paying closer attention to education and corporate interest!

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Mission…Accomplished!

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Photo Credit: Patti Leigh

Wow!  I can not believe that the end of the semester is here!  I am very excited to say that the summary of learning that I created along with Tyler is complete!  We had a lot of fun using the “Mission” theme for our assignment.  This is the third summary of learning assignment I have completed for Alec and Katia.  For my first summary of learning for EC&I831  I used an story telling app Toontastic to create a video that discussed the beginning of my journey and then I created a Prezi to explain what I learned along the way.  The Prezi ended with a song that I created to wrap up what I learned about in that class.  For EC&I832 I created a video of the book I wrote “Twas The End of The Semester” inspired by the book “Twas The Night Before Christmas.”  Since it was December I also created a short Summary of Learning Jingle to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

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magnifying glassFor this assignment Tyler and I had many conversations trying to decide on our direction for this project.  For our debate we used a green screen to record our presentation so we wanted to try something new.  I was wanting to use an app or website that I have not used before and so we turned to… of course Google!  When we looked up fun video presentation websites we saw PowToon was one of the options suggested.  Tyler and I decided to check out this website to see what it had to offer.  You can create your own presentation by scratch and they have some templates that you can use to help get you started for the first few slides.  We saw the template “Mission Impossible” and were inspired to use that template to help us create our vision for our project.  We got busy discussing highlights that we learned about from each debate and began to figure out what order to include our ideas in the script.  It was a lot of fun working with someone on this assignment and it led to many great conversations about the class and all of the different topics that were covered.  I am usually very long winded and sometimes struggle with focusing on key ideas and often want to discuss everything so Tyler was very helpful in that area.  In the video we had to complete “missions” through researching the topics and had to report back to discuss our findings in the different areas.  Tyler and I worked hard at talking up the key things we learned about from each debate and the assigned readings.  I would recommend PowToon! Once Tyler and I discovered that we were able to do voiceover per slide in the program that made it go by a lot easier.  Originally we were trying to take sound from audacity and transfer it onto the program, but that was not working for us. There were some really neat features and I know next year I want to try using PowToon with my students.  I think they would have a lot of fun and it would be great tool for them to use to practice many skills such speaking.  They could practice how to speak clearly with expression when they record their presentation.   There are so many great tools and websites that can be used in the classroom to allow students to showcase their learning.

Photo Credit: Source

summary-of-learning-experiencesI loved the debate format for this semester! So many colleagues from this class are at different points in their degree and in their career.  Each bringing in a wealth of knowledge and experiences.  Also some fellow colleagues were very familiar with educational technology while for others they did not know a lot about digital citizenship and other topics discussed in class.  This class shows the power of asking a question or leading with a debate topic can open the doors for a lot of learning to occur.  I have been lucky to have some background knowledge on the topics through previous classes and each week I learned so much.  I was able to expand on my prior knowledge and the debates allowed me to think critically about technology in many different contexts.  This class was a great way to finish my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction because it has helped me to continue to shape my pedagogy.  The debate topics have allowed me to think a lot about technology and what I need to be teaching in my classroom to support my school division’s  motto “success for all my students.”  All of the classes that I have taken over the past two and a half years has helped me shape my philology of education and my education beliefs.

I encourage you to check out Kayla and Chaylyn’s summary of learning!  They used PowToon for their project and they even used the same template!  It is neat seeing how different  websites and apps can allow people to put their own creative spin on their project and allow each piece to look awesome in their own unique way.  There are so many talented educators in my class and I encourage you to check out the blog hub to read their reflections and check out the videos that they created to showcase their learning.

Here is our summary of learning!

A quick shout out and thanks to Tyler!  I enjoyed working on our debate and our summary of learning together.  Also a huge thank you to Katia, Alec, and everyone in our class.  I have learned so much in these last two months through the debates, reading your blog posts, and exploring the resources that everyone has shared through Google+, Twitter, and their blog.

“The journey of our lives is not just about the destinations we have reached. Our wisdom, education and personal growth come from the people we meet, the paths we choose to follow and the lessons we have learned along the way.”  

– Unknown

 


How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood?

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ThinkingThis week in EC&I830 we had another great ed tech debate which has led me to ask a lot of questions and reflect on my childhood.  My mind has been going in different directions!

How is social media impacting children?

Is social media actually ruining childhood?

Amy, Logan, and Carter (the agree side) shared with our class how social media is affecting children in a negative way and is ruining childhood. While Ellen and Elizabeth (the disagree side) presented to our class how social media is not ruining childhood and how it can have a positive impact on children’s lives.  Both sides presented very strong arguments and did an excellent job!

The agree side presented to us an article from The Huffington Post- Social Media Affects Child Mental Health Through Increased Stress, Sleep Deprivation, Cyberbulling, Experts Say.  In the article it started off talking about a girl who was unable to get away from bullying due to the online world of social media.  She talked about her struggle getting verbally bullied face-to-face and how the bullying continued to happen on Facebook.  Later in the article it stated “A potent mix of cyberbullying, increased anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation are increasingly linked to mental illness in children, campaigners, doctors and psychologists have told The Huffington Post UK.”  This article reminded me of my The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On? blog post that explored if technology is making our kids unhealthy.  During this blog post I looked at both sides of the debate to see how technology was negatively and positively affecting physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, and the social health and the well-being of children.  Throughout that post I tried to make a point that there are two sides to the debate which have valid pros and cons to social media as well as the positive and negative affects that social media can have on kids.  In The Huffington Post article there were a few points that stood out the most to me:

  • “With adolescents we know there is a link between social interactions and self-esteem, that they spend lots of time online and that a lot of that time is spent on social networks,” she tells HuffPost UK.”
  • “Young people often act first and think of the consequences afterwards; they do not consider how an act now can affect them in future years,” Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Birmingham’s Woodbourne Priory Hospital, told HuffPost UK. This can have a profound effect on the self-esteem, mood and anxiety levels.  By posting pictures or comments on social media they open themselves to scrutiny from many more peers than they are used to when doing this in a classroom – and their comments and pictures are now permanent.”

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putting on make up

In Amy Martin’s blog post, Amanda Todd and The Myth of Digital Dualism, she raised many great points about society and the sexualization of women.  In her post she wrote, “According to Media Smarts, “three-year-olds already prefer game pieces that depict thin people over those representing heavier ones, while by age seven girls are able to identify something they would like to change about their appearance.”” I agree Amy, this is terrifying!  Our children and youth are exposed to so much media through television, music, movies, magazines, advertisements, Youtube, Internet, and all the different forms of social media.  There are so many pressures for people to look and act a certain way. I can remember watching a documentary called Sext Up KIDS when I took EC&I832.  During the documentary it discusses and “reveals how our hyper-sexualized culture has hijacked childhood and what parents and educators are doing to fight back.”  (I encourage you to watch it, but without young children because it is geared for a mature audience as it has profanity and highly sexualized images throughout the documentary).  What messages are we sending our children and youth?? The documentary gave a powerful message how youth are not just consuming images online, but producing images now as well I discussed this in a previous blog The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media

Jessica Henrion wrote a thoughtful post called “#nofilterlifestyle.”  Jessica talked about how we need to teach children to love and care for themselves.  She quoted CBC (2013) “You can get a different version of yourself…. You can edit yourself.” Now with technology we can retake photos until they are “perfect”, edit photographs according to our style, and we can even add a filter over the photo!  I thought Jessica made an excellent point when she stated:

… we need to help our students become confident individuals that love themselves.  We need to help tear down the expectations social media has to be beautiful and perfect.  We need to help our students lead a #nofilter lifestyle!!  By doing this we can hopefully begin to prevent our students from reaching out to the online world in unhealthy ways.

Can you guess which photograph has no filter?

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On Snapchat there are now different filters that you can use to change up your photographs.  Some of the filters are meant to be silly while others you can use to “enhance” your appearance.  One of the filters that I used evened out my completion (also looks like I have eyeliner on now) while the other filter gives more of the smokey eye effect and thinned my face.  I was raised that I am beautiful with or without make up on and that I do not need to change who I am!  What message do these types of filters send to children and teens?

I do have to admit that sometimes the filters that you can add to a photo are a lot of fun! Do students feel comfortable enough to share silly pictures of themselves?

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Children and teens are feeling the pressure to look a certain way!  In an article called Does social media impact on body image? it discussed how “Magazines and television are often blamed for portraying an ideal body image that causes people to question their looks and lose confidence in themselves. But what about the role social media plays in moulding attitudes to the way we look?”  Later in the article “The MPs’ report said pressure to look good had pushed up cosmetic surgery rates by nearly 20% since 2008. ”  That is very scary statistic to me! 

 On April 7th, 1995 my life and my family’s world was shaken!  SCRYL-COPIE16061322041_0002When I was just seven years old I was diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis also known as flesh eating disease.  Doctors had to remove the diseased tissue and once I was in the clear then they performed skin graphs.  I was left with visible scarring across my chest, on my right shoulder, and down the right side of my back.  I  discussed my experience in a previous blog post called Will You Be The One To Speak Out??  I  talked about not wanting to hide my scars because why would I ever want to hide who I am!  My scars tell my story of survival and I am proud of who I am today.  I do often wonder if my journey would have drastically changed if social media was around when I was sick.  I can recall many newspapers telling my story when I was sick and I still have all of the articles from different newspapers in a special box.  The picture above is one of the many newspaper clippings I have from when I was young and in the hospital.  I can even remember being on CTV Regina news when I came out of the hospital!  I was sitting in my living room when I saw the clip and saw my photograph on the television.  I asked my parents why they were talking about me because at the time I did not understand how serious my illness was and how worried everyone in the community was.  Facetime would have been amazing when I was in the hospital so I could have talked my family more often especially my older sister and younger brother.  I missed them so much while I was in the hospital as I only got to see them on the weekends.  I also wonder what people would have wrote about me in all of the different forms of social media if it existed over twenty years ago. Maybe social media would have made me more self conscious about my body?  Maybe if I was older I would have wished to use a filter to try to hid my scar?? There could have been a lot of positives too! Maybe I would have found groups of people who had similar surgeries before?  Maybe people would have created a group to write me notes to send positive encouragement and prayers to my family?  With social media there are some negatives sides, but there are so many positive aspects of social media! 

I believe we are always very hard on ourselves and sometimes tend to see our faults first instead of our strengths. 

Check out this video below!

In this Dove video it showcases how we truly are our own worst critic and we see all of our flaws that do not stand out to other people.  We need to start to embrace who we are and focus on the positives instead of the negatives!

There are other videos to view that were created by Dove that showcases how media “enhances” images before the photographs go on billboards or adds.  The video was called  Dove Evolution | With some images, all is not what it seems. Near the end of the video these words appear on the screen, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”  I could not agree more! I was excited to see that dove and the campaign were looking at the male version of real beauty as well.  That video is called Dove campaign for real beauty (male version).  I think that sometimes we forget that boys need to talk about self esteem too.  Boys have pressures to look a specific way just like girls do.  There is another video called Dove Legacy | A girl’s beauty confidence that explores the importance being role models to children by loving ourselves and not cutting our self down with negative thoughts.  Finally there is another great video called Dove Real Beauty Sketches | Mothers & Daughters.  I think these Dove videos are great to view because they open to the doors to have great conversations in the classroom.  It also gives students time to understand the importance of loving yourself! 

Here are some other resources for teaching self-esteem:

In the CNN article “Is social media ruining our kids?” a comment that stood out to me in the video was when they talked about how what kids are posting is not matching what they are feeling.  It reminded me of the video that Amy, Logan, and Carter shared with us to watch to have more understanding on how social media can effect us.

I encourage you to also read an article called Split Image by Kate Fagan and watch the video that is linked in the article.  The message from the video above connects to Madison Holleran’s personal story.  “On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend. But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.”  Parents, teachers, and community members need to make sure they are reach out to students and build positive relationships with them.

In the CNN article “Is social media ruining our kids?” it started off by stating “It is 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are? A decade ago, if your answer to that question was, “Yes, at home,” you felt comfortable that your children were in a safe and secure place. That’s no longer true. Now that kids have smartphones and tablets, they can hang out on a dangerous street corner without ever leaving their room.”  I encourage you to watch another documentary about a young girl named Amanda Todd.  The Fifth Estate’s documentary was entitled The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and during the documentary it talks about Amanda’s life.  Amanda had a beautiful voice and often posted videos of her singing on YouTube using her webcam from her bedroom.  One day she made one mistake in front of her webcam that led to her being bullied at the schools she attended, online, and also being blackmailed online.  Students need to be educated not only about positive self esteem and , but they need also need to understand digital citizenship.  I do not want my students to have to go through online shaming.  I am hoping that I can teach powerful life lessons to my students when they are young so they do not have to go through the online shaming that Justine Sacco has inquired from one Tweet she posted on Twitter. I have explored online shaming before in two previous posts called Do You Think Before You Post or Share Online? and my Do You Have A Digital Tattoo? What Story Does It Tell?.

Photo Credit: Brian 104 via Compfight cc

looking

It is important not to just look at one side of the debate!  Ellen and Elizabeth shared with us some great articles on how social media can be very positive to children and teens.  One of the articles discusses 5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media.

  1. It strengthens friendships- Social media can allow children and teens to feel more outgoing and can help build their friendships stronger.
  2. It offers a sense of belonging– Social media can help students feel less lonely and are becoming “more socially adept.”
  3. It provides genuine support-  Children and teens have the opportunity to find acceptance through groups who share similar hobbies or have the same values in life.  It also gives children and teens “immediate access to quality support online.”
  4. It helps them express themselves– Children and teens get a chance to be creative through self-expression on social media.
  5. It lets them do good– Social media expose children and teens to important topics and events from all over the world.  “Kids realize they have a voice they didn’t have before and are doing everything from crowdfunding for people in need to anonymously Tweeting positive thoughts.”

In Angela Barnes and Christine Laird’s article The Effects of Social Media on Children discusses that social media “…is not just an avenue for socializing; kids and adolescents can be creative, interact, and learn.”  It also allows for peers to stay connected in and outside of school hours with others from similar interests and hobbies.  Social media can lead people to accept others and their differences.  It can even help students complete their homework and other class projects! Michael Sheehan also shares his opinions on 5 Reasons Why Social Media Might Actually be Good for Your Child.

  1. Keep up with friends
  2. Collaborate with schoolmates
  3. Discover new interests
  4. Get prepared for the future
  5. Get creative

Photo Credit: pmha@ymail.com via Compfight cc

thumbs upThis week everyone in our class had very thoughtful and well planned blog posts.  In Lisa’s post This is Not a Box she had many great insights throughout her post.  Lisa discussed that “We need to encourage children to have a balanced childhood where they can enjoy playing outdoors with friends and improve their social skills, but also learn about and enjoy technology.”  Also thank you for sharing the article “Childhood Isn’t What it Used to Be” by Randi Zuckerberg! I thought it was very interesting!  Stephanie brought up a great point when she discussed a workshop that she attended by Rick Lavoie.  In her post she commented “that we need to recognize the childhood our students and children are experiencing is nothing like the childhood we experienced. He cautioned us to think about how we respond to students.” I agree that our environment has changed significantly and when I was in my teens social media was just beginning.  We can not compare our childhood because it is like comparing apples and steak.  Ashley’s post Does social media need a time out? was well written!  Ashley addressed many key points and I enjoyed reading her thoughts about how social media is “hurting the development of face to face communication skills in our youth and even adults.”  She talked about the importance of body language and how our tone of voice both play a vital role in the way we communicate.  However, when we use technology and type our responses body language and tone of voice becomes removed which can lead to some misunderstandings between people.  Ashely shared an interesting video called Text Tone Deaf and it showcases the misunderstandings that can occur.  I encourage you to check it out!

At the end of is technology making our kids unhealthy debate I was teetering between agree and disagree because both side brought forward valid points.  I came to the conclusion that by educating our children and youth I think we can help them find a balance.  Balance has been a word used often in people’s reflections during our EC&I830 debates and in their blog posts.  Where do I stand on this debate?  Is social media ruining childhood?  In the The Huffington Post article that I shared earlier in this post had a quote by Lucie Russell who is a Director of Media and Campaigns at YoungMinds.  I thought the quote sums up my thoughts nicely on this topic.  The quote stated:

“We need to realize young people are on social media and that’s here to stay, now it’s about giving them skills to manage their online lives.” 

I believe if children are not taught the skills, if they are not given the knowledge or are not having open conversations about self esteem, digital citizenship, cyberbullying/bullying, and the importance of living a healthy life style then social media could have the potential to ruin a child’s life if they do not have a support system.  I believe children need to know they can count on a trusted adult to turn to for advice and for support in their lives.  Sometimes students may even contact someone through using social media or use one of the many support groups that exist in the different online spaces.  I think if children and youth are educated about social media, know how to maintain a positive digital footprint, and have a support system that social media will not ruin their life.  In the CNN article and video that I mentioned earlier in my post discussed, “Kids whose parents were involved were less likely to get up set about social media.”  Parents, educators, and the entire community need to work and come together…

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Photo Credit: Small World Learning Village


Have you examined equity lately?

Photo Credit: From Business Korea Article

equity in magnifying glassWow!  Tuesday evening  was filled with lots of learning! Bob, Katherine, Ian, and Ainsley did an amazing job presenting their sides on the debate topic- Technology is a force for equity in society? I have been struggling to begin this blog post because my mind has been bouncing back and forth not knowing where to start.  I decided to first to examine the word equity and I turned to the online Merriam-Webster’s dictionary to help me wrap my head around what equity was defined as.  The simple definition in the online dictionary states equity is “fairness or justice in the way people are treated” and the simple definition for equality is “the quality or state of being equal: the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.”  Then I began to explore equity in education and began to reflect about my experiences as a educator and a student.

What does fair look like in education ? 

fair quote

Photo Credit: Source

Photo Credit: Source

soccer pic of equityI agree that “Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need.”  As depicted in the picture as a teacher I could give each student the same the guide reading lesson or tool to use in the classroom, but is that equality helping each of my students?  No it is not…Every student is unique in their own way and deserve to have the opportunity to learn and grow through differentiated instruction.  In order for each student to be successful I need to provide my class with different supports to help make sure everyone can reach their full potential.

Does technology help bridge the gaps and make education more equitable?

With the use of technology students and adults are able to go online to help receive some education in a variety of courses.  Daphne Koller discusses Coursera in a Ted Talk-What we’re learning from online education.  Coursera gives students the capability to log onto the website to sign up for free online courses that were designed by prestigious universities. She talked about how Coursera:

  • breaks away from one size fits all model of education-personalized curriculum
  • helps people receive higher education
  • there are enrichment topics
  • education is a fundamental human right
  • allows for life long learning

In the video Koller explains that the course has even helped out a parent whose child was very sick since was not able to attend classes because he would be exposed to germs that would harm his sick child.  This child’s parent was able to log onto Coursera from the comfort of home while keeping his child safe.  Koller even talked about how people can present a certificate after they have taken a class or classes and some are actually able to get credit if they approach and talk to a university.  It was also discussed that these courses are free.  That is amazing because then it helps so many people from a lower socio-economic status to have the opportunity to take courses if they can not afford them, but are all the courses actually free?  When I looked into free courses there were 1093 matches on the Coursera website.  At the top of the website it stated, “Looking for free courses? For all courses on Coursera:

  • You can explore lectures and non-graded material for free
  • Prices shown reflect the cost for the complete course experience, including graded assignments and certificates
  • Financial aid is available for learners who qualify”

I thought the courses were free?  If I did not have a lot of money I would be disappointed that maybe a course that I wanted to take was not free and that I would not be able to take it because I could not financially afford it.  On the website does state “financial aid is available for learners who qualify”, but how do people qualify?  How many courses/classes can someone qualify for?  How much does the financial aid cover?

In the article Ed Tech’s Inequalities there was an excerpt written from edX CEO Anant Agarwal that stated,

One way MOOCs have changed education is by increasing access. MOOCs make education borderless, gender-blind, race-blind, class-blind and bank account-blind. Up to now, quality education – and in some cases, any higher education at all – has been the privilege of the few. MOOCs have changed that. Anyone with an internet connection can have access. We hear from thousands of students, many in under-served, developing countries, about how grateful they are for this education.

What about the students who do not have the access to the internet?  Are students still able to learn if they do not have access to the internet or devices?  As discussed in the article flipped classrooms are also a big trend in education.  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry wrote an article called “What Is The Flipped Classroom Model and Why Is It Amazing?”  In the article there is an infographic that explains what a flipped classroom is, what the supports say about the flipped classroom learning, and what the critics say.  In the article, the Ed Tech’s Inequalities, and another article provided by the disagree side-Scaling The Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achieve, all talk about the digital divide.  On the infographic is states “Not all students have meaningful access to model devices and the Internet.  The flipped classroom can further alienate students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”  The infographic goes on further outlining how students who are privileged have access to:

  • “personal computer with high speed internet access in bedroom”
  • “owns latest smartphone and tablet”
  • “attends schools with large tax base and private funding”

While students who are underprivileged have:

  • “access to limited number of public computers for limited amount of time”
  • “family cannot afford fancy mobile device (or breakfast)”
  • “school is underfunded”

There are a lot of really benefits for using the flipped classroom model.  Students actually have time to be engaged in the learning in the classroom,have the chance to have meaningful conversations and more work time instead of just listening to a teacher lecture.  They can listen to their teacher from home and have the opportunity to play the lesson back as many times as needed to understand the material that is being presented.  If teachers use the flipped classroom model are they creating more of a divide in their classroom?  Are they adding more stress on the students who do not have the same access as other students in the class?

Does Technology Create Equity in Society?

 

yes no

Photo Credit: atayepley via Compfight cc

 

standardizedanimalsIn Stephanie Pipke-Painchaud’s blog post she reflected about her experience as a Differentiated Instruction Facilitator (DIF) and added this cartoon (Photo Credit: Image from Rockin Teacher Materials) onto her blog post as it her minded her of conversations she has had about differentiated learning.  I can remember seeing this cartoon in one of my undergraduate classes and discussing the importance of differentiation.  When I was looking into more about differentiation and the cartoon that Stephanie used on her post I came across an post written by Dave Mulder called The Teachers’ Lounge: Getting Real about Differentiation. In the post Mulder discusses a conference that he attended where Rick Wormeli was presenting on  formative assessment, summative judgment, and descriptive feedback.  Wormeli shared the same cartoon that Stephanie had used and often the argument is “that we should have different standards of assessment for different students, because the students are clearly unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and it isn’t fair to hold them all to the same standards.”  However, Wormeli put a twist on the cartoon and suggests that “we actually should hold students to the same standard.”  He explains that “If climbing the tree is a necessary part of the curriculum, then we simply must have every student get up that tree. Even the fish!” 

When I was first reading this I did not know what to think!

Wormeli stated that “it’s incumbent upon us as educators to do everything we can to help our students meet the high standard.”  I think it is important for all students to be given the opportunity to succeed and reach for a personal best.   How does a teacher help a student meet these standards?  In the post it was discussed it would “likely mean allowing different paths to reaching the standard, and providing ongoing, descriptive feedback to students as they are working to meet the standard that has been set: what is working, what is not working, what else they might try.”  To illustrate his ideas during the presentation he shared cartoons to show case how the other animals could climb the tree.  This picture of the fish (Photo Credit:  Mulder’s Photo from Wormeli Presentation) is just one of the examples of the cartoons that he shared to demonstrate the importance of providing students will multiple pathways. The pictures also made me think of our debate and how many of those animals used assisted technology to help them climb the tree.

The article “Assistive Technology Tools-Supporting Literacy Learning for All Learners in the Inclusive Classroom” that Bob and Katherine provided for us to read connects to differentiating for students.  It discusses how differentiation can be challenging, but “One way that teachers can support the learning needs of a range of students is through assistive technology, which enhances students’ ability to perform and complete tasks with efficiency and independence.”  As Erin talked about in her blog post I have seen first hand that assistive technology has opened up the doors for students in the school that I teach at.  I have also heard stories from friends who teach in different divisions and how technology is enhancing learning and providing students with opportunities in their schools too.  In Tyler’s post, Is There Equity in Education, he has included two videos that showcase how technology has not only helped two people at school, but has made their lives better.  Those two videos demonstrate truly how technology can make a difference in a person’s life.   Amanada Morin lists 8 examples of assistive technology and adaptive tools that can be used in the classroom.  In the examples listed some of the tools are low-tech while others are more costly.  I agree with Kyle Dumont when his discussed in his blog post:

While I am in this class because I believe using technology is the way of the future of education, I also know that you can not replace good teaching. Yes these tools are amazing and they can help your student develop a deeper understanding of what concept you are attempting to cover, but if you are not using them appropriately they are as useful as a dried up ball point pen on a Scantron sheet. 

I think Kyle made a valid point that these tools are amazing, but teachers need to know how to effectively implement them in the classroom.  He raises another great point in his blog post about the cost in time and money invested in teaching educators how to use the tools in their classroom with the examples he provided.  I also think it is vital that students need time to understand how to use the tools being provided to them.  If students are not trained in how to use it to benefit his or her learning then it just becomes another gadget that the child may not take good care of.   I believe if a student knows how to use it and they are benefiting from the technology then the child will take care of the device.  Student’s would not want to damage something that is helping them in a positive way.

 

money and roads

Photo Credit: Source

Technology can open the doors and provide so many opportunities and paths for people…But at what cost?

Bob and Katherine introduced me to a new technology that I did not know existed.  Technology can not only help in education, but in health care system as now there are robots delivering health care in Saskatchewan!  It is amazing how this technology gives people opportunity to see specialists without having to spend so much money on travel, but how much does this technology cost?  I am guessing that this technology is not cheap as there would be more robots made available and how much does it cost to train the doctors and staff to know and understand how to use this technology effectively?  Just like in education technology is helping to open the doors for equity within society, but it will not reach everyone as money is always a huge factor.  It costs money to train everyone and purchase the technology!  When students  and patients are able to access the technology/tools and everyone knows how to implement it effectively then I think technology is very beneficial. 


The Time Is Now…We need to educate our students about sharing

Photo Credit: mintcandydigital via Compfight cc

sharing

This week in my EC&I830 class we explored a new debate topic- Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.  Going into this debate I was already leaning towards disagree because of my previous experiences with having my students sharing online through blogging.  When I took EC&I831  I was able to choose my own project.  For my major digital project I chose to create a classroom blog and I created individual blogs for each of my students under their secret agent number.  I saw so many educators using classroom blogs and thought it was a great opportunity to begin a new journey.  It also allowed me to teach my students about digital citizenship.  This project was a huge learning curve for me because I had no previous experience blogging before personally until I started taking classes from Alec and Katia.   Then when I took EC&I832 I was able to continue my journey by being able to expand on my previous project and I choose a new focus for my major digital project.  I  documented my journey on my blog discussing resources that I used such as, the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence, the Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve, and other resources that I found.  I also created three grade two integrated units using the Common Sense Media lesson scope and sequence as a major resource:

I appreciated Shannon, Kelsie, and Danielle (the agree side) sharing the Peel Region School Board Staff Guidelines for Social Media.  The school division I work for also has administrative procedures for responsible use of technology and internet, confidentiality, media relations, and that the use of social media will comply with administrative procedures.  Before we can engage in any social media with our students we need to fill out a social media approval form.  It is critical for all teachers and staff to know their schools divisions administrative procedures! After I had approval from the division office then I was able to send home a Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016.  I encouraged  each family to talk about the blog with their child.  My students are  the ones participating in the blog so I think they should have a choice.  I have always had 100% of my students participate and I really appreciated one family that talked to me.  When the family talked to their child he was nervous about videos and audio being posted on the blog, but was excited about writing posts and having pictures posted.  I would never want a child to do something that he or she is uncomfortable with.  I was very proud of him!  His parents did sign off that part of the parent permission form incase he changed his mind and they knew that I would respect their son’s wishes.

digital footprintPhoto Credit: Source

Lisa, Haiming, and Stephanie (disagree side) shared with us an article that explored how teachers need to be positive role models and need to make sure they are taking care of their digital footprint.   As Andrew mentioned in the chat on Tuesday teachers need to “walk the walk.”  I agree with the article and Andrew!  If we are going to “talk the talk” with our students about the importance of having a positive digital footprint then it is imperative for teachers to be role models on what a positive digital footprint looks like.  I have Googled my name to show my students that anything you create or write online stays online.  My students thought it was very neat to see their teacher’s work online.  I learned on Tuesday night from Amy that I can use not only use Google to see what digital footprints I have left online, but I can also use Duck Duck Go-it is a search engine that doesn’t track you.  When I was reading Erin’s blog post this week I could relate to her when she talked about “how tiny [her] digital presence is” since she changed her name after she was married during the summer.  During the summer I also changed my name after I married my husband Damon.  Now I go by Justine Kyle, but for university I chose to hyphenate my name since I completed more than half of my Masters Degree as a Stephanson.  I have been slowly changing my name for my social media accounts while other accounts that I use professionally I chose to hyphenate since I am Justine Stephanson-Kyle at the university. Currently right now I do not have a big digital footprint under my married name, but I can show my students my footprint under my maiden and hyphenated name.

It is important to “walk the walk” when you “talk the talk” but I started to think about the educators who are not online and do not have a digital footprint or that has a digital footprint that is tiny.  Some people are “digital visitors” online while other people maybe “digital residents.”  In my post, “Which One Am I?” I reflected about how I know that I am a digital resident as I choose to be visible online through all the spaces I engage in.

Here is a short video that gives a quick snap shot showing the difference between digital visitors and digital residents:

I encourage you to also watch David White’s video about digital visitors and digital residents that I added in below.

I prefer White’s continuum over “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” You can watch Do “Digital Natives” Exist? to find out more about digital natives and digital immigrants.  I like using the wording digital visitors and residents because it doesn’t assign people to groups based on age and population as the other video did that explores digital natives and immigrants.

People who are digital visitors may go online to  book a holiday or pay bills.  Once the person is finished their task then he or she goes back offline again.  Visitors are invisible as they do not leave any social traces online when interacting on the web in those spaces.  While a resident leaves their mark and identity through blogging, commenting, posting videos, posting pictures, and/or posting in variety of ways in a series of different places or spaces online.  Residents live a portion of their lives out online. They choose to go online to be present with others and will leave a social trace and footprint.

Photo Credit: thomasanthonyzampetti via Compfight cc

digital fingerprint

I believe every teacher needs to start understanding and learning about digital citizenship whether they are a digital visitor or resident.  So many of our students are becoming digital residents at a young age and they do not understand that they are leaving a social trace and their digital prints online for the world to see.  I know I do not want my students to leave negative prints online that could affect them as they get older.  I liked the quote that Kayla included in her blog post this week from teachershub.com -“If you aren’t controlling who you are online, some else is or will.”  I think it is critical to make sure we are personally shaping our own digital identity and giving the students the opportunity to learn how to do so in a positive way.  I believe we not only need to educate our students, but parents as well.  With many parents participating in different forms of social media their children are no longer anonymous at birth.  Some children are digitally born before their actual birthday as many parents post ultra sound pictures or make a pregnancy announcement.  Parents and other family members are the first people to start adding to their child’s digital identity so they need to make sure they are creating a positive digital tattoo for their child.  If parents are made aware of what digital footprint is maybe they will want to be proactive to protect their child’s future identity as the couple did in the article that the agree side provided us with.

I have been very proud of my students this year!  They have learned a lot about online safety when visiting websites, exploring how to keep their identity private, and they know what a digital footprint is.  My students really understood the permanency of a digital footprint when I described how it is like a digital tattoo.  Check out secret agent #5’s post about “No Sharing Your Stuff” and secret agent #15’s post “stay safe“.

lesson one #2 photo lesson one photo

Here are two pictures from one of the lessons I taught my students when they talked about safety.  My students were able to make the connection that the rules are similar when they are visiting places online and in real life.  I think so many times people view online and offline as separate places, but they are not because people are able to interact with other people in both spaces.

When I was looking through a website called Visual Library while I was exploring digital citizenship resources I saw this image:

all good citizensI believe Citizenship and Digital Citizenship are the same thing…

I want my students to be good citizens no matter where they are or what online spaces they are using!

Both of these digital citizenship posters “All Good Digital Citizens” and “Think” can be used to remind students how to be good citizens when they are offline too!

new think image

  Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

This reminds me when I learned about digital dualism and augmented reality in EC&I832.   Alec mentions both of terms in his Ted Talk –Identity in a digital world. (Thanks for sharing Angela! I never saw his video until I read your blog!).

So…. do I think that openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids?

No I do not think that openness and sharing at school is unfair because there are many benefits to sharing student’s work in online spaces. I think that there is The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media as I talked about in this post, but when policies are in place and teachers are educated about digital citizenship I think sharing can be positive for students.   I am very excited to continue blogging with my students again next year especially since I will have some lap tops that we can keep in our classroom. That will provide students more of an opportunity to blog daily!  This year we started off very strong using our blogs especially when we had learning buddies, but when we worked on some other projects during that time we did our blogs as much as I wanted.  I also want to branch out more to other schools and connect with them especially other grade two classrooms.  This semester I have been able to reflect so much about my learning through reading over my own posts and using pingbacks in my writing when a debate topic reminds me what I learned about in EC&I831 and EC&I832.  If students are able to blog daily or every other day then they could reflect on their learning, make connections to other subject areas, and continue to expand their thinking as they learn more about different topics. I really enjoyed reading Angela’s blog post this week.  I appreciated her honesty and sharing her journey with us.  I recommend to take baby steps and turn to fellow colleagues for advice and help along the way.  I was lucky that a colleague shared the information about a digital citizenship webinar that Kathy Cassidy presented on.  She is so knowledgably and gave us great tips to help us get started on our journey.  One of my struggles is sharing videos on my classroom blog because I will admit I have fear of Youtube and I am not comfortable having videos of my students on that space.  Are there other ways to post videos onto a blog?  Has anyone posted videos onto Youtube of their students?  There is always so much to learn!

I am looking forward to continuing my journey next year with my new group of grade two students and continuing to learn how to teach them to become positive citizens!

its-a-journey-no-one-is-ahead-of-you-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

Photo Credit: Source


Let’s Google It?

Photo Credit: I created this Meme using Meme Generator

baby agree or disagree

Let’s Google it?!?  I was struggling with how to start this post, but this photograph on Meme Generator inspired me with my direction! Actually when I first read the debate topic I believe this is what my face probably looked like.  I had to first understand the wording of the topic for the debate before I could begin to choose a side.  I could relate to Ellen because I also found this one a little bit tricky.  Ellen raised an excellent point about if she was a History or a High School Social teacher that she “might not need to teach specific dates in History anymore, since these can easily be Googled” and that she “should, however, focus on questions about the events impact today.”  I would not have students learn about dates either.  I can remember teachers wanting my classmates and myself to memorize small specific details when we were in middle years and high school.  I created little verses, songs, or sayings from using the beginning letters of events, names, or dates to help me remember everything when I wrote a test.  As soon as the test was over I tossed it from my short term memory and I do not know if I would  have been able to recall the information a few days later.  For me personally I enjoyed when we were provided the time for class discussions and when we did hands on learning.

I believe it is important for students to be able to take part in experiential learning. The University of Texas describes what experiential learning looks like.  In one of the points is stated that “throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning, and is challenged to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.”  Many of the points listed in the article reminded me of the Principles of Early Learning on page 5 in the Saskatchewan Play and Exploration guide.  As teachers we need to look at our curriculum and see what kinds of learning opportunities we can provide to our students. In science it is a lot easier to find experiments for labs and hands on learning activities, but there are learning opportunities in other subject curriculum documents as well.  The University of Waterloo also had a great explanation of experiential learning and good diagrams, such as the Kolb’s cycle-“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.”

kolbs learning cycle

Photo Credit: Source

In my second year of teaching I taught at the elementary school and I  also taught grade seven and eight arts education at Gordon F. Kells for the last period of the day.  My principal Tyler taught Social Studies and History at Gordon F. Kells at the time.  I can remember the students in his History class being so excited after class one day when he set up a learning experience outside for them.  They were learning about World War One and he wanted to teach them about the rolling barrage.  He could have gave them hand outs explaining what a rolling barrage was, have students do research, or they could have watched a video, but instead Tyler created a hands on learning experience using water balloons.  The experience was how he introduced rolling barrage to them!  If you teach History I encourage you to talk to Tyler about his lesson.  (I do not want to explain the lesson wrong.)  If was able to learn about History by doing interactive lessons I know I would have not tossed out so much of the knowledge I learned from my short term memory as I described earlier in my post.

Luke, Ashley, and Andrew gave us very interesting resources  to learn about the agree side of the debate.  I really enjoyed watching Rasmey Musallam’s TedTalk- 3 Rules to Spark Learning.  He caught my attention when he talked about the importance of teachers evoking real questions.   Musallam explains that those questions helps inform the methods of blended instruction and he stated that, “Students questions are the seeds to real learning!”  I believe that questions do ignite the learning journey and makes the learning more meaningful for the students.  If they are asking the questions then they will want to find out the answers.  In the video Musallum explains how he has 3 rules that he follows when creating a lesson.  They are:

  • #1 Curiosity comes first
  • #2 Embrace the mess
  • #3 Practice reflection
boy being curious

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The way The University of Texas describes experiential learning and the principals of early learning in the Saskatchewan Play and Learning guide connects very well to what Musallum’s beliefs are.  I think often in schools teachers want to get to the content part of the lessons because there are so much to cover in just one year.  I think this leads to not providing  time or enough time for students to be curious and wonder about the topic.  I know personally next year I want to provide more time to my students to reflect about their learning and make connections before we move onto another unit.  A lot of learning can be discovered during the reflection process.  If students just went to Google to find the answers all of the time are they truly understanding and retaining the knowledge they are discovering?  Do students know other ways to find resources and information other than using Google? It is convenient that students can turn to Google to find the answers to questions, but is that the best learning experience for students?  Do students know how to tell if the information they found is authentic or from reputable source?  Now in the world of the Internet people are able to create and curate.  It is possible for people to upload documents on the Internet that may not be accurate.  Students need to learn and understand how to decide whether information they’re reading is accurate and creditable.

brain

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I was surprised like Chalyn when I read How the Internet is Changing Your Brain.  I had no idea that “the average number of Google searches per day has grown from 9,800 in 1998 to over 4.7 trillion today.”  It was very eye opening to me! In the article is also talked about a study and how “college students remembered less information when they knew they could easily access it later on the computer.”  This is problematic as “Our brains use information stored in the long-term memory to facilitate critical thinking. We need these unique memories to understand and interact with the world around us.”  What information are we not keeping in our long term memory because we know we can access it easily through technology?

I read another article provided by the agree side called  How Google Impacts The Way Students Think  written by Terry Heick.  I think Heick raised a very good point when he stated that, “if users can Google answers to the questions they’re given, they’re likely terrible questions.”  We need to model good questioning skills to our students and help them grow as learners, just as Tyler’s cooperating teacher did as it was described in Tyler’s blog post.  We want our students to be curious and learn how to ask great questions independently.  In the article Heick lists a few reasons in how Google is impacting the way students think.  One of those ways was how “Google naturally suggests “answers” as stopping points.”  I do not want my students to stop their learning once they think they have “found” the answers.  I want my student to continue on their learning journey!  When exploring a topic there is so much to learn about and the learning should not stop after finding the answer.  Students need to understand the materials and reflect after there assignment or lesson is over.

debate 2 twitter pic

Screen shot from Twitter

encyclodia twitter

Screen shot from Twitter

On Twitter Alec posted the debate question and some of the response caught my eye.  I thought it was very interesting when Marc stated “should we teach info in encyclopedias?”  I think that is a very interesting point.  Yes often we can access information, but as I talked about earlier in my post students are not retaining the information because they know they can access it again.  Lots of the information whether they can access the answers online or from another resources still needs to be explored by the students and taught.  Marc also talked about memorization which was discussed during the debate as well.  Amy Singh and Heidi provided us with information on why we should disagree with the debate topic and a lot of the resources they shared with us talked about memorization and automaticity.  I enjoyed reading Kelsie’s thoughts from Tuesday’s debate.  She brought up excellent points about Google and how everything is “Googleable.”  I agree with Kelsie that  ‘some amount of memorization is important.”  In the beginning of her post she explores Math Makes Sense and Mad Minutes.  I think it is important for students to know their math facts and to provide them time to critically think in math through problem solving and explaining how they reach their answer.  I think for the deeper understanding to occur that students do need a level of automaticity for their math facts.  Louise Spear-Swerling discusses in an article that “Automatic recall of basic math facts, sometimes termed math fluency, is generally considered to be a key foundation for higher-level math skills.”

 

In my classroom I have my students practice their math facts through playing games that I have created or other dice and cards games that I have learned from other educators.  The only way you can become more fluent in a skill is through practice and students can “build conceptual understanding and fluency through games“.  I really like all of the strategies that students learn now in math.  I think I would have learned my facts faster if I was taught about doubles, doubles plus one/minus one, think ten, etc.  Students also need a level of automaticity in reading as well.  Tim Rasinski talks about three components of fluency and one is automaticity in word recognition.  He discusses “Readers not only are accurate in word recognition, they are effortless or automatic in recognizing the words they encounter. The significance of achieving automaticity is that readers can devote their limited cognitive resources to the important task of comprehending the text.”  Memorization is not always a dirty word…by being able to recall math facts and words helps students focus on a math problem and understanding the text. 

Ainsley wrote an excellent post about another debate and the end of that post caught my eye.  She shared a link to an article that has a teacher describing what a classroom might possibly with look like and how it could be organized in the future.   It made me reflect on when I was talking about the goals of education, but I could not remember the details.  I was excited that Katia knew what I was talking about and shared the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan with the rest of the class.  This document has not been updated since 1985 (I was not even born yet).  It is time that we take a look at this document and update the goals with the vision of 21st century learners. In a previous post I reflected about my vision in what I want to do in my classroom after I took EC&I832.

What is your philosophy of education?  What should our education goals be??

 

I think it is important to know yourself as an educator.  I completed two inventories (Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) & Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI)) in my EC&I804 Curriculum Development class and then we had to reflect on our teaching beliefs.  I completed the inventories again and for the first inventory I ranked the highest in nurturing.  In the second inventory I ranked the highest in progressive and humanistic.  The PAEI inventory has a chart on the second page that breaks out the five philosophies into different categories: purpose(s), learner(s), teacher role, concepts & key words, methods, and people & programs.  The chart makes sense to me because in EC&I804 from over two years ago I described in an assignment that I felt most philosophically aligned with Dewey because my philosophy is strongly progressivism. 

After two years I still believe that my grade two students learn better through cooperative and experiential learning.  My job is to guide my students while posing questions to deepen their understanding.  Social process is an important part of education because students learn better through interacting with others. If a student can explain or demonstrate what they have learned that validates a deeper understanding. Students are also more engaged in the learning if they are interested in the curriculum and when their needs are being met.  I think it is important for teachers to take inventories because it was a good reminder that I need to include the other philosophies in my classroom.  Every student is an individual and learns in their own unique way!

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information”. – Albert Einstein

 


The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On?

Is technology making our kids unhealthy???

Do you Agree or Disagree? What side do you sit on for this topic?

what side are you on

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Wow! What a class on Tuesday! Congratulations to Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer, Heather, Andres, and Roxanne for an excellent debate! I thought both sides presented very well and gave everyone a lot to think about.  Going into this debate I was not sure if I agreed or disagreed with the statement-Technology is making our kids unhealthy.  As I began to look closer into the question and complete the readings I felt I was on a teeter totter…as my mind was conflicted. One moment I was agreeing and then all of a sudden I was leaning towards disagree.  Both sides presented the information in a very organized way which helped me begin to lay out my thoughts and compare physical health, mental/emotional/intellectual health, and the social health and well-being of children.

Photo Credit: mommymundo123 via Compfight cc

playing soccer

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer shared with us in their Prezi that “On average children spend at least 7 hours a day on the internet, watching television or playing video games.” They explained how spending so much time in front of technology can lead to many physical health problems such as: “increased snacking, injuries to neck and back, detrimental to eyes (vision), skin blemishes, sore fingers/hands/forearms, and decreased physical activity” (Taken from their Prezi presentation).  Over use of technology has also lead to obesity in children.  The three ladies pointed out how there are many germs on the surfaces of the technology as those devices usually get used daily.  I have never really thought about how many germs could possibly be on my cell phone and other devices that I use.  Children are also not playing outside as often and are losing their connection to nature.  While researching I found an article that looked how technology effects children’s sensory skills and development.  It was very alarming to me!  After looking at the facts and research I was leaning towards agreeing that technology is making our kids unhealthy…BUT…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne presented a valid argument on their video in how people can use technology to help improve their physical health. They talked about some get apps, devices, and websites that can help people learn about nutrition, locate health services, tell you when are being inactive, can track your workouts, explore fitness boards to learn from others or be inspired, they share their fitness journey, and get support through online communities/groups through social media.  Some of the apps, devices, and websites they presented to us were: My FitnessPal, MindBody app, FitBit, NikeRun, TechTimes.com, DoYogaWithMe.com, Pinterest, Instagram, and using different forms of social media.  They talked about how those are just a few examples and that there are so many apps, devices, and websites that people can access and use to help them in their health and fitness journey.  Fellow classmates Kyle D. and Kayla in the chat mentioned how they enjoy using a specific app/device and Kayla discussed how her FitBit was motivating for her.  I think that is awesome that people can use technology to help them reach their fitness goals.  When people are physically healthy it helps their health as a whole.  I was beginning to feel the teeter totter move again….BUT THEN…

During our discussion time and in the Zoom chat a few classmates Janelle and Steve questioned if charting our health through numbers and data on the devices/apps and not paying attention to how we feel. Steve discussed how our bodies give us signs or tell us about how health based on how we feel.  Is it good to push ourselves a little bit through using technology or are people hurting their bodies by ignoring the signs their body is sending to them?  During class we talked about how some people lie when entering information into the app so it’s not giving an accurate picture of the person’s health.  In the chat Dean talked about a cycling app called Strava and how the app has been linked to deaths because people that were using the app were trying to push themselves to beat other people’s records. I began to wonder how many other apps have led people to push themselves past their limits and putting themselves or others at risk?  Is technology truly negatively effecting kid’s health?  …..….

Andrew raised a good opinion in the chat -“when we say technology makes us unhealthy I feel like we’re kind of limiting it to cell phones, t.v.’s, and game consoles.” I agree with him because technology has opened doors for the medical field.  Andrew also talked about life expectancies and technology has increased people’s life expectancies with the help of MRI’s, X-rays, defibrillators, CT scans, IV machines and so much more.  Doctors are able to “better diagnose and treat their patients” through using the new equipment that has been designed.

After looking and considering physical health I was still undecided what side of the debate I was on so I continued to exploring mental, emotional, and intellectual health…

Photo Credit: yoohamoronx via Compfight cc

question mark dude

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer presented with us the negative impacts technology has on mental and emotional health. Technology has caused people to have lack of sleep.  I have students who have devices in their rooms where they stay up late watching videos or playing games instead of getting the rest that they need to have. In my career I have had student’s journal about playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Halo.  I could understand when they presented how technology has increased people’s aggression, depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity as those games are very violent.  There are so many apps, TV shows, and movies that are not appropriate for young children to be watching and I can see how watching and interacting with technology that negatively affected their health.  The three ladies also presented how technology can lead to addictive behaviours and even suicidal thoughts.  So scary!  What messages are being given to our children through the different forms of media? Technology can affect children’s emotional and mental health by the cyberbullying that can occur online and children feeling alone.  Some people are exploring how technology is also effecting children’s intellectual health and is affecting their writing skills.  Lots of teachers discuss how children use abbreviations in their everyday work at school and their writing is declining.  Is technology effecting kids health?  I had to consider the other side of the debate…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne discussed how they are so many great support networks and online groups for children and teens to be a part of through using technology. More children are learning how to be upstanders online and taking care of their friends and family.  The group presented how through using different methods and technology it has been used to bring awareness to mental health.  There are also apps for children to use their phones or devices that they can wear to help parents keep track of where their children are. There are also baby monitors where parents can watch their baby in the screen to provide them with a peace of mind.  Children’s intellectual health can grow by collaborating online and learning from others.  There are many open education opportunities and they can build their communication and writing skills through the different websites such as blogging and apps on their devices.  I encourage you to check out David Crystal’s video entitled Texts and Tweets: myths and realties.  We watched it in EC&I832 and I wrote a post that explored my thoughts on the video.

Before I could reach my final decision I had to explore social health!

Photo Credit: ivanova_sis via Compfight cc

kids talking on the phone                                                      kids taking outside

                                                                   Photo Credit: pepe blond via Compfight cc

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer talked to us how technology is hindering children’s social skills. Now families are not spending quality of time together and are not carrying meaningful conversations as they use to because people are becoming addicted to gadgets.  They discussed the decrease in face to face communication and increase in online communication.  The group of ladies presented to us about the effects of cyberbullying and how people are filtering what they share with everyone on social media.  Some people desire “likes” on their social media posts to get confirmation from others and can affect their self-esteem.  Are people truly posting and sharing their true self on social media?  Have you heard of Madison Hollernan’s story? In an article called Split Image, it talks about how “On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend.  But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.”   So… how can technology help people’s social health??

In Heather, Andres, and Roxanne’s video shared with us how more and more people are on social media now. People can network with others and technology can provide a new way for people to communicate with others through sharing, grieving, and celebrating with people online.  Facetime and Skype allows us to stay connected with family and friends.  This form of technology is very helpful for people who live far away and it gives them a chance to have a face to face conversation even if they are miles apart.

What side of the debate do I sit on? I came across this video called Looking Up….

I thought this video brought up some very valid points in why people need to look up from their phones. I think people do need to make sure they are truly spending time with loved ones and friends and get away from their devices.  Last night at our school dance technology was very useful and led to a very special night!  I was able to play music from my iPad so students and their families could dance (get some physical activity) and have fun while raising money for a staff member and a dear friend who is right now kicking cancer’s butt.  I was able to take pictures, capture a video and text it to her and her husband!  Technology can lead to some many wonderful things, but I believe there needs to be BALANCE and MODERATION! Those words have been explored and used in Amy’s and Angela’s posts.

On Tuesday during our class discussion and in the chat we discussed educating our students and children.  Kayla brought up a valid point when she mentioned “I think it is all based on whether or not kids are taught to be healthy.”  I am sure that many children would watch television, play games, or use their devices all day long if their families allowed it.  Damon and I do not have any children yet, but we have already discussed the importance of making sure that our children will play, enjoy nature, and will be physically active.  We need to be aware of how much screen time our children are getting.  It will also be our job as parents to teach them about healthy eating, treating others the way they want to be treated, and all of the other many important lessons in life.  In the chat Jeremy made a great point when he said that “parents, peer support, and teachers need to teach and model appropriate screen time.”  Check out the next video…it shows the importance of putting our phones down and being present in the moments with other people.  Do you model appropriate screen time to children?

This next video captures special moments between people with their friends and families. In these moments it is powerful to use technology because it is bringing people together.  It is allowing people to be a part of a special occasion, chance to catch up, and someone to laugh, cry, and smile along with.  In my opinion moments like this showcase…pick your devices up and talk!

As an educator I believe it is my responsibility to help educate my students about living a happy and healthy life.  I also need to be a good role model and provide opportunities to teach my students about physical, social, and mental health.  Ian discussed in the chat that students can bring to school events that happened outside of school hours such as cyberbullying; therefore, it is our responsibility to educate our students.  When I teach my outcomes in grade two about safety, fitness, respect, and their feelings I need to talk to them about technology when we are having our discussions. Heather, Andres, and Roxanne told us all about the wonderful things that has to offer technology and how it can help our health is so many areas, but our students will never know about these options if we do not educate them. It takes a whole village to raise a child!  We cannot just expect parents to talk to their children about technology and how to use it properly.  This week  I took a quick look through the curriculum documents and here are a few of the outcomes that provide me with the opportunity to educate my grade two students about how to live a healthy life while they interact and use technology.  I can even give my students the chance to be creative and express their feelings and knowledge on the topics through arts education and language arts.  Here are some of the outcomes I found that matched to living a healthy life:

 

As of right now I am located in the middle of the teeter tooter like the girl depicted in the picture below. I can see how the teeter totter can move towards either side when looking at this topic, but by educating our children and youth I think we can help them begin to find the balance!

The girl looking like me sitting in the middle of a teeter totter

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Does Technology Enhance or Hinder Learning?

teens smiling at the computer Photo Credit: chandlerle025 via Compfight cc

Tuesday was a very exciting class as we had our very first debate and the topic was:  Technology in the classroom enhances learning.  Congratulations to Jeremy, Erin, Kyle, Kayla, Chalyn, and Steve for leading an excellent first debate.  Before the two teams (agree and disagree) presented their side of the debate I already had my own opinion based on my experiences of being a student and a teacher as well as the knowledge I have gained through previous classes and readings that I have been exposed to.  Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?  I believe that technology does enhance learning for students in the classroom, but there are certain aspects of technology that does need to be considered.

Benefits of Technology and How It Enhances Learning:

1.  Technology allows for differentiation.

Students can use assistive technology to help them reach their personal goals in the classroom, especially the students who are struggling or may have a learning disability.  Students can use the different tools to help them communicate with fellow peers in the classroom or display their learning to others.  For example, in my classroom I have some students who struggle with writing and with the use of talk to text apps and devices they are able to independently complete assignments instead of having to rely on myself or another adult to scribe for them.  I have also had students use iPads and other forms of technology in my classroom to help with verbal  communication.  In an article that the agree side shared with our class it explores differentiation and it lists the variety of types of assisted technology that can be used to help children learn in the classroom: written language assistive technology, reading assistive technology, mathematics assistive technology, listening assistive technology, and memory/organization assistive technology.  I have seen technology open the doors for so many students and can provide them with opportunities to be successful in the classroom.   All of the different technology can lead to equity for students in the classroom.  I agreed with the article that “the choice of the appropriate use of AT [assistive technology], whether available or improvised, the right selection depends on the individual child, the skills problems, the setting and the particular tasks the child wants to achieve” (p. 18).   “This implies that one tool used for a child may not be useful for another child in different setting” (p. 18).  Every child is unique and has different learning needs to compared to other children in the classroom and when planning to use the different types of technology it is important to keep that in mind.

equity-vs-equality

Photo Credit: Source

2. Technology allows for new learning opportunities to occur in the classroom.

When teachers use technology in the classroom students are able to learn valuable digital skills and digital tools are helping transform education.  Now students are living in a digital world and I believe it is critical to provide them with learning opportunities to learn new digital skills and improve their skills that they already know .  Those skills that they can learn are “essential for work and life in a 21st century global society” (p. 6).  I was reading through a report that focused on integrating technology with student-centered learning.  In the report I thought  Babette Moeller and Tim Reitzes  brought up some valid points:

  • “Technology can equip students to independently organize their learning process” and this leads students who use technology to “become active users” (p. 6).
  • Technology provides students to opportunity to take some responsibility for their learning (p. 6).
  • Technology can lead teachers “to deliver more personalized learning” (p. 7).
  • Technology can help provide feedback that can “guide the learning process” (p. 7).

During the debate Andrew introduced to us a website that he uses in his classroom called Zooniverse.  On the website it states that it “provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology”.  Andrew talked very highly of the learning opportunities that this website has provided to his students.  There are so many more great websites that provide great learning experiences for students that they would never have access to if it was not for technology.  This week Tyler shared and posted a video his blog post that showcased how technology improves student learning for students who attend Minnetonka schools.  It would be amazing to have the opportunity  to teach using the technology that was showcased in the video and to know how to implement the technology used effectively.  While I was reading Andrew’s blog post “Learning With and Without Tech” he reminded me about a teaching experience when he talked about Chris Hadfield singing with students from across Canada during Music Monday.  My students in my grade two classroom were able to watch Hadfield sing and they sung along with him through the use of technology.  It was a very fun learning experience for my students and for the other students across Canada.  We were able to take part in a fantastic learning experience without having to live in an urban center.  Technology helps open the door for rural students!  For example students are able to take classes online that might not be able to be offered due to many factors that occurs when attending schools in a rural area.  They also can have access to many resources through using technology in the classroom.

3. Technology allows for students to make connections and learn from other people.

I think it is amazing how technology has evolved over the years and Rick Schwier’s presentation on the History of Educational Technology from EC&I831 came to mind.  I wrote a blog post after his presentation and reflected on how education and the tools we used has evolved when I was going to school as a young girl.  Not only did he talk about how technology has evolved, but Schwier discussed how social media can allow people to make connections with others.  He talked to us that humans are social people and communication skills is very important to have.  Another educator who believes in the importance of making connections is Rita Pierson.  In her Ted Talk “Every Kid Needs a Champion”  she discussed how we need to start talking about “The value and importance of human connection…relationship.”  Students can interact with others through apps, Twitter, blogging platforms, and many of the Google tools just to name a few.  My students enjoy exploring other classroom blogs and sharing what they have been learning about on our classroom blog.  I have not used Twitter before in my classroom, but it has been something that I have considered.  I have seen blogging has not only improved my students writing, but their engagement in learning as well.  It has also provided me the opportunity to teach my students how to be good digital citizens and teach them lessons about digital citizenship.

Connected Learning

Photo Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub

Some things that need to be considered:

1. Teachers need to be trained in how to use technology effectively in the classroom and what new digital tools are available to use to enhance individual learning.

For learning experiences using technology to be successful teachers need to have training in how to use the different tools and how to implement technology effectively in the classroom.  If a teacher is not prepared and does not understand the digital tools then it could lead to classroom management problems and teachers not using instructional time effectively.  The school division needs to provide professional development opportunities  and train their teachers in how to effectively to use the different tools, especially if they are expecting them to use technology in the classroom.  During the debate on Tuesday teacher training was discussed.  I also think that many teachers do not know about all of the amazing tools that are available for them to use to help students individually in the classroom.  Teachers need time to explore the different opinions available in order to choose the best fit for their students and provide time for the student to understand how the learning tool works through modeling and coaching while they are using the tool.  Someone in our EC&I830 class also made a great point on how teachers need to also take initiative in their own personal development. (I’m sorry my computer lost connection near the end of class and I was not able to save the chat to give credit to this person).  I agree that as an educator there are many ways to gain professional development in a variety of areas through accessing professional development online.  I could relate to Kyle DuMont’s blog post when he discussed how many people on staff go to him when they have questions about technology.  For example, I have also have many people come to me when they have questions about their Smartboard.  Over the past few years we have had a huge turnover of staff and they did not have the professional development that we had when the Smartboards were put in our classrooms. I have also experienced a problem when I plan for a substitute teacher because many of our substitute teachers do not know how to use some of the tools we use in our classroom.

2.  The use of technology can be distractive to some students.

I have heard many educators talk about how their students become distracted when they use technology in the classroom.  Tami Strang talks in post how many students are tempted to “take a moment and “peek” at sports scores, the latest headlines, or the number of “likes” [they have] accumulated on [their] latest Facebook or Instragram posts.”  She even posted a graph showcasing the “top means of distraction and technology misuse in the classroom.”

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Photo Credit: Source

Amy Scuka discussed about students being distracted in her blog post “Nothings Fine, I’m Torn.”  I have not had too many experiences of students being distracted using technology because my students are only in grade two. I can see how many teachers who teach upper elementary, middle year, and high school students can get distracted through using other tools or social media instead of completing an assignment.

3. Students are very connected to technology.

During our class Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk “Connected, but Alone?” was mentioned.  She studies technology and people’s plugged in lives.  In the video she talked about how the devices people use are so powerful “that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are.”  She explores how people are plugged in and how people “are losing the true connectedness with each other.”  I was introduced to Turtle’s Ted Talk when I took EC&I832 and I discussed her ideas she explored in a blog post that I wrote on September 21st.  Are we depending too much on technology?  Are we teaching students to be too plugged into the world instead of living in the moment and interacting with others face to face instead of behind technology?

There are many factors to consider when thinking about using technology in the classroom.  I have only talked about some of the benefits and negative side to using technology.  What are your thoughts on technology in the classroom? Does technology enhance or hinder learning in the classroom?

Even through their are many factors to consider when using technology I still believe that technology enhances learning in the classroom!

 


Bittersweet- My Final Graduate Class

 

Hi everyone!  My name is Justine Stephanson-Kyle and I teach grade two at Carlyle Elementary School in Carlyle, Saskatchewan for the Southeast Cornerstone School Division.  I have been teaching in Carlyle for seven years since I received my Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina in 2009.   I cannot believe that this is my tenth and final graduate class at the University of Regina.  I am still in shock that I am thirty-nine days away from reaching my goal and finishing my LAST CLASS for my Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  When looking through the Google Plus EC&I830 community I was so excited to see so many familiar faces in this class and having the opportunity to continue to learn along side classmates that I have met through the nine previous classes that I have taken.  I am also looking forward to continue to build my professional learning network (PLN) and to meet everyone through our weekly class on Zoom and reading everyone’s blog posts on the EC&I830 blog hub.

I know that Twitter is not mandatory, but I encourage you to check it out!  When I took EC&I831 in the fall of 2014 I was introduced to Twitter and was very overwhelmed.  From taking the class and all of the people I have met in that class inspired me to give Twitter a try and begin to explore what Twitter had to offer.  Over time I have become more confident in using Twitter and I use it mostly for professional development.  Kelly Christopherson @kwhobbes  was a part of the class and introduced me to #saskedchat on Twitter.  On Thursday’s at 8:00pm the educators that organize the chat ask questions focusing on a variety educational topics each week.  There are usually around six questions each Thursday evening and the chat runs from about 8:00-9:00pm.  On the Thursdays I am able to take part in the chat allows me to learn from fellow educators from around the province, from Canada, and even other educators from outside of Canada.  Today the #saskedchat the topic is Inclusive Education!

saskedchat inclusive ed

I encourage you to follow that hashtag because it is a great beginning place to begin to build your PLN.  On the nights I am not able to attend the chat  during the hour time frame I am still able to read the tweets to learn and grow professionally.  Twitter also provides the opportunity to still comment and ask questions even if the chat is over.  Some other hashtags that I learned about from taking other classes that I follow now are: #digcit, #edtech, #digitalcitizenship, #playmatters, and #edchat just to name a few.  If you want to learn more about hashtags for education check out this link!  On the link it lists hashtags that are popular/trending, hashtags for all the different subject areas, and hashtags topics that involve education.  You can follow me on Twitter at @JNSteph87.

Reading Kyle Ottenbreit’s very first blog post today reminded me of my very first graduate class when I took ED800 in January of 2014.  The last few years have gone by so fast and I am so happy that I decided to go on this journey.  For people who are just beginning their graduate journey or new to online learning this is a great class to be a part of!  This will be the third class that I have taken from Alec and Katia and their classes have provided me a great opportunity to learn and grow as educator.   While I was reading Haiming Li’s blog post, I loved the photo that she used in her blog.  The photo had a quote that stated “do not compare yourself to others.”  I can remember when I took EC&I831 and I was very overwhelmed reading everyone’s blogs because I was brand new to blogging. Everyone’s blogs looked amazing!   My best advice is to remember that everyone is at different stages in their journey.  Some colleagues are beginning their degree while others finishing.  There are also many people who are experienced in educational technology and blogging while others have taken this class to begin to explore and learn more about educational technology.  I like looking back to my very first blog post “Life Is A Journey…” because I easily see my growth since my original post (that contains no links, pictures, or videos since I was new to blogging).   I think it would be amazing for students to have a blog that they can write in each school year so they can see their personal growth from year to year!  Through taking EC&I831 I was able to learn more about blogging and even did my major digital project involving blogging with my grade two students.

While continuing to read everyone’s posts on the bloghub I saw that Heather posted some great tips and tricks on her blog if you are new to online learning.  I could make a lot of connections to what she talked about in her post as I have also had moments of when I thought I lost everything on my blog post on wordpress blog.  I did learn and found the magical button beside revisions that allowed me to get back parts of my post that I thought I lost.   While exploring more blogs I noticed on Aubrey’s blog post that she talked about teaching her students how to be safe and happy digital citizens.  I also share the same passion and belief it is vital to educate students to be good digital citizens.  Digital citizenship was such an important topic and when I took EC&I832 during that semester we learned about some fantastic resources!   Here are just a few that I used for my major digital project in that class and they are resources that I use today to help me teach digital citizenship :

  •  Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools- This document is “a policy planning guide for school divisions and schools to implement digital citizenship education from Kindergarten to Grade 12.”  The planning guide was written by Alec and Katia in consultation with other educators from Saskatchewan.  I encourage you to check it out!  There is fantastic information and tools to help educators implement digital citizenship in their classrooms.  Further as you read into the document you can learn about Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and the digital citizenship continuum.
  • Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence– This is an AMAZING website that has units, lesson plans, student interactive activities, and assessments that teachers can use to teach digital citizenship for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.  There are also great information for families and professional development opportunities.
  • The Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve–  The digital continuum “is intended to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.”  This document is formatted using the nine elements.  For each element there are essential questions, what students need to know, what students need to understand, and what they need to do from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

It is bittersweet that this is my last class.  During the drive home from class  on Tuesday Tyler and I were talking about what is next after we are finished our degrees.  I know personally I want to start a family and professionally that I can continue learning through my PLN on Twitter and there is always the option to take MOOCs (Massive open online courses).  I do not want to think about the end quite yet!  I am so excited for Tuesday’s first debate and continue to learn more about educational technology from everyone!  It is going to be a great six classes!

Let the great debates begin!

hand shake

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