Author Archives: Aradhana Sapru

Summary of learning


Oh! This course has been so simple and easy and I thank Katia for this wonderful method that she employed in getting us ready for it!!

I was quite apprehensive when I began because it was a 3-week course and I was supposed to travel to India and my dad was supposed to have a knee replacement surgery sometime in between. But it worked perfectly.

There were many insights that I gleaned from the course I have come to appreciate the learning that we all engaged in and have been inspired to do better, both in the classroom and in my home.

For all those who have not completed their courses, hope to meet up in the coming months, and for all those who are done, Congratulations!!

Build a school in the cloud

I have always been surprised to realize how technology can be used by people who do not even know English. This story is about a gentleman called Sugata Mitra who has developed digital literacy in India, and around the world, without teachers. He puts a computer in the wall with a high-speed internet connection and leaves it for children to explore. See the video to realize the extent of the development of knowledge of the students.

The link to the video is here.

Summary of learning

Oh!! Such a comfortable and easy course that we have completed in three wonderful weeks!

There were so many apprehensions I had before we started on this journey! The course is only three weeks and I am traveling to India!! My father had a knee replacement and I was supposed to be there for him. How am I going to manage all this and do the course also?

But that has been an incredible experience. I am so thankful to Katia! As I indicated in my feedback form, I wouldn’t change a thing about it!!

Since this is my third course only, hope to see some of you, in the future…

And for all those who have completed their courses, Congratulations!!

Debate#5- Technology has led to a more equitable society

So, we are now moving to the last debate!!
The topic here was “Technology has led to a more equitable society” with the video about the agreeing side’s opening statement, linked here. The agreeing side began with one of the debaters expressing that the digital divide represents a significant barrier to equitable education. It further elucidates that the principles of equitable use of technology outline several important principles for its application. Cost-effectiveness while using digital tools is necessary to contemplate before the money is spent.
There are 5 things that Darmian specifies are necessary for equitable distribution of technology. Among them, accessibility to the tools is paramount. Various formats for the same content and accommodation for different learning styles should be kept in mind. Separability is the ability to distinguish one type of learning module from another. Content must be separated before it is provided to the students. Full utility allows students to make full use of available tools. She also inculcated avoiding pitfalls into the video which could be that we view learners as mere consumers of technology and fail to consider cultural perspectives. She also warned against reinforcing unwanted practices and ignoring learners’ autonomy. Local perspectives and social backgrounds are important to look at when technology is being integrated and it needs to address educational inequalities post-covid era. The article from Li et al. (2024) emphasizes the need for change and the closing of learning gaps.
The disagreeing side had many arguments on their end. They started with the argument that technology has many implementation problems and it causes the digital divide. The haves and the have-nots are divided on both sides of the digital divide, with a distinct division when urban and rural populations are compared. Between the government, the private sector, and society, the divide is widening. Even if there is a device that is available for the child, connectivity or teacher training can be a problem. Various issues that are created by mega giants like Facebook, and Tiktok create divisions, and hence, the thought of an equitable society is limited. They finished their video with discussions from previous debaters about how technology is not equitable.

There were several articles attached to each side. The first one  from Damarin(2000) explains how the digital divide is evident in most countries. There are categories of people that have technology and a working device. Then some do not have the device but do not have a working connection to the internet. The next are those who neither have a proper device nor a connection but they are familiar with the workings of the internet and device and last are those who do not know about technology.
The next article from Li & Liang (2024) is about improving education for a more equitable world. This article focuses on current challenges and their solutions. Various factors exacerbate these inequalities and there is a need to add reforms at the grassroots level to ensure a more productive and equitable society.
The article from Alvarez and Dickson-Deane (2018) examines the integration of technology with cultural perspective and warns against pitfalls like failing to respond to cultural influences. It looks toward a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

The two articles added by Taranpreet were about how a technological scenario aims for a more equitable and sustainable Europe by 2040. It highlights the support of technological advances to create a more healthier and sustainable future.
The last article on the agreed side was about how innovation will create a sustainable model with opportunities influence to change in core behavior. Though this article touched more on business, it is relevant to technology, not necessarily educational.

The disagreeing side’s first article was about how technology is influencing behavior that is typically colonist and promoting false ideas about the web. The article contends that mega-giant companies are establishing certain norms that cannot be ruled out and the users who use these platforms are affected by these rules. This article discusses how this discourse shapes how young people view technology and digital culture.
The next article here too was about the digital divide and it speaks similar information to the one discussed earlier on my page. (About the haves and the have-nots)
The last article on their side is a documentary that discusses the three challenges of the digital divide and explains how schools are finding it difficult to fund technology. It also speaks about the support of big foundations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to schools with technological issues.

The debate in itself was engaging with both sides expressing their views concisely. The agreed side spoke about the digital divide and how technology can help overcome this disparity. The disagreeing team, meanwhile, explained that there are not enough computers or there are connectivity issues that cause this divide and it is not so simple to address this problem. They also quoted resources that there is no foundation for the statement that technology is indeed creating opportunities for socio-economically diverse societies. They are not only sharing resources but also devices. The agreeing side also posed the question of engaging students with technology and not having any support from Teacher Assistants etc. They also talked about how technology has caused the simplification of tasks. The disagreeing side gave various examples about how the reach of the internet gets disrupted and then, the use of technology cannot be called equitable. Various students also put their point as to how technology can be made more equitable.
In the closing statement, the agreeing side expressed that we view Damarin’s article about the principles necessary for the equitable use of technology. They also expressed about how technology is used in class to make education more equitable. They finished by saying that we need to create more support systems to enhance learning.
The disagreeing side specified that access is offered but is not mandatory. They also specified the Habitus that is developed by social media companies and how youth are getting pulled into it.
In conclusion, I think that technology needs to be equitable for each student and individual associated with its application. I also believe that since we have come so far in these few years, we will still have problems and solutions to these problems shortly. But if I am looking at an equitable society worldwide, that is only going to take place sometime in the not-so-near future.

Debate #4- Cell phones be banned from the classroom.

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Cell phones are being banned across Ontario and Alberta, with the discussion starting in Saskatchewan around the same topic.  The Debate #4 on 17th July focused on this very important question. It started with the agreeing side explaining their stance in the opening statement where they explained that mobile phones are needed for searching, for engaging with others, and many other reasons, but in the classroom, they need to be banned. They focused on three reasons for this.

In the class, they are a distraction, especially during instructional time. Many studies that have been conducted show a negative connotation between the uses of cell phones which are distractive to the advantages associated with them. At instructional time, the children are constantly checking their notifications and replying to them. Even

though the students are involved in social media through their phones, there is ever-increasing social isolation.

Cell phones inhibit academic performance. Studies depict that children who use mobile phones in class do badly in assessments. It affects retaining information and participating actively in discussions,  and children are unable to comprehend complex topics. Students want instant gratification which affects their motivation and can affect their critical thinking skills. Students either depend on AI-related apps or search engines to get information about the topic they are researching.

Students do not use the phone appropriately. Their actions create many problems for teachers and other students. There is also cyber bullying which causes a lot of distress to the person who is a victim. Poor mental health is a related symptom of excessive usage of phones and therefore, it should be banned.

On the disagreeing side, the debaters emphasized the pros of using phones. They spoke about content creation utilizing apps, multimedia, and collaboration with others. Various educational apps that foster learning and digital platforms that aid in learning and research. Supplemental lessons can be added into various streams and in that way, students who are facing problems can be helped.

Ontario has banned phones but they are still leaving it up to the schools to make the choice. For classroom management, mobile phones can be used as a reward system. When it comes to safety, in case of emergencies, mobile phones need to be there in the class. Various opportunities that are provided by phones include enhanced interaction and access to alternate spaces for instruction and work.

There were various videos and articles attached to the sign-up sheet for the debates. The first on the agreeing side was “There’s a cell phone in your student’s head” which emphasized how students use phones to solve math problems. Even when the phones were switched off, they influenced the students and their academic performance. There were some suggestions about placing the phone in another room creating an automatic physical separation.

The video on the cellphone experiment of middle school students demonstrated how cell phones cause major distractions in classrooms and students do not switch off from them. They also cause anxiety and can adversely affect student performance. As a solution, researchers suggest a 15-minute work time followed by a 1-minute free time. They also suggested tech-free zones.

A similar thought is expressed in the journal suggesting that cellphones have no place in the classroom. Most schools already have rules for the usage of cell phones, though they are finding it difficult to enforce. Cyber-bullying and its effects are evident in the article and the schools have now begun magnetically locking the phones after a related incident.

On the disagreeing side, the debaters had three articles/videos. The first one was “Should teachers be allowed to have cell phones in the classroom” which emphasizes how security is compromised if the teachers do not have cell phones in case of emergencies. Going further in the article, they question that if teachers can have phones in the class, then why can’t the students? Teachers can take responsibility for the students who have their cell phones.

The second video was about 9 reasons why cell phones should be allowed. It provides an additional tool for learning. It is important for safety. In case of emergencies, they can contact their parents. The next is improved communication between the teachers and students. It also helps in organization. Students stay focused with reminders and alarms. It also saves money for the schools. Teachers could digitize content and present it to the students.

The last one is about mobile computing in higher education. The article is a 2012 survey about how 67% of students view mobile devices as crucial for academic success, using them for accessing course content and enhancing their communication with co-students and teachers. The article emphasizes the bias held by people about how cell phones need to be banned despite the various help that they provide students and views this need to integrate technology with learning.

In conclusion, cell phones in class are a choice that needs to be left to school districts and administrators. But personally, I do think that they are a distraction and instead of having mobile devices, students could use tablets or laptops for search and other needs. In case of emergencies, a landline can be installed in each class that is connectable to the main office, or a two-way radio and a speaker phone are suggested alternates. I would prefer a no-cell phone policy.

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Debate#3- AI technologies will revolutionize education.


Good Day to each one of you!! In the first two debates I think I was in a different mode so did not explain much about my thinking and analyzing but in the remaining three debates I will try and do justice to my analysis.

AI in education- Like every other technology we have come across, we do have resistance to everything new, and possibly this resistance is the cause of debate. But, like every change we have encountered, I think we will give in to the AI revolution because, we have a lot to gain from it.

Our two debating teams, like each one before this, started with the agreeing side giving their opening statements and there was a lot of explanation about how AI helps in differentiation and it is adaptive to each student’s skill set, which is not there in traditional classrooms. The traditional way of teaching was conceived around 200 years ago to produce people who were suited for employment. It is also generally known that if there is one person who cannot do the job, then there could be a next one who could fill in, causing no loss in the factory where they are employed. In this way, almost all traditional learning systems set about their philosophies to cultivate children who were a carbon copy of each other. I do not deny that even I, who did my schooling in the 80’s and university in the 90’s is a product of the same system. There could be nothing different because that was frowned upon and treated like so. (How old! I can imagine some of you thinking! I wasn’t even born at that time!!)

AI also boasts about bringing intelligent learning systems to the classroom that enhance learning. It also explains how instant feedback helps in categorizing pupils according to their needs. Students can also work on their limitations and in that way work to improve their learning. AI is also bringing streamlined administrative task procedures that help teachers in creating an environment that emphasizes only learning in the classroom. Other related paperwork could be dealt with by AI technology.

Predictive analytical student success can be backed by AI tools that help each child reach their maximum potential. When we notice that a student is becoming disinterested in studying, tools related to AI can assist in creating programs that ensure each student’s success. There are different structures within the learning systems that will be assisted by AI and its utilization cannot be denied. AI also sets to use correct translation techniques that help in creating courses that can be done in a person own language rather than in only English.

On the disagree side, the opening stance was a person speaking that we thought was one of the speakers but it was an AI-generated voice. It stuck with me and was surprising!! The first counter-argument that they had was that AI dehumanizes education and the narrative that AI is enhancing the educational process is being pushed by people invested in the technology and they have an ulterior motive in promoting it. They also emphasized that as learners become dependent on AI, they become passive in the process and therefore, this limits their development. Teaching, in itself, is a two-way process that engages the teacher and the learner. Can we expect an automated robot to do the same for a child? Going further, will this create a system where teachers will no longer be needed?

AI is potentially a non-emotional system and its programming has been created by humans. Does it also hold the same biases that the human who has built it holds? Possibly, they explain by giving examples of various employments that are categorized according to gender.

One very important fact to consider is that AI can be used by students to create systems that do not actually support them but in fact, be a crutch, meaning they give them the answers instead of developing the critical thinking skills that teachers want them to cultivate. One essential point of consideration is also about access to a web-enabled device and broadband access. They also questioned the need for having AI systems in place for students because it compromises privacy and security.

Reading through the various articles linked in the sign-up sheet, I was intrigued to see an article from UNESCO on AI and how it could both innovate and destroy the learning systems prevalent today. Almost everywhere around the world, we notice the technological divide between the haves and the have-nots. But the fruits of technology need to be accessible to everyone. The article also proposes a guideline to professionals related to policy making and other communities to foster readiness for the opportunities and challenges provided by AI and its implications.

The next article explains how AI could be used to cheat. Students could use an AI generator to write articles in their name. The writer gives examples of how he used an AI text generator called Sudowrite to create sample texts.  Going ahead in the article, the author talks about how some programs that check grammar and syntax could be considered acceptable. Considering the borderline between using assistive devices, AI could be used as a tool for enhancing learning for some students who need it.  I found one quote from this article spot on.

“It goes back to teachers’ objectives and students’ needs,” she said. “There’s a fine balance making sure both of those are met.”

Talking about the articles on the disagreeing side, the first article was about how New York schools have banned AI chatbot designs from schools, especially for writing essays and other academic articles.   They fear that AI will create systems for cheating and will diminish the development of critical thinking and other essential skills.

The next article was about how AI could synthesize voice patterns of individuals based on a 3-second audio pattern obtained from any acoustic device. The AI simulates the pattern with other voice content that is in the database and prepares a voice sample based on it. Since there is potential for misuse of the model, there is a chance for spoofing a speaker or impersonation.

The last article speaks about Microsoft’s 10 Bn investment in AI. They also explain how various companies are following suit. AI is now being used for their products. They have started to recognize that AI is going to support every profession and product that is being produced.

Coming to the debate, the discussion followed similar lines to the opening statement. The agreeing side started to argue about differentiation and AI’s implication for the same. They also spoke about the need for change to a system of education that is almost 2 centuries old. The disagreeing side, on the contrary, spoke about how education is an emotional phenomenon and it needs the teacher to make sense of the world. Robots cannot be possibly used for teaching as they lack the empathetic skills needed. The agree side elucidated the help of AI in creating systems that support teachers and make their lives easier by assisting in administrative tasks. They also support the enhancement of skills.

Many classmates spoke both for and against the topic. An interesting tool that was explained was Eduaide which supports teachers in various ways. Data collection through this process is easier and ultimately the support that the teacher receives empowers her and her classroom, in return. Goblin tools is one more tool that could be used in classrooms by teachers. The disagreeing side spoke about an unambiguity in policy and its effect on the usage.

Katia spoke about AI detectors for plagiarism and their effects. There was a lot of discussion on translation and whether it can be viewed as plagiarism. In conclusion, the agreeing side spoke about how we cannot expect AI or robots to take over the education field and we should not expect joblessness. In fact, AI helps gain knowledge, establish frameworks, and maximize technological learning. The disagreeing side spoke about the dehumanizing content and how teachers are models for gathering knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes. They also spoke about data privacy and the unregulated structure of AI.

Looking at the articles posted by both sides, the agreeing team added the first article about the use of AI in education and how it is being viewed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4.0. It does speak about teacher shortages around the world and how the gap can be bridged through automation and augmentation. Refining assessment and analytical testing and the implementation of AI tools within the same parameters are important in education, according to them. Personalizing content and supporting digital literacy are two very important and dominant themes under the AI scheme and developing these skills creates a workforce that is driven by the needs of the 21st Century. The video that they presented was similar to some of the things they described in their debate, like how the schools were initially set to produce a workforce for factories (discussed earlier in the blog.)

On the disagree side, all three articles spoke about issues that arise out of having AI instruments in the classroom. The Kehlenbach article questioned the need for AI and exposing our children to the social problems associated. The article on AI being a threat to student privacy is very real and I asked myself twice if I need to track the steps I take while going out on the back and even storing it for future reference is worth it. The bias issue as mentioned in the third article has been discussed previously in the blog so I will not discuss it further.

Like all previous debates, I enjoyed this one too. I am a flexible person who enjoys technology and is always looking for venues to better myself and my teaching through it. But I do not see it as invading my space as a teacher. And I do not see it as a threat.  Adopting a balanced view of how best I can improve my pedagogy through technology is my view of engaging with it.

Social Media is ruining childhood?


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The second debate for the Edtech class was about this topic. I began this debate with the pre-vote as negative but changed when I listened to statistics about mental health and other problems that were quoted by the agreeing side. The solid evidence described confirmed to me that it is true that social media is adversely affecting the mental health of teenagers.

The documentary, The Social Dilemma emphasizes the same perspective and I watched it with growing alarm when I realized that I do see the same addiction depicted around me. Various studies also evidence similar perspectives and the debaters concluded that social media is ruining childhood.

Listening to the disagreeing side, I found a different perspective. Though they do enumerate the effects of social media, they also suggest parental control over what is being watched and how much of it is being watched. I agree with this but I find no evidence in the society of this happening as the easy way out for parents is to hand over the technology to children and get busy doing what they want to do.

It is not that social media is only bad for the children. One study from Odger & Jensen suggests teenagers forming social connections with others through social media. I noticed this in my Grade 5-6  class too.

Again, it comes down to how technology is being used. Policing the teenagers is not the answer. Possibly, making them understand that rules are for a reason and the reasons behind them will create an atmosphere of trust and therefore, understanding.

Debate #1- Does technology enhance learning?

It may be that I am biased because I was one of the debaters on the agree side for this debate but I still think that technology does enhance learning. This is because when you have time as a teacher with technology in your classroom, then you have a little more time to devote to your students. Technology therefore helps teachers to better their teaching pedagogy and enhance the quality of the instruction they give. And enhanced instruction does improve learning.

We had three articles and one video to support our side. The first one was from Furio, which specified the difference between a Mobile and Traditional classroom and how a difference in achievement and motivation was noticed in a Mobile Classroom. 

As discussed during the debate, quoting the article from Harris et al; 1:1 technology has proven that subjects like math which are very important for gaining critical thinking skills do get enhanced when you are using technology. The video, from Kris Alexander, also validates the fact. According to Kris, there are three types of learners. The first one is auditory, the second is visual and the third is kinesthetic. In a traditional classroom, there is possibly more auditory exposure, a little bit of visual exposure, very rare kinesthetic exposure for learners. Because of this reason, they do not learn as well as they could when they are using all kinds of learning practices.

The disagree side quoted a couple of research papers. There was some evidence quoted by them with regards to a study conducted on university students that debates the achievement levels and the distraction of technology in the classroom. There is some evidence about the fact that technology could be a distraction. Their argument about the fact that when you write notes while a lecture is taking place you are synthesizing the information and putting it on the paper. However the same is applied for when you are using an IPad for writing the information that you have gained in a lecture. The use of technology for assessment, when you are giving a quiz, can be done both on paper as well as on a device. But with technology, you get the feedback right then and there and you can see where you have committed a mistake, improve it, and even retake the quiz. This is not true when you have to wait for the feedback and then you come across learning that you have made a mistake in some particular topic and then, you have even lost the chance of changing it or improving on it.

Quoting Cuban, L., the disagreeing side emphasized the need to utilize technology in an efficient way so as to increase its effectiveness. Another paper also emphasized technology to cause muscular and health problems. I agree to both these statements and feel that technology needs to be moderated for its appropriate use. 

In conclusion, I am a believer that technology does enhance the teaching process and in turn the learning process.

Wired Living: A Day in the Life with Tech in Northern Ontario

A typical day in my life revolves around communication with my family, friends, and social connections, facilitated by technology. Living in a remote community in Northern Ontario (, I rely on social media and messaging apps to stay connected. I use WhatsApp ( for messaging and calling my parents, children, and husband via WiFi calling (, as the local network doesn’t work well there.

Social media apps like Facebook ( , Instagram ( , and Twitter (  are part of my daily routine. For entertainment, I watch movies and series on Netflix (, Prime Video (, and Crave (

While teaching, I utilize a Promethean board connected through an app called Screen Share (, which allows me to cast my computer screen onto it. The board is also touch-enabled, enhancing interactive learning. I use specific apps for English comprehension and assessment, such as Elevate (, which helps assess children’s reading and comprehension skills, as well as basic language skills. For math, I use Prodigy ( and other specific worksheets. These programs are administrator-specific, enabling me to check and assess data to determine progress and assign necessary corrections.

As a student, I attend meetings via Zoom ( and use various apps like Canva ( for creating templates and other academic needs. I also use PowerPoint, Word and Excel ( for other purposes. There is a lot of learning that happens through searching reading, and analyzing articles on Google (  I may sometimes use an AI assistant to read the articles to me ( have recently discovered a voice typing app ( that if spoken slowly and with correct pronunciation, can type out what one is trying to speak.

Therefore, technology for me is a continuous and engaging experience that is used in almost all aspects of my life.