Author Archives: Ayodele Ogegbo

Picnic with Ilda and Ayodele

This blog is a joint effort by Ilda and Ayodele.

Today Ilda and I enjoyed a delightful picnic at Wascana Park, where we reflected on our experience in this class.  For Ilda, this marks her last blog and class for her master’s degree, while for Ayodele, it marks the end of the first class. Despite our different milestones, we hope to put into practice the valuable knowledge that we learned. In the last three weeks, we explored various topics: from the importance of technology in enhancing students’ learning and whether it provides an equitable society or not, to the impact of social media, and the use of AI and cell phones in education. These discussions have been both eye-opening and thought-provoking. As educators, our journey of learning and growing professionally will continue.

Cheers to new adventures!

Ilda & Ayodele

Equitable Society: Is Technology Contributing or Dividing?

The Collins dictionary defines equitable as something fair and reasonable in a way that gives equal treatment to everyone.

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In the words of the supporting speakers: “Technology has enhanced easy access to information, enabling individuals or students to acquire new knowledge or skills regardless of their geographic location or financial status.  Technology has changed how we learn by providing various virtual opportunities, thus making quality education accessible to students even in remote areas.”.

The speakers also talked about how telemedicine has provided easy access to health care without the need to travel long distances before seeing a doctor or their health provider. In one of the articles shared by the supporting speakers, Damarin (2020) indicated that the digital divide is not solely defined by a binary distinction of having or not having access to technology but also considers the disparities in the quality and level of access among different groups or individuals. Drawing connections between this assertion and a publication by Dot’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Ju-Yoon in the World Economic Forum report of 2023, it was noted that “the issue of accessibility strongly aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 10, which aims to reduce inequality,”  with technology playing a role in mitigating such disparities to a certain degree. For instance, many visually impaired individuals face challenges accessing visual digital content. However, the use of assistive technologies has helped bridge this gap to a certain level.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

The opposing side argued that the digital divide is driving a wedge into society, slowly widening the gap between achieving opportunity and utterly falling behind in a changing technologically advanced world. The speakers argued that technology has brought about more divides in gender, power, and democratic voice in areas of low economic growth, language, and little education between rural and urban areas or less industrially developed countries. According to Damarin (2020), the digital divide can manifest in various forms, including differences in access to hardware, internet connectivity, digital skills, and the ability to leverage technology for educational, social, or economic purposes. In the resources shared by the opposing speakers, there are concerns about issues with broadband becoming a basic need, and people in rural communities having issues with connectivity and safety.

Reflecting on the state of society in the past as compared to the present, I think the issue of equality and equity will always be inevitable. But it seems the vision around these constructs has changed over time to embrace inclusion; and technology has really helped to enhance inclusion. From a personal perspective, technology has helped build the confidence of women to take up STEM courses that were always stereotyped as being for MEN. We have a lot of girls now enrolling in mathematics, computer science, and physics careers.  These changes wouldn’t have been possible without partnerships. The only way we can continue addressing the issue of equity and equality is through partnerships with various organizations and stakeholders. Well, I think technology has not really led to an equitable society but rather has enhanced the provision of equal opportunities to individuals and access to information around the world.

“Technology is essential to every company invested in the future of society and humanity. Providing equitable access to work-ready learning and skills can equip individuals in real-time and for the future of work and promote an equitable workplace.”

Should cell phones be allowed in the classroom?

Today’s class explored the discussion on whether cell phones should be banned in the classroom or not. As speakers from the agree and disagree side narrowed down their points, my head kept buzzing with the reality of what is happening in the classroom. Listening to the supporting speakers and the resources shared, I can truly relate to the fact that the use of cell phones causes unnecessary distraction during instructional time, and impacts learning and concentration in the classroom, thus causing detrimental effects on students’ academic performance, and students can use them inappropriately. Several studies have provided support for the argument advocating the restriction of cell phones in school settings. For example, Beland and Murphy’s (2016) research titled “Ill Communication: Technology, Distraction, and Student Performance” demonstrated that standardized test scores of students saw an average increase of around 6%, with a more significant increase of over 14% observed among low-achieving students following the implementation of a ban on cell phones in educational environments.From the video resources shared, including the below video, one could hear the students admitting that cell phones cause distraction in the classroom.

 

Well, even if there are strong reasons why cell phones should be banned or restricted in the classroom, the disagreeing side outlined key benefits of using cell phones: enhance student collaboration, communication, and content creation skills, enhance safety measures, and support teachers in their responsibilities to protect students, especially during emergencies (Sledge, 2018), access to educational apps, digital platforms, and supplemental lessons that can be used to support learning outside the school/classroom. The study by Gikas and Grant (2013) reported on both the benefits and challenges of using cell phones and other computing devices among university students. However, it seems the challenges identified in this paper were more pronounced by students who had the option of attending face-to-face lessons than for those who had work obligations or other important situations to attend. Reflecting on both sides of the argument, I think the use of cell phones is very important despite the challenges that come with using them, just like every other technology. However, total banning from school is NO..NO…NO because these students are already using cell phones and it has become a significant part of there lives, but probably making them put the phone away during school sessions and making them see reason for doing this might be helpful. More importantly, I feel parents should also be involved in taking responsibilities of how their children use phones. For instance,  parents and students could be made to sign a memorandum of understanding on phone usage in school at the beginning of the year, a copy should be given to them; and they must always be reminded about their commitment to the signed document. Regardless of the policies on banning phones, I think educating students about the appropriate use of cell phones and how it can affect their lives even in the workplace or community goes a long way.

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick

Artificial Intelligence in Education 4.0

Reflecting on the topic of today’s debate, two things came to mind:

”Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world’. – Nelson Mandela

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” – John Dewey

The use of technology in education began in the 19th century and has since revolutionized teaching and learning in many ways. Though these revolutions have been slow, the current era of 4IR has spurred developments in the use of AI technologies, which are driving the new and future world of work. These technologies include, but are not limited to: humanoid robots, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, cloud computing, web-based chatbots, and intelligent tutoring systems. As an educator and researcher, I have used VR and AR to teach abstract physics concepts, which has enhanced my students scientific practice. They were able to understand some of the inquiry skills required for learning science. One thing I also realized is that the VR application used helped the students engage more deeply with the lesson content, interact with models in the virtual space, and enhance their ability to collaborate with other students in the virtual class. With my experience, I can say that an AI-powered VR learning environment can help optimize students learning experiences. Studies have also demonstrated how AI tools can be used to generate tailored advice for individual students, helping them improve based on their past assessments and preferred learning styles. Another significant part of AI is the use of machine learning algorithms that identify trends and patterns in large datasets and make sound predictions about learning behaviours and future outcomes. Evidence has also demonstrated how engaging students in AI related activities and projects has improved their acquisition of 21st-century and 4IR skills like digital literacy, complex problem solving, computational thinking, collaboration, creativity, and so on.

Despite the positive inclination around the use of AI, we have also seen people raise concerns on bias, safety, and privacy around the use of AI. I think these issues have always existed since the first industrial revolution, and the public has always been finding ways of managing them. Nevertheless, several policies, frameworks, and guidelines have been developed to aid the effective use of AI tools in education ( see below).

How can we demystify issues around the AI in Education? The World Education Forum had a debate on this issue (see below).

 

Technology is continually changing, and we have to adapt to the change in order to become relevant and skilled in the present era.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

Hahaha: Social media is ruining childhood

Wahoo…what an interesting debate. Just as the supporting speakers argued that the use of social media affects the mental health of children. This statement comes with the understanding that children begin to develop their cognitive and reasoning abilities during the stages of 2 to 7 and 8 to 13 years old. As a result, they are not mentally developed to make decisions or take responsibility for themselves. They learn from everything they watch or hear. Exposing them to social media at this age can only do one thing…” add more to their problems in terms of picking behaviors that are unethical and/or not morally aligned “. As a mom, I have a three-year-old son who likes watching YouTube videos on Natsya. However, I realize that he has the yearning to always have the TV remote to himself whenever he comes back from daycare and he cries profusely if he does not have the remote. Moreso, nobody dares change the TV if he is watching his program. This is what social media is causing: anxiety, not sleeping early, and mimicking everything he watches on YouTube. So yes, social media is ruining childhood and there is need for parents and all educational stakeholders to have policies and strategies in place to combat the effect of social media on children.

Technology in the classroom enhances Learning

This week, we listened to the debates on whether technology enhances learning or not. Speakers from both sides did a great job of driving home their points on this topic. I agree with the opinion that technology does improve the quality of learning in the classroom.  For instance, in a traditional classroom, teaching is done as a once-off task and teachers find it difficult to re-explain a topic over and over again until students understand. However, with the use of technology, students can easily listen to the lessons repeatedly until they are able to comprehend the lesson in a better way. This also makes learning more enjoyable and fun for students.

However, I view technology as a tool that can only used to support learning if combined with the right pedagogical approach..This implies that not all technology enhances learning outcomes. So, teachers need to know the type of technology that can be used to support the specific topic they intend to teach. This is where the knowledge of a teacher’s Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) becomes very important.  Within the PCK framework, the teacher should have knowledge of the pedagogy, content, and technology required to effectively enhance students understanding of the lesson taught.

My typical day with the use of Technology

Hello, my name is Ayodele Ogegbo. With a background in science education, I’ve served as both a secondary school science teacher and a university lecturer for over 10 years. Currently, I am a researcher at the University of Johannesburg. My daily routine as a lecturer and researcher heavily involves the use of technology for teaching, learning, and research purposes. This requires me to conduct virtual classes and supervise postgraduate students through Microsoft Teams, where I share lesson contents and ideas using PowerPoint presentations that incorporate video and audio clips as well as online tools like PhET simulations.

To further enhance positive interaction and classroom engagement with students, I sometimes use Slido and Kahoot for online quiz purposes to check for students’ understanding. I also use Google Forms for collecting open-ended and closed-ended responses from research participants.

As a researcher, I use Turnitin to check the integrity of my work. In addition, I also try to use WhatsApp to communicate with my colleagues and other students, especially when there is a need to discuss urgent matters.

 

My first four Months in Regina

Hello and welcome to my first blog and exploration in the city of Regina. I can’t believe that time is running so fast that I have spent close to four months in this wonderful city.          

I think I’m loving it here in the city and have found a few friends that I try to hang out with whenever I am less busy. However, I still look forward to exploring what the city has in stock for me as I continue with my Job hunt.