Author Archives: Jacqueline Vierling

Technology Enhances learning

Does Technology enhance learning?  In a short answer… Yes it does!  Students are driven by technology.  Technology is at ours and our students fingertips.  Technology is not going anywhere.   As a classroom teacher, I have had to embrace technology.   By no means do I consider myself to be tech savvy, but I am learning to be.  Beginning my teaching career in a Grade 2 classroom was very humbling.  You definitely take things for granted with what you know and sometimes what you just figure your students should already know.  As a young teacher I quickly learned that my students didn’t know much, so it was my job to help guide them.  Fast forward to 2020 and the educational world was turned upside down and we were forced into the world of online teaching.  Having to change my wheelhouse into an online teacher and think about the different ways I was going to reach all my students, made me VERY thankful that I had spend the time at the beginning of that school year teaching my students how to use and access their Google Classroom page, because it definitely made my world a lot easier.

Over the past couple of years I have begun to explore the world of coding, after being introduced to it by a colleague.   I first explored Hour of Code with my classroom and most recently my students participated in the Go! Code Programs workshops offered by the Saskatchewan Science Centre.  The best part of this program, was that they sent the facilitators to work with your classroom, and here is the best part, it was ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!  I was blown away by what my students were able to create!

Now that I work with middle year students, I let them explore a little more, when my students complete inquiry projects, I am quite often amazed with what they can do with the technology that was given to them.  They aren’t afraid to try new things and take chances.  Yes there can be some frustrations as they try to figure some things out, but I find most times before they turn to the teacher for help they are turning to their classmates to help them troubleshoot.

Sam Kary, an educator, instructional coach, and advocate for educational technology in schools, argues that educators need to take a holistic approach to technology in education. On the New Ed tech classroom website,  he lists 14 ways technology can enhance learning:

  1. Use Digital Classrooms for Organization & Accessibility
  2. Create Student-Centered Personalized Instruction
  3. Increase Engagement
  4. “Ditch” Textbooks & “Flip” Classrooms
  5. Differentiate How Students Show Knowledge 
  6. Teach 21st Century Skills
  7. Bring Abstract Experiences to Life with Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
  8. Expand Classroom Walls
  9. Teach Digital Citizenship
  10. Promote Social Sharing
  11. Develop Collaboration Skills
  12. Develop Metacognition
  13. Enhance Family Engagement
  14. Improve Teacher Practice


Technology, definitely is not something that is going away, so we need to embrace the technological world and use it to work alongside our students.


Is AI the Future of Education?

Prior to this class I will say I did not know much about this AI world.  When we had our first class about AI I was blown away.  I was intrigued and could see how it could be a tool, but I still was not sure.  Going into this past weeks debate, I wondered is it the future of education?  Will this be something we will become more accustomed to.

Ditch that textbook outlines 15 AI tools teachers can use in the classroom to help teachers in their classrooms, some you may be familiar with or already use and some we have discussed in class:

My feeling towards AI is that it can definitely be used a teaching tool.  GetSmater blog posted some ways that AI can help in Education , it suggest the following educational applications harness the power of AI to improve learning in students of all ages:

  1. Thinkster Math: Thinkster Math is a tutoring app that blends the math curriculum with a personalized teaching style. The app uses AI and ML to visualize how students think as they work through a math problem. This allows the tutor to quickly spot areas in the child’s thinking and logic that need work. It then assists them by giving them immediate, personalized feedback.
  2. Brainly: Students can ask homework questions on this education platform and receive automatic, verified answers from fellow students. Brainly, which ultimately helps students learn faster, uses ML algorithms to filter out spam.
  3. Content Technologies, Inc. (CTI): This AI company uses deep learning to create customized learning tools for students. One of these tools, JustTheFacts101, makes it easy for teachers to import syllabi into a CTI engine. The machine then uses algorithms to create personalized textbooks and coursework based on core concepts. Cram101 is another example of an AI-enhanced offering, where any textbook can be turned into a smart study guide, providing bite-sized content that’s easy to learn in a short space of time. The tool even produces multiple-choice questions, saving students time and helping them learn more effectively.
  4. Gradescope: This platform makes grading less time-consuming (teachers’ grading time is reduced by 70 percent or more) and provides student data that can indicate where they need additional assistance.
  5. Duolingo: With more than 120 million users worldwide, Duolingo has a broad audience that reaches beyond the classroom. It offers 19 languages and helps anyone using the app to learn a foreign language, building their skills over time. With quizzes and other tests, the program adapts to each user’s abilities to offer new challenges.

Some of the criticism of AI tools could be that it is teaching students to cheat.  I feel as though, like many of the technologies we have discussed this semester, we can use it as a tool and we can teach our students how to use this tool properly.


That’s All Folks… That’s a Wrap on this Semester!

Wow it is hard to believe we are already at the end of the semester!  I have enjoyed the learning we shared together throughout the semester.  The great ed tech debates brought some very awesome discussions and shed some new thoughts and ideas on the world of Ed. Tech.  Here is my Summary of Learning.

Thanks everyone for all the great discussions throughout the semester!!

Helping Students Develop their Digital Footprint – Is it our job?


As we move forward in the Digital Age with our students, is it our job teach our students about Digital Footprint?  Technology has become such a large part of education and in the lives of the kids we work with daily.   As a classroom teacher, I feel that this is something that we can’t pass on.  I have been teaching grade 5 for the past 9 years the number of students in my class who now have phones has increased incredibly.  When I first started teaching my current grade I would say that maybe a handful of students had their own personal device.  Fast forward 9 years later, I would say that only handful of my students do not have their own device!  I have had numerous conversations with my students about what we see online, the importance of knowing what is accurate news or fake news, the importance of using reputable sources, that just because it is online, it may not necessarily be true.  My husband and I have even had these important conversations with our son.  He is in Grade 9, a baseball player, and he has expressed interest in wanting to play baseball once he is in University.  We have stressed to him, that as he has begun to develop his online presence to be scouted for baseball, that he needs to be aware what he is posting online, what is he posting on his social media, because not only could his baseball profile be looked at, but so could his Social Media feeds.  This debate topic, was another one that I started out on the fence, in the beginning. I felt, that this is something else added to our plate, but as I listened to the arguments of this debate, my feelings changed.  I think that digital literacy should be something developed in the classroom, but I also feel that it isn’t just the job of educators to teach about the digital footprint, that it should be a shared job between school and home.  Parents need to be aware what their kids are doing online and monitor it.  “Giving children the tools and ethical code to make good choices is vital. Online postings can affect their college acceptance and future jobs – not to mention more anonymous apps that allow persistent, untraceable bullying. Teaching digital citizenship keeps them and their futures safer and allows positive communications and relationships to grow out of social media connections” (Dotterer, et al., 2016).

Kathleen Morris, a primary educator in Victoria, Australia has a blog to help teachers create digitally literate global learners. This is a great spot to start when teaching kids about their online presence.  As Morris states “Because of their age and limited life experience, it can be difficult for students to consider if what they’re happy to post online now is something they’ll still be happy with in 1/5/10/20 years”.  I often use the rule of 5 with the students in my classroom when dealing with situations that my arise and it is a “Big Deal”, we quite often talk about that it seems like a big deal now, but in 5 years, will we remember about it.  Will we remember who won the dodgeball game in Grade 5 gym class, probably not.  But getting our students to think about  will we be happy with this post in 1 – 20 years.  If the answer is No, then maybe we shouldn’t post it.  I know I have even questioned some posts I had made in my early 20s when social media first was developed.

Morris suggests using a 4 layered approach when teaching Digital Citizenship with your students

The same approach could be useful for digital footprint education.

  1. INTEGRATION: Digital footprint education should be embedded into the curriculum in an ongoing and authentic way (e.g. through a classroom blogging program).
  2. STORYTELLING: Students should be presented with “real-life” scenarios to consider, discuss, and learn from.
  3. STRATEGIES: Practical strategies should be taught so students build a toolkit of actionable ideas and skills.
  4. COMMUNITY: Messages from parents and educators should overlap and there should be ongoing communication.

Technology is such a large part of the world today, it is such a large part of our student’s lives, it is difficult to look the other way, and as Morris suggest that we integrate into our curriculum, cross-curricular teaching is not a new thought for educators.  We are constantly bringing  technology in the classroom, the digital age is not going away, so teaching our students how to navigate it so critical.  John Green, MediaWise, The Poynter Institute, and The Stanford History Education Group to developed a have created a series of videos titled Navigating Digital Information another great resource is the MediaWise website.

To Remain Neutral or Voice my Opinion and is using Social Media the way to do it?

Even as I prepared for the debate, I often asked myself – what are my views on bringing social justice into the classroom?  I often wondered is it better to stay neutral or not say anything at all.  But then as educators we have to ask ourselves, by staying neutral are we being oppressive?  As Amanda and I stated in our debate, “The question then becomes, do teachers have a responsibility to model active citizenship and anti-oppressive education in digital spaces as well, and what are the risks (and benefits) of staying silent about social justice issues online?  Can we use our own social media platforms to voice our own Social Justice path?  My thought is yes we can, as long as we are doing it in a positive way, yes some issues can be that of a slippery slope,  I think that it is up to you to use your discretions with how vocal you want to be.

The Resilient Educator website  is a great starter resource to look at if you are thinking about bringing social justice learning into your classroom.  Our goal is to  create a community of learners that we want to be critical thinkers.  I believe there is a much larger picture that needs to be looked at for a child to have a social justice voice and we as educators have a platform that can help our students to do so.  We can create a safe space where students feel comfortable to share their voice and opinion.  Students know and understand that not everyone will share their opinion and that is alright.   Once our student have recognized and discussed the social justice issues, we now can help guide students to act upon the issues that they see.  Teachers can help students with activist strategies like social media campaigns, demonstrations, sit-ins to raise awareness of an issue to build and bring positive change.  We can use positive role models like Greta Thunberg who has used their social media platforms to spread their message world wide.  Many people have stopped and taken notice on her work.  

Educators like Sydnee Chaffee shows how teaching students to engage in activism helps them build important academic and life skills — and asks us to rethink how we can use education to help kids find their voices. “Teaching will always be a political act,” Chaffee says. “We can’t be afraid of our students’ power. Their power will help them make tomorrow better.”  Although she has had a lot of backlash that activism does not belong in out classrooms, and her answer is absolutely it does.

I had the opportunity to listen to Zoey Roy at the Regina Teacher’s Convention this past fall.  She spoke passionately about her experiences as a youth and an educator, and as an artist.  She is someone who has overcome a lot and she has a very powerful message.  In her words she is “Artist. Activator. Aunty. Zoey Roy is a rebel with a cause.”  She is another example of an educator that has “walked the walk”

Although social justice can be a scary path to follow I think that we follow the path that you want to follow to speak your voice that enables you students to feel that they have a space to speak their voice.  Social media is literally at everyone’s fingertips and it can be a powerful tool to let our voices to be heard and we can use our own social media to help guide our students down the correct path.

Social Media is Ruining Childhood

Is Social Media Ruining childhood?  Our Debaters of the topic did an amazing job at proving their points.   In the Pre-Vote prior to the debate, the majority of our classmates agreed that Social Media is ruining childhood.  At the conclusion of the debate, our Post-Vote showed that our Debaters manage to change some minds.  While the side that Social Media is ruining childhood still won, the vote was much closer than our Pre-Votes.

Where am I on the topic?

Well this is a good question.  I will say that after last weeks debate,  I’ve had time to think and read the articles, I still feel I am on the fence of this topic.  I had a really difficult time deciding which side I agree with.  In the beginning, I agreed that yes, Social Media is ruining childhood.  At the end of class, I completely agreed with both sides of the argument.  I agree that social media has caused a lot of harm to todays kids, but I also agree that there has been some benefits for them as well.

Looking at both sides of the argument

While I was preparing this post I came across a blog by Sana Hussain titled “Is Social  Media Ruining Kids’ childhoods?”  She reflects on her upbringing of growing up living in the present experiencing, and learning through sports, attending camps, and playing board games, all of these things are apart of the person she is today.  It makes her sad as she watches her younger siblings scroll through their phones or devices missing out on the world around them, living in the present.  I sometimes feel her pain as I watch my young niece and nephew who spend a lot of time on their devices.  The one that completely kills me is the youTube channels they watch – kids playing (or reviewing) with toys – instead of playing with the toys themselves!

While I agree too much time on social media can make your brain sometimes turn to mush, don’t get me wrong I’m just as guilty of falling into the mindless scrolling trap. I do see the benefits of social media.  Social media can be a positive outlet for kids today.  We see kids using it to promote their stand on important social justice issues.  It is their way to get their voices heard when they feel no one else is listening.  Social media doesn’t always have to bear the negativity we see and hear about today.   We have seen and hear stories of students taking the time to teach the elderly how to use social media.  In 2016, Max Rosenblum a teenager in Florida created a technology school for the elderly.  When you hear of stories like this, they can truly warm your heart as it does demonstrate the good that can come from the use of technology, it is a way to connect young and old.

Using AI as an Ed Tech tool…. SAY WHAT?!?!

After class I took some time to process what we had discussed in class.  I will say that the world of AI and Chat GPT was definitely new to me.  Initially I was intrigued and I thought it was all very interesting.  As I processed all the information presented to us I began to think about how can this become a tool in the classroom.  I came across a blog post titled Unleashing the Power of Chat GPT in Education.  In this post it gives a variety of ideas of how you could use it with the students in your classroom.  You could use it in various different ways in your Literacy lessons.  It could be used as tool for your EAL students.  It can even be used in your math lessons.  As I continued to look there were some other interesting articles on the Chat GPT debate.  Even as I read different thoughts and opinions on the topic, I still felt as though I am intrigued, but I am not sure if I am completely convinced yet.  I don’t think I am fully ready to jump on the Chat GPT train.  I feel as though it could be used as a useful tool for your students,  but is it useful for all of your students?  Maybe it could be used as a differentiation tool, it could be used for those students that we have in our classroom who struggle to get anything down on a piece of paper.  The world of AI and Chat GPT is interesting, but is it the future of education… I am still not sure?

Me, Myself, and Ed Tech

Hello Everyone!  I am a grade 5 teacher at Ruth M. Buck School in Regina.  For the most part, I feel I am fairly comfortable with technology.  I can usually learn quickly or at least fumble my way through until I have taught myself how to use it.  Within my classroom, Google Classroom is my LMS format of choice and since being thrown into the world of online teaching, Google Classroom has become a staple.  I will use it to post assignments, videos, or websites that I would like my students to take a look at.  I find it is a lot easier to track when students turn in assignments, so it helps keep me more organized.   If I had learned anything teaching during a pandemic is the importance of technology in the classroom.  I find that students are driven by it, almost all of the students in my classroom have some sort of device at their fingertips, whether it be a phone or tablet they are immersed in the digital world.  So it has forced me to step up my tech game.  As for myself and like most others I use social media for connection with friends and family who I don’t see or speak to regularly.  It gives me the opportunity to see what they are up to.  When my twitter account is used, I use it more professionally, my posts or retweets are connected to teaching or what is going on in my classroom.  I will say I have not dived into the tikTok world and not sure I have fallen down a few tikTok rabbit holes (as I am sure most of us have), but have not used it as a place to post.   As I have begun my master’s journey, I have learned and used other online tools like Padlet (for creating discussions), Canva, and also the blogging world (as this is my second class with a blogging aspect).  I am looking forward to learning more about what is out there in the Ed Tech world and how I can incorporate into my classroom!


Hello everyone!  My name is Jacquie Vierling.  I am currently enrolled in the Teaching, Learning and Leadership Masters program.  This is my 5th masters class.  I am a Grade 5 teacher at Ruth M. Buck school here in Regina.  I am excited to learn with all of you throughout the semester and to learn more about the Ed. Tech World!