Author Archives: leahtschetter

The End of Ed Tech Debates

I’m notorious for going over time limits on assignments, so I am quite proud of myself for not going over this summary! Although I do have to admit, the first recording was over the 9 minute mark. Whew, I’m a little emotional as this is the final assignment for my M.Ed. It has been a great opportunity to connect with upcoming leaders in education through this program, and I look forward to hopefully meeting some of you in person someday!

I’m late to producing a podcast, but it felt right to try something new for my final (for now) assignment. It’s never too late!

I wish all my classmates the best of luck in continuing their education and to those that are done this semester, we made it! I can’t wait to see the difference you all make.

Happy Teaching,

Leah

The Final Face-off

It is only fitting that our last two debates were just as heated as the rest of them. I feel fortunate to have met all these passionate leaders in this class! I begin each section with my pre-debate thoughts. Next, I took the main points from the groups introductory video and rebuttal and formatted them into a list, then added comments made during the debate beside each debater. I finish each section with a reflection of the prompt and how the debate influenced my opinion.

mandatory Mia post

Debate 7: Educators and schools have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint

Image from UpSavvy

Before the debate I disagree with this statement. We should be allowing student’s choice in curating their own digital footprint to reflect their identity. I think educators have a responsibility to teach about digital footprints and digital citizenship, but not to develop it. I am glad I don’t have my digital footprint from when I was in school. We still need the right to forget.

Agree

  • Parents, policy makers, and care givers are important, but teachers are better equipped to teach about digital citizenship
  • Families need education and support in this work as well
  • Building a foundation in a safe and controlled environment
  • Digital technologies and 21st century skills are important in becoming citizens
  • We must consider students developmental age
  • Create a personal brand in a public space
  • Rae: Teacher’s don’t need to upload photos of students. If it is portfolios or blogging, they only need selective
  • Funmilola: Student mistakes are permanently online, if we are starting earlier they are digitally naïve, so we have the responsibility to present preventative strategies

Disagree

  • Students digital footprint is already created by students and updated outside of school hours
  • Teachers and schools are not prepared to support an evolving a digital world
  • Risks displaying student information, data collection, and identity theft
  • Inaccessible to many families
  • Canadian law doesn’t differentiate between children and adults
  • Kimberly Kipp: Students have digital footprints before they enter schools, by the time it is taught in school we are implementing a reactive approach. We need to address these issues systemically. Parents are signing these media release forms, but students are not. Online is not a safe space for students and we are exposing their identities in this unsafe space. We need consistent education.
  • Gertrude: We can’t control their digital footprint or responsibly monitor student work. Code of ethics for online activities.

There was lots of debate about digital citizenship vs digital footprint in the chat during this prompt. There was also lots of debate about whose responsibility it is to build digital footprints. Many felt that there is a larger responsibility from government policies, curriculum, and companies that needs to occur. Students also need to give their own consent, not just the parents consent for autonomy. Placing another responsibility on teachers without building capacity will not be sufficient in keeping our students safe. Overall, this debate confirmed my bias. I still do not think educators should be responsible for developing student’s digital footprints, but I do think we have a responsibility to educate the effects of a digital footprint and how to become digital leaders.

Debate 8: Online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children

Image from IDP

Prior to the debate I strongly disagree. I do see potential impacts on physical health but by keeping student centered pedagogy in your course development there is equal opportunity for social and academic development of children. We do have to be additionally prepared to plan for social engagement and problem solving skills. Some student may even thrive in this setting because it takes away anxiety, there are multiple opportunities to demonstrate understanding, and greater possibility for accessibility.

Agree

  • Additional costs to families
  • Unable to provide equity to students
  • At-risk students ‘vanishing’
  • Negative effects of screen time
  • classes aren’t true to their intention as they do not have access to materials (music, arts, PAA)
  • Loss of authentic assessment
  • loss of extra curricular
  • No teacher supervision
  • No division of home and school
  • Physical schools offer access to food, clothing, and a safe space for students
  • Colton: can online learning stand alone, not just supplement? There are a variety of levels of supports students may need.
  • Britney: parents may take away from class time, and some may not have parent support. Social anxiety can continue online, and we can’t assess their mental well-being. Relationships are needed to connect with students.
  • Kayla: K-4 curriculum is learned by play, inquiry, and social interactions that can’t be replicated online. It is not realistic for students to have independent work habits.

Disagree

  • Flexible, accessible, inclusivity
  • Cost saving
  • Teaches time management skills
  • Smaller class sizes and one-on-one support
  • Student autonomy is increased as students can review as needed
  • Virtual classroom is available anywhere
  • Digital skills transfer to the workplace
  • Customizable learning experiences
  • Constructive and timely feedback
  • Flexible schedules
  • Christopher: the more options student’s have, if the option is there it can be chosen. It works best when presented as a choice, not like the pandemic.
  • Arkin: has affordable options to meet their needs
  • Katherine: Students who chose online can still attend in person activities. Pandemic teaching is better than no teaching in emergency situations. Parents can decide if their children are capable of independent work habits.

Maybe I’m stubborn this week, but I maintained the same position. I do side with the disagree team that digital learning needs to be presented as a choice, because it isn’t going to be a successful option for everyone to consider. Some families will need this flexibility to be successful (many of my previous virtual students had a variety of health needs), and some will need the in-person supports, some will need blended or hybrid. I think that it is important that online education is developed with planned opportunities for interaction, which may require a mindset shift on defining social development. The disagree side emphasized that online education doesn’t mean online extra curriculars, students still have access to community services and programs. The distinction of Emergency Remote Teaching and online education are vital to this debate as well. There may need to be some policy updates in the future surrounding online education to include attendance and welfare checks to make sure it is implemented with student safety and wellbeing in mind. I think the benefits of online education can’t be overlooked, and it is a great option for families to have!

Would online education work for your family?

Do you prefer online education as an adult?

What steps do you take to develop positive digital footprints for students?

Happy Teaching,

Leah

Removing the Rose-Tinted Glasses

Challenges children face today are similar to the past, but in different formats. For example cyberbullying/bullying and social media pressure/magazines. Is this the responsibility of educators, parents, or policy makers? Do we need to model and teach how to use these devices responsibly and thoughtfully? Are we setting limits because we are having difficulty keeping up with evolving technology?

Debate 5: Social media is ruining childhood

Prior to the debate I agreed with this statement. In the wake of several TikTokers who are being accused of violating their children’s consent and even safety. However, I love getting snapchats from my nephews, it allows me to see their daily life (and sometimes they show me cool bugs), but it is a controlled environments where they only have family added. I also had to make sure to remove them from viewing my stories, so there was trust between our family to maintain a safe space for them. Here are some notes I took during the debate:

Agree

  • Childhood play used to foster imagination, curiosity, and creativity. Social media has ruined this.
  • Play is an important way children learn
  • negative influencers on social media
  • cyberbullying
  • online predators
  • false marketing
  • Fasiha mentioned that kids will always find a loophole like fake accounts, factory reset devices, and they will find a way to get uncensored content

Disagree

  • Online socializing improves social bonds, and creates connections with people with similar interests
  • Can share your narrative
  • We must educate about safety and security
  • Jennifer during their opening statement mentioned the generational change of viewing the past with rose-coloured glasses. The assumption that we all want the same social experience.
  • Mike said it is a shared responsibility to teach responsible use and has observed that students are better at navigating social media in the past years.
  • Jennifer mentioned we need to continue pushing for laws protecting children. There are other apps to build responsibility by using safe platforms.

I actually changed my mind after the debate (as did many of us according to the pre and post debate votes)! I think there are ways to introduce social media on safe educational apps and scaffold responsible use. I think many of these issues come down to understanding guardians and educator roles in social media. There is a large responsibility on guardians to monitor, removing devices when necessary, and engaging children in a variety of activities. Kelly mentioned in the chat that maybe social media is ruining parenting. I think defining roles of parents (monitoring), teachers (modelling responsible and safe use), and policy (laws) are essential to protecting children online.

Debate 6: Cellphones should be banned

Prior to the debate I disagreed with this sentiment. I think that there needs to be an acceptable use policy clearly upheld for students; I believe we should model and practice responsible use in all situations.

Agree

  • technology addiction is similar to cocaine addition
  • decreases distractions
  • 50% of young people experience cyberbullying, we should stop this at the schools to create a safe space
  • Students spend up to 20% of their in-class time on cellphones
  • disconnect to connect
  • Echo brought up how students may use cellphones to spread rumors and gossip, and then schools are responsible for disciplinary action
  • Lovepreet shared that cellphones are distracting to those around them, not just the student
  • Amanpreet shared that students can take unwanted photos and distribute them.

Disagree

  • teachers need to do significant planning for the learners in their classroom, the first step is a drastic mind-shift. This means taking the time to discuss and explore digital literacy skills
  • Should they have two identities in school and at-home?
  • Increased student engagement, improve overall participation.
  • Increased accessibility. Cell phones give us a way to have a better tech to student ratio
  • Integral part of life, help students live one life, not two
  • Virtual and augmented reality, can make learning experiences more tangible to students.
  • Leona shared that teachers and parents have a hard job of being enforcers, but when our classroom has etiquette use cellphones can be valuable learning tools
  • Reid shared that they are useful for emergencies, and to communicate with families. Nicole R shared the dangers of having students creating mass panic and jamming cellphone towers during an emergency.

In our group discussion we talked about how not allowing students to access wi-fi to use apps like Snapchat and Instagram increases the digital divide because some students don’t have access to this at home and school is an opportunity to engage in the digital world. As always there is a need to define roles of teachers (modelling responsible and safe use), and policy (consistent/universal rules across schools/divisions) on protocols for cellphone usage in schools. There are also always nuances of specific contexts. Kim shared that they had a grade 6 class give access to cellphones, had the resources to build capacity, but there was still a miscommunication that caused a parent to misinterpret police presence at school. Gertrude shared that there are also cultural differences that influence the need for wide-spread awareness and come together to create a universal protocol. Many of these issues are part of a larger narrative surrounding technology use policies that needs to be addressed systemically rather than a teacher-by-teacher case where it becomes another issue that educators are expected to take responsibility for.

screenshot from Klein

In regards to guardians, teachers, policy makers, and tech companies who is responsible for protecting children? How can we clearly define these roles?

Happy Teaching,

Leah

Change the Curriculum?

This week it was time for Sushmeet and me to debate! We spent almost two weeks preparing for the debate, but lots of our classmates wrote diverse arguments for both sides with perspectives that surpassed my limited lens and subjectivity. So, lets get started!

Debate 3: Schools should no longer teach skills that can be easily carried out by technology (e.g., cursive writing, multiplication tables, spelling).

Pre-debate I felt that many of these skills will be replaced by technology in classrooms. To me, it makes sense that our language code develops as time progresses. As words and phrases are added to our dictionaries, the code increases to reflect cultural changes and spread of language codes. Sometimes it seems as if language is regressing back into visual images like emoticons, gifs, and memes. This translates into many areas of the curriculum like multiplication facts (calculators), spelling (spell check), cursive writing (fonts), and even graphing (exporting to charts, graphs, and tables). Now let’s get into support for both sides.

Agree

  • If we want a more equitable educational program we must reimagine our education system to make space for social justice practices, by removing unnecessary skills for today’s society there is more room for higher level thinking, 21st century skills,

the whole education process can be reformed and restructured, including the main drivers and principles for reinventing schools in the global knowledge economy, models for designing smart learning environments at the institutional level, a new pedagogy and related curriculums for the 21st century, the transition to digital and situated learning resources, open educational resources and MOOCs, new approaches to cognition and neuroscience as well as the disruption of education sectors” (p. v, Shaping Future Schools with Digital Technology)

  • More personalized programming through implementation of technology.

Future education will fully consider the personality and development of each student. With the effective and wise use of AI technology we can surpass the personalized and small-scale education of the agricultural society, we can surpass the non-personalized and large-scale education of the industrialized society, and we can then establish a personalized but large-scaled educational system (p., v Shaping Future Schools with Digital Technology)

  • Faster formative feedback to guide the learner and more time for teachers to give learners quality feedback from higher-level thinking tasks.

Knowledge and skills delivery will be dramatically supplemented by artificial intelligence while other aspects of educating and cultivating become more and more important. New technology will save teachers’ time and help them care more for the students’ soul, spirit, and happiness since there would be time for them to have further communication with students, to inspire students for more motivation and interest to do more creative and innovative learning. Future education will enter the era of co-working between teachers and artificial intelligence. (p. vi, Shaping Future Schools with Digital Technology)

Now I have to say that I agree with most of what we argued, but I do believe that some of these basic skills are foundational to higher level, complex problem-solving.

Disagree

  • Spelling affects marketing and quality of work. Without it we lose our language code.

That advice reflected a societal approbation of the ability to spell—which at the time could be defined as the capacity to write words that conform to the orthography of a given language—that had been pervasive since at least the 16th century and grew in importance with the rise of the printing press and printed books” (Spelling, (2021), Pan, S.C., Rickard, T.C. & Bjork, R.A.)

  • Cursive writing is linked to motor skills, memory, comprehension, and other improved brain functions.

“there’s plenty of evidence of cognitive and academic benefits. Brain scans reveal neural circuitry lighting up when young children first print letters and then read them. The same effect is not apparent when the letters are typed or traced” (Cursive Writing: Berger, T. (2017, March 10))

  • Students cannot complete higher-level problem solving in mathematics without basic skills.

“students do not know their fractions, cannot do long division or basic subtraction and borrowing operations. The bottom line: “Students don’t have the skills at hand to engage in problem-solving and higher-level math.” (Mental Math and Computation Skills: Bennett, P. (2021, June 6))

I agree that some of these skills are valuable, but also that technology has an increasing role in our daily skills. Overall, technology isn’t quite ready to overthrow these skills.

Debate 4:  Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice

Whew, we had two heated debate topics this week! Let’s get into the team’s arguments.

Agree

  • Teachers shouldn’t be neutral about social justice issues and we have a responsibility to use our privilege to speak up against discrimination.

for us to say our role is to be neutral is to operate from a place of privilege. Not privilege as in wealth — that’s just one of many types of privilege, and one that most educators don’t have. Our place of privilege is choosing not to pay attention to these stories or take a position on them because we are not personally impacted” (Angela Watson’s Truth For Teachers: Some Things a Teacher Shouldn’t be Neutral About (September 1, 2019))

  • Social media can increase student voice can make a difference in communities. Our classrooms can be sites of activism.

What I learned from this assessment is that young people are ready, willing, and able to engage in difficult conversations. They are interested in fighting for their lives, our lives, and their nation. They are leaders—even the quiet ones.

There is power in student voice, and it isn’t a voice any teacher can give. We don’t give voices. We make space for them in our curricula and classrooms, or we don’t” (Using Social Justice to Promote Student Voice: Lorena Germán (2020))

Disagree

  • There are more effective ways that students can engage in social justice.

“Without offline action, gestures like using a hashtag or posting a black square come across as performative, opportunistic, and lazy. Critics are often quick to call out these minimal efforts as “slacktivism.”” (Genuine Social Media Activism: A Guide for Going Beyond the Hashtag)

  • If teachers engage in social activism, there is a possibility of professional repercussions and possibility of influencing students beliefs and opinions.

“They want to preserve their objectivity in front of their students. They don’t want to hurt their relationships with parents, students, or colleagues who might have different beliefs than they do. They worry about professional repercussions, especially when posting from an account that they use for work-related reasons” (Teachers, Politics, and Social Media: A Volatile Mix)

Overall, I believe teachers should be able to engage if they choose to. There are some who wish to engage in social justice, and some who do not. For me, I will choose to use my privilege to be an ally. If there were to be repercussions I am privileged to be able to either use a lawyer to speak more, or find other employment in time. This isn’t a choice everyone has, so they should also have a choice in engaging in social justice.

If you made it this far, great job!

Happy Teaching,

Leah

Mo Tech, Mo Problems?

Debate 1-Tech in the classroom enhances learning

It is no secret that I love technology, it permeates my work life, social life, and my hobbies. However, I don’t simply choose my interests based on the technology, the technology supports my interest. Although, sometimes I do!

As discussed in class by Sushmeet and Katherine, technology needs a balance. Nicole W. brought up a relevant point that COVID-19 learning is emergency learning and not a true reflection of technology impact learning, as there was a variety of factors including support at home which influenced student achievement.

McKnight et al. emphasizes the effect that having pedagogy driven technology usage can improve communication, collaboration, feedback, interaction. They were also transparent about the support teachers had to successfully implement technology integration strategies “essential role of leadership and community support for spurring […] transformation” (p. 206). The importance in the argument is the focus on student-centered approaches supported by technology positively impacts student learning and achievement. As Jason Brown says in their TEDx talk, we don’t have to be afraid of technology. McKnight et al. write about the potential to redefine teacher roles in schools- to help students gather information on their own rather than focusing on content delivery. While there is fear in changing these roles, such as AI, why is there fear in using technology to support pedagogy. I have blogged in the past about how I have fallen victim to technology-driven pedagogy, but I still use technology to support pedagogy. I thought it was important that Nicole and Daryl said that the use of technology doesn’t automatically improve student engagement and learning outcomes, we do need training on selecting appropriate EdTech tools.

I think we often confuse tech with gamification. Gamification doesn’t have to include technology! Just this week I had a group of EAL teachers competing in Level Up, Hot Seat, and Trash-ketball with no tech options. As Brittany said in their rebuttal, tech isn’t just screen time. Megan also supported that we don’t have to be inside to use technology, we can still explore outside (think about the Pokémon Go craze– my dog got so many walks).

Here’s Mia, she must appear in all my posts

The debaters also disagreed on the impact of relationships. Brittany and Megan shared how we can have greater connections by connecting with Elders, communicating with classmates, and getting immediate feedback from teachers. Nicole and Daryl argued these relationships are “artificial” and doesn’t meet Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I have friends that I have never met (hello, Patricia!), and I see my online and offline identity as interwoven, not separate. I am very privileged to have the access to technology I need and training to engage in digital citizenship. As always, educators have a responsibility to be responsive to their own situation in regards to tech use and equality. This brings us to our next debate:

Debate 2- Technology has led to a more equitable society

Both teams for this debate addressed how the pandemic highlighted inequity for vulnerable students. As Amundson and Ko wrote, for some students learning from home will be the path to success. Tracy, Nicole, and Steven’s opening remarks share how technology has supported inclusive practices in schools and society, roughly impacting 5.3 million Canadians. Amundson and Ko support this concept by sharing that technology makes personalized learning less time consuming. Personalized learning is proven to positively impact student achievement and learning, and if technology can help drive that pedagogy, why shouldn’t we?

Kymberly DeLoatche shares how inclusion can change the culture in the workplace by narrating John’s story, and further shows how technology has improved the life of many people with disabilities. Matt Jenner writes how technology increases access to education, but:

There are, however, still many cultural and societal issues when it comes to a fair, inclusive and equal access to education. This issue is global; too many exclusions still block the fundamental right of access to education

Increasing access to education is incremental

Christina, Amaya, and Matthew argue that technology exacerbates the inequality gap that exists between higher and lower socio-economic students, and will lead to an academic divide between communities. Tracy, Nicole, and Steven argued in class that society blames technology for systemic issues that contribute to inequality that has been flawed for decades and call for an overall redesign of education.

Similar to debate 1, is the funding that is needed to implement technology equitably for all students. With government funding for education continually decreasing, it is likely we will see the long-term effects of inequity of technology access in communities and schools. When Elon Musk gave internet access to Ukraine in support, it can be seen that this gap doesn’t have to exist but is systemically kept.

In the end it both debate topics come down to money!

How are you responsive to your classroom/community context with technology usage? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Teaching,

Leah

A Day of Tech Vlog

Last semester I blogged about A Day in the Life of Mrs. Cheese Robot Lady (my last name is pronounced cheddar and this is how students identify me), so I thought I would switch it up and create a vlog of my tech use. Fridays are typically my office days, so sadly there were no robotics lessons to film today. Watch my TikTok below:

@leahtschetter

a day in my life with tech for #eci830 … an embarrassing amount of tech 😳 #Friday

♬ original sound – leahtschetter

Happy Teaching,

Leah

About Me

Mia, the best doggo

Hello, world! My name is Leah Tschetter (she/her), I am an educator living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on Treaty 4 Territory. I live here with my husband Tim and our dog Mia. Mia became internet famous when I taught virtually, and had to participate (cause chaos) in every lesson. Students still write me letters to ask how she is, to which I always answer “spoiled”.

I have what I like to call “itchy feet”. I have moved and travelled across 4 continents. Moose Jaw is the first place I’ve ever put down roots!

Black Temple, Chiang Rai

I have 7 years of teaching experience including K-12 at rural, Hutterian, virtual, and city schools as well as adult EAL courses. I am currently a Learning Consultant for Prairie South School Division. My focus areas are elementary support, new teachers, EAL, and coding and robotics. My passion is creating meaningful and engaging content with a dash of humor.

I truly believe in being a life-long learner. I attended the U of R for my Bachelor of Secondary Education with a major in English and a minor in Health Education, graduating in 2014. In 2020, I completed my CERTESL through the U of S. Now I am taking my last two classes in my last semester for my Master’s of Education in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership through the U of R. I’m still deciding on what my next degree should be, but I know I can’t stop here!

Goals

I hope to use this space as a place to create and share digital resources by experimenting with new technology, building community with my peers, building my online presence, and critically reflecting on my technology use and responsible practice. Connect with me so we can #learntogether!

Twitter: @leahtschetter