Author Archives: mikeyyyg

Culmination of Learning…and a Thousand Paper Cuts

If there was no time limit this video would have been at least 15 minutes. The writer in me got a little carried away, that lead to cuts, then more cuts and more cuts. All the little lines I treasured got tossed to the side. Even then it’s a few seconds over (15 with citations). There’s a reason my film degree was not in production.

On a side note the music I used from WeVideo gave me a copyright strike. First video ever uploaded and I got a copyright strike. Seems fitting.

Best of luck to everyone, whether you are done your masters journey or just beginning.

Choice: Debate #8

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It’s interesting on how a slight change in wording can make a big difference in how you view a statement.  These questions are all worded well to encourage a mix of ideas and opinions, which is what makes for a more interesting debate.  Being reminded of those words is also what has made me side with one group or another.

I entered this debate, as many of us, with a bitter taste in my mouth of online schooling.  I remember that rush to get prepared for something we were never trained to do.  Our families also had an enormous responsibility placed at their feet while they were dealing with the trauma and unknown of a global pandemic.  Students told me of how they avoided work, played games while in class, roasted each other while the teacher was working with them, and generally revelled in how they got away with it.  So once again I came in agreeing with the debate statement that online education was hurting children’s social and academic development.

As Agree began I found myself checking off the points they made from my own experiences.

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Adds to the socioeconomic divide? Check.  My students with one laptop and 5 kids at home had a hard decision to make when it came to who was going to “school” that day.

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Not Equitable? Check. Students with at home parents had a huge advantage and were able to get more work done, and typically at a higher quality.  Sometimes too good…

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Increase in screen time?  Check.  I would work into my day plans time when students had to go outside to get some fresh air.  Too many went from online school, to online games. Parker (2021) has found that critical thinking and engagement does not improve with additional screen time.

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Not a good replacement for social interactions? Check.  While my own debate discussed the benefits of social media, I have definitely noticed a lack of social skills when students returned to in person class.

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Information overload?  Check.  A number of parents complained to me about how difficult it was to watch and keep track of the various classes each of their children had to deal with.

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Difficulty separating home and school life?  Double check.  This is always a challenge for teachers, you could always work on something.  When my classroom was just down the stairs, it was hard to set aside those assignments I had to grade; especially when they were arriving at all hours of the day and night.

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Loss of a safe space.  This one was the hardest.  For most students home is a safe place. Not everyone. Look at the students that lose control near school breaks, not all of them are excited.  There were far too many teachers who were terrified for their students.

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Disagree began with a key word to the debate; choice. We were viewing this debate through jaded eyes. Online schooling can be a choice, and when it is a choice it can be an effective one.  Even when I was struggling with online classes I saw some benefits.  My students could choose their schedule to suit their needs and circumstance.  They were learning skills that have been transferred to in person classes.  I have far more students typing their work and developing digital slideshows than before. I could also set up office hours to give concentrated one on one help.  In a busy classroom that was never a possibility.

Disagree also brought up a number of points I had never considered.  It provides transient students with some form of stability.  They may be moving from place to place, but their classroom is the same. Students who struggle with accessibility issues (Online Degrees.com. 2022) or anxiety were on a more level playing field when everyone was appearing on a screen. Murphy, Malenczak, and Ghajar’s study (2019) demonstrated that students with psychiatric disabilities could function better online, giving them more autonomy over their education.

Despite those benefits, I found that for the majority of my students online schooling was not as effective.  Agree’s message that too much flexibility led to procrastination was very true.  Half my day was checking emails for assignments and sending messages looking for missing ones.  Students that needed in person supports were out of luck.  Speaking to teachers of younger grades, they were crushed by the amount of preparation and struggle to control a room full of “littles” on a screen.

Disagree battled back, reminding us that online learning is an option.  It is not replacing in person learning, it’s giving an alternative to those that need it. I set my fear aside of returning to online school and accepted that just because it wasn’t for me did not mean it was wrong for everyone. I reminded myself of the one student I had who thrived and went from a middle of the road learner to top of the class. In the end Disagree won me over with that word, choice.

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Digital Footprints in the Snow: Debate #7

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Years ago in my home town it was a snowy day two teenagers were breaking into cars and stealing items from inside. A man noticed them sneaking around in the dark while sitting in his car. He slouched down and thought, “There is no way they’d be stupid enough to not see me and open the door.” They were. They were seen. They ran. The police followed their footprints right to their front door.

As both sides discussed many children start their digital footprint before they are even aware of the world around them.  I am just as guilty, happily posting a picture of my son on social media shortly after he was born. It is also difficult not to have at least a few tidbits of information about individuals online (at least in the western world).  That is why I initially voted yes for educators having a responsibility to help students develop a digital footprint.

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Agree described teachers as being in an ideal position to help students develop and control (at least partially) their presences online. Buchanan et al., (2017) found that while children were avid uses of the internet they thought of their digital footprint as a source of fear, rather than a tool. They concluded that teaching children how to “curate” their footprint to build towards their future goals.  In the same way we teach the basics of math to prepare them for higher grades, we could teach them how to use the virtual space to help them achieve their goals. Schools have policies that are meant to protect them and we can build a safe and controlled situation to help build their fundamental digital skills. Agree further mentioned that we can help guide impulsive kids as they take their early steps into the virtual space. We also must acknowledge that parents are often not teaching their kids how to approach their presence online.

Buchanan et. al., (2017) found that there was no consistency with how involved parents were with their children’s use of devices, leaving them without the skills to properly interact online.  One only has to read a few stories of “cancelled” people to see why carefully choosing your posts and tweets is so important.  The internet never forgets.

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Disagree later chipped away at some of these points.  Those school policies and release forms we have parents sign, how much do they really understand?  What about the student’s choice to regulate their own online presence?  Personally I am asked to take pictures of students and submit them for uploads to our school website.  While I always make sure those students have had a release form signed, I do not always ask students permission before taking pictures.  Although I carefully cultivate what I email or upload to Edsby, it is a fair comment that I should include the students more in that decision. Anson-Smith (2021) found that a number of schools used student images as marketing.  Not to mention the amount of information that companies and individuals can collect. If schools and teachers are making these mistakes, can we honestly say we are currently prepared to educate our students on the same topic?

As I bounced between sides my own thoughts asked if we hand over technology that could be used to create a digital foot print, should I be responsible to teach them how to manage its use? Furthermore, do I indirectly do this through health and media literacy lessons?  There are numerous times throughout the year when we have discussed why it is important to be careful what you put online and what you share with others.

Where disagree won me over was reminding me of that word “responsibility,” indicating we had to do this.  As they mentioned, we are not trained to support students in this situation. McGuckin (2018) presents to educators and she continually sees how little we know about the abilities and ramifications of social media. Yet we are expected to teach our students, who often know far more than us.  We are not backed by government or divisions directly, although some may assume or encourage us to take on this responsibility anyway.  This also pushes the responsibility onto students who may not be ready to nurture their online presence.  It may present a false confidence in parents that teachers have this and remove themselves from the responsibility of checking in on their children.

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That is not to say I do not think it is a good idea to help students understand what they are/can do with their use of digital technology.  I want my students to understand that a tweet or a discord chat room may seem like a small step, but it can have huge implications. However placing that responsibility entirely on educator’s shoulders is unfair and dangerous.  It sets a precedent for assuming we will pick up the pieces that government, corporations, and parents should be carrying. Until teachers have been properly trained, education policies and programs are designed, and parents are made more aware of what is happening, it is not fair to place this responsibility on teachers.  As Disagree said, making the responsibility of developing their student’s digital footprint is a reactive approach.  It creates and unstable platform on which an important part of our students futures rest

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Take a Breath

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I was very nervous when we started our debate and my nerves ran high until the end of class. I was so in the mind set of go, that when we broke into break out groups for the second debate my brain hadn’t caught up and I thought I was in the debaters room. Needless to say my fellow students were greatly confused by my concerned “I don’t think I’m supposed to be in this room.” Well that’s in the past and I can now hang that anecdote on a collection of other embarrassing moments.

As with many of us I was a little late signing up and ended up going for an argument I didn’t totally agree with. I do feel that real world connections are important and can create stronger, and in some cases more honest, bond.  Films like The Social Dilemma also created a anger towards the larger tech companies that run the more prominent social media sites.  That being said previous classes I have taken made me question some of my distrust of social media and required me to push past my preexisting prejudice.

I’ve seen the dark side of youth interacting online and those instances can overwhelm what I know can be a useful tool. Thankfully my jaded attitude did help prepare me for the debate, knowing some of the arguments that would be coming our way.

Agree made some interesting arguments to start, that social media pulled kids inside, disrupted physical social connections, increased the amount of targeted marketing, predatory behaviour, mental health, and robbed kids of an “authentic life.”

Unlike a lot of previous media where these effects have been exaggerated and most studies showed that the impact was not there, studies have shown direct connections to social media impacting mental health.  The video by Dr. Brenna Hicks, that Agree provided, was particularly damning.

 As we mentioned however this focused study can often be a result of that initial fear of a new technology, typically written from the older generation that views anything new with skepticism.  There are fewer studies that examine the positive correlation with young people and social media. Children and teens that were isolated either due to culture, community or location now had a way to reach out to others.  They were isolated in the physical world and connected in the digital space.

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Returning to the video by Dr. Brenna Hicks; she said that in recent years more of her clients have admitted to depression, suicidal thoughts, cutting, etc., and stated that the only change has been the amount of time spent on phones.  While I am not denying there is a connection to social media and targeted bullying, there is also a much greater awareness of mental health struggles.  There is less discrimination, more open conversations and more ownership.  As someone who has struggled with mental health for much of my life, I can tell you there is a huge difference between how kids approach mental health now and how they did when I was there age.   You could connect this to how we address it in school as well, but social media has definitely opened up the doors a little more.

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As we mentioned in the debate virtual support groups have created safe spaces for any number of young people.  Organizations have taken advantage of this and adjusted how they reach out to young people (Kids Help Phone) and young people themselves have taken up the challenge.

That might be the true strength in social media, providing people with power to change the discourse themselves. Sweet et al., (2020) provide direct examples of how children with disabilities were able to create social relationships and increase their self-determination in a way they could never do in the physical world. Hannah Alper used a blogging platform to speak out on issues that concerned her and other youth. These early lessons became the building blocks for strong and supportive young adults.

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Anecdotally I have noticed a drastic shift in the last few years on how my students talk about social media. They are incredibly savvy on what dangers to look for and how to handle challenges when they appear.  My biggest worry used to be that when I was a kid I could at least go home to avoid the bully and kids now a days are followed into the digital space. However as they have been taught strategies in school and learned from the previous generations of users, some of them have more tools than I do as an adult.  I was a frequent target when I was a child. Those bullies showed me I was weird and alone and those I reached out to just fell back on the lesson they were taught as a kid; ignore them or punch them back. I was taught to swim by being thrown in.

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As an adult I have started to learn the skills many of my students already have. In effect I have learned how to swim.  Now I am trying to teach others, but this time they’ll learn with a life jacket.

Debate #6: Phantom Ring

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As I mentioned above my adrenaline was still running high when the second debate began. The irony was not lost on me that I kept reaching and then putting down my phone as it began. I wanted to reach for my digital pacifier and text my wife.

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I work in a school that covers Pre-K to 12. Within my time there they banned smart devices for students until they reach high school. The reason matches much of what Agree said. They were distracted and were using devices to take pictures of people unknowingly, post online and bully. They back it up to. Students caught can lose their phone for up to 2 weeks. We are an exception in a lot of ways and most of our parents backs us up. This has lead to some changes in how I teach. I used to allow students to bring in technology on certain days to add more devices for online research. I now have to make a more strategic choice. As Selwan and Aagaard (2020) state, it forced me to reexamine how I use devices in education. I also have more control over which devices I need to be aware of. When we use devices it is a limited time and my supervision is direct, controlled and can be relaxed when we put those devices away.

Nomophobia, mentioned by Agree and Breanna Carels (2019) is also very real. When a phone is present and students know that with a quick glace they can check for texts, updates, etc., there is an urge to check. I have spoken to my high school colleagues and they have mentioned that rush when students are given the chance to grab their devices. I have that same problem in my free time. Agree’s phrase “Disconnect to Connect” can be very relatable. When we are forced to put down our devices we can separate ourselves from the outside world and connect to the moment.

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Disagree mentioned an important part of allowing smart devices at school, they are not used at will. Whether there is a “phone hotel” or specific class bans, students can be limited by their access. As they mentioned they can also allow for 1 to 1 ratio of technology, something many schools can only dream of. If we tried to overcome this by allowing laptops or tablets to try and avoid the issues with cellphones we run into what Sam Kerry discussed. There are far more students with easy access to a smartphone than a laptop. While the digital divide is real, this (at least anecdotally) seems to be a common solution.

There is also the added benefit of having devices to teach students how to effectively use social media. As is apparent with the beginning of this post, I feel that teaching students how to safely use social media is an important skill. We know that our students are already participating, and making real life connections to in class lessons is much easier with those devices. This does contain risks, but in a controlled environment it holds potential. This can be seen in Kunnath and Jackson’s 2019 study of students use of twitter.

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As with social media from our debate, I feel that in a controlled and measured way, cell phones can be effective tools to support classrooms. We live in a technological world and our students are a part of it. We can take advantage of their embrace of it. As Disagree noted, until we find some magical source of funding and all schools can provide a 1 to 1 devices, we should not ignore the free resources that are carried in to schools everyday.

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Listening for Silence

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Usually I try to get these posts up quickly after the debate, but I needed to sit with this one for a bit. I tried typing my thoughts, deleted them, tried again then walked away. Sometimes time helps clarify and measure thoughts. The fact that I have wrestled with some of these thoughts in my past didn’t necessarily help.

It took me a while to decide if what I, and lots of other people in my position do is right. More on that later.

Debate #3: Fundamentals vs. Future

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It is important to recognize when a skill still holds relevance and when it is safe to leave another behind. This debate may even be split on generational lines, with those before preaching the benefits and those after calling it unnecessary.

Agree made some valid points about how a majority of us use technology in some way to “ensure accuracy,” like doing taxes. Personally I use word or google docs to check spelling and grammar. The issue I have with this is technology is not perfect and with most languages there are intricacies that programs may struggle with (their, there, they’re) or formats that may play with structure intentionally. As programs develop, this may be a harder point to argue in the future.

The argument of using technology to create more class time is accurate.  I spend the first few weeks of each school year reviewing the basics.  If I handed out calculators I would have enough time for an additional unit. My students that struggle with the basics could also more easily keep up with those that excel. My retort to that would be that I can provide calculators to specific students who require that modification.

They listed the following quote from Alberta’s top math bureaucrat, “Memorization doesn’t necessarily mean we understand what we’re doing. This is true in the same way some students can read a text perfectly, but have no idea what it is talking about; fluency vs. comprehension.

I would argue the same can be said for the use of a calculator.  I often tell my students a calculator can get you the wrong answer quick. As disagree stated, being too reliant on a calculator diminishes understanding.  To be fair this can also be the case using traditional formulas. Students know the formula works, but do not know why.

Without knowledge of the fundamentals we lose the ability to recognize when something is not right, either through the technologies mistake or one that was created from our own misuse. For example, knowing the rough amount your groceries cost could save you hundreds of dollars when a mistake has been made.

Trusting technology to always be right means you can blindly follow it off a cliff.  I’m reminded of stories of people who have followed GPS instructions directly into a lake.

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Disagree also focused on spelling and cursive hand writing.  I am split on this.  I see spelling in a similar way to mathematics fundamentals. Practice with spelling can internalize rules and make your brain perk up when it sees something that appears wrong. It can also improve your intellectual appearance when you are presenting written work on a board (although this is limited to specific situations).  You could point out that this is a result of discrimination, rather than a fair assessment of ones skills.

As for cursive, I agree that it allows your writing to keep up with your thoughts over print, however I feel less inclined to say it is a necessary part of our education system.  On a personal note, my cursive writing was not legible and once people began borrowing my notes in university I switched to print, a habit I have yet to break. Print was more universally understood than cursive and the same can be said for many of our students.  Even though cursive is part of some indicators in our curriculum, it has been put aside in many classrooms to make room for other instruction.  It does feel like the weeks I spent in school learning cursive, could have been reallocated.  The lack of cursive understanding has created a new type of language barrier, as instructors write in cursive and those who never learned it struggle. As Mason, Shaw, and Zhang (2019) state:

Probably the greatest impediment to teachers adopting or adapting digital technologies for student learning is the significant inertia that exists in trying to bring about a cultural change, particularly changes in entrenched practices.

Mason, Shaw, Zhang (2019)

While I would miss that style that cursive signatures bring, I would morn it more for a lost art than a huge addition to education.  I can see how it improves hand-eye coordination, but so does typing. Speaking of which, typing has been shown to be an easier alternative than pencil to paper scribing.

Both sides have good arguments, but with so many of these debates a combination used with best practice is probably the answer.  Providing a mix of opportunities will allow students to develop their skills and scaffold their learning.  Working with Agree rightfully stated that we need to consider skills needed for the future.  

Fundamentals will deepen understanding and provide working skills and strategies when technology fails.  We have seen the past few weeks how reliant we are and how unprepared we can be when our electronic support structure is taken away.

Debate #4: Anonymous Advocate?

Students have been advocates for change long before social media, weather participating in protest marches and student walk-outs or as simply writing a letter asking for better food in the cafeteria.

2018-Student Protest- The New York Times

My students are familiar with advocacy.  We have discussed residential schools and systemic racism. They have written letters to the Prime Minister demanding action on better access to medical support and clean water and local politicians to change streets named after problematic historical figures.  We have done research on gender discrimination in video games and how to challenge it. Many of them participate in speaking out against actions in Palestine and joining marches and protests on discrimination and violence against Muslims. At home my students and their families will engage in social media to promote personal causes.

As Agree mentioned advocacy through social media can expand your world view. This is something that can be limited in a culturally sheltered school. We battle this by reading current events and discussing local news to slowly broaden their world view.  Liang, et al., (2010) suggest joining students online communities to “teach and mentor each other.” This is not a boundary I feel comfortable crossing. To maintain a professional distance I would rather demonstrate and display how social media can and is used to participate in advocacy and democracy. Liang, et al (2010) goes on to discuss how using a social media program can improve competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring. In addition to engaging and empowering youth, I would suggest this is possible outside of social media as well.

Agree argued that there is no such thing as neutrality in education, that you cannot stand aside when someone is targeted. This is in line with Angela Watson (2019) who states: “There is no such thing as a “neutral” standpoint on issues of human rights or social justice, and it is a function of privilege to pretend that there is, and to simply opt-out of those discussions.” This is a compelling argument, but what happens when it conflicts with something else Watson says.

“Should you force your personal beliefs on your students: No.”

Angela Watson (2019)

Disagree also made a number of persuasive arguments. Mandatory participation in advocacy would become “preformative activism.” In the classroom this could be worked around by providing students with a choice on a subject for their advocacy.  Choosing something they are passionate about could create authentic results which are far more likely to engage students than assigning them something they are apathetic or directly opposed to. “Slacktivism” as Disagree described it, is something I need to combat in my personal life.  I donate to causes, participate in walks, and sign petitions, but there is always more I could do.

There is also a large potential for conflicts with parent and community viewpoints. My political views often do not mesh with the communities I work in. Sometimes that is easy to forget when my peers are typically more in line with my beliefs. As Madeline Will (2020) notes that there is growing divide where taking a stand on political issues can create a lot of difficulty and lead some parents to believe teachers are indoctrinated their kids.

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While I agree that teaching advocacy is important, I do not agree that I should push my opinion on my students. When we have class debates I will admit to them my biases, and I do my best to present multiple sides to an argument so they can make an informed decision.

 I work in a school that has very clear objections to communities that I support. My students are aware of this and I am aware of the environment I work in. I support their rights while reminding them I demand respect for everyone.  I shutdown any verbal slurs of any group, and have been available to students who want to share concerns that could create a conflict in their community.  For the most part this never comes up, and when it does I treat it carefully. At the same time I have made it a personal policy to never lie to my students. In my private life I can engage in any advocacy. I am not afraid to wear a pride shirt, but I would be lying if I said it wouldn’t be uncomfortable if I ran into a parent. The school also knows that most of the staff are allies. They do not push an agenda on us but they do ask us to keep our home life at home.

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If I encourage students to discuss these topics in class I will not only endanger my position I will create an unsafe situation for my students. Imagine a scenario where I create a project that promotes advocacy for a group that the community disagrees with.  The community will ask for my removal.  The students will know why I am gone; most will agree that I should be.  A few will make note of what happened to me and decide they need to hide; it’s not worth the risk.  This is not hyperbole.

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This is what I chose to do.  I promote advocacy for situations that are safe for my students to participate in (clean water, truth and reconciliation, community support) and those that are building but still challenging to some (feminism). I teach them about the tools that are available and how they can be used safely and effectively. They are aware of the power outreach can have, it is part of their faith. I look at the great things they promote and I struggle with those they do not. I do not push them aside because we conflict on some things, and I am not denying some of them are major. I’d like to think that I am someone my students can turn to and I worry that if I am not there they will lose that person.  I know I am not the only one to struggle with this.

I also know that some people consider this cowardice, but sometimes listening is confused with silence.

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Torn

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Debate #1

My feelings on technology in the classroom have always been that it is dependent on the teacher and how it is used. Within the walls of a school students can be guided and assigned technology that has been shown to engage students, not to mention the benefits of assistive technology that was mentioned during the debate and our discussion. McKnight, et al, (2016) found in their study that educators could use technology to have “individualized learning” for students while working on the same assignment. Not to mention giving more power to students to build on their ability to find and use more resources and guide their own learning (McKnight, et al, 2016, p.205).

During the pandemic we were forced to do distance learning exclusively through technology. This meant students did not have the face to face support of a teacher to guide them and provide suitable technology and digital resources.  While I understand this works for some, I found a majority of my students suffered from the lack of support and increased independence that they were not all ready for. As disagree mentioned the connections online were not as well constructed as those developed within a physical classroom.  There was also the issue of limited access.  Some of my students were in five children households with one laptop.  It was not possible for everyone to access their online classes at the same time.  Alhumaid (2019) mentions this and how possession (or lack) of technology enhances the differences between higher and lower socioeconomic students.

The one thing I did find students benefited from was self-pacing.  As Emma Cullen (2020) noted, a physical classroom goes at one pace and some students get left behind or become bored. Online learning meant that students could decide when they work and how quickly.  Unfortunately for some, this became a huge battle with procrastination.

Returning to my original point, technology can enhance learning, but exclusively relying on it can hinder it. At a time when we are trying to cut back on screen time, over use of digital technology can impede on those efforts (Strom, 2021). I still feel that technology can augment learning; however it is up to the educator to use it effectively, not as a blanket solution. As agree said, we are preparing students for the future, and like it or not the future is technology.

Debate #2

This was a challenging debate to watch as my heart was tugged between both sides. I have seen how effective technology can be at allowing a student who would be separated or ostracized from their peers, be brought into the group through the support of technology. Agree brought this up, mentioning mobility aids, hearing and vision assistance and communication enhancements.

Amundson and Ko (2021) discusses how technology can analyze a students work and point out areas of concern that a teacher might over look. Edsby will highlight concerns when an assignment does not meet a student’s typical results.

I was encouraged with agree’s comments on how the increase in technology seems to be related to the increase in literacy levels as online learning can be accessed by isolated communities. Global education is an interesting if not challenging concept.  As it increases (Jenner, 2021), it is important to consider what was mentioned in the discussion that we view much of this through a North American perspective.  Who is controlling the technology and how are they using it to influence the students?

During any dialogues like this I always have to remind myself that I come from a place of great privilege, and I may overlook drawbacks of any number of things.  I have had access to a computer since grade 8 and as a result did not fall into the divides mentioned by Shala Ghobadi and Zahra Ghobadi (2012). Disagree’s concept of technology actually widening the divide between different socioeconomic statuses was an interesting concept.  Lack of access at home can result in comparatively lower results to students who have regular and supported access.

Weeden and Kelley (2021) focus on the lack of digital equality due to rural and isolated communities’ limited or non-existent access to the internet.  As Disagree mentioned (and I referenced above) the lack of sufficient devices also can cause a gap between higher and lower socioeconomic status students. This is something I experienced prior to the pandemic.

I worked for two years in a fly in community where the internet was slower than dial-up, as a result we could not use YouTube or any streaming services. When the cell towers went down, communication was further limited.  Most students did not have a computer at home, although many had some access to a smart device (with limited connection to the internet).  Even at school there were no computers beyond a large teacher desktop.  In this situation the gap seemed less prominent because everyone fell within the lower socioeconomic side.

However that did not mean we were completely cut off from technology.  A number of classes had smart-boards and files and resources were passed along with a USB.  While this was limited it did provide a great deal of resources that would not have been available.  Remove technology and we were stuck with two textbooks and whatever we had recently gained from teacher’s college.

This is where I end up conflicted.  Technology did provide more resources, but compared to other communities we were greatly lacking. So I’m left with the question, do the benefits of technology outweigh the draw backs? Is it better that we provide access to technology in school when we know our students do not have access at home?  As with most things I feel a compromise is in order.  Teaching our students how to use technology prepares them for a world they will interact with, however expecting them have access to this technology beyond our classrooms is unfair.  It can set up unrealistic expectations.  Hopefully being aware of this and showing students how to succeed with and without technology will provide some balance to an increasingly complicated world

A Day in the Life….not the Beatles song.

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My brain does not like shutting off, so my day begins with a search for my air pods which I used to play a podcast the night before.

I pick up on the podcast at whichever point I fell asleep as I hurry to get ready before my son wakes up.  If I have time I do a quick check on Edsby to see if a student or parent messaged me through the night, if I don’t I’ll check at school. I also do a quick check of the messenger group chat for my staff.  Staff will post supervision requests, the odd traffic update, or just general communication.  At one point this chat was just for “Choir Practice,” actual work has pushed this aside for the most part.

Arriving at school I check my work email and Edsby, I then open any digital lessons I will need throughout the day.  For example I typically have a smartboard lesson for math and often use a power point for science. As students arrive I use Edsby to submit attendance, doing so again after lunch.

As the day progresses I close tabs as assignments are written on the board. When I have prep these assignments are posted on Edsby for parents and students to reference. At this point I may respond to any messages sent during the day. If my marking isn’t too overwhelming I’ll use the remaining time for lesson prepping, typically typing out day plan notes and preparing any slideshows I need.

During downtime I check on the app my son’s daycare uses to see what he is up to or respond to any texts my wife may have sent.  The middle year’s teachers on my floor also have a messenger group to pass along any information or informal messages, depending on the time dependency I will reply when I have time.

As the school day winds down I check my texts one more time, then head out for the day.  Arriving home I’d like to say I take a break, but as I cook I put on Spotify or a Youtube video, only going off when my wife and son arrive.

This is where tech takes a break and for a few short hours we focus on each other….unless my son begs for a “show.” When my son goes to sleep, the computer comes out again to finish prep, work on assignments and input marks. We use Alexa to turn off the lights and I reach for my air pods to listen to a podcast and quiet my brain.

As I write how integrated technology is in every aspect of my career and life….maybe there is a reason my brain won’t stay quiet.

Greetings fellow EC&I 830 students!

It’s been a very long time since I wrote a blog. My last one was a reflection of my time teaching on a First Nations fly in community. I look forward to sharing my ideas and reading some of your reflections.

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