Category Archives: EC&I 830

EC&I 830: Summary of Learning

It’s hard to believe both my school year and my student’s school year is coming to an end! It’s been a highly enjoyable semester, and I’d like to thank everyone who was a part of it. Below is a link to my summary of learning for this semester. This is my first time using an unlisted YouTube Video, so please let me know if something doesn’t work properly!

Good luck to everyone continuing with their programs, and congratulations to those who are finishing up. Have a great summer!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner… Face-to-Face Learning or Zoom Learning?

Debate Topic – Online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children.

Our final debate centered on whether online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children. I struggled with choosing a side in this debate. Again, the topic felt “muddied” because I had a hard time separating myself as a learner, taking an online course, versus online learning for children. Another issue with the topic was my ability to separate pandemic learning and online learning that is created and taught intentionally. As I have mentioned before, teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic was extremely challenging. Sadly, many of my students did not participate due to internet access issues, as well as personal reasons. 

On the agree side of this debate was the team of Colton, Britney S., and Kayla. They made some compelling arguments as to why online education negatively impacts students. And on the disagree side of this debate was Arkin, Kat, and Chris. This team also had a well-rounded argument. There were many facets to this discussion topic. 

Let’s have a look at both sides… 

Agree

1. Online education furthers digital access inequities.

Students who have a low socioeconomic status may not have access to internet or devices. The effectiveness of an online schooling program assumes that all students have equal access. As we saw during the pandemic, many families struggled with learning due to poor wifi, no devices, not enough devices or inadequate devices. Try doing assignments or working off of a tiny phone or tablet each day for a few months! Not fun. This digital divide will only separate the “have’s” from the “have-nots.” From a personal perspective, this digital divide impacted many of my students. Some of them live in a rural area in Southern Saskatchewan and were not able to join our zoom sessions. Some drove to a family members home just to join in. Others had spotty connections and had to deal with the frustrations of lost connections. Sadly, I also ran into a mom in the grocery store a few weeks into online teaching and she was saving money to purchase a Chromebook for her son. The impacts on low socioeconomic status youth was described by Onstad in the article, The miserable truth about online school. Here, Onstad describes how students were developing headaches from typing full essays on a tablet. Some were tired from being logged on early in the morning until evening time, while others relying on Tim Horton’s wifi. The challenges faced by many students were vast.

2. Online learning provides a lack of programming variety.

Some argue that it is not possible to provide the same type of programming in an online version as in-person classes. Classes with practical, social or group component may not be delivered with the same quality as in person courses. As a self-professed “hands-on learner,” I would have felt slighted if I had to miss out on in-person physical education classes, art or science classes. 

3. Schools provide social encounters and safety.

At the start of the pandemic and during online learning, concerns arose over the missing social aspect of online learning. Specifically, early years teachers were concerned about providing adequate programing and recreating classroom experiences online. For older students, in middle years and high school, this meant more “socializing” over a screen. Hardly ideal. For others, including some of my own students, the school day was yearned for. Schools are safe spaces where students are loved and get attention that they may not get at home. Certainly, I recognize the flipside of this, where schools are not-so-safe spaces for students who may be bullied or lack friends or “community.”

Disagree

1. Online learning is flexible.

Online learning can provide flexibility to students who have medical needs, participate in sports or arts that pull them away from school, or for older learners who may need to work to support their families. 

2. Online learning develops important skills.

In their video, the disagree team noted that online learning teaches students time management, self-discipline, self-motivation and communication skills. All of these are important and transferable to the workplace. 

3. Online learning is customizable.

Students who require specific programming can find courses that suit their unique learning needs. Whether it be courses that are offered at certain times of the year, courses offered for diverse learning styles, or simply courses on certain topics, online learning can provide unique learning opportunities. As I mentioned previously, online learning could be a good fit for athletes, artists, and those with varying family dynamics.

4. Online learning benefits those with health challenges and differing abilities.

Students with mobility challenges, chronic diseases and illnesses, visual and hearing impairments, and those with different learning needs may find the online learning environments more convenient, comfortable and supportive. In the article titled, ‘How Online Education Can Benefit Students With Disabilities,’ it is noted that it is important for students to “still have an opportunity to connect with teachers in other ways while attending online courses” and luckily, they can do that through the use of email, discussion boards, messaging and video conferencing. Furthermore, online learning could be beneficial for those with mental health challenges like anxiety, those who are impacted by bullying, or those dealing with grief and loss. Having the ability to transfer to online learning for a short period of time or for longer durations could benefit students dealing with any number of life’s challenges. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, when deciding whether online learning is detrimental to student social and academic development it is important to look at each individual student’s situation. Online learning can certainly hinder a Kindergarten student’s social development and likewise, online learning can be difficult for a high school student who is not a self-starter and lacks time management skills. In the end, we need to look at what is best for each individual student. As educators, we know that one size does not fit all when it comes to learning. Online classes, if done well, can be beneficial to some students.

Summary of Learning: EC&I 830 Contemporary Issues in EdTech

Welcome to my summary of learning. This is the first EdTech class I have ever taken, and it felt important to me that I take it. I teach middle years students and we use technology regularly in the classroom, and because of that I’d like to make sure that we are using it appropriately and effectively for learning. I also recognize that the world is swiftly moving into a technological age, and as a teacher, this is something that I would like to help my students be prepared for.  Please take a moment to watch the video below for a summary of the topics covered, and my subsequent learning from this class.

After taking this class I have a greater sense of curiosity and accomplishment when it comes to technology. Throughout the course I have been given plenty of food for thought, and ideas for new directions to take with technology for both myself and my students moving forward. I have learned how to blog, podcast and make videos, which I can now incorporate into my lesson delivery, as well as pass on to my students. The insights I have gained will help me to embrace technology more excitedly and  purposefully in my teaching. I can now move farther down the continuum of EdTech from digital citizenship and online safety, to exploring different technologies with my students like 3D design and printing, robotics, coding and Digital Leadership. We can also examine what the future holds for technology, how it can benefit society, and examine technology based skills and careers.

Maarsii for joining me on my summary of learning for EC&I 830.

Debate #8: Is Online Education Detrimental to the Social and Academic Development of Children?

Debate #8: Is Online Education Detrimental to the Social and Academic Development of Children?

The last class debate, and certainly one that I was looking forward to. The Covid-19 Pandemic thrust the education world into an unplanned version of emergency online learning. While this unprecedented time was certainly a change for everyone, the high majority of our population now has some experience with online learning. Although emergency pandemic learning and properly planed online learning should certainly not be compared as equals, the growth in the student number and discussion on the benefits of online learning have grown exponentially. Therefore, educators, policy makers and the public are starting to ask, Is Online education detrimental to the social and academic development of children?

Kayla, Britney, and I certainly enjoyed debating with Kat, Chris and Arkin. I appreciated several of their insightful points, and in particular starting their opening statement a land acknowledgment. Within the last few years, I have become quite interested in Treaty and Indigenous Education, and I appreciated the respect and time given to read the land acknowledgment before their side of the debate.

 Throughout the debate, my conclusion was drawn from a mixture of one of our points, and one of Chris’. To me, online education can be a good alternative to a brick-and-mortar classroom for a small percentage of the overall population orused as a supplement to traditional education courses. The main points that led to this are outlined in paragraphs below.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Online education benefits affluent, mature, self-motivated students, who are capable of learning and working with little to no direct supervision. Unfortunately, this means that online education remains nearly impossible for those of a lower socioeconomic status, young students (particularly those in early primary years,) and those who run into internet speed/access issues based on their location. Through one of the articles our group shared, a study was done in 2013 (important to note as it’s prior to the pandemic,) in which the research team investigated the lack of access for Indigenous Australian students. They found that “online learning will in fact be hugely detrimental to this section of Australian society and will see the potential for a widening of the gap in education.” It is important to notice the parallels between this study and the lack of quality internet access found on some reserves and rural land here in Canada.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Throughout Britney’s portion of the debate, she touched on the differences in mental health supports and concerns in an online teaching environment. The online environment, with a possible lack of webcams, makes it easier for students to ‘disappear,’ while also make it difficult for teachers to pick up on the behavioral cues of their students. The lack of recognition of what could be considered obvious cues within the traditional classroom, can result in less teacher directed support for mental health issues. Additionally, counselling or learning support looks very different in the online world. It is much easier for students to avoid/hide from tough conversations, which can make it difficult for all supports to be confident in knowing how a student is truly feeling.

For students with disabilities, technology and online education can have a large variety of affects. For students who are able to engage with computers and technology with a high degree of independence, online education can be extremely beneficial. Apps, software and assistive technology, can be extremely helpful with communication skills, diagnoses such as dyslexia and dysgraphia, while being in a separate environment may also help those with high amounts of anxiety. Furthermore, as written on onlinedegrees.com learning online allows the “ability to work at their own pace, reviewing materials and video lectures as needed. For students with certain types of disabilities, like dyslexia and visual processing disorder, the ability to manipulate digital texts — by, say, changing the font style or size — can help them process and retain written information more effectively than they would viewing PowerPoint presentations in class or reading through traditional textbooks.” However, students with disabilities that affect their life to a higher degree physically or cognitively, can find great difficulty engaging in an online environment, particularly without the numerous direct or one-to-one supports that are common in a traditional school setting. This can also be tough for parents, as many are not prepared or able to fully support their student during typical school hours.

Throughout my section, I explained that while some classes can be taught to a high quality online, many classes that contain a major practical component, such as practical and applied arts, physical education or science classes, cannot be matched to the same degree online. While it is possible to teach a large portion of the theory online, practical, or hand-on projects that require specialized equipment are nearly impossible to replicate in every home. This fact alone can greatly affect the academic development of students, as it has the potential to affect their decisions for postsecondary schooling, along with potential career choices. Good points about hybrid learning were brought up in the debate, and while I recognize that this cannot be beneficial for every student, the possibility of seeing hybrid models increase in the future certainly interests me.

I also touched on extra-curricular involvement, and the differences in the online world. As many extra-curricular programs are athletic or performance based, it is quite difficult to replicate this in an online setting. Athletics and the arts alike vary greatly when you try and replicate them virtually. Additionally, many students learn and develop social, group and life skills while participating in extracurricular activities. Not offering these same opportunities to online students can certainly affect their social development.

To wrap this up, I’ve come to believe that online education, or a hybrid of such, can be beneficial to a small percentage of students, but also has the potential to be detrimental to many. Students that are mature, affluent, self-motivated, and self-disciplined may be able to succeed online, while granting themselves the flexibility that comes with online learning. However, students that benefit from the traditional supports within brick and mortar schools, struggle with motivation, lack access, or are simply are younger in age/grade, will benefit from the utilizing the traditional school system in comparison.

I’d like to thank Dr. Katia Hildebrandt and all the members of EC&I 830. This class was extremely enjoyable to be a part of, and I’m happy to have shifted some of my own teaching philosophies as a direct result from the meaningful discussions this term. Good luck to everyone going forward in their programs, and congratulations to those who are finishing their degrees! Have a great summer all!

EC&I 830 Summary of Learning

Wow. Time has flown so fast. It was a short journey but a wonderful one. I am grateful to Dr. Katia and all my classmates for such a knowledgeable journey. I have learned a lot from EC&I 830 course. The debates were very interesting and we all worked hard to critically bring the views and recognise others’ views and ideas in the debates.

I worked with my classmate Lovepreet and together we have completed our Summary of Learning. I am also thankful to Lovepreet for her time and efforts in this assignment.

Below is the link of my summary of learning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi5tMaGtUCU

KATIAFISH – A Parody

I really tried to get my creative juices flowing for this Summary of Learning!

Another informative and enjoyable Ed Tech class has come and gone. I started my masters journey one year ago by taking EC&I 833 with Katia. I decided to honor this milestone with a parody of the MTV show Catfish. Titled Katiafish, this Summary of Learning had me diving deeper into my reflections only to find that Ed Tech was really Ed N00bsy, a digital nuisance plaguing teachers. I hope you enjoy!

Thank you to all my classmates for all the new learnings over the past few weeks. HAPPY JUNE everyone. Have a safe and wonderful summer break!

The digital trail in and out of our classrooms…

This weeks debate topic – Educators should help students build a digital footprint.

This week, Funmilola and I debated in opposition to Kim and Gertrude on the topic of whether educators and schools should help students build a digital footprint. Great job to Kim and Gertrude. I loved the thoughtfulness and creativity in your “Unsolved Mysteries” style video and your comprehensive resources. I will admit, this debate topic got a bit “muddied,” as the wording shifted from digital footprint to digital citizenship and back again. I found it challenging to separate digital footprints from digital citizenship and even digital literacy. I believe they go hand in hand. A “good” digital citizen is someone who has a “good” digital footprint or online identity. If we believe that educators should model and teach digital citizenship, then we are essentially modelling and teaching students to build a digital footprint within the classroom.

The comprehensive definition of a digital footprint is key as well. 

A digital footprint is a trail left by your interactions in the online world including:

  • your use of TV
  • your use of mobile phones
  • wearing tech devices like FitBits and Smart Watches
  • your browsing history
  • the comments you leave on social networks and gaming sites
  • your shopping history
  • what you read on your Kindle
  • films you watch
  • and the music you access. 
Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-girl-wearing-face-mask-looking-at-the-screen-of-the-tablet-5306507

Let’s get into my thoughts on this topic looking at the arguments for and against.

Agree Arguments

1. Teachers and schools are best positioned to undertake this work for ALL students.

We can’t assume all families/caregivers can do this work at home. Many students will not have access to devices or internet access at home. And furthermore, parents/caregivers may not be equipped with the knowledge or skills to teach their children to build positive digital footprints. As mentioned in Buchanan et al. parents tend to focus on educating their children on the negative ramifications of a digital identity, rather than building a positive footprint.

2. Teachers and schools have a responsibility to keep students safe online.

This is especially true, as students are often issued division supported email addresses as early as Kindergarten. This means that as soon as our students are given a division issued email to logon to a device, they are creating an education-based digital footprint. Whether it be purposeful, through using educational apps like Seesaw, RAZkids, or Mathletics… or passive, through the websites they visit and the videos they watch, our students are creating an online identity. 

3. Family/community engagement is key.

Educators and schools can host digital literacy workshops to help engage families in digital citizenship and ultimately, helping students build a positive digital footprint. When the message is the same at school and at home, students’ understanding of building a positive digital footprint will be clear.

Disagree Arguments

1. Students’ digital footprints are already developed before they get to school.

Many children’s digital footprints begin in-utero, as families post ultrasound pictures of their babies to social media. Their digital footprint continues to grow before they arrive at school. In the article by Steinberg, the topic of “Sharenting” is discussed as the oversharing of personal information by parents potentially putting children at risk. What rights do parents have to share? And what about the child’s right to privacy and autonomy? 

2. Building a digital footprint is reactive rather than proactive.

The onus should not be on parents or educators, but on government and policy-makers to ensure students’ identities are being protected.  Both sides presented information stating that Canada needs to do better. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has issued guidelines surrounding protecting children’s data, but it is not enforceable by Canadian Law.

3. Schools are not protecting the data of students adequately.

Do we really know where our data is being stored? With the recent hack on Regina Public Schools, it is concerning to know that the data created by educators and students is not safe. More needs to be done by government to protect the data created by EdTech products and digital medias. In the article, “How Dare They Peep into My Private Life?” Children’s Rights Violations by Governments that Endorsed Online Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic, research found that EdTech products that were being used during pandemic learning targeted children with behavioural advertising. Children were targeted with content and ads that followed them across the internet. This is concerning as students were in a vulnerable emotional and cognitive state during that time and may have been more easily influenced.

4. Teachers do not feel trained or equipped to do this work.

Professional development in educational technology is not mandatory for all teachers. Consequently, many teachers simply do not know about digital citizenship (in general), nor do they feel supported to do this work by their schools and coworkers.

Final Thoughts

Although the wording of this debate was muddied, both sides have some valid arguments. In the end, I believe that educators should play a role in educating students about their digital footprints, their online identities and how to be good digital citizens. I do not necessarily agree that we need to help them develop a “large, comprehensive, positive” digital footprint aimed at employers and educational institutions per se. However, I do think that if we are using technology in our classrooms, we have a duty to protect them online and that means guiding them as they create an “educational digital footprint.” In the past, I do believe I have been careful about what I have posted online concerning my students. However, after learning more about EdTech products targeting students, I am concerned and worried.

Share your thoughts with me on this debate topic.

  1. Do your students purposefully create positive online content? Is it made public or kept “private” for only family, teachers and the student to see?

Summary of Learning

“Tech gives the quietest student a voice.”

– Jerry Blumengarten

It is very hard to believe the class is already done! I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my learning, and how accepting and knowledgeable the class was! Thank you Katia for expanding my horizons in the tech world.

Throughout the course I utilized new tech tools:

  • Discord
  • We Video
  • Canva
  • RSS Readers
  • Furthered my knowledge of WordPress

I hope everyone has a great summer, and best of luck on the rest of your masters journey or congratulations to you who have finished after this class!

“Technology will never replace great teachers, but in the hands of great teachers, it’s transformational.”

– George Couros

My Summary of Learning

Thank you to everyone for a great EC&I 830 class. I’ve enjoyed tuning into the debates and learning from my classmates. I appreciated everyone’s willingness to discuss these topics and share their thoughts and perspectives. This helped me on my learning journey through the waters of contemporary EdTech issues!

Photo Credit