Category Archives: engagement

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

Online learning is fairly current, and after the pandemic it is becoming more and more common. That being said, there is not a lot of data surrounding the negatives and positives of online learning, and a lot of the resources were pandemic based. The term online education is a broad term, whereas it could mean taking one or two classes (supplementary learning) or fully emerged online. Our group, which was the agree side, took it to be fully online and not in a face-to-face setting using supplementary online learning. Secondly, the term detrimental is a very strong word especially encompassing all children. That being said, online learning can be detrimental to social and academic development of some children.

Hang on tight! I have a LOT to say about this topic.

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 Less social interaction may increase feelings of social anxiety and pressures. For example, teenagers may worry about changes in their friendships as a result of prolonged isolation.

https://highfocuscenters.pyramidhealthcarepa.com/the-effects-of-online-learning-on-a-teens-mental-health/
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Mental health affects students in both online and in person school settings. As being an online teacher I hear testimonies of students shifting to online learning because they are getting bullied in face-to-face school. Some of these students flourish in an online setting, but others have fear of the continued bullying, and hide behind the screen or simply start to vanish. Other students do not have parent support at home and require the supervision of an adult to keep structured boundaries for them, in this case students start to get into bad habits of spending all day in their bedroom, not socializing, and missing synchronous lesson. Ultimately, these students’ grades start to slide to the point of no return. Furthermore, students start to feel overwhelmed, stressed and feel as if they are in a hole they cannot crawl out of as they do not know where to start. I have dealt with a multitude of students that deal with this. Online learning requires skills that not all students possess and this subsequently puts them in an unfortunate position of helplessness. Conversely, some students no longer have the social anxiety they had while they were in person school, and they thrive online as there mental health is better than it has ever been. These thriving students used to be quiet and shy in the back of a classroom, but now have found their voice online and are flourishing. This is so amazing to see and hear about. There are definite positives for online learning given the right structure, positive work habits, parental support and having the right materials they need to be successful.

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As mentioned in the debate it is important to assess students before they fully engage in online learning, as we do not want to set our students up for failure. Parents play a very essential role in online learning. When students are at home all day long by themselves, and required to log onto their meetings independently without good work habits they will not always log in (if ever). That being said, the students that take responsibility and initiative to do their work and attend meetings are cultivating their skills, therefore they will be successful in the online education world and these skills will help them in their future. The parents need to be sure to also pay attention to the students’ marks and attendance, otherwise there is a risk of some falling through the cracks.

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Online learning is perfect for students needing the flexibility, especially for busy or traveling families, and students that attend a lot of appointments for health concerns. Other students that need flexibility is for various sports, and online education allows them to travel for sports and maintain their education, for example hockey. Some students get billeted in WCS and play their season out while engaging in asynchronous education, and once they have completed their season they go back to their base schools generally for the second semester.

There are extra supports and activities that are available in face-to-face school that is not available for all students online. Some students that would once have had an EA in face-to-face school struggle to get this support online as well as LST and RTI hours are reduced for all students. There are shop classes and other hand on classes that can be taken in person that are not available online as well as labs that aid in learning. That being said, there are sometimes bridge programs that are allowed, and students can take these classes in addition to electives that are not offered in their own schools. Students are able to take extra curricular classes from the school that they are closest to if they wish.

Before Covid-19 hit, the family of five had been sharing an old laptop and a desktop computer without a camera or a mic—features that didn’t really matter a year ago. Suddenly, two aging devices weren’t enough to get three kids through school.

https://torontolife.com/city/the-miserable-truth-about-online-school/

In some instances, school is a students safe place where they get breakfast/lunch, as well as getting out of their living situations. Not all students have a happy and healthy home-life and this allows students to get out of these toxic atmospheres for a portion of the day. In other instances, students get more time to spend with their parents and feel more comfortable and protected in their own home. The research attests to students being more successful in online learning with affluent families as they may be at home more for support as well as supporting students with their technology needs.

Final Thoughts

Being an online teacher I see the realities of students from all over the division emerging to online learning. For some, this is the last option for students as they are non-attenders and they are hoping that they will find some success. These students tend to vanish, and this is completely heart breaking. My job is incredibly rewarding, as it is a huge success when you get a student to finally pass a class, start to attend class regularly, or make a connection with a student that was completely shut off from the world. I see both sides of the coin and the students that have good work habits and parent support will succeed online, but it is not for every student. The reality is most students leave in person learning to come to online learning for a few main reasons: mental health reasons (mostly anxiety), health needs, sports, and travel. Regarding these reasons online learning has the flexibility to meet everyone’s needs, however it does not always meet students needs academically. I believe that online learning is detrimental to SOME students regarding their social and academic achievement.

Debate #1: Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning

Technology has evolved at a very rapid pace over the last 20 years, as more and more applications come to light. Has technology enhanced learning, or is there so many platforms out there that are ever evolving we don’t know where to start, and then ultimately stick to the same old? I do believe technology enhances learning if implemented effectively, and taught how to use these implemented platforms.

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Technology has its place in the classroom, and students seem to perk up when we say movie or computers, notably increasing engagement. However, technology does not always enhance learning as students can become easily distracted, cause a lack of social skills, and now more than ever the rise of mental health issues are on the rise. Beginning this debate I immediately, without a thought, clicked agree to technology enhancing learning, surprisingly after the debate I leaned more to the disagree side. The disagree and agree sides portrayed their positions remarkably well to show how technology can both enhance and impede learning in the classroom.

Technology Enhances Learning

  • Students can learn at their own pace:

Emma Cullen in the article What is Technology Enhanced Learning provides relevant ideas on how students can learn differently in the classroom. We all know that not every student learns at the same pace nor do they learn the same way, for this reason technology enables children to adjust to their own pace of learning. Furthermore, software applications allow students to focus on one exercise as long as they need till they understand, as a result freeing up the teacher to help students that need extra support. We all know that there are diverse needs in the classroom and only one teacher, in that event some students do not get the help they need depending on classroom sizes, as well as varying different grades in one classroom. Oh the other hand, students who need enrichment can also challenge themselves with software applications.

“Technology in education enables children to adjust to their own pace of learning.”

What is Technology Enhanced Learning – Emma Cullen
  • Skills for Success in the Real World:

Technology continues to grow and flourish, therefore there will be more and more careers that will require the use of technology. When children are introduced to technology at a younger age they are more adaptable, comfortable and prepares them for these future endeavors. In preparation for the real world and the changing dynamics I think about my parents verses their children and then their grandchildren – my nephew can run a iPad better than me – each generation becomes better equipped with technology as they are introduced at a younger age.

“Children can start getting technological skills early that they’ll need in the future.” 

Impact of technology on kids today (and tomorrow).
  • Engagement of Students:

Technology motivates students to learn from different platforms from watching a video (visual aid) to engaging in Gizmos (application based).

“Modern technology also motivates students to learn, students can learn and have fun at the same time, which helps them stay engaged with the material.”

The Positive & negative Effects of Technology on Education and In Classroom in 2022

As the agree side stated, technology is constantly evolving, therefore various technology is more current than the textbooks we rely on in our classrooms. These textbooks are projecting material from only one lens, whereas when you research a topic you can get a multitude of perspectives about the same topic. Students engagement level is heightened when watching a video, as opposed to reading a textbook daily – as I used to do mostly in high school. I remember the joy we would feel when those old projectors or TV carts would be pulled to our room – phew something different! Humans alike do not like mundane repetitive tasks, so why would our students?

Technology Does Not Enhance Learning

  • Lower Attention Spans

“The immediacy of technological interactions make waiting harder for children.”

Impact of technology on kids today (and tomorrow).

Have you ever had your patience tested when a website will not open immediately? Technology moves very fast which is adjusting our wait time/down time, ultimately leading to shorter attention spans. The rate at which technology moves allows students to have something to entertain them, on the contrary in the classroom there are wait times as the transitions are not as smooth or at the pace of the other students. Furthermore, as attention spans are lowered adjustments may need to be made for only focusing 10 minutes on one activity and faster transitions. Feel the need for speed!

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  • Lack of Social Skills

As more time is spent online, and most of their communication is being done through social media platforms, children are struggling with face-to-face interactions. Have you ever been in a restaurant and seen a group of teenagers at the same table? Generally, this group of teenagers are not interacting verbally, instead they are all on their phones. Most children spend more time texting as opposed to meeting in-person, which is creating social anxiety in many youth.

“Isolation of students in a digital and virtual world that distances them from any form of social interaction”.

Four Ways Technology Has Negatively Changed Education – Alhumaid
  • Other Negative Impacts

Four Ways Technology Has Negatively Changed Education – Alhumaid

• Deterioration of students’ competencies in reading, writing, and arithmetic, which are the basic three skills any student is expected to master;

• Dehumanization of education in many environments and distortion of the relationship between teachers and students;

• Deepening of social inequalities between the haves and the have-nots that is students who can possess technology and those who cannot.

  • Mental Health on the Rise & Bullying

The use of technology has lead to depression, anxiety in all forms, as well as suicide, coupled with cyber bullying, which further heightens these mental health concerns. Students used to be able to escape bullying, as it was limited to the school day, whereas in the 21st century there is no escape from cyber bullying. Furthermore, not being able to escape bullying this alone can impede on one’s mental health. I strongly believe that technology has enhanced these mental health concerns, although I am unsure about the role technology in the classroom impacts these concerns.

Concluding Thoughts

After hearing and reading about both sides of the coin I still believe technology has the opportunity to enhance learning in the classroom. Albeit, technology must be introduced in a way that will enhance learning effectively and implemented strategically. Technology is not a babysitter for teachers, but rather an enhancing tool to help enrich and supplement diverse learning needs in the classroom. Teachers should be teaching boundaries and expectations of the various different technological platforms being used within the classroom to allow technology to enhance learning. I do, however see the downside to technology as well, and with proper guidance and implementation technology can indeed enhance learning in the classroom.