Category Archives: technology

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.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

 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/
Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

The Mindful Grey: EC&I 830 Summary of Learning

Wow, there just are no words. It’s cliche but that first class went by in a flash! Please enjoy my summary of learning. I keep trying to push myself outside of my comfort zones; from podcasts to videos…and now this. Slam poetry! Yes, you read that right, slam poetry…or my attempt at it.

None of this learning would have been possible without you all; so thank you for joining me on this snippet of my journey. Best wishes on your own path.

Wordart by Cloudform Slideshow by Prezi Video by WeVideo Slam Poetry by Moi

Until we meet again…

Playing the Digital Footprint Devil’s Advocate

And traversing the online teaching frontier… (Debates 7&8)

What happens when you have to debate as the opposition on a topic you wholeheartedly support? Short answer: It gets very messy inside your mind very quickly! When I volunteered to switch my stance for this debate and play “devil’s advocate,” I was almost exclusively thinking of one of my favourite books, Think Again, by Adam Grant.

In his book, Grant outlines how to develop the habit of thinking again: think like a scientist, define your identity in terms of values not opinions, and (of most importance here) seek out information that goes against your views. Make no mistake, despite how I debated Monday night, I am firmly in support of teachers and schools having a role in the development of children’s digital footprints. Of course, I wanted to see if I could convince myself of the opposite viewpoint…even just a little.

If I can inject one book plug that I feel strongly correlates with this course, it’s definitely Think Again by Adam Grant!

As always, let’s turn to the facts before I jump in with my final reflections (revealed in the video below…)

Strapped for time? Aren’t we all? Jump to the 22:52 minute mark to hear my final takeaways.
To add your own points or reiterate points you believe most essential to this debate, please join the Jamboard here: Digital Footprint Jamboard

Debate 7 Final Reflection and Leftover Questions

In the end, I cannot dispute that teachers and schools play a role in helping students develop their digital footprints (you got me there, Rae and Funmi!). As educators, we act as guides for our students navigating a physical and now digital world. After playing devil’s advocate, the one caveat I can make in this case is that the development of student digital identities does not START with teachers and cannot END with them either. The responsibility is shared. We owe it to our children to hold parents, teachers/schools/divisions, governments, and online platforms accountable for creating safe online spaces for our children to explore their digital identities.

  • As an educator (or similar), do you feel adequately supported by parents, your school/division, and professional resources/development when teaching students about digital citizenship and footprints?
  • If you have received excellent resources and/or PD on this topic (to use with students), please share in the comments, including how it guided your classroom lessons and use of tech.
  • How often do you check the terms of service agreement before signing off on something? Tell me I’m not the only one signing my life away 🙂
You can begin to take action here: Humans Rights Watch: Students Not Products

“I can’t but we can.”

-Anon.
Just as Big Oil and Gas companies made it the responsibility of individuals to clean up pollution in the ’70s/’80s, Big Tech companies seek to make it the individual’s (AKA: teachers) job to clean up “online pollution.”
Like anything worth fighting for/changing/improving, creating a safe online world for our children’s digital identities is going to take a global village. Image credit: @brenna.quinlan art and posted/reshared with permission @chicksforclimatechange

Traversing the online teaching frontier…I think I got lost in Timbuktu – Debate 8

I was still reeling from my own debate (I really dislike pushing a one-sided viewpoint. Objectivity. ALL. THE. WAY!), but the subsequent online learning debate delivered a double-whammy to my solar plexus! I’ve been teaching online for almost 3 years now. To suggest it’s been detrimental to the social and academic development of the children I’ve worked with feels like a personal attack. It’s not, of course. Once more, I turn to the facts before I will jump in with my reflection…littered with 3 years of positive and negative experiences.

Strapped for time? Yup, I hear ya! Head over to the 18:25 minute mark to hear my final reflections.
To add your own points or reiterate points you believe most essential to this debate, please join the Jamboard here: Online Learning Jamboard

Debate 8 Final Reflections and Leftover Questions

After reading all the articles and listening to the debators and my classmates discuss this topic, I keep coming back to my own experiences over the last few years. I have the unique vantage point of having taught in the rushed, uncharted dynamic of the pandemic and then in a more developed, purposeful role as an OLST (online learning support services teacher). Teaching students from every school in every grade in my division is not for nothing. The highs and lows of online learning have changed me as an educator; changed my definitions of schools, classrooms, and teaching. To say that online learning is detrimental to students generalizes the concepts of physical schools and education as one-size-fits-all definitions. That is certainly not the case. When done properly, and by that, I mean MINDFULLY, online education can become a digital anchor for many families needing something different. Physical schools will always be needed, but online education is the perfect alternative.

  • If you’re so inclined, please tell me about your own teaching experiences during the pandemic. Mine was oddly positive, but I know experiences vary greatly!
  • How do you think pandemic teaching and current online teaching differ? Or do you think they do?
  • What would you say to a family considering online? What factors should be taken into consideration?
  • How do you feel about your own online education? Does it seem like a viable option as opposed to being on-campus? What works for you and what doesn’t?

Thank you for joining this learning journey. One master’s class down…many more to go! Best wishes to you all!

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

Debate #6 – Cellphones should be banned in the classroom.

Photo by Valeriia Miller on Pexels.com

Throughout the debate I maintained my position by disagreeing that cellphones should be banned in the classroom. Cellphones have immense capabilities, clearly negatives and positives, that being said we should integrate technology into the classroom when appropriate. In the classroom I gave students permission at the start of the class to use their cell phones constructively. Students sometimes had to look up a word, and I encouraged them to increase their vocabulary by looking up synonyms, as well as other ways to enhance learning. As a result, I found students were on their phones less, as they did not have to hide them and there was less misuse. Yes, I recognize this does not work for every class. With this in mind, I taught high school, whereas they SHOULD be able to have some self-control. It should be noted, I believe there should be an age limit as to when we can entrust students with this responsibility.

Some big questions that creeped into my thoughts throughout the debate: should we give students the right to have a dynamic tool in their back pocket that can distract them from their learning? Rather, should we as educators teach students how to use these powerful tools?

That being said, there are valid reasons as to why cell phones should be banned in the classroom. These reasons include, but are not limited to,

Beland and Murphy’s (2016) study on the impact of cell phones on students’ academic performance, reported that when cell phones were banned from classrooms, standardized test scores went up approximately 6% on average and more than 14% for low-achieving students. The researchers observed that the ban’s differential effect on previously underperforming students is especially significant in light of school-board equity policies, as “banning mobile phones could be a low-cost way for schools to reduce educational inequality”

Cell Phones, Student Rights, and School Safety: Finding the Right Balance
  1. Distractions…umm…what did you say? – Have you ever had a student look up from their lap with that blank stare on their face? The panic of oh I have been caught doing something I shouldn’t be, and now I have no idea what this lady is asking me. I have seen this face more than once in my classroom. Additionally, there are the vibrations or the ringing disrupting the whole classroom, and once in a while a video starts playing blaringly loud! For this reason, there is no doubt that cellphones are a distraction in the classroom. Cellphones are also a distraction for teachers alike, as teachers have to police who is on their cellphone as opposed to working. Ultimately cellphones could be stored in their locker or in a cellphone hotel and used at breaks only.
  2. Equitability gaps …hey not everyone has a cellphone – We have covered equitability in numerous debates and this one is no different! Sometimes when you cannot get the laptop cart you tell students to just use their phones. Additionally, in other instances there have not been enough to go around and you tell them to either pair up or use their phones once again. Some families cannot afford to buy their child a new cellphone with an attached data plan, and I as an educator forget that not everyone has a cellphone. Not having the ability for every student to have a cellphone with a data plan without connecting to WIFI, consequently widens the learning gaps and the equality within education.
  3. Critical situations – The agree team mentioned cellphones interfering with critical situations that occur in schools, for example, fire drills and lockdowns. Stephen corrected me in the debate conversation about the lights of cellphones being the main concern for the intruder, although there can be interference with cell towers being jammed up. He pointed me to a time at Luther High School where a teacher was held at gunpoint and the police could not get through to the shooter as the towers were all jammed up with the multitude of cellphones from students. In a lockdown drill students are not to be on their cellphones, furthermore they are supposed to shut them off. In effort to defend the agree side, this would be a very important factor and should be noted why cellphones should be banned from the classrooms.

Conversely, in my humble opinion the reasons for cellphones not to be banned in the classroom out weigh why they should.

“These educators maintain that cell phones can be leveraged to enhance student collaboration, engagement, and idea-sharing across grade levels and subject areas.”

Cell Phones, Student Rights, and School Safety: Finding the Right Balance
  1. Promoting responsibility and self-control – As adults, most have the ability to not be on their cellphone when they shouldn’t be. We can use cellphones as a teaching tool in the classroom to know when to and when not to use their cellphones. Allowing students a sense of responsibility is positive in terms of future growth, as well as enhancing their social skills and work habits. As educators we can use this as a teaching moment to progress not digress!
  2. Outrage – Within the debate it was pointed out that guardians would be outraged if they could not get ahold of their child while at school. Whereas, looking back 10-15 years ago the guardians would just call the school. Preemptively, schools are avoiding the backlash of banning cellphones in the classroom, additionally schools would be plagued with the outrage of such an effort.
  3. Enhance learning – Cellphones are an integral part of the 21st century, and I strongly believe we should integrate these powerful tools into our planning and preparation. In doing so, students may not feel the need to always be on them (fingers crossed). I encouraged students to use their cellphones as a tool, as previously stated, in ELA to look up synonyms and increase their vocabulary as well as knowledge. Students began to tell me/ask me if they could further their research with their cellphone. If we start allowing cellphones to be a tool, as opposed to a distraction or a negative aspect in our classrooms students tend to not be scared to ask if they can use them. I mean in hindsight they are going to use them whether we say yes or no in some instances, so why not use them to help enhance their learning?

Studies reveal that cell phone use in classrooms have an array of other beneficial effects for young people, including improving motivation, being relevant for future work, supporting pedagogical innovation and greater interactivity in the classroom stated that cell phone use has high potential for students involved in distance learning.

Cell Phones, Student Rights, and School Safety: Finding the Right Balance
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Final Thoughts

Educating students on ways to use their device properly in class would enhance learning as they have an immaculate amount of knowledge at their fingertips. That being said, I do not believe that self-control is primarily the students fault, as parents are calling and texting students within instructional hours of class time. Additionally, parents like the sense of security they have when they can reach their child at school. For this reason, boundaries are essential when allowing cellphones in the classroom, although cellphones in the classroom puts more work on teachers, as they have to police cellphone misconduct.

Some educators use cellphone hotels with labelled pockets for each student. Katia brought up the idea about student not having a cellphone and their pocket is empty, evidently pointing fingers back to the digital divide and equitability. There are going to be a multitude of hurdles that we face in the classroom with cellphones, regarding distractions, although I believe cellphones have their place in the classroom as well.

Maybe we, as educators, need to foster acceptable cell phone policies within our classrooms.

Hello, Is It Me You’re Trying to Ban?

The Trouble with Blanket Statements, Rules and Rose-tinted Glasses…

Post 5: Debates 5&6 – Social Media is ruining childhood / Cell phones should be banned in schools.

Meme created by author using https://imgflip.com/memegenerator

At the mere mention of cell phones, I knew I couldn’t bypass a little Adele/Lionel Ritchie meme action. Lionel represents the nostalgia I feel for my pre-WIFI/social media youth; Adele symbolizes a more modern perspective on cell phone inclusive classrooms. Dare I digress into the obvious dad joke? Who knew it could all meme so much? Groooooooan!

Two things set this post apart from previous reflections. First, these debate topics seem so interrelated I felt I could finally make a single Monday-night blog entry! Second, (are you ready for it?) I’m completing all of this on my iPhone, from the meme to the Spotify podcast. If we suggest that students can and should use their cell phones for educational purposes, I want to test the practice for myself. As a fairly tech-savvy geriatric millennial, how hard can it be?

20 years later….okay, actually 5 hours, I can tell you….time-consuming but a uniquely fun experience (for me). If you only have time to skip around on my podcast or no time at all (June is something!) scroll down to my questions. I would love to hear your opinions and experiences!

Guess what? If you use Spotify on your phone, you can listen to me on high speed (chipmunk style) so I don’t ramble on and on and on! Join me for my first Podcast (brought to you by the Anchor Phone App). Debate 5: Social media is ruining childhood.

Kipp’s Debate 5 Questions:

  • Do you think you view your childhood/generation with rose-tinted glasses? Do you think everything was as golden as we claim it was, or were there many issues that were swept under the rug, now brought to light by social media?
  • What are you seeing in your classrooms? Are your students only using social media in a negative way? Or, if taught proper use, are they using it effectively to promote social change and amplify their voices?
Second podcast, brought to you by the Anchor App and Spotify. Debate 6: Cellphones should be banned in schools.

Kipp’s Debate 6 Questions:

  • LOTS OF QUESTIONS!
  • Do you think there’s a difference in cell phone use being effective in elementary/middle schools versus high schools?
  • Have you enforced a no-cell phone ban in your classroom/school/home?
  • If the ban is school-wide, are different teachers opposed to it?
  • Or, are you allowing cell phones in your classroom? How are you using it as a tool and “enforcing” mindful use in/out of the classroom?

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

Teaching Inside the Social Media Fishbowl

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

Where my opinion on this debate started and where it ends (though I use that word loosely), has shifted throughout this week. I wanted my post to demonstrate my voice, as well as other voices, and so I tried something different (for me) using Canva. In the future maybe we can debate the likelihood of me throwing my computer out the window but in the meantime…

If you are time-strapped (and really, aren’t we all?), the first half of my video reviews the YAY and NAY key points and shared articles/videos. The second half of the video (11-minute mark) covers solicited opinions from peers/colleagues I respect, and my final reflections (attempts were made to NOT go off on rambling tangents, but….).

*Please note, I strive for inclusivity, but the closed captioning gods were not working with me today. Thank you for your understanding.

In the end, I firmly believe in positive intent and continual learning and unlearning of social justice issues. Everyone is at their own point in this journey; if you are comfortable and have capacity, I would be honoured if you shared your current position on this issue…

Instagram repost shared with permission: My current process/cycle as so eloquently summarized by Dr. Solomon

Debate #3- Should Schools No Longer Teach Skills That Can Be Easily Carried Out by Technology?

Debate #3 teams definitely delivered! I will admit I am surprised how heated this debate got as this topic didn’t seem like one that you would peg as having people be uber-passionate on both sides. I will say I am more so a disagree-er on this topic, but it all comes down to which thingsContinue reading "Debate #3- Should Schools No Longer Teach Skills That Can Be Easily Carried Out by Technology?"

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.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

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!

Photo by Daniel on Pexels.com
  • 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.