Place Matters

“The conceptualizations and analyses of place defined in geographical and metaphorical terms play a significant role in understanding curriculum and are an exciting, important and ever-increasing discourse in the field of curriculum studies.”

~Oxford Research Enclyopedias~

This week for ECS 210 the class was required to read a short article called “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing.” I really enjoyed this article and I think it was a great way to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing into the curriculum discussion. I have always found Indigenous teaching to be so interesting and I wish I would have had the opportunity throughout my grade school experience to learn from elders. They give their perspective on different situations and now that I have had the opportunity to meet many elders through my university experience, I have grown a love for their storytelling. This article reflected on a research project that was conducted to honor the Mushkegowuk Cree community concepts of the land, environment, and life. It followed the experience of joining young individuals of the community with the elders and going on an excursion past the river, doing interviews amongst the community, and making an audio documentary to tell their story.

While reading the article, we were asked to reflect on ways that we saw reinhabitation and decolonization throughout the narrative. The first way I noticed that the narrative was supporting reinhabitation and decolonization was through joining elders, youth and the generations in between on a voyage along the river to learn about the history, significance of the river, related issues of governance and land management, and the culture of the community. “The river trip helped members of the community share linguistic, cultural, historical, and geographical knowledge.” Bringing the many generations together allowed the community to reclaim the traditional knowledge of the culture. The next way I noticed reinhabitation and decolonization occurring was through creating an audio documentary about the river and the experience of the young individuals learning about their traditional ways of knowing and being re-introduced to this information in a way that allowed them to explore with other individuals who shared the same interests. By hearing from all different voices of the community such as band office, the health center, education system, elders and youth groups allowed for community involvement and overall re-connecting a community that was beginning to become lost through colonization. They then took the documentary that contained these interviews and experiences that youth individuals made and spread it both around the community and on the radio to reach a broader audience. This not only allowed community members to become educated about the history, land, and ways of knowing that is being shared across generations but also individuals who live outside of the community. The excursion not only allowed youth to become connected with the land and their elders, but also to recognize their home language and reclaim the names of the land that was set before colonization. This gave the youth an even stronger connection to their community and allowed to understand more deeply how colonization truly affected their community in all different aspects. The large focus on the word “paquataskamik” which means “natural environment” was an “attempt to retain a relationship to the rivers, the lands, and the communities joined together by them.” This trip not only rekindled old relationships amongst the community but also new relationships were formed both between people and the land and culture. I found this quote from the article summed up the purpose perfectly: “the project has been about fostering the development of meaningful space for inter-generational dialogue and community research on social and economic relationships rooted in Mushkegowuk conceptions of life and traditional territory.”

When referring to curriculum as place we are looking at the broader context of the community we are teaching in. After reading the article I made some connections of how I could adapt these ideas towards the grade levels I plan to teach in my future career (elementary education). I understand that doing curriculum as place allows teachers to give young children opportunities to view and understand the community in different ways. By doing these kinds of experiences allows students to broaden their understandings to the community around them as well as begin to understand the history this country was built on and begin to move forward with a different mindset than the generations before them. It would be most beneficial to be able to do an excursion like the one that was described in the article, however, with the budget, and the age of the children I plan on teaching it may not be suitable. That does not mean that students should miss out on experiences like this! This experience along with many that involve curriculum as place can be easily modified to fit the needs of your classroom and students. I would start by bringing elders and other voices into my classroom to allow my students to learn from other individuals other than myself. As noted from many other classes, it is important to give students a wide range of voices to learn from to allow them to reach their fullest potential in learning. Bringing in experts of fields will make it more real and relatable for the students. I would also adapt the place component by recreating such discovery in the area of the school grounds and around the community. Allowing children to explore the outdoors to gain respect for the land that supports them and learn through storytelling. In ECE 325 we also focus on the environment inside the classroom. We focus on the importance of bringing the natural world into the classroom to allow for a room that reflects what children see throughout their everyday life. By bringing nature into the classroom would also change the dynamic of the traditional classroom that is outlined in previous lectures and readings that have been discussed throughout this course.

Overall, this reading has allowed me to understand that curriculum if implemented positively and restructured to fit the needs of our students and the community, learning can stretch much farther than the classroom, as well as shift the view of the classroom in general! After the lecture, I now am ready to continue my life long journey to find who I truly am as an individual and what changes we need to make to our own lives to benefit our students learning and lives in the most positive ways possible.

Advertisements

Should we teach what can be googled? A battle I did not win!

This week in EDTC400 my friend Aurora and I battled it out with the topic if we should teach something that can be googled? I decided to take the agree side, understanding that it would be a challenge since I was giving my argument to a zoom room full of future educators! However, I was able to gain a little bit of ground after I gave my argument so I think that is a success in itself! To begin, I was in for a good fight with me being the only one who voted that they agreed (I felt so much love).

But, don’t you worry I came in with some valid points and I won a couple friends over to my side!

To be fair, I think if there was a third option for the class to pick, the decisions may have been different! Aurora and I both made many valid points to begin which then blossomed the conversation into many different paths that I do not think either of us expected! Overall, it was a wonderful debate and I think I got some people thinking about why we are actually teaching something that can be googled!

So let’s begin:

I will start by summarizing up my side of the debate. I have to say that I found it very difficult to find articles that specifically looked at Google searches replacing education, most of the articles I found related broadly to technology replacing older teaching methods! The four main points I decided to address through my video are listed as follows:

  1. Having access at our fingertips helps us move from rote memorization of google-able facts to innovative thinking: Instead of spending lots of time in the classroom memorizing facts that can easily be googled, you can now use that time to further understandings of those concepts. The article linked above does a great job of explaining the importance of moving away from memorization and more towards exploratory learning!
  2. Current models of curriculum do not allow for personalized learning: Becuase our curriculum is focused on developing students to memorize facts and all think the same, there is no time for students to expand their knowledge on interests they may have. Using Google search engine allows students to realize a vast amount of knowledge that is offered to them at the tips of their fingers. This will then change the face of education to the teacher not being the information giver and the student to be able to regurgitate, we then move into the possibilities of the teacher becoming a moderator or facilitator in the class and students having the ability to self direct their learning! This point can also be linked to many articles that are linked above and below!
  3. Saving time for critical thinking: Saving time by googling facts that can effectively be googled allows time for classroom instruction on teachings that are not easily googled such as application questions and lab work! The article linked above not only reflects on how Google searches can be time savers but also many other advantages google search engines allow for students and individuals. This article states that by using Google individuals can learn mistakes of others through sharing of experiences, this not only allows students to make connections with other individuals around the world but also save them the time from making those same mistakes.
  4. Bringing teaching into the 21st century: With technology so vastly distributed throughout society, many of our students will be introduced to these forms of communication at a very young age. By integrating Google into the classroom we move away from structured learning and into learning that allows for problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. The article linked above really reflects on the different approaches that need to be done in education to allow students to be more stimulated in their learning as well as prepare them for life after school as they live in a technology-filled world.

To conclude my statement, I ensured to give pointers to help teachers understand how to use Google search engines to their fullest potential inside and out of the class. Kathleen Morris gave many great pointers on how to successfully teach students to make effective google searches that will give them true and real articles and information. I believe this is a very important lesson to be taught in classrooms as technology is becoming so integrated into today’s society!

Do you disagree?

I know Aurora did when she gave many great points to why she supported the side that teachers should still teach Google-able information in the classroom! Check out her video here to listen to the statements to support her argument:

Aurora’s four main points were:

  1. Information vs Misinformation: This reflected the abundance of information that can be found on Google. Some of this information yes is correct, however, a lot of the information that can be found online can also be incorrect. Aurora argued this is a main problem with not teaching something that can be googled because how do you ensure that your students are getting the correct and accurate information on the topic. This is a very valid point, but I just wanted to point out that the information we learn from our teachers may not always be accurate or correct. Teachers are human beings that hold their own values and beliefs and that is often shown throughout their teachings. In ECE 325 we focus a lot on becoming an anti-bias teacher, however, I think it may take a lot more work than just saying you are one, you must also be able to act on this as well! The TED talk linked above put this point into a very interesting perspective that there is a human behind the algorithm! An interesting thought that I never overly considered when I was stating my perspective!
  2. Stopping Points: The second point Aurora made was Google searches result in stopping points for students to further their knowledge about a topic. This can be seen in the article linked to this point. However, I disagree. In my argument, I stated that Google searches allowed for more exploration of a topic because it allows students to spend less time memorizing the basic skills one needs to further their understanding of complicated concepts!
  3. The Human Factor: The third point Aurora made was stating that technology can not give the connection and relationship as a human being can to a child. And if you were in EDTC400 class on Tuesday you probably noticed I did not touch on this point because I completely agree! I agree with this point, that yes there are many online resources that allow you to connect and build relationships all over the world, however, nothing compares to face to face relationships that can be built in the classroom between students and their teachers.
  4. Lack of Basic Skills: The last point Aurora mentioned to support her argument was stating that because of the integration of technology and Google in the classroom and at home students are losing their basic motor skills, as well as literacy and numeracy skills. The article linked above shows how young children are not as developed as they should be with their fine motor skills because of technology advancements which I completely agree with! As for literacy and numeracy, there are hundreds of online programs that allow students to further their knowledge in both literacy and numeracy as well as become more competent and confident in the online world!

What else?

Aurora and I were not the only ones who raised many important perspectives and points that someone should consider when debating this very controversial topic! Lauren raised the point of access to technology and if schools and students do not have access to these resources is that going to set them even farther behind then students who have access to technology that allows them to do quick Google searches? Another interesting point that was raised was by Ashlee. Ashlee asked if there could be a middle ground, a place where teachers still could teach google-able information and then have the Google search engine as a resource to help students better understand the topic or learn from different sources! Another perspective that was discussed throughout the debate was where do we draw the line between what information should be Googled and what we should teach since almost everything can be Googled! The last perspective that was very interesting and something I never thought about was when Daniel made the comment that in his university classes he is not allowed to display his work or answers in any other way then how his professor taught it, this then takes away the opportunity to use the Google search engine as a second option!

Time to conclude! 

Before starting to research for this debate, I was heavily on the side of the disagree! I thought it was a crazy thought that we should stop teaching what can be googled, I mean what can’t be googled! As I began my research process, I thought it was very interesting to find the points that were being laid out to support my argument. As I continued, I began thinking about why are we really teaching information that can easily be googled? After I finished my video more connections were being made to the number of times I googled a simple fix to a problem I was having both in my studies and in my life. The points I have listed above to support my argument I agree with completely, however, I also agree with many points Aurora stated as well as the new points that our fellow classmates contributed. With that, I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to say that we should not teach something that can be googled but, we should use Google as another resource that we can incorporate into our classroom to give our students a variety of opportunities to further their learning and gain deeper understandings of the content. I am not here to make teachers obsolete, I mean I am in this profession after all! I just believe that there is much more to education than a teacher giving the information and a student retaining that exact information. To see a shift towards using Google and other resources in the classroom also requires a shift in the viewpoints that the education system is formed on. I believe one day we will reach this shift and it will make learning endless, and allow for knowledge to be accessed from all over the world. I am so pleased I decided to do this debate topic. I have not only learned new information about the topic alone, but also my future goals as an educator!

I thank all of my EDTC400 classmates for joining me on this new discovery of knowledge! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

 

The Formation of the Curriculum: Before and After Thoughts

Before the Reading:

I think school curricula are developed through a series of steps that are conducted to create a curriculum that suits the needs of the school and society. I imagine a group of higher individuals in the education profession meeting in a conference room discussing what is and is not important to include in the curriculum. I also believe that the teachers have some say into what is important and not. Through teacher conferences, surveys, and meetings teachers are able to confess their concerns, wants and needs to the board that will then be taken into consideration when it comes to forming the curriculum. I think the curriculum is formed by people in the dominant group at the specific geopolitical location and that they take specific consideration towards the desirable class (for example middle-class individuals). I think the demographics of society highly impact what is being seen as important to be taught as well as what perspective the information is coming from. Another important point I believe about curriculum is that it takes in little consideration of what students want out of their learning. Overall, I believe the development of the curriculum takes in many different factors before reaching the final product, these factors may benefit one specific group and disadvantage other groups.

After the Reading:

After reading the article Curriculum Policy and The Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools, written by Ben Levin I was able to gain a deeper understanding of how the curriculum was and is truly formed. This reading looked at how politics heavily impact the creation of the curriculum and the steps that are taken to form a new curriculum. To begin, my before thought of how the curriculum was created was not too far off what the reading stated. However, there were some key points that the reading reflected upon that I did not take into consideration before.

One of the biggest issues that was brought to my attention by Levin is, out of all the people to accommodate and the different values and beliefs these individual people hold, how does the education policymakers decide which individuals voices are heard and which ones are not. In my before the reading statement, I stated that the individuals of the dominant culture are often the ones who are heard, however, is this still true? The article stated the importance of bringing society in to play a role in the formation of curriculum, however, not all societal groups wishes are heard. Levin states that the people who often are the most financed, and their wishes and beliefs are understood more deeply are often the ones who impact the curriculum. For example; larger businesses have a say in the curriculum and what classes students should learn that will benefit their company in the long run. Another issue that was brought to my attention that I did not consider beforehand was the issue between subject experts and teachers. At first, I was unsure of what this even meant, however, after continuing reading a realized how this could be very problematic in the school. This issue looks at when subject experts such as professors are constructing the curriculum, their objectives are often to complex for teachers to successfully teach and for students to successfully learn. Teachers are more concerned about having a curriculum that embraces all students diverse learning needs and give their students opportunities to learn at their fullest potentials.

Who is involved in the process?

As mentioned above, before I did the reading I did not think many people of the community were involved in the development of the curriculum. I even thought teachers had little say in the formation and it was mostly up to the people higher up in the education field to develop and decide the important information that should be taught in the classroom. However, according to Levin, “education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation.” With that, people of the society, school, and government have a say in the development of the curriculum. Groups that contributed and had little say in the curriculum development would be parents, non-educators, students, and minority groups. The individuals who were apart of the reference committee were often teachers and other individuals apart of the federation. I am not so sure that this is always how it has been, and I am interested to see if all of these individuals are truly part of the decision- making process. Levin also states that the final say in curriculum and education policies come down to both the national and subnational governments. After going through grade school following the curriculum as well as taking this class and learning about many issues that arise in the school system because of the curriculum, I was somewhat shocked at how many individuals were able to give input to the formation of the curriculum. However, I was not shocked that some businesses and beliefs had a larger impact on the formation than others. This article was released in 2007, and Levin stated it takes many years to form a new curriculum, so maybe we will begin seeing more diversity through the pages as we explore the newly made curriculums in the week’s to come!

What is the process?

The process is conducted by jurisdictions that layout important guidelines that one must follow when revising the curriculum. The individuals who often revise the curriculum are teachers and subject experts, and the revising is often lead by a certain government official. It is important to state that the traditional views of the curriculum did not have many connections towards actual teaching in the classroom, just on the content. Levin’s perspective now looks at both the content and teaching methods by bringing experts of the subject as well as teachers together to collaborate to make a curriculum that benefits all who are involved. Curriculum reviews are now seeing more parents, students, and non-educators portraying their needs and wants. A rigorous process that can take many years to form is now developed through more voices than ever before. Again, one main concern I have with this is it actually happening, are people actually being heard and are changes being made? Because from the information we have gained thus far in the class I do not see nor hear many voices being portrayed through the curriculum.

Overall, there are so many considerations that must be made when it comes to developing the curriculum. Considerations such as ideology, personal values, issues in the public domain, and interests as Levin stated throughout his article. I found this article very interesting and what I thought I knew about how the curriculum was formed may be more about how the curriculum used to be formed. I really enjoyed how this article tied in the importance of understanding all that the government and policymakers have to do. I think we sometimes forget how much they must accomplish and overall, they are trying to make decisions that will hopefully benefit many individuals in society.

The Great EdTech Debate: Why Teach Something that can be Googled?

Hello everyone! Aurora and I decided to take on the second week’s debate topic which looks at why teachers should teach information that can be googled! I took the agree side (which was a lot harder then I thought)! Here is the video! I am super excited to hear all the discussions on Tuesday!

Here are a couple required readings to help the class understand my side more thoroughly!

Why Learn Facts if you can Google?

This article focuses on why students are asked to memorize information and facts that can just be googled. Tapscott looks at the curriculum and then reflects that to the current age. Tapscott emphasizes the importance of Google in the classroom and states the importance of understanding and creativity over memorizing specific facts that may never be applicable to the student’s life outside of the classroom. Through this view of the curriculum then cuts back on traditional teaching and looks more directly to personalized learning!

Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education

This article specifically looks at the traditional forms of teaching and how students are underprepared for life after school. The article looks at changing the face of education to incorporate google searches in the classroom to enhance collaboration, self-learning, and deeper understandings. This will overall prepare students to become successful individuals in society.

Additional Resources you may find helpful:

 

Does technology enhance or diminish learning?

Last night the EDTC400 crew took part in our first debate where Ashley and Raeann debated if technology-enhanced learning or diminished learning in the classroom. I was conflicted about this topic before entering the debate, and now after the debate, I am still conflicted about if I agree or disagree. However, I feel like I have gained more knowledge about the controversial topic that educational technology faces on a daily basis. Both debaters gave numerous examples and information that allowed me to gain a larger grasp about how I feel about technology in the classroom, and I have come to the conclusion that I agree technology enhances learning, with some circumstances that need to be recognized.

 Photo Credit: ITU Pictures Flickr via Compfight cc

I will begin this blog post to why I believe technology enhances learning. As we have learned both in EDTC300 and EDTC400, technology used in the right way allows for endless possibilities both in the classroom and out. Specifically to the educational context, using the SAMR or TPACK model one can understand that yes technology can be used as an easy replacement to the pen and paper model. But, if technology is used to it’s fullest potential, technology can enhance learning and children’s interests in so many ways that the original pen and paper model could never do. Ashley gave many examples of how technology can enhance learning. The article she shared titled “Using Technology To Create a Dynamic Classroom Experience” stated that all means of technology can be used to enhance learnings. Different platforms such as audio, video, blogging, and many more are just a few platforms that can be integrated into the classroom to allow students to learn how to effectively use technology for their work as well as keep it interesting. Technology can also help close achievement gaps between classmates and allow for all children to get the education they deserve. With the multiple technology platforms that are available to teachers worldwide, it all comes down to if teachers are willing to put the time in to integrate these sources into their daily teachings.  Technology allows for so many different opportunities to allow children to learn in diverse ways that suit their learning needs, with that, I think it is very important to integrate technology into the classroom to enhance a child’s learning and school experience. Just look at these heartwarming videos of how technology in the classroom leads to such amazing relationships:

As you can see from the above examples, technology allows for so many different experiences that would have never been possible without technology platforms. However, technology in the classroom does have some disadvantages and negative impacts as explained by Raeann throughout the debate. Technology in the classroom results in some kids being advantaged, and some kids being left with disadvantages. Not all schools have the ability to supply technological resources to integrate technology into the classroom. With that, not all children will benefit from these integrations because they can not afford to have their own source to learn from. Raeann shared a great article that looked at how money and the widespread of technology can leave some kids behind. The article states that yes technology is great in the classroom, however, not all classrooms have opportunities to do so. Another problem with allowing technology into the classroom is multitasking. Multitasking may seem to be great, however, in an educational setting multitasking can lead to information not being retained and negative impacts to an individuals grade. This article does a great job of explaining the negative impacts of multitasking in the classroom.

Overall, I believe that done the right way, technology is a great resource to use in the classroom and can even enhance children’s learning. However, there would need to be some guidelines to ensure the enhancment of learning occurs. One would have to ensure that they were not using technology to replace other ways of learning but instead changing those ways of learning to make it better. If one was to integrate technology in the classroom they must also ensure that all students have an equal playing field so all students learning is improved. I agree with technology used to enhance learning and I hope in my future classroom I will be able to use technology to my advantage!

The “Perfect” Student

After reading both the required readings for this week I was able to understand more critically about what a “good” student looked like with regards to the commonsensical ideas. After reading the introduction piece of “A History of Education” by Painter, I was able to understand that no two countries hold the same values of their education system and they all have their own common-sense beliefs about what the education system should look like and what the role of both the teachers and the students should be:

“Among no two nations of antiquity have the theory and practice of education been the same. It has varied with the different social, political, and religious conditions of the people and the physical characteristics of the country” (p.5).

With that, Kumarshiro explains the commonsensical ideas around the American curriculum and who these ideas benefit and do not benefit. In this outlook, a “good” student is a student who falls into the status quo. A student that can learn the information in an appropriate way and does not interfere with the teachings. A “good” student in the eyes of common sense is one that can sit in an individual desk and be completely invested in the content being taught on the whiteboard. In the reading “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What it Means to Be a Student” Kumarshiro describes a “good” student as an individual who would always completes “certain assignments and repeating on exams the correct definitions or themes or analysis in a strong essay format, and the closer a student got to saying the right things in the right ways, the higher that student’s grade would be” (p.21). A “good” student was one who conformed to the ideas that were implemented by the higher up people in the education system and their perspectives. A “good” student came into the classroom with no pre-existing knowledge and left with a brain full of knowledge that the dominant culture believed was the most beneficial to a student’s cognitive development. “Good” students were ones who succeeded on the standardized examinations and did not challenge the status quo of learning or society.

The students as mentioned above who were privileged by this common sense understanding of education were the individuals who conformed to the perspectives and teachings. The students who showed up to class ready to learn, who did not misbehavior or spoke out of turn were considered “good” students. Students who were in the dominant culture (white, middle-class individuals) often fit these common-sense ideas the best because the information that was deemed important often reflected off the values of this specific culture. Individuals who did not fit these commonsensical ideas were often individuals who did not fit the status quo. Individuals who maybe acted out, could not sit still for long periods of time, individuals of different cultural backgrounds who held different values and beliefs, and lastly, individuals who could not conform to the one-answer learning all did not benefit from these ideas of a “good” student. Individuals who did not succeed on exams or assignments also did not benefit from these commonsensical ideas of learning and what makes a “good student.”

Through these commonsensical ideas, the possibilities for some students turn into the impossible. These preconceived ideas silence different cultural beliefs and values that students bring into their classrooms, which then silences a huge part of their identity. Individualism between students is also absent, due to the strict standardized testing and curriculum that makes all students learn the same and think the same, this also hinders one’s creativity extremely. This can be seen in Kumarshiro’s examples of both M and N, they both showed no interest in the strict layout of the class, but once they were able to do assignments and activities on their own terms they opened up to their ideas about the content. These commonsensical ideas also conform individuals into the same perspectives of those who formed the curriculum and decided what information was important and not important. With that, these students did not learn any different and no social action would occur to change the educational system for the better. Overall, these commonsensical ideas of what makes a “good” student hinder one’s ability to break out of their shell and shoot for their dreams and aspirations in life.

Is technology all that it is cracked up to be?

This week in EDTC400 we focused on some issues surrounding the tech world, and how these issues affect us individuals in society. We can understand that there are problems with technology when former Facebook executives are admitting to “ripping society apart.” So what are some of the problems society is seeing due to technological advancements?

Technology was first created to allow people to connect with the world in more manageable ways than ever before. The use of technology was also supposed to bring equality to all individuals but as the Verge stated in an article, The FCC just killed net neutrality. This meaning that now people can pay to get people to their sites faster, for example, Netflix can pay money to allow people to zoom to their site, which in turn slows the process for people who are trying to get to an individual blog, for example, my blog. From this, people who can afford to pay this fee will benefit from the advancement, and the people who are unable to pay the fee will not get the same results as when they started.  Neil Postman also does a good job of explaining these inequalities online. He states that yes, there are advantages as technology advances, however, with those advantages someone else also sees disadvantages. The way I visualize this is with new phones. New phones are always being released and people always want the fresh new phone on the market so they go and buy it, this is an advantage for the people who can afford the new phones because they are getting the latest software and advancements. For the people who can not afford a new phone, they stick with their trusty old one, which is perfectly fine until the phone companies start making software updates and other updates that these older phones cannot obtain, forcing an individual to get a new phone when their 2-year-old phone is in perfectly good condition minus the software issues. Check out Postman’s article for a more in-depth analysis of these inequalities.

Photo Credit: vagueonthehow Flickr via Compfight cc

The next problem or concern I would like to address with regards to technology is thinking about multitasking. Sherry Turkle states:

“Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible”

~Sherry Turkle~

Technology has allowed so many people to learn to multitask and evidently get more things done. However, multitasking can also be very overwhelming as Turkle states. She acknowledges that yes now with technology individuals can get so much more done, however, they may now feel obligated to get more things done than ever expected before. This can be seen in the old example of the invention of technology-driven cleaning products brought into the home around the years of the 1960s. The technological cleaning supplies allowed for the homemaker to get their work done more efficiently, however, now with these new advancements the quality and amount they got done in the day rose much higher than before. This places a lot of stress on the individuals in this predicament. A study was done on university students that banned laptops in the classroom also show that since students are able to multitask so much on their laptops in class, they don’t retain as much information from class lectures because they are preoccupied with other apps on their devices such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Here is a short article that shares the risk of multitasking on your brain, they state as did the study that doing more than one thing at once puts a lot of strain on your brain and results in less knowledge being gained.

The last issue I want to talk about is what Eli Pariser defines as “filter bubbles” which he essentially describes as what an individual sees on their social media accounts. Companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google filter what we as consumers see because they believe it is what we want to be seeing. These companies leave out topics we do not search and grasp at the topics we search and work with that. They take our online personality and find articles, posts, pictures, etc. to shape our news feed. With this process, everything becomes interconnected. I search something on google, and the next day my whole Facebook account will show me ads and posts that reflect that google search (creepy, I know). This is not just on my laptop either, I search something on my laptop (which my Facebook is not even logged into), and I see ads for that google search on my phone within my Facebook account! I personally do not like this filtering technology at all, I now barely use my accounts because I no longer truly know what I am seeing. Many of my friends on Facebook post something, that I will not see unless somebody else shows me the post. Not only do I not get to see my friends and families posts, but it also does not allow me to see much of the news releases or other topics I am interested in because they have the algorithms decide for me that I do not care about those issues. It makes me uneasy that with the technological advancements being introduced these days, they have so much control over what we can see, and ultimately what we believe in or value. Invasion of privacy can also be seen throughout people being open to bringing Google homes or Alexa’s into their house. Many people love these tools that allow them to talk to this small device that will then direct it to their house, however, I believe it could cause some problems in the long run. Check out this article on how people are responding to their Google Homes.

What’s next?

Now that I laid out some of the problems the technological world is facing I thought it would be a good idea to see if there are any moves towards changing or recognizing these problems. For net neutrality, some say the fight is not over and people are trying to get the old rules back. For more information on what people are doing check out this article! Looking at multitasking and using technology we can look into how these tools can be integrated into the classroom properly. Educators must understand the concerns around technology in the classroom and look at ways in which they can teach about how to properly integrate technology into students learning by following models such as TPACK or the SAMR models. Both of these models are used to not only use technology in the classroom but use technology in the classroom in a way that benefits the individuals learning that previous models such as pen and paper could not do. This will help students not only concentrate on their work but help them effectively incorporate technology in the classroom. As for the last topic of my discussion, I am unsure of the status of if large corporations and companies plan to change their algorithms so they do not impact what we see and do not see on our social media accounts. I now open the question to you: Have you heard of any headway with this issue being resolved? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: davidstewartgets Flickr via Compfight cc

The words of Elliot W. Eisner

“The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.”

~Elliot W. Eisner~

Elliot Eisner was a professor of art and education at Stanford University. Eisner is well known for his contributions to the arts curriculum and the overall American curriculum. Eisner has “dedicated his career to advancing the role of the arts in American education and in using the arts as models for improving educational practice in other fields” for more information about Eisner continue reading this article! Eisner focused on bringing recognition to arts education and the importance of art for children’s development and wellbeing.

I chose this quote because I think it is a really good quote that represents Eisner’s goal to bring recognition towards the importance of the arts in the education system. When I read this quote I instantly relate the words to how in a school and classroom we have so many diverse learners that all learn and think differently. This quote explains the importance of children understanding that there is not just one solution to a problem and that there is always opportunities to expand on answers and look at a question in a new light. When I think of arts, I think of creativity and individualism, art allows children to express their thoughts and opinions in their own way, which then allows for more diverse conversations in the classroom. This quote moves away from the standardized testing that the curriculum has laid out, and moves toward individual learning that allows children to find their identity through the knowledge they are gaining. This quote makes individual human beings full of creativity and inspiration, human beings that will finish schooling and become the voices of social change, artists, educators, or anything they aspire to be. This quote makes the old way of schooling, the way in which produces students to all be the same impossible. Overall, this quote allows society to see education in a new light, a light that I hope can be produced as I continue my journey as an educator.

This quote would vision teachers as a leader, someone who leads students in the right path but also allows students to go through the path on their own terms and making their own decisions on how they wish to proceed through the path. Teachers would be seen as life long learners, continuously learning from their students and working alongside them to make their program better as the students bring new ideas to the table. Teachers would no longer be expected to teach straight from worksheets, textbooks, and then assess through standardized testing. They would now have more input in the activities they want to teach and how they wish to reach those goals using a creative mindset that will benefit all of their individual students. Students would no longer be seen as being incompetent if they do not succeed in an exam. They would now have the freedom to show their knowledge through their personal skills and talents that shine through. Students would now be seen as individual learners and not learners that must conform.

With my understanding of the current curriculum, I believe we have a long way to go before we reach a place that signifies the goals I have stated above. This quote I think represents a place in the education system that people are fighting to move towards, however, looking at the curriculum as it is, we are nowhere near reaching this place where learners are not expected to all think the same. This quote represents that no two individuals are the same, that differences are welcomed and embraced, and frankly, society and the education system have a long road ahead of them if they ever want to reach a system that embraces creativity over memorization. To this day, the arts are still undervalued compared to the core classes such as math and science. To move forward, one must understand the importance of the arts and all the benefits that will help a child prosper and become a responsible, individualistic member of society. Through this quote, we can reach a place that recognizes that not all answers are the same, that through different experiences our answers, values, and beliefs are shaped differently, and that is okay. The world is full of brilliant minds, we just need to let individuals see the brilliance inside themselves.

Curriculum as a Product: Beneficial or Detrimental?

Although there are many new and creative alternatives to the curriculum, most school institutions still follow a traditionalist perspective when it comes to the curriculum and teachings in the classroom. Not many individuals understand why the schools follow traditional viewpoints, maybe because that is what they are comfortable with, all they were ever taught so why change it, or maybe simply because they are scared to make a change. With that, traditional techniques of the curriculum see the curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted, or the curriculum as a product. After reviewing the article, “Curriculum Theory and Practice” written by Mark K. Smith (1996, 2000), I now want to do a further analysis of the section that discusses curriculum as a product, specifically the Tyler Rationale. Through this analysis, I will make connections towards the major limitations of this concept, some contributions that can be taken from the rationale, and lastly my personal school experiences related to Tyler’s Rationale.

To begin, the Tyler Rationale was formed by Ralph W. Tyler and behavioral psychologist who was the father of assessment and evaluation. According to Smith the work of “Ralph W. Tyler, […], has made a lasting impression on curriculum theory and practice.” Tyler focused his theory on “rationality and relative simplicity.” His theory focused around organization and the end goal of behavioral objectives that will allow for “a clear notion of outcome so that content and method may be organized and the results evaluated.” There were four main processes of the Tyler Rationale that would be followed to reach the final goal of the topic. In short, the four steps Tyler formed proceeded in the order as follows: aims and objectives of the subject, content to support these objectives, how the content would be delivered to the learners, and lastly how the learner would be assessed or evaluated. The Tyler Rationale was closely related to Franklin Bobbitt’s theory on the curriculum as the main idea was to form young individuals to all be the same with no independent thought. Reflecting on this, one can see many problematic areas with these theories.

Although organization is key in a classroom, too much structure and organization can lead to some serious problems and conflicts. The first problem defined by Smith with regards to Tyler’s rationale was that his view on the curriculum was to be constructed with assignments that the students “are told what they must learn and how they will do it.” This did not allow for children to further their creativity or have a say in their learning. We also understand now that all students learn and retain information in different ways, having one way that the students must learn is very detrimental to the students who do not learn effectively by the common pen and paper assignments and examinations. A second problem stated by Smith was that “behavior can be objectively, mechanistically measured.” That is, students are taught to think, feel and learn in the exact same ways as their peers, and with that teachers never have to think past the measured criteria of what their individual students could have taken away from that specific experience. This second problem limits students to be the same and does not allow teachers to critically think about how their students are different and think differently from one another. In this case, it is often the students who are blamed for not succeeding, because as stated by Tyler, the curriculum is something that “can rise above context (social, cultural, and historical differences).” Another problem that Smith acknowledged states this rationale is the “problem of unanticipated results.” Because of the large structure and organization that comes with this rationale, students and teachers often only have one goal in mind; the final goal. All of the learning opportunities throughout the process of reaching the end goal are seen unimportant by both the learner and the teacher, which then can harm a student’s capacity to learn as much as possible from an activity or assignment. To list a few more complications with this rationale are: the rationale focuses less on the learning and more on the memorizing, it is not interconnected learning, we are teaching students to learn to take tests, context isn’t seen as important, the rationale is very predictable; meaning the curriculums serve the dominant group and does not teach activism in fear of the dominant group will lose their “status.” The last major problem with this rationale I want to point out is that the students and the teachers are the ones being blamed for their failures, where it should be the people making the curriculum being blamed for not adequately accounting for individual learners needs and wants.

After pointing out the problems of Tyler’s Rationale, one must understand that there are ways in which this rationale along with all of the perspectives of the curriculum before Tyler all contributed to finding new ways to approach the curriculum, and in general the school system. Specifically looking at Tyler’s rationale, this perspective allowed for more organization and structure that allows educators to have a starting point. This type of approach allows teachers to stay on task to their outcomes and keep their students organized and on task as well. Smith also stated that “[t]he apparent simplicity and rationality of this approach to curriculum theory and practice, and the way in which it mimics industrial management have been powerful factors in its success.” After reading the other theories that evolve around curriculum, I believe that Tyler’s organization would help a lot of teachers reach their goals, however, modifications would be needed to ensure the problems stated above were accounted for. This rationale or theory about curriculum is also a good theory to critique and then improved. Without this theory being formed, individual’s would not see the problems that have risen in the school system and started brainstorming ideas to improve the program to benefit all learners.

After reading the article and learning more critically about the Tyler Rationale, I was able to analyze my school experiences throughout grade school. I grew up in a very small town and spent most of my younger years in a triple graded classroom, with that the teacher and teaching assistant needed a very structured atmosphere to keep the grades aligned and to ensure that the content and objectives were met for all grade levels. At the time, I would not have known school any different than being taught in ten minutes of class and then the rest of the class you sat in your desk and worked through assignments while the other grades were being taught. Now looking back on my school experiences after gaining the knowledge about the curriculum from Smith’s reading, I realize that my education was severely limited because of the triple graded classrooms and the lack of diversity we had throughout our students. After communicating with friends I have made throughout university thus far, their elementary experiences were enrichened with field trips, outdoor activities, projects, etc. that allowed them to meet certain objectives while learning in creative and explorative ways. However, for myself, I never got those opportunities because year in and year out we followed a certain outline to ensure that all three grades were able to cover the curriculum in the year.  As I progressed through grade school, my experiences did not change that much. Now being in a split classroom, with two grades being taught, I followed the same routine of being taught for one half of the class and working on assignments at my desk for the other half of the class. We did the worksheets that the teachers taught every year to learn the content, once the worksheets were completed, we waited to be taught the next lesson and the cycle repeated. We also had very low numbers in the school, which resulted in a major focus on the core classes with a limited emphasis on the more creative and individual classes such as the arts. Modifications were not made to fit the needs of the different learners in the classroom, and the students had little opportunity to have choice within their learning. My school experiences heavily relate to Tyler’s Rationale and did not leave room for creativity or enriched experiences like my fellow university peers had throughout their grade school years.

So why are school systems still teaching from a traditional perspective? It is hard to know the exact reasons why we have not seen change, however, one can hypothesize it is because we have not seen any dramatic social changes in society to do so. Having the understanding that there are other theories that allow for more involvement and acknowledge differences between individuals seems to be a more suitable choice, so why are we stuck in a time of worksheets and lectures?

What the world can see…

This week in EDTC400 it is expected of us to scan our social media accounts to see what the world can see about us. I have never been big into social media, however, I am on many social media platforms such as WordPress, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. All of these different social media platforms all serve one common function, and that is to stay in contact with people that I do not have the luxury of seeing or talking to every day. Although I do not post often, as a future educator I still need to be conscious and aware of what I am posting and being tagged in because my future students and employers can one day search me on the internet and find information I maybe did not want them to find. After reviewing the Professionalism in a digital world website created by the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, I decided, it is best to go through all my social media platforms and investigate at this moment to see what I deem as professional and not professional.

Let the investigating begin…

To start simply, I will first investigate my blog. I created this blog in my first year in the education program. It is intended to build my professional portfolio that one day I will be able to show my future employers instead of a resume that does not give as much detail to who I am and my accomplishments I have made that will be shown on my blog. If you need more evidence to why a digital portfolio is more beneficial then a resume please check out these two articles:

  1. Forget the resume: Online profiles the tool of young job seekers
  2. 5 Reasons why your online presence will replace your resume in 10 years 

Now back to my blog. My blog is designed to be simple for anyone to guide there way through it (I know I got my grandma to go throughout it), and to be appealing to the eye to make people want to continue reading. My menu bar allows visitors to find exactly what they are looking for without scrolling through the whole blog and my side widgets also allow for people to see who I am, my recent posts, and connect with my twitter account as well. When people first open my blog they instantly get a description of myself and then can move on from there if they wish to continue reading. Right now my cover photo is a picture of my grad dress and shoes, however, I think it is time to change that picture to be a little more professional, I am just waiting to find a picture that fits before I change it (because I truly do love those shoes)!

Understanding that I am still pretty early into my program, I will continue to upgrade and embellish my blog as I gain more content to add. As I continue on throughout my years, the areas I want to focus my time on is: developing a strong personal philosophy, continue adding content from my classes, begin creating my lesson plan section, and furthering my teaching resources section. I think my blog gives off a very professional and positive identity for myself. My blog portrays my hard work, beliefs, values, and my personality which allows visitors to get a sense of who I am as an individual and my goals as a future educator as well. At this moment, I am very happy with how my blog is coming along and I am excited to see where it will go as I continue to move forward in this amazing program!

The world of Twitter…

I think of myself as still being very new to the Twitter world, however, I think I have a good grasp on how to run the platform as well as what I get out of the app. I made my Twitter this spring specifically for the purpose of building my PLN. Twitter is a great place to learn from others in the profession and to lend and receive resources, I mean just look at all the educators you have access to through twitter and this is just in Saskatchewan! Here are even more worldwide!  To start, let’s investigate my Twitter account:

I keep my Twitter account public to allow myself to receive more connections with other educators and allow other educators to connect with me. My profile picture is just a headshot of myself so visitors can see who they are connecting with, and then my cover photo is a picture of a sunset on my farm, the place I hold close to my heart, I believe that this picture also allows my viewers to see a part of me and my interests. A part of my Twitter that needs some improvement is my bio, I feel it is lacking in content and connections and with that people may be uninterested in following my account due to the dry bio I have created. I plan to embellish this section of my account throughout the semester after looking at other educators bios and gaining a grasp of how I want to portray myself on this platform.

As for my twitter activity and tweets, I need to do some serious improving. As Katia said in class the more tweets somebody does throughout their day, the more connections they will be able to make, which will then help you in the long run. After I completed EDTC300, I used my Twitter account at a bare minimum. Now that I am back at it with EDTC400, I want to set a goal of posting at least 5 tweets a day, whether it be original tweets, replies, or retweets! I also want to start participating in Twitter chats to build connections with educators around the world.

Overall, I believe I have a good start on my Twitter profile and now just need to continue making connections with others and building my PLN. If you want to help me continue to build my PLN go give my Twitter account a follow! Both my Twitter and WordPress accounts are open to the public eye, however, I believe these accounts give a positive and professional digital identity to my name and allow visitors to see my true passion which is education.

The world of endless videos… YouTube

Out of all my social media accounts, my YouTube account is used the least amount. The main purpose for my YouTube account is to upload videos that I can then transfer to my blog. I have never used YouTube for watching tutorials or any kind of videos other than “how to” videos of course. As for my account, it is extremely underdeveloped and could use some work to make myself appear present on the platform, maybe even be a good role model to my future students who are interested in making a YouTube account to showcase their talents or as a hobby.

Most of the videos I post on my account are categorized as unlisted, meaning that people need to have the link to access the videos, however, if a person was to look through my blog they would be able to access all the links from that source. Overall, I realize my YouTube channel is pretty bare, with that being said I took it upon myself to look up the benefits of YouTube in the classroom and there are many benefits and uses that I never knew about! If you don’t know the benefits of YouTube check out this article! After learning this new information I am now intrigued to build my account on YouTube and learn more about it so I can successfully implement this tool in my future classrooms.

“I wonder who’s birthday it is today”

You guessed it right, Facebook is the next social media platform I will be investigating in this blog post. To begin, I have my Facebook account as private just for personal preference, however, I still use my first and last name and have a picture of myself and family on my profile and cover photo that anyone can see. Interesting enough, however, when I do a quick google search to find my Facebook account it doesn’t show up! I am not sure if that is good or bad, and I am still undecided if I should have my privacy settings on. I know the STF states it is important to have your privacy settings maxed out, however, I have nothing to hide in my account, so why should I hide a positive and professional digital identity from my future students and employers? We are taught that it is important to lead by example with our digital identities so should I be hiding this platform? If you too are conflicted about what to do with your privacy settings, check out this article that gives you some insight on how to be professional teachers online!

The main purpose I use Facebook for is simply to stay in touch with my friends and family that I do not have the opportunity to see all that often! It is a great platform to communicate with people, and of course, keep up with all the birthday wishes! With that, I believe I have a positive Facebook account that allows individuals to see what is going on in my everyday life!

Last but not least… Instagram

The last social media platform I will be discussing is Instagram. I have been on Instagram for quite a few years now. When I first got my account, my mom ensured I had all of the privacy settings maxed out, and that is how my account stayed ever since. I am not sure if this overly matters, but just like Facebook I can’t help but feel torn between if I should or should not have my accounts private or public.

My Instagram account consists of posting pictures with my family, partner, and friends to let people see what I have been doing or anything exciting going on in my life. It is not like I have anything to hide, I just simply allow my friends and family to see my posts!

 

Overall, I believe I have a very positive and professional digital identity that does not include anything I wouldn’t want my future employers or students to find. As I continue throughout my education program and my career, I hope to continue building a PLN by using the templates listed above as places I can connect with others. I have listed some specific areas above that I see fit for improvement, however, overall I just wish to continue updating my social media accounts as I move along and gain new knowledge. I still am unsure of how I wish to perceive all of my social media accounts on the internet, knowing that people of different generations and understandings will have different opinions no matter what I choose and how I choose to portray my accounts. For now, I am happy with my platforms and am excited to see how they change as I continue using them.