My Mentoring Experience

This semester I had the opportunity to take on a mentorship role in EDTC400! This was an amazing experience where I have not only been able to help my mentees but have also learned from them as well. I had the privilege to work alongside Brooklyn, Heather, and Kaitlyn! These three amazing individuals were registered in EDTC300 this semester and all did an amazing job with their blog posts, contributions on Twitter, and communicating through the slack group! When I was first introduced to the mentoring processes I felt a little uncomfortable as I was taking a 400 level class and more than likely most of the EDTC300 class would be further in the program then I was! However, after communicating back and forth with all of my mentees my discomfort and fear slowly went away. I learned to embrace this experience from learning from one another instead of only waiting for them to ask me questions! I used this experience to further my understanding of tech topics through making quick how-to videos, finding videos to help explain a process as well as giving my mentees my perspectives and challenges that I faced throughout my EDTC300 class!

Through this mentorship, I did sometimes find some places where I was challenged! I sometimes had trouble relying on other people posting their work, because that is where I often would communicate! If they did not have posts for that week or were maybe busy with other classes I found it very hard to keep up with my own contributions to their learning! With that, I ensured that I tried to stay connected with all of their blog posts! To help keep up with Twitter (as I did fall behind on this platform mid-semester) I put notifications on my phone to see their latest tweets! This was a great reminder to go and look at what they had to say as well as supply my own thoughts to the topics they were discussing! From this, I have learned different ways to keep myself on track such as putting reminders and notifications on my phone! This will help me into my teaching career when I need reminders to check emails, my daily to-do-lists, etc. I have gained many insights when it comes to teaching an online class! Through this process, I have come to realize that it is easy to get behind with your work, and with that, you need to ensure you give the students guidance and reassurance to try and keep them on track with their work! I also learned that I need to understand that through online classes it is important to give your students space and allow them to be responsible for their own learning! Through online courses, students will be able to have agency and choice with their own learning! This helped me form my teaching philosophy, from this experience I have learned that I can support my students and give them suggestions to support their learning, but I should not tell them what they should, and should not do when it comes to their projects and how they want to represent their learning. It is important to give tips and tricks, and guidelines to help enhance the students learning but I still need to allow them a say in their education experience! I learned that I am never going to have all of the answers, and with that, it is important to reach out to other educators when your students, or in this case your mentees need support! Overall, I have learned it is important to be there and let them know you are there for support but do not bombard them with suggestions and what they should be doing! We all learn differently and with that need to embrace these differences and allow the students to learn in a way that benefits them as a whole!

Not only did I learn many valuable lessons that I will consider and incorporate into my future classroom I have also gained both new cooking recipes and relaxing yoga moves from their learning projects! These are two areas I would love to explore more (as I don’t really know how to cook and need to take some more me time)! This has been a great experience learning and supporting my classmates! I have enjoyed watching their growth throughout their learning projects and seeing them become more comfortable with using different resources and platforms to support their learning! I could not have asked for a better group of individuals to mentor and learn from! I am glad I have them on my PLN to continue this collaborative learning in the years to come! For the ones who are finishing their degree I wish them the best of luck and am excited to see posts on their Twitter and blog, for the ones who are continuing their program I am excited to see their growth throughout their education!

If you want to see some more memorable contributions I have made to my mentees experience check out this document here!

Also go give Kaitlyn, Brooklyn, and Heather a follow on Twitter to allow them to continue building their PLN!

 

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Time to Wrap it all up!

The end of the semester has come and it is time to finish off the semester with another summary of learning! For this summary of learning, I have collaborated with my classmates and best friends Aurora Lay-Street and Lauren Sauser to create a website that concludes EDTC400. My journey through EDTC400 has been a memorable one with many valuable lessons and tips that I will carry into my future career! As all three of us share many of the same viewpoints we have created a website that sums up the EDTC400 topics in its entirety and used screencastify to pull out the memorable moments that really hit home for us!

Check out our Summary of Learning here:

If you want to check out our script you can view it here!

 

I would like to close by thanking all of my classmates both in EDTC400 as well as EDTC300 for making this class so memorable! The lessons I have learned throughout our time together will last a lifetime! Have a great summer and I wish you all the best in your future careers!

Should I use my social media to promote social justice and fight oppression?

The end of our EDTC400 blogs is here! This week we debated the interesting topic looking at if educators should use social media and technology to promote social justice and fight oppression. For this week’s debate, Jesse and Daniel battled it out! They both did a wonderful job and I think it is safe to say that Daniel had a very hard stance to argue to a zoom room full of pre-service educators! Let’s look at the pre-debate results to see where our class started!

Pre-Vote Results

Over half of the class agreed with the debate topic that educators should use social media and technology to promote social justice and fight oppression! Let’s see what Jesse had to say in his video to support this side of the debate!

  1. Educators staying neutral becomes problematic: The first point Jesse stated to support his side of the debate was that when teachers stay at a neutral stance, it hinders the education of their students. Understanding that schools are political and with that, we should be teaching our students about these controversial topics that arise in our society. This article supports this idea by stating what they mean about staying neutral is that teachers are ignoring these controversial topics which lead to the students viewing their educators a certain way. To go along with this topic, staying neutral avoids the fears and interests of our students as also further marginalizes specific groups. Overall, not talking about these controversial topics with your students can be damaging to both your marginalized students as well as the students who are apart of the dominant culture. It is important to notice that students are always listening and watching to what you say and your actions towards a certain topic, with that we need to be aware of our own biases and how we will handle these controversial topics in the classroom.
  2. The risk of staying silent: If we as educators ignore fake news and do not bring it up for class discussion we will never teach our students how to effectively maneuver their way through fake and real news. This will result in them forming strong biases towards certain groups and believing everything on the internet! Tianna gave a good example of this when one of her teachers had them do the research for themselves to find every article on a specific topic, this allowed them to realize first hand how stories can be twisted and manipulated to relay a different message. Jesse stated that silence is complicity and by not talking about the fake news, we are letting this information thrive.

    Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

    Take these stories from educators on how they can not stay neutral and silent because of the importance of speaking out for the betterment of our student’s wellbeing!

  3. Modeling Digital Citizenship: The last point Jesse stated to support his argument is that we need to teach our students to build a positive digital identity and we can do so by modeling this positivity ourselves! We can show them how to use these social media platforms to speak out and talk about these controversial topics and that it is a place where they can find a voice to learn and tell about these injustice acts in society! Show them that there is space for them to be heard through these platforms! This article gives some great tips and tricks to help your students form a positive digital identity!

Now that we have heard from Jesse, let’s look at Daniel’s side where he disagreed and stated that educators should not use social media and technology to promote social justice and fight oppression! Here are the points he stated in his video!

  1. Teachers are under constant scrutiny from the public: The first point Daniel stated to support his side of the debate was teachers are always being watched by the public and with that need to be careful what they are posting online. Let’s take the article we discussed last night, for example, the teacher got fired because of sending a private picture that she sent years in advance that somebody else got ahold of but now she is the one being blamed not the individual’s who shared and found the picture. Parents are also judging the teachers because they think they know what is best for their child in the classroom. This makes it hard for the teacher to decide what they should and should not teach to accommodate these demanding needs of outside factors. This is where we see many teachers become neutral because they are worried about getting push back from different individuals of society. However, as we learned

    throughout the class discussion, we need to teach these students about these controversial topics to ensure they are getting a well-rounded education as well as let them form understandings about these issues.

  2. Students are easily influenced: The next point Daniel stated to support his side of the argument is that students are easily influenced and with that teachers have a strong influence on their students. This can be seen through the example of the children who organized a classroom protest against the pipelines. The students may not have understood this in full but had to protest. Through the class debate, we discussed that these topics should still be acknowledged with the class. But the children should also have a say in what they want to do and form their own understandings about the topic. We want to ensure we are giving our students the facts about a topic but not brainwashing them to believe the opinions that we hold.

Class Discussion:

After Jesse and Daniel gave points to support their side of the argument it was time for the class to discuss the topic! Aurora started the conversation off stating that we need to understand we can not ignore the facts when forming opinions and just because someone has a specific opinion does not mean that they are backed up by facts! Katia supported this comment by mentioning the anti-vax movement when people hold the opinion that vaccinations give children Autism, but this has been disproven time again and again, so their opinions do not hold true. Later on, in the debate, Katia also mentions the flat Earth movement and that people still believe the Earth is flat after having a lot of information that dismantles this opinion. However, why is it so easy for people to understand these facts and not the facts about white privilege?  Ashlee states that we need to recognize our own biases and continue to help our students control their biases to make a just society. Shaleen supports this comment by stating that these controversial topics should not only be discussed one time and forgot about, but they also need to be discussed throughout the course of the year and allow your students to understand these topics in a safe environment. I think it is also important to understand that teachers do not need to share their own opinions on certain topics, but they need to present the facts and have their research done to ensure they will be able to defend themselves if they are ever questioned about their teachings! Kaytlyn also made a really good point that as an educator we can not choose what controversial topics we talk about and the ones we leave out because that again marginalizes certain groups and shows your class who you view as important and who you view as unimportant! Overall, we need to trust our students and show them that we value them by giving them the facts and allowing them to critically think about these controversial topics and make connections to their own lives!

Conclusion:

This was a great debate to finish on as it brought on a great conversation throughout the class! Here is where everybody stood after the debate was completed:

As you can see Jesse gained some more classmates, however, Daniel put up a great fight for what he was working with! For myself, I agreed that educators should use social media and technology to promote social justice and fight oppression! From the points listed above, I believe it is our job to give our students the facts to allow them to think about the controversial topics that surround them in society. We need to view our students as capable and competent and give them the responsibility to take these facts and form their understandings around the topics. Understanding that children are always listening, it is important to confront these controversial topics to allow students to feel represented and respected in and outside of the classroom!

As this is our last debate I would like to close with stating how amazing these debate topics have been and I have learned so many interesting topics that I will consider in my future career!

 

Have we gone to far?

This week the EDTC400 crew took on the debate topic looking at if we have become too dependent on technology and if it is time to return to the “old days.” This was one of the most interesting debates this semester! My classmates Jayden and Kiera battled it out this week where they both raised awesome points to support their argument! Before I get into these points, let’s take a look at the pre-debate votes!

Pre-Vote Results

As you can see from the results most of the class concluded that we should not return to the old days. I also voted for disagree and I was pretty sure of my vote. Let’s see what Jayden had to say to try and win some friends to her side!

Jayden started her debate off strong with a great video, to sum up, her points! She also gave some awesome articles as well! Let’s see what she had to say to support her argument that we should return to the old days because we have become too dependent on technology.

  1. The internet and smartphones are affecting our mental and physical health: The first point Jayden stated to support her argument is that our wellbeing both physically and mentally are being hindered due to the internet and smartphones. This article supports this argument by stating that the use of technology has brought on many injuries, vision concerns, lack of social development, and so many more examples that are negatively affected through the use of technology. We can also look at the multiple accidents that occur as a result of texting and driving, and even texting

    Image by Pexels from Pixabay

    and walking as Jayden stated in her debate! Individuals become addicted and reliant on these devices which can then lead them to become more anxious, isolated, depressed, as well as it will affect our memory as previous debates have supported by stating that if individuals know they can look back on the information at any given time they never fully understand the concept! This article also discusses “digital dementia” which refers to the overuse of digital devices that will slowly break down your cognitive understandings!

  2. Technology is causing us to lose basic skills: The next point to support this side of the debate looks at how technology is resulting in a lack of basic skills. Jayden states through the use of technology people are losing communication skills, telling time on a clock, reading a map, and memorizing phone numbers. Along with the points that Jayden listed, this article also states many life skills that have been forgotten about due to the overuse of technology. Some examples of skills that have been lost or will soon be forgotten are but not limited to: recipes and measurements, writing a proper letter, writing in cursive, filling out a check, and looking things up in a dictionary! There are many other skills that are slowly being lost due to the accessibility we have to technology.
  3. Technology-dependent schools are not that beneficial: The third point that Jayden stated to support her argument is schools who hold a high value of technology use in the classrooms are not always ending on top. For example, math scores were not higher with those who had technology and handwriting was not improved because of the ease of typing notes. This short article looks at many factors

    Image by April Bryant from Pixabay

    when it comes to technology in the classroom. Some of these factors were test scores going down, students googling the answer instead of taking time to understand, and the disadvantage some students receive because they do not have access to a home device which then puts them farther behind of their peers.

  4. We are missing life moments: The last point that was stated to support this side of the argument is we are missing life moments because we are constantly being distracted or worried about what is on our phone instead of what is in front of our faces. People are beginning to travel only to show it off on social media, others think that if it is not online for the world to see, then it did not happen or it did not matter. Patrik Wincent in his Ted Talk relates mobile devices to the new cigarette. The new addiction that is taking over our society because we have it in our pockets and can grab it at any time to relieve discomfort. He states that modern technology has become the new distraction and we are unable to live without them.

Now that we have heard from Jayden on why we should return to the old days, let’s look at what Kiera had to say in her video to support her side where she debates that we should not return back to the old days. Let’s check out her points!

  1. Worldwide Connections: The first point to start off the video was through the use of technology we are now able to connect with people from across the world in a fast and efficient way that was not possible before technology. We are now connecting with others beyond the location and being able to understand and embrace new perspectives and beliefs about the world we live in. This blog post is a great example of just that, they discuss forming a community much larger than your small town and through this new community endless opportunities are open to us! Let’s look at our personal learning network’s that we have been building throughout #edtc300 and #edtc400. Without the use of technology, we would have never connected with Twitter and Twitter chats to then go on and learn and hear different perspectives from other educators around the world!
  2. Power and Opportunity: As mentioned in previous debates, technology can bring both equity and hinder equity in society. For this debate, we look at how technology has created jobs for individuals, but we also need to look at how technology has taken away jobs for some people as well. However, technology and social media especially have also led to social action and individuals coming together to make a change. Take this video for example where Jeff Kirschner created an app about litter that moved into people noticing litter, geotagging litter, and has led into a movement of cleaning the planet.
  3. It’s a time saver: The third point Keira stated to support her argument reflects how efficient technology is in getting tasks completed. Understanding that the internet and technology is 24/7 and can be accessed on a wide array of devices, allows for people to do work and find out information when they want, and wherever they want. Technology is so convenient and allows for instant answers that solve many problems.
  4. Facilitation: The last point to support this argument is technology and social media can be used as a tool for good. It allows like-minded individuals to connect with one another and form relationships. We can see this through the collaboration that made a choir group with individuals from all over the world!  We can also see this new form of relationships and intimacy through technology bringing people together as they work through their busy lives. We live in a fast pace society and with that, it is hard to sometimes sit down and smell the roses. The use of technology allows people to stay connected during these busy times!

Class discussion:

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Now that we have a basis of the points that were covered by Jayden and Kiera, the class was able to chime into this controversial topic. I started the conversation by stating were the “good old day” ever really that good? Understanding that we have always had problems in society, and have never been perfect do we really want to go back to those days? After stating this comment, Katia also gave some input stating that are we really progressing? If we watch the news and everything going on in the world are we any better then the good old days? After we understood that yes, the “good old days” were truly never that good and that we still need to do a lot of work in this day and age for it to be good, we were then able to move onto talking about technology and relating it to previous methods of learning and understanding. One of my classmates stated that it is about how we use technology and not just technology in itself, just like it depended on how people used their maps and believed their newspapers. Another classmate pointed out that we are spending to much time watching other people’s lives and wishing we were more like them then we do reflecting and enjoying our own lives. The class then looked at relationships and how technology is not eliminating relationships but changing them in a way that is not seen as “normal” to us or to our grandparents. As the conversation continued on the class continued debating many aspects of how we may be too reliant on technology. My classmate Kylie, however, stated a really good point which I believe shifted the conversation a little bit. She stated that when these debates and topics come up people instantly think we are on our phones every second of the day and never look up, but for her, along with many other individuals they do not rely on their phones as much as people think. Tianna supported Kylie’s point by stating that there have always been temptations in society, technology just seems to get a much harder recognition than these other temptations. Liz also gave a really good point when she stated that she only ever researches for papers with Google and online platforms, and with that, we also need to look at how people are using technology.

Conclusion:

After both debaters and our class discussion, we were all in for a tough decision when it came to the post-vote! Many of my classmates voted disagreed with the statement beforehand, it will be interesting to see what they have to say post-debate! Let’s take a look!

Post-Vote Results

It looks like Jayden was able to win a few more friends to her side! I had a very hard time picking where I fell due to the awesome points that arose during this debate! I ended up not changing my vote and again disagreed with that statement that we are becoming too reliant on technology and we should return to the “good old days”. However, through the many examples that were raised, we are on our way to becoming too reliant on these technological devices and with that should evaluate truly how much they are affecting our lives. Understanding that no day and age have been perfect, and neither is today we need to look at why we have so many problems in society. Technology could be one of those major problems. I believe there is a time and a place for technology and we can not forget about those important basic skills that will assist us when our devices can not. These debates are always so hard to answer as they are such controversial topics and my classmates always do an amazing job relaying their points with supportive articles.

 

Stay tuned for next week when I discuss the last debate of EDTC400 winter semester 2019!

 

 

Are corporations taking over public schools?

This week we had another great debate by Liz and Shaleen! They debated the topic of “Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests.” Before entering this debate I was unsure where I stood, I understood that corporations do have a say in the schooling, however, how much say do they really have? For my pre-vote I disagreed with the statement; let’s see where the rest of my class ended up!

Pre-Vote Results

As we can see from the picture above the votes were pretty close to being equal! We were in for another great debate so let’s hop right into the points Liz and Shaleen made in their videos to support their side!

Let’s begin by looking at the agree side! Liz made some awesome points that really got me thinking and leaning towards, that yes maybe the public education system is selling their souls to corporate interests! Let’s take a look at her points:

  1. The Common Core Standards: These standards started in 2008 and were nationwide. They were implemented with no test trial to see if they were going to work or if they would be successful. These standards focus on the skills in mathematics and English that students would need after each grade to continue through their schooling. They were in place to ensure career and college ready individuals would be leaving their high school walls at graduation and ready to be contributing members of society. These standards did not take into account curriculum as place, and how depending on the location there should be importance on different information and content being taught. As we can see in the article linked above, as well as this article these standards were put in place to simply educate students one way, holding importance on certain subjects, and having the end product of students moving into the workforce. In this day and age, we understand that all students learn differently and that these differences need to be accommodated to create an educational environment where all students can learn at their best abilities. By having these strict regulations in place, this freedom of instruction became very limited which resulted in hindering students learning.
  2. Standardized Testing: The second point Liz laid out to support her argument is the move toward standardized testing and how the textbook company Pearson profits from these examinations. These standardized tests are created by big companies such as

    Image by F1 Digitals from Pixabay

    Pearson and as this video states, they make these exams harder and harder to ensure they have students who fail, if a child is to fail they must retake that exam and it is $15 to $35 dollars to retake depending on the exams. This money goes to the textbook company, they are making a profit off of our young individual’s failures. These standardized tests also reinforce the important and unimportant information that teachers should be teaching their students throughout the school year to ensure they succeed. They are now to only focus on the content of these exams, which leaves out so many valuable lessons that students should be taught through their schooling years.

  3. Textbooks: Textbooks are often made for a wide range of schools, however, that does not mean that all these different places are represented equally or accurately. Let’s again look at Pearson. The state that buys the most textbooks is Texas, with that Pearson, tailors the content inside to the Texas demographics and all the other states and countries are to learn that information, if it is even relevant to them or not. This is another example showing how large corporations heavily impact schools and the content that students are being taught and seen as important.
  4. Corporate Sponsorships: The last point Liz gave to support her side was looking at how schools are always being sponsored by big corporations such as Coca Cola. Pepsi. Oil rigs, etc. These corporations not only sponsor and give money to the schools

    Image by Atlantis Curry from Pixabay

    to allow them to go on field trips or buy new supplies, but they also expect to see their companies being represented throughout the school! This becomes very problematic to our student’s health when looking at these sugary beverages as well as it impacts their beliefs about the world around them. For example, if a nearby oil rig was a sponsor in their school, what information would they be receiving about this process? These sponsors will create single stories to our students and thus form biases and lens for them to view the world.

  5. Universities: Universities are also seen as corporations trying to pull students into their school. With society showing such importance to a degree, students are now often being pressured into attending these schools where they become overloaded in debt and some do not even finish. This article shows how universities are now being seen as corporations and businesses and less about schooling.

Now that we have heard Liz’s side to this debate it is now time to hear from Shaleen. Shaleen disagreed with the statement that public education is selling its soul to corporate interests. Let’s take a look at what she has to say!

  1. Technology in the classroom is beneficial: The first point Shaleen states to support her side of the debate is that with the society we live in technology is everywhere, and with that, there is an importance of it being in schools as well. Understanding that technology platforms and devices are becoming a necessity in our schools brings on the importance to have sponsors and support to bring in these platforms to assist in our students learning. With limited budgets, individual schools have to support this type of learning, and how costly these devices are; schools

    Image by bschut from Pixabay

    often team up with companies such as Microsoft to bring in their devices into the classroom. However, I believe there is always some kind of catch that we as individuals of society may not always hear about!

  2. The Decision Process: The second point that Shaleen used to support her argument was that corporations and sponsors do not just get brought in by the snap of fingers. There is a process that is used to reach the conclusion that is wanted. The schools look into factors such as cost, ease, reliance, and benefits before picking the products that are being brought into the schools. This article lays out some of the concerns that come along with making decisions about bringing tech into the classroom. Some of the main concerns revolve around budget and staying up to date with the ever-changing products. In my own personal experience, however, I am not sure if I completely agree with this argument. Our school often got technology that the teachers had no training and did not use because they were unsure how to teach us how to use it. The laptops they were given by the division were the laptops they had to use, and they did not work effectively nor with ease. This makes me wonder how much say teachers and staff truly have towards the technology coming into their classroom!
  3. Moving away from businesses: As teachers begin to notice the multiple problems with some businesses coming into the school such as Pearson and bringing sponsors such as coca cola, the schools begin to move away from these businesses. Let’s take

    Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

    Pearson for example, this article states that the textbook company has been losing huge testing contracts with schools throughout the country due to these unfair standardized tests as well as the content within the pages. This then shows the agency that school divisions have with what content is being used in the schools, but to what extent? Yes, some places may be pulling these textbooks but not all school divisions will see this as problematic and the testings will continue.

  4. Ethical Consumption: The last point Shaleen stated to support her argument was, if schools are being sold to corporate interest, then we are all being sold to corporate interest. Shaleen stated almost everything we do is linked to a corporation, with that how do we not get involved with corporations? Saying schools have sold themselves to corporate interests is hard because how do you not, as Shaleen states that everything we do is linked to a corporation in some way.

Class Discussion:

After hearing both sides from the debaters the conversation was then open to the class to hear their opinions. This is where I started to critically think of ways in which the public education system was being sold to corporate interests! Aurora shared the documentary “Consuming Kids” which looks at how larger corporations make marketing tools that suit the interest of the child to make life-long consumers. This documentary also shows how schools have been the target for these marketing schemes, which then truly shows how much corporations have a say in the education system. To go along with the point Aurora made, we need to look at how corporations are marketing their companies in schools. For example, having Pepsi or Coca Cola sponsors in school, will often bring in sugary drinks that lead to unhealthy habits and lifestyles, not the best way to help students to take care of themselves when they can walk down the hallway and have endless options of drinks filled with sugar and caffeine! Let’s also take a look at gas companies, or mining companies that sponsor schools. What viewpoint is this putting on the students if they are constantly seeing positive advertisements of these companies? Our students’ ideologies and beliefs are shaped by the events and experiences they see in their everyday lives, if they are always seeing these advertisements what viewpoint will they form on the environment? The next topic the class discussed was the reason for these corporate sponsors in schools. Schools are so underfunded from the government that they rely on these sponsors to supply materials to enhance students learning, but at what cost do these sponsors enhance a child’s learning and hinder their learning? Sure, these sponsors may allow for new Chromebooks in the classroom or field trips, but how are these activities being shaped by corporate interests? For example, many of my classmates discussed the types of field trips they went on as a kid, and now reflecting back wonder if that was because of the sponsors. Field trips such as Boston Pizza, KFC, going to a pet store, etc. The last point I want to draw on that the class discussed is how much say do teachers, parents, students, and anyone who is personally involved with the schools and students have a say in these decisions? It is important to point out that it is not the teachers or admin of the schools bringing in these corporations, but it goes higher than that, it goes to the government and school divisions, the ones who are not being affected.

Conclusion:

As we can see from above, the class had many great conversations around this topic. It is hard to understand how budgeting and funding work out, however, it is important that it is discussed and changed for the better of our students. From pre-vote to post-vote we saw quite a shift in opinions. We went from almost a 50/50 split to a drastic change of almost everyone agreeing that public education is selling its soul to corporate interests.

Post-vote Results

As for myself, I also changed my vote from disagreeing to agreeing. It is hard to know all of the factors that need to be discussed about a situation to get a full understanding of what truly is going on. I believe that the public education system is selling its soul to corporate interests, because of the little funding that is offered to schools. It is important to point out that only certain people have a say in this manner, and with that, it is hard to make changes. To see a change it must begin higher up, to remove corporations from schooling we must look at government funding and funding distribution to than spread it more equally throughout the schools. It is a long road ahead, but I believe if we put enough like-minded individuals together to bring this issue to the public, we may begin to see change.

 

To conclude, I have a question for all of my readers:

What do you think it will take to remove corporations from schools? Do you think that all corporations need to be removed or just some? If so what corporations do you think enhance schools and what corporations hinder schools?

 

 

Social Media and Childhood

Another week, another debate! And this week it was a great debate that brought on some great class discussion! This week Lauren and Kylie battled it out debating the topic is social media ruining childhood. Lauren took the agree side and made some great points to consider in her video, and Kylie took the disagree side and also made some great points throughout her video! At the beginning of this debate I did not overly know where I stood, however, through previous debates I have learned the many advantages technology and online connections give to some individuals and with that, I disagreed with this statement! Our pre-vote conclusion was the closest one yet so I knew I was in for a good debate last night!

Let’s dive right in and see the points that both Lauren and Kylie used to support their sides of the debate!

Starting with the agree side Lauren gave four points to support why she believes that social media is ruining childhood. Let’s take a look:

  1. Social Media is damaging to children’s mental health: The first point Lauren used to support her debate is social media is affecting children’s mental health at fearful levels. Social media is negatively impacting children’s mental wellbeing and is one of the leading causes of depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, FOMO (fear of missing out), Facebook depression, and many more. Social media also becomes a source for social comparison, and children are shown what perfect looks like which then develops a poor self-image of themselves. This article also supports this point stating that social media use in pre-teens and teenagers results in faceless communication, less time outdoors, disenfranchised from parents, less sleep, and again depression/suicide. Liz supported this point stating her own personal experience with her friends and classmates using ask.fm. She stated that ask.fm caused a lot of issues in the school

    Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

    and some of her peers committed suicide because of the bullying that happened through this platform. Liz said that social media and these consequences made their class grow up so quickly and parts of their innocence were lost. Lauren also stated that there are now apps out there such as whisper that allow individuals to create anonymous accounts to share secrets and form new relationships. As both Liz and Lauren mentioned in their comments, cyberbullying is affecting children’s mental health. Many young individuals are impacted by cyberbullying and social media is one of the main platforms for cyberbullying to take place, as we can see through the examples above. This article supports this statement that social media is one of the leading causes of bullying in general since social media is everywhere, private, and bystanders often do not see it as clearly.

  2. Social Media is Addictive: The second point Lauren stated was that social media is addictive. Social media is addictive and making children less social to the people around them. This article supports that many children are missing out on life skills such as riding a bike because they are so glued to technological devices. Kendall also gave a point to support this statement when she shared a story where she came across a young boy trying to use a book the same way they would a tablet. This is very problematic and may not be the case for all children but I do have to agree that many children and their parents rely heavily on these devices thus forming the addiction. Lauren also used her younger sister as an example that once she got one Snapchat, she instantly wanted more social media platforms because she was hooked!
  3. Digital Footprint and Privacy Concerns: The last point Lauren stated to support her side of the debate is when children are getting these social media accounts so young, they often do not understand that internet is forever and once it is online, it no longer belongs to you. Lauren states that how can young children form a positive digital identity if they are not taught about it! I look at this point and I think it is safe to say that because we know that many young children are getting social media before the age restriction, maybe we as educators need to take that into consideration and begin teaching about digital identity earlier then we are.

Now that we have looked at the agree side, we now must consider the disagree side. Kylie gave many great points to support her argument. Let’s take a look:

  1. Opens Doors: The first point Kylie states to support her argument is that social media opens doors for students to find their passions, to learn new things, and to possibly form careers. Through social media and the online world, in general, there are endless amounts of videos, posts, and pictures that teach new skills and hobbies that children can adapt. This article looks at five reasons why social media is good for children and it really reflects this point along with some other class discussions that occurred last night. The article states that social media allows children to keep up with their friends and family, collaborate with classmates, discover new interests, become prepared for

    Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

    the future, and get creative! These are all skills that will support them in becoming life long learners! In the class discussion Kendall brought up the fact that she had a great imagination as a kid and she stated that through social media imagination could be explored, or social media would take that imagination away. Aurora supported Kendall in this point by stating that she believes social media enhances a child’s imagination because as the article above states social media allows children to collaborate and learn with others. Aurora stated that there are only so many ideas that our individual brains can come up with and with that having social media as a tool to learn and adapt ideas is a great way to allow children to become creative and critical thinkers!

  2. Take a Stand: Social media is a platform that allows youth to have a voice and to lead social action and social change. Take the school walk-outs for example, without social media they would have not reached out to so many other students who were wanting to stand up for the same fight and to all walk-out to make their stance! Social media is a platform that allows youth to find their voice and to become leaders.
  3. Social media promotes mental health initiatives: The third statement Kylie stated to support her case is that without social media advertises resources such as bell let’s talk day, pink day, kids help phone, and other support organizations that would have never become as big as they are today without the use of social media. Yes, social media does cause

    Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

    some of these problems, however, we have seen bullying before the age of technology and it is important to also notice the good social media can do to spreading the word. Let’s take the momo challenge for example, without the use of Twitter and other social media platforms it could have taken much longer for this problem to come to a halt! These platforms also allow individuals who do not fit in with their peers at school or other social events fit in with their online community. Kylie gave the example of the Minecraft community where a group of individuals talked a boy out of committing suicide because they were there to support him and respect him.

  4. Social media is inevitable: The last point Kylie stated is that technology is not something new to our children and with that, not something that can be ignored or pushed away. Children should be allowed to explore different social media platforms and they should be given the right education to understand the good and the bad of social media and how to create a positive digital identity. As I stated in the discussion, technology and social media is part of a child’s life, they are fully immersed in it and with that, we can not act like it is different from their life because it plays a huge part in their socialization and world in general. As mentioned above social media allows for so many opportunities for youth and with that, we need to embrace these opportunities!

Class Discussion: 

After hearing both sides of the debate the class then was given the opportunity to discuss their beliefs and understandings of the topic. Katia pointed out that we are coming to this debate with an idealized vision of what childhood is, so what is our idealized vision of childhood and how is this problematic? This was a really great point and it made me think about how we all come into a conversation with different perspectives and understandings. Tianna pointed out that the way she idealizes childhood is different from her parents, which is then different from her grandparents understanding. With that, I think it is important to understand that every generation of childhood both has good things that people want to continue with their children and the bad things that they want to forget. If we are stuck in these generations before technology we are only going to see the bad in what technology and social media has to offer and never be able to open up to the endless possibilities it supplies. To continue off this point the class also discussed that each era has always seen some form of technology as problematic, if it is not phones then it is the newspaper that people are being anti-social with, so why does technology and social media get such a bad rap? Shaleen supports this point that we as human beings have always searched for some kind of distraction that allows us to avoid social situations, we have always been anti-social so why is it seen as so problematic now? The last point I want to touch on is Tianna made a good point that she wonders if it is not just technology that is impacting children, but how the parents use technology with their children. Parents often use technology to make their children be quiet in social settings and when they need to get something done, maybe it is the parents making the children so attached to their devices and not the devices in themselves!

Conclusion:

This debate truly was a busy one and with that a long post! The post-debate results heavily shifted to the disagree side an I am not sure if I was surprised or not!

For myself, I stayed with my original decision that social media does not ruin childhood. From the points listed above as well as the class discussion my opinion of this topic was enhanced through this new knowledge. I believe that social media allows for so many opportunities for youth and with that, it is important that we teach them how to build a positive digital identity that they will carry with them throughout their lives!

 

 

 

Does technology move towards equity in society?

Another busy week in the semester has come and gone and with that another debate! This week we debated the topic of is technology a force for equity in society. After watching both Ryan and Kaytlyn debate it out, I have to say I was glad I did not pick this topic as it was a tricky one! However, they both did a wonderful job supporting their sides of the debate! To begin I think it is important to allow my readers to ensure they know the difference between equity and equality as our class discussion also went in different directions because it is easy to confuse the two! Check out this short video to remind you of the key differences!

Now that we have an understanding of what equity and equality mean we can now look at if technology is a force for equity or if it is not. Looking at the prevote percentages one can understand that more of the EDTC400 class agreed that technology is not a sense of equity in society. For myself I was on the agree side, understanding that technology allows for many individuals to live a fulfilling life allowed me to conclude that yes technology allows for equity.

Ryan and Kaytlyn as mentioned above did wonderful jobs in supporting their side to the debate. Let’s look at what some of their arguments were:

Ryan took on the task of agreeing that yes technology is a force for equity in society. Throughout his video and with the articles he supplied to the class he gave many examples to support his side. Ryan made the point that as technology is always advancing and improving, allows for greater access and helps individuals improve their place in the world. Let’s take a look at the three main points, Ryan stated:

  1. Improves the life for individuals with varying abilities: The first point Ryan stated to support his argument is that technological advancements can improve the lives of individuals with varying abilities. I completely agree I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals with varying needs and many use technology such as their phones to communicate, wheelchairs for mobility, and other forms of technology to improve their lives and allow them to become independent individuals. This article that Ryan shared with the class shows advanced technology options to help people with varying abilities, but it is not just these big advancements that have helped individuals. As Kendall stated in her blog post it can be the simplest technology platforms that improve the quality of life for individuals with varying abilities. Some of these examples are wheelchairs, glasses, hearing aids, and many more examples. By giving individuals with varying abilities these technological advancements allow them to have a better chance of employment, individual mobility, and overall improves their quality of life. Take Stephen Hawking, for example, he was one of the greatest scientists known, while living with motor neuron disease. He was truly an inspiration to many people and his legacy will live on. The very sad reality of individuals with varying abilities having access to these technological advancements is the fact that individuals who do not need these advancements to help them throughout their daily life now think it is unfair that individuals with varying abilities are given these aids. Aurora gave a very good point to this is when you are the person with the privilege and power and someone is given aids to make it more equitable, those individuals feel as though they are being attacked and also need those advancements. This is not just with technology but any actions that are made in society to lead to a more equitable world.
  2. Enhancing the Worlds Education: The second point Ryan considers to support his argument is through technology advancements the world’s education is beginning to see improvement. For example, looking at refugee camps, many individuals in these camps do most of their schooling in the camp and have very limited to a high-quality education. With the implementation of technology in these camps will then allow them to receive a higher level of education through having access to the internet and education resources online.  These individuals living inside the camps are also very limited to the world outside of these camps, with that by having technological connections to the outside world will allow them to further their education and understanding of the world they live in. This article also supports the benefits of education in developing countries and how it allows students to have more access to different learning opportunities and communication around the world.
  3. Gives Youth a Voice: As pointed out in many other debates that have been discussed throughout the semester, technology allows students to have a voice and say in their lives and who they want to become. Through the use of social media, accounts youth are now able to express their own thoughts and opinions on specific topics that are relevant to their life. Having these accounts allows them to stay up to date on breaking news, acknowledge diversity throughout the world, and become social activists for something they believe in. This article supports this statement by understanding that teenagers have grown up with technology around them and it is easy for them to find their voice through these platforms. This example shows how teenagers use their social media accounts to raise awareness to the injustice in their society and shows society that even though they are young their voices still need to be heard. With this example, this allows for more equity between age groups and not just economic and ability stances.

After Ryan gave his points to explain how technology is a force for equity in society, we can now look at how Kaytlyn supported her argument suggesting that technology is not a force for equity in society. Let’s take a look:

  1. Digital divide, Digital equity, and Access: The first point Kaytlyn stated to support her side of the argument looks at the digital divide and how not all students have equal access to technology devices which then puts them at an unfair advantage. If not all students have access to these devices, how will we ever form an equitable society? Even if the schools have access to these devices, how is it equitable if not all students have access to these devices outside of the walls of the school? This article shares that even though there is access within the school does not mean that all students are at an equal playing field because some students can go home and continue their homework, while others can not do homework or continue their learning online because they do not have access to it, thus putting one student above another. Yes, there are public

    Photo Credit: Christoph Scholz Flickr via Compfight cc

    libraries, and other programs such as the program that Ashlee works at that gives students the ability to have free access to these forms of technology, however, if the child is unable to get to these institutions, or they simply do not have the time that makes it very hard for them to further their learning outside the classroom. Mark Barnett also supports the idea of technology in the classroom to enhance one’s learning, however, a lot of schools do not even have access to these simple devices that allow students to work inside the classroom as well. However, engineer companies are coming together trying to form affordable devices to allow all individuals to have access to these devices in their home and at school. However, as both Katia and Kaytlyn gave articles to support there are organizations that are helping individuals who do not have access to these forms of technology, receive these devices. Programs such as Tech Goes Home a nonprofit organization whose main goals is to give lower-income families access to these digital platforms. With that, as we saw in Tuesday’s discussion, these inequalities go much farther than just technology, the individuals who are affected are also affected in many other areas of society and with that society needs to be investigated as a whole to understand what needs to be done to see change. It is not just the issue of getting iPads into the hands of students, but much larger than that.

Class Discussion:

Along with the points that each debater stated to support their side, the class discussion also raised some very important parts that need to be considered when discussing and finding solutions to this controversial topic. Kendall asked the question of who gets a voice? The individuals who have access to these technology devices or everyone? As well as who are the individuals who are seen to need these advancements? The schools of middle and higher class students or schools of lower class families? Katia also made the point that not everything thing in schools is equitable and not everyone can participate so what does that mean for technology? Are we saying that no one should have access to the technology to make it equal? Throughout the class discussion, the point that was also raised was not all schools have the budget for these advancements, with that it goes past student to student equity but school to school and division to division. The overarching question to sum up this debate is the one Tianna stated at the end of the discussion. What barriers need to be removed to allow it to be equitable? What barriers stand in our way when looking at this specific topic? There is not just one wall in all of this, there are so many scenarios and contexts that impact the accessibility to these devices and what some believe to be equitable is not viewed the same as others.

Conclusion:

After the class discussion, the class than needed to do the post-vote for the debate. Like many of my other classmates I changed my vote to disagree with this statement, however, after doing further research and further analysis I then again changed my perspective once again!

As one can see above there are so many aspects of society that need to be considered to understand if technology is a force of equity in society. I am still in between when it comes to this topic, however, with the points Ryan stated to support his argument, I agree that technology can be a force of equity in society if we see some changes in how society views equity and social constructs. Technology can support so many individuals, however, as we understand not all individuals are given the opportunity to receive these resources. However, I believe that our debate discussion led more into bigger social problems that need to be addressed such as school budgets, and other accessibilities that all individuals need to be given. Understanding that if social constructs and ideologies would change, the technology could then allow for equity. I understand that so many other factors need to be considered when discussing this topic, but if we look at technology all on its own without adding all of the other variables, I truly believe that technology is a force for equity.

Cellphones in the Classroom: The Good and the Bad

Another week, another debate. This week the EDTC400 class debated the controversial topic if cellphones should be banned in schools. This week was a special debate as we had three perspectives to hear from. Kendall debated the side that yes, cellphones should be banned in the classroom, Cody looked at the idea that cellphones should never be banned in the classroom, and lastly, Tianna debated the side that cellphones should only be allowed in a high school setting. All three debaters did a great job defending their perspective of this controversial topic and they sure got me thinking about my own perspective. Going into this debate I was leaning toward the side that cellphones should only be allowed in high school, however, the points Kendall stated throughout her video really got me thinking if cellphones should be allowed in any classroom. Cody, on the other hand, had a tough battle ahead of him as a very little percentage voted for his argument. I do have to say after watching his video I began leaning towards his side as well! This is going to be a hard decision to make!  I think some of my classmates can agree with me that they were pretty set on one perspective, and their minds shifted after the debate. At least that is what is shown in the prevote and postvote results!

Pre-Vote Results

Post-Vote Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now let’s get into the points that each debater stated to support their perspective:

Cellphones should always be banned in the classroom:

Kendall did a great job both throughout her video, the debate, and the resources she supplied to the class. Kendall’s points are summarized as follows:

  1. Distracting: Kendall stated that by having cellphones in the classroom lead to distraction and ultimately negatively affect their learning and wellbeing. Kendall supported this point by referring to the attention residue effect which looks at multitasking and states that once there is something on someone’s mind they may be able to return to the task that needs to be completed, but they will continually be distracted by the other task they were doing. This is the same when cellphones are used in the classroom. Students get distracted from what is on the screen, and then when they return to their school work they are not fully engaged in the content anymore, thus learning cannot be optimized. This theory can also be seen in this article that Kendall shared with the class that looks at multitasking draining the brain and how smartphones are detrimental to a students attention span and learning.
  2. Disrespectful: With cellphones being in the classroom usually result in students using them at disrespectful times such as during important instruction time. This not only

    Photo Credit: The Hamster Factor Flickr via Compfight cc

    makes it hard for the teacher to do their lesson but also has negative impacts on students around them. This not only becomes a problem for the student on their device but also to the students who are trying to learn.

  3. Disruptive: This point is closely related to the one explained above. Cellphones not only reflect the negative effects on the individual but on the class as a whole. If a teacher is constantly having to deal with students misusing their cellphones in class how are they ever to receive valuable learning time? As mentioned also in the first point, if the students have a hard time staying concentrated because they are constantly getting alerts, how is learning ever going to take place? This can reflect the article Katia shared in the debate discussion last night of the class who monitored the number of notifications they got within a half hour. These alerts were constant for the whole half hour in the class size of around 30.
  4. Dangerous: The last point Kendall stated to support her argument that cellphones in schools are dangerous. Kendall states that with the use of cellphones in the classroom and in schools, in general, there has been a rise in cyberbullying, cheating, and peer pressure. This article supports this point by stating that cheating is a lot easier now with the use of personal cellphones then it was when people relied on looking over their shoulder to their friends work to cheat. The article also states that cyberbullying was a lot lower before the age of personal phone devices and this new technology gives students the affordance to bully without teachers seeing it in the classroom. Kendall also brings up the point that with the numerous school shootings, and suicide rates that have risen throughout the year’s cellphones in the classroom can cause for misinterpretations and overload on the support services working hard in the moment of crisis. The last thing teachers need is to have their students on their phones when serious situations are occurring in the school.

Cellphones should never be banned in the classroom:

Now that we have heard why cellphones should be banned in the classroom, let’s take a look at why they should not be banned. Cody gave many interesting points to support his side of the debate where he believes that cellphones should never be banned in the classroom. Here are his main points:

  1. Cellphones are an intricate part of our society: To support Cody’s argument he states the importance of incorporating phones into the classroom since cell phones are an integral part of society. This article states that many school boards have decided to stop fighting to ban cellphones in the classroom and to just learn to embrace cellphones and use them to their advantage. Students have cellphones, their parents have cellphones that are used for personal and work use, and everyone else around them has a cellphone. With that, it is important to teach our students how to respectfully use cellphones to form positive digital identities and be able to efficiently use it in their everyday life. Throughout our class discussion of this topic, we discussed that integrating cell phones into a classroom better equips them for when they enter the workforce where they will have their phones on their person and they will either use it negatively or positively with regards to their work regulations.
  2. Useful Resources: Incorporating cellphones into the classroom allows for numerous opportunities and resources to be accessible to students at the touch of a button. Having these devices welcomed in the classroom allows for as this article laid out students to have access to more information, supplementing lessons with digital materials, incorporating digital platforms into lessons, and lastly using educational learning apps. Having these resources allows learning to go in all different directions and lead to education that supports life long learning. These resources support students varying needs and abilities and allow for individual learning that suits all learners! For example; some individuals with varying abilities rely on the use of technology and their cellphones to communicate with other individuals if they do not have the ability to speak or write. Cellphones open up so many possibilities that were never imaginable with pen and paper learning.
  3. Cellphones are not going anywhere: As a closing statement, Cody made the argument that cellphones are not going anywhere and with that, we should embrace what cellphones have to offer and incorporate them into the classroom to create a new form of learning.

Photo Credit: eppujensen Flickr via Compfight cc

Cody made very strong arguments to support his side, however, he also received some backlash to what he had to say. No one disagreed that the use of cellphones can enhance learning in the classroom, however, many points were suggested that may limit how beneficial cellphones in the classroom truly are. The first limitation looked at how not everyone in the classroom will have access to a smartphone or even a cellphone to do the lesson or activity. This puts these children at a disadvantage from the rest of their classmates. Reflecting on my own experience our school did not have strong enough internet for all the students to be on the wifi so they locked the wifi up so only the teachers and administrators had access. The only choice the teachers had if they wanted to incorporate cellphones into the classroom was to rely on the students to use their own data or to not use the cellphones at all. The other critique that was mentioned was how do we manage the use of cellphones in the classroom? This is a question I was also very curious about as in our school we had those phone parking lots however, they ended up not being used because not all teachers implemented them in the classroom resulting in the students looking at the parking lots as an option. Kaytlyn also reflected on this stating that having school-wide consistency is a very hard goal to reach. Ashley her perspective stating that her brother has these parking lots in his classroom and it would work for the first week and then it would slowly become an issue again. However, Cody gave many articles that gave examples of how teachers could manage cellphones in the classroom. As mentioned above some schools resort to having cellphone parking spots designated in the classroom or simply allowing students to leave their phones face down on their desk. Lastly, this article states the importance of integrating respectful cellphone use into the curriculum to teach students to use their cellphones in an appropriate manner whether it be in the classroom or at their job.

Allowed Only in High School:

Now that we have an understanding of the pros and cons of cellphones in the classroom, we can now take a look into why Tianna believed cellphones should only be implemented in the high school grades. Just like the two other debaters for the week Tianna gave some very important points which lead me to critically think about what side I would fall under. Let’s take a look at Tianna’s main points she stated to support her argument:

Not In Elementary School:

  1. Physical Health Risks: Tianna pointed out the radiation in phones are unhealthy for younger children and the younger the child the bigger the risk. This extends farther than just the classroom, cellphones are now being used to silence upset children and as a distraction to a child. It is the go-to form of technology that parents give their young children when they are out in public or trying to do work around the home. With the unhealthy physical risks, why do we continue using this form of technology or any technology to soothe our young children? 
  2. Mental Health Risks: As Tianna stated throughout her argument, mental health risks are prominent in young grades due to the use and misuse of cellphones in the classroom. This article states the rising concern parents are having with regards to their young children becoming so dependent on cellphones. Tianna stated that mental health risks are more prominent in younger children then teenagers, however, I do not overly agree with this comment just because cellphones and social media platforms give way to teenagers to begin cyberbullying, threats, sexting, etc. that would all impact their mental wellbeing and their individual identity.

In High Schools:

  1. Preparation for adulthood: As Cody mentioned in his argument cellphones are integrated into today’s society and with that, our students need to learn how to use their cellphones respectfully in their everyday life. It is important to learn about mobile etiquette and learn when it is and is not an appropriate time for someone to be on their phone. The article Tianna shared with us states the ways in which we need to teach our students the importance of incorporating cellphones and technology into the classroom to prepare them for the world they are living in.
  2. Diverse Learning Strategies: Having cellphones in the classroom allows for inquiry-based learning along with many other strategies such as doing class twitters and blogs that allow for communication between parents, teachers and the students. This article gives many other advantages to cellphones in the classroom such as: can facilitate learning anytime anywhere, podcasts and oral quizzes, mobile geotagging, digital storybooks, and so much more!

Group Discussion:

Photo Credit: Mr.TinDC Flickr via Compfight cc

As we have seen the debaters this week did a great job in defending their sides. During the class discussion, many of my peers also made some valid points that need to be considered when determining if cellphones should be allowed in the classroom. The first point that really stood out to me was when Lauren asked the question of how far do we extend this rule of no cellphones? Is it just in the four walls of the classroom? The time period of the class? Or once outside of the classroom cellphones are free to use? These questions would have to be determined by the teacher and the staff of the school. Another factor that must be considered is the parents take on the topic. Some parents will argue that cellphones are hindering their child’s learning and some parents will want their child to have their phone on their person at all times in case there is an emergency. So how do we come to an agreement of what the rules in the classroom should be if parents are not supporting our rules? Kaytlyn and Aurora also commented on how cellphones in the classroom are hindering socialization in the schools and between individuals. Aurora specifically stated that if we integrate cellphones into the classroom are we teaching children to rely on their phones too much instead of forming those basic communication skills that will help them in society? Lastly, there was a lot of discussions about blaming phones being a distraction, however, if we notice our students are constantly on their phones during instructional and work time we as educators should maybe take that as a hint to reevaluate our own teaching methods and form new methods that suit our student’s interests.

Conclusion:

To conclude, I have never felt so in between on a debate yet! I believe all of the debaters have given excellent points to defend their side and with that, I am finding it a challenge to understand where I fall! I believe that cellphones can be integrated into the classroom, with certain guidelines in place. It will depend on the classroom dynamics (whether individuals have access to their personal devices), and the rules to how students can use their cell phone in the classroom. I do not think that cellphones should be limited to high school students because by the time they reach high school students could have gained bad habits and formed negative digital identities that will stick with them for the rest of their life. With that, I think it is important to begin incorporating cellphones and other forms of technology into the classroom in the primary years understanding that we live in a society that is immersed in technology. Cellphones are never going to disappear and with that, I believe it is a crucial part of our education system to teach both the positives and negatives to using a cellphone and being present online. Overall, I think this decision will have to be made each year by the teacher after they evaluate their student’s accessibility to these devices to conclude if they believe that cellphones would benefit or hinder their classroom teachings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it our job to form our students digital identity?

Awwh, the week before the break is here and we are all eager to have a hopefully relaxing break to recoup from the debates and mini-lessons we have been checking off the list throughout EDTC400. This week’s debate was very interesting! We discussed the controversial topic of “openness and sharing in schools is bad for our kids.” To be honest with you, I was very confused about what this topic meant going into the prevote. For some reason I had in my head that we were talking about sharing between one another, however, after the debate I now know I was a little off! Oh well! Dryden and Ashley were the debaters this week and they did a wonderful job starting the conversation as well as keeping the conversation flowing nicely throughout the class discussion.

The prevote was somewhat shocking! More people voted for the disagree side (including myself), then the agree side! Again I didn’t overly understand the topic during the prevote! Now I know to always make sure to read the little description beforehand!

Pre-Vote Results 

After seeing the prevote, everyone could tell that Ashley had her work cut out for her! But if Raeann and myself were able to win some people over, I was sure Ashley would have been able to do the same! After the debate was over I could see that my predictions were right! Ashley went from having 11.1% votes to splitting the votes 50/50 with Dryden! This just shows that this debate topic really got people thinking and challenging their preconceived thoughts they had about the topic going into the debate!

Post-Vote Results

Now let’s begin addressing the awesome points each debater stated to support their argument!

Let’s begin with the agree side:

Ashley gave four main points that supported why she believes that sharing students work and personal information is seen as unfair. In short, the four main points are as listed:

  1. Student consent is not always considered: In Ashley’s argument she stated that many of the consent forms she looked up were addressed to parent’s. This does not allow the child to have a say in their own work and ultimately their own life.
  2. By sharing students work online whether it be the parent or teacher, they are the ones creating the digital identity for the child, not the child themselves. This is very problematic when students get older and realize all of the information about them that is online that they have had no control over. There have even been cases of children suing their parents because they built this digital identity for their child that will never disappear! Liz also asked a very important question that goes along with this topic. She states that when do we know that children are ready to decide for themselves what they want and do not want to be posted, and when do we leave it to the parents? She stated that when she was young she always told her dad to post a picture of her, but now looking back she does not know why she ever allowed it!
  3. The next statement Ashley brought up is that posting pictures, students work, and other information about the child can lead to cyberbullying and embarrassment. While we live in a world filled with technology, cyberbullying is on the rise! Do we as teachers really want to be the people that enhance these levels of bullying for an individual? One of the classmates gave us a personal story about a friend who had to post work in high school onto a blog, looking back at it the friends giggled and poked fun, however, if that work got in the wrong hands it could have been a lot more hurtful and detrimental to her friend’s wellbeing!
  4. The last point that Ashley stated to support her argument is that privacy settings do not always allow for privacy. I think this is a very good point that must be addressed, you could have your privacy settings to the max and people online could still get ahold of that information! This work is then shared with whoever can get access to it, and it can also be negatively altered to result in cyberbullying to towards that individual. After Ashley stated this point I immediately thought of this picture that Katia always shows throughout her class. This picture shows how there is no privacy while being online. That is once it is online, anyone who wants to can find a way to access the information! Is that something we really want to introduce our students to without their consent? 

 

As discussed in both the debate as well as the article Ashley shared with the class, there are many factors both parents and teachers should take into account when they begin posting their children’s work, pictures, or personal information online. Understanding that once it is online, there is no way of getting it back becomes extremely problematic when the children grow up and begin to form a digital identity for themselves.

The Disagree Side:

As one can notice from the pre-vote results, many of the EDTC400 class agreed that openness and sharing in schools are not bad for kids. I also contributed to this vote! Dryden began defending his side of the debate with many points that supported his argument well! Here is a short summary of the points Dryden listed:

  1. The foundation of teaching: Teachers must share their knowledge and experiences in the classroom through discussion. By doing this allows students to then relay their knowledge back to the teachers to show they have retained the information asked of them. By using online sources, sharing has become a lot easier for teachers to connect with other teachers across the world to share resources and tips, one way this can be seen is by participating in numerous twitter chats. As well as connect with their students through sources such as Remind, or Google Classroom.

    Photo Credit: SalFalko Flickr via Compfight cc

  2. The second point Dryden stated in his argument was teachers need to be open to change. This article that was offered to our class looks at the importance of being open to change, listening and new ideas. As mentioned in the first point stated above, sharing and being open to the online world allows teachers and students to connect with a much larger audience to gain new ideas and new perspectives on certain topics!
  3. The third point that was stated to support this argument looks at the importance and benefits of documented learning. Documented learning allows for the exploration of both the students and the teachers and gives the opportunity for the students work and accomplishments to be recognized by other individuals other than the teacher. For example through classroom blogs, class twitter, and other resources that allow students to get feedback from other educators or individuals (for example #Comments4Kids). Ashlee also made the point that posting work done by students opens up so many possibilities for them to further their learning and careers! For example, check out the book “Girl Code” that was written by two young women!  
  4. The last point that Dryden stated to close his argument was the keys to success. He states for openness and sharing in the classroom to succeed, the teacher must find trust, communication and be able to adapt to the needs and wishes of the parents and students. As mentioned throughout the debate there was a large focus on that everyone needs to be apart of the conversation when it comes to posting children’s work, personal information, and the picture’s for the world to see.

The final verdict…

Just like the other debate topics up to this point, the class discussion once again hit a middle ground. There are so many factors that need to be taken into account when deciding if one should post about the children or not. After reading this article that gave teen perspectives on how they feel about their school work being shared online, I am still left conflicted. Two students said their work should not be shared because they want to protect their work from being copied and recognizing that online privacy really is not all that private. The other two students stated their work should be shared online because hard work is worth sharing and it helps students build confidence and get the recognition they deserve. All of these points are valid, and that is why I have concluded that students work should be posted with and only with permission from the student, and depending on the age of the student, the student, and the student’s caregiver. Another important consideration I think should be made when thinking about posting students work is: on what platform, and how it is presented. For example, our class discussed the platforms such as educational blogs are suitable for sharing students work and pictures, but Facebook may not be as suitable and professional! This article is a great guide to posting appropriate pictures of your students and what platforms are seen as the most beneficial! To conclude, precautions need to be taken when posting information about your students online, however, I think it is beneficial for your students work to be shared with a vast amount of individuals if you have their consent!

 

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!