Let’s Google It?

Photo Credit: I created this Meme using Meme Generator

baby agree or disagree

Let’s Google it?!?  I was struggling with how to start this post, but this photograph on Meme Generator inspired me with my direction! Actually when I first read the debate topic I believe this is what my face probably looked like.  I had to first understand the wording of the topic for the debate before I could begin to choose a side.  I could relate to Ellen because I also found this one a little bit tricky.  Ellen raised an excellent point about if she was a History or a High School Social teacher that she “might not need to teach specific dates in History anymore, since these can easily be Googled” and that she “should, however, focus on questions about the events impact today.”  I would not have students learn about dates either.  I can remember teachers wanting my classmates and myself to memorize small specific details when we were in middle years and high school.  I created little verses, songs, or sayings from using the beginning letters of events, names, or dates to help me remember everything when I wrote a test.  As soon as the test was over I tossed it from my short term memory and I do not know if I would  have been able to recall the information a few days later.  For me personally I enjoyed when we were provided the time for class discussions and when we did hands on learning.

I believe it is important for students to be able to take part in experiential learning. The University of Texas describes what experiential learning looks like.  In one of the points is stated that “throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning, and is challenged to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.”  Many of the points listed in the article reminded me of the Principles of Early Learning on page 5 in the Saskatchewan Play and Exploration guide.  As teachers we need to look at our curriculum and see what kinds of learning opportunities we can provide to our students. In science it is a lot easier to find experiments for labs and hands on learning activities, but there are learning opportunities in other subject curriculum documents as well.  The University of Waterloo also had a great explanation of experiential learning and good diagrams, such as the Kolb’s cycle-“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.”

kolbs learning cycle

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In my second year of teaching I taught at the elementary school and I  also taught grade seven and eight arts education at Gordon F. Kells for the last period of the day.  My principal Tyler taught Social Studies and History at Gordon F. Kells at the time.  I can remember the students in his History class being so excited after class one day when he set up a learning experience outside for them.  They were learning about World War One and he wanted to teach them about the rolling barrage.  He could have gave them hand outs explaining what a rolling barrage was, have students do research, or they could have watched a video, but instead Tyler created a hands on learning experience using water balloons.  The experience was how he introduced rolling barrage to them!  If you teach History I encourage you to talk to Tyler about his lesson.  (I do not want to explain the lesson wrong.)  If was able to learn about History by doing interactive lessons I know I would have not tossed out so much of the knowledge I learned from my short term memory as I described earlier in my post.

Luke, Ashley, and Andrew gave us very interesting resources  to learn about the agree side of the debate.  I really enjoyed watching Rasmey Musallam’s TedTalk- 3 Rules to Spark Learning.  He caught my attention when he talked about the importance of teachers evoking real questions.   Musallam explains that those questions helps inform the methods of blended instruction and he stated that, “Students questions are the seeds to real learning!”  I believe that questions do ignite the learning journey and makes the learning more meaningful for the students.  If they are asking the questions then they will want to find out the answers.  In the video Musallum explains how he has 3 rules that he follows when creating a lesson.  They are:

  • #1 Curiosity comes first
  • #2 Embrace the mess
  • #3 Practice reflection
boy being curious

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The way The University of Texas describes experiential learning and the principals of early learning in the Saskatchewan Play and Learning guide connects very well to what Musallum’s beliefs are.  I think often in schools teachers want to get to the content part of the lessons because there are so much to cover in just one year.  I think this leads to not providing  time or enough time for students to be curious and wonder about the topic.  I know personally next year I want to provide more time to my students to reflect about their learning and make connections before we move onto another unit.  A lot of learning can be discovered during the reflection process.  If students just went to Google to find the answers all of the time are they truly understanding and retaining the knowledge they are discovering?  Do students know other ways to find resources and information other than using Google? It is convenient that students can turn to Google to find the answers to questions, but is that the best learning experience for students?  Do students know how to tell if the information they found is authentic or from reputable source?  Now in the world of the Internet people are able to create and curate.  It is possible for people to upload documents on the Internet that may not be accurate.  Students need to learn and understand how to decide whether information they’re reading is accurate and creditable.

brain

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I was surprised like Chalyn when I read How the Internet is Changing Your Brain.  I had no idea that “the average number of Google searches per day has grown from 9,800 in 1998 to over 4.7 trillion today.”  It was very eye opening to me! In the article is also talked about a study and how “college students remembered less information when they knew they could easily access it later on the computer.”  This is problematic as “Our brains use information stored in the long-term memory to facilitate critical thinking. We need these unique memories to understand and interact with the world around us.”  What information are we not keeping in our long term memory because we know we can access it easily through technology?

I read another article provided by the agree side called  How Google Impacts The Way Students Think  written by Terry Heick.  I think Heick raised a very good point when he stated that, “if users can Google answers to the questions they’re given, they’re likely terrible questions.”  We need to model good questioning skills to our students and help them grow as learners, just as Tyler’s cooperating teacher did as it was described in Tyler’s blog post.  We want our students to be curious and learn how to ask great questions independently.  In the article Heick lists a few reasons in how Google is impacting the way students think.  One of those ways was how “Google naturally suggests “answers” as stopping points.”  I do not want my students to stop their learning once they think they have “found” the answers.  I want my student to continue on their learning journey!  When exploring a topic there is so much to learn about and the learning should not stop after finding the answer.  Students need to understand the materials and reflect after there assignment or lesson is over.

debate 2 twitter pic

Screen shot from Twitter

encyclodia twitter

Screen shot from Twitter

On Twitter Alec posted the debate question and some of the response caught my eye.  I thought it was very interesting when Marc stated “should we teach info in encyclopedias?”  I think that is a very interesting point.  Yes often we can access information, but as I talked about earlier in my post students are not retaining the information because they know they can access it again.  Lots of the information whether they can access the answers online or from another resources still needs to be explored by the students and taught.  Marc also talked about memorization which was discussed during the debate as well.  Amy Singh and Heidi provided us with information on why we should disagree with the debate topic and a lot of the resources they shared with us talked about memorization and automaticity.  I enjoyed reading Kelsie’s thoughts from Tuesday’s debate.  She brought up excellent points about Google and how everything is “Googleable.”  I agree with Kelsie that  ‘some amount of memorization is important.”  In the beginning of her post she explores Math Makes Sense and Mad Minutes.  I think it is important for students to know their math facts and to provide them time to critically think in math through problem solving and explaining how they reach their answer.  I think for the deeper understanding to occur that students do need a level of automaticity for their math facts.  Louise Spear-Swerling discusses in an article that “Automatic recall of basic math facts, sometimes termed math fluency, is generally considered to be a key foundation for higher-level math skills.”

 

In my classroom I have my students practice their math facts through playing games that I have created or other dice and cards games that I have learned from other educators.  The only way you can become more fluent in a skill is through practice and students can “build conceptual understanding and fluency through games“.  I really like all of the strategies that students learn now in math.  I think I would have learned my facts faster if I was taught about doubles, doubles plus one/minus one, think ten, etc.  Students also need a level of automaticity in reading as well.  Tim Rasinski talks about three components of fluency and one is automaticity in word recognition.  He discusses “Readers not only are accurate in word recognition, they are effortless or automatic in recognizing the words they encounter. The significance of achieving automaticity is that readers can devote their limited cognitive resources to the important task of comprehending the text.”  Memorization is not always a dirty word…by being able to recall math facts and words helps students focus on a math problem and understanding the text. 

Ainsley wrote an excellent post about another debate and the end of that post caught my eye.  She shared a link to an article that has a teacher describing what a classroom might possibly with look like and how it could be organized in the future.   It made me reflect on when I was talking about the goals of education, but I could not remember the details.  I was excited that Katia knew what I was talking about and shared the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan with the rest of the class.  This document has not been updated since 1985 (I was not even born yet).  It is time that we take a look at this document and update the goals with the vision of 21st century learners. In a previous post I reflected about my vision in what I want to do in my classroom after I took EC&I832.

What is your philosophy of education?  What should our education goals be??

 

I think it is important to know yourself as an educator.  I completed two inventories (Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) & Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI)) in my EC&I804 Curriculum Development class and then we had to reflect on our teaching beliefs.  I completed the inventories again and for the first inventory I ranked the highest in nurturing.  In the second inventory I ranked the highest in progressive and humanistic.  The PAEI inventory has a chart on the second page that breaks out the five philosophies into different categories: purpose(s), learner(s), teacher role, concepts & key words, methods, and people & programs.  The chart makes sense to me because in EC&I804 from over two years ago I described in an assignment that I felt most philosophically aligned with Dewey because my philosophy is strongly progressivism. 

After two years I still believe that my grade two students learn better through cooperative and experiential learning.  My job is to guide my students while posing questions to deepen their understanding.  Social process is an important part of education because students learn better through interacting with others. If a student can explain or demonstrate what they have learned that validates a deeper understanding. Students are also more engaged in the learning if they are interested in the curriculum and when their needs are being met.  I think it is important for teachers to take inventories because it was a good reminder that I need to include the other philosophies in my classroom.  Every student is an individual and learns in their own unique way!

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information”. – Albert Einstein

 

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The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On?

Is technology making our kids unhealthy???

Do you Agree or Disagree? What side do you sit on for this topic?

what side are you on

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Wow! What a class on Tuesday! Congratulations to Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer, Heather, Andres, and Roxanne for an excellent debate! I thought both sides presented very well and gave everyone a lot to think about.  Going into this debate I was not sure if I agreed or disagreed with the statement-Technology is making our kids unhealthy.  As I began to look closer into the question and complete the readings I felt I was on a teeter totter…as my mind was conflicted. One moment I was agreeing and then all of a sudden I was leaning towards disagree.  Both sides presented the information in a very organized way which helped me begin to lay out my thoughts and compare physical health, mental/emotional/intellectual health, and the social health and well-being of children.

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playing soccer

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer shared with us in their Prezi that “On average children spend at least 7 hours a day on the internet, watching television or playing video games.” They explained how spending so much time in front of technology can lead to many physical health problems such as: “increased snacking, injuries to neck and back, detrimental to eyes (vision), skin blemishes, sore fingers/hands/forearms, and decreased physical activity” (Taken from their Prezi presentation).  Over use of technology has also lead to obesity in children.  The three ladies pointed out how there are many germs on the surfaces of the technology as those devices usually get used daily.  I have never really thought about how many germs could possibly be on my cell phone and other devices that I use.  Children are also not playing outside as often and are losing their connection to nature.  While researching I found an article that looked how technology effects children’s sensory skills and development.  It was very alarming to me!  After looking at the facts and research I was leaning towards agreeing that technology is making our kids unhealthy…BUT…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne presented a valid argument on their video in how people can use technology to help improve their physical health. They talked about some get apps, devices, and websites that can help people learn about nutrition, locate health services, tell you when are being inactive, can track your workouts, explore fitness boards to learn from others or be inspired, they share their fitness journey, and get support through online communities/groups through social media.  Some of the apps, devices, and websites they presented to us were: My FitnessPal, MindBody app, FitBit, NikeRun, TechTimes.com, DoYogaWithMe.com, Pinterest, Instagram, and using different forms of social media.  They talked about how those are just a few examples and that there are so many apps, devices, and websites that people can access and use to help them in their health and fitness journey.  Fellow classmates Kyle D. and Kayla in the chat mentioned how they enjoy using a specific app/device and Kayla discussed how her FitBit was motivating for her.  I think that is awesome that people can use technology to help them reach their fitness goals.  When people are physically healthy it helps their health as a whole.  I was beginning to feel the teeter totter move again….BUT THEN…

During our discussion time and in the Zoom chat a few classmates Janelle and Steve questioned if charting our health through numbers and data on the devices/apps and not paying attention to how we feel. Steve discussed how our bodies give us signs or tell us about how health based on how we feel.  Is it good to push ourselves a little bit through using technology or are people hurting their bodies by ignoring the signs their body is sending to them?  During class we talked about how some people lie when entering information into the app so it’s not giving an accurate picture of the person’s health.  In the chat Dean talked about a cycling app called Strava and how the app has been linked to deaths because people that were using the app were trying to push themselves to beat other people’s records. I began to wonder how many other apps have led people to push themselves past their limits and putting themselves or others at risk?  Is technology truly negatively effecting kid’s health?  …..….

Andrew raised a good opinion in the chat -“when we say technology makes us unhealthy I feel like we’re kind of limiting it to cell phones, t.v.’s, and game consoles.” I agree with him because technology has opened doors for the medical field.  Andrew also talked about life expectancies and technology has increased people’s life expectancies with the help of MRI’s, X-rays, defibrillators, CT scans, IV machines and so much more.  Doctors are able to “better diagnose and treat their patients” through using the new equipment that has been designed.

After looking and considering physical health I was still undecided what side of the debate I was on so I continued to exploring mental, emotional, and intellectual health…

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question mark dude

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer presented with us the negative impacts technology has on mental and emotional health. Technology has caused people to have lack of sleep.  I have students who have devices in their rooms where they stay up late watching videos or playing games instead of getting the rest that they need to have. In my career I have had student’s journal about playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Halo.  I could understand when they presented how technology has increased people’s aggression, depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity as those games are very violent.  There are so many apps, TV shows, and movies that are not appropriate for young children to be watching and I can see how watching and interacting with technology that negatively affected their health.  The three ladies also presented how technology can lead to addictive behaviours and even suicidal thoughts.  So scary!  What messages are being given to our children through the different forms of media? Technology can affect children’s emotional and mental health by the cyberbullying that can occur online and children feeling alone.  Some people are exploring how technology is also effecting children’s intellectual health and is affecting their writing skills.  Lots of teachers discuss how children use abbreviations in their everyday work at school and their writing is declining.  Is technology effecting kids health?  I had to consider the other side of the debate…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne discussed how they are so many great support networks and online groups for children and teens to be a part of through using technology. More children are learning how to be upstanders online and taking care of their friends and family.  The group presented how through using different methods and technology it has been used to bring awareness to mental health.  There are also apps for children to use their phones or devices that they can wear to help parents keep track of where their children are. There are also baby monitors where parents can watch their baby in the screen to provide them with a peace of mind.  Children’s intellectual health can grow by collaborating online and learning from others.  There are many open education opportunities and they can build their communication and writing skills through the different websites such as blogging and apps on their devices.  I encourage you to check out David Crystal’s video entitled Texts and Tweets: myths and realties.  We watched it in EC&I832 and I wrote a post that explored my thoughts on the video.

Before I could reach my final decision I had to explore social health!

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kids talking on the phone                                                      kids taking outside

                                                                   Photo Credit: pepe blond via Compfight cc

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer talked to us how technology is hindering children’s social skills. Now families are not spending quality of time together and are not carrying meaningful conversations as they use to because people are becoming addicted to gadgets.  They discussed the decrease in face to face communication and increase in online communication.  The group of ladies presented to us about the effects of cyberbullying and how people are filtering what they share with everyone on social media.  Some people desire “likes” on their social media posts to get confirmation from others and can affect their self-esteem.  Are people truly posting and sharing their true self on social media?  Have you heard of Madison Hollernan’s story? In an article called Split Image, it talks about how “On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend.  But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.”   So… how can technology help people’s social health??

In Heather, Andres, and Roxanne’s video shared with us how more and more people are on social media now. People can network with others and technology can provide a new way for people to communicate with others through sharing, grieving, and celebrating with people online.  Facetime and Skype allows us to stay connected with family and friends.  This form of technology is very helpful for people who live far away and it gives them a chance to have a face to face conversation even if they are miles apart.

What side of the debate do I sit on? I came across this video called Looking Up….

I thought this video brought up some very valid points in why people need to look up from their phones. I think people do need to make sure they are truly spending time with loved ones and friends and get away from their devices.  Last night at our school dance technology was very useful and led to a very special night!  I was able to play music from my iPad so students and their families could dance (get some physical activity) and have fun while raising money for a staff member and a dear friend who is right now kicking cancer’s butt.  I was able to take pictures, capture a video and text it to her and her husband!  Technology can lead to some many wonderful things, but I believe there needs to be BALANCE and MODERATION! Those words have been explored and used in Amy’s and Angela’s posts.

On Tuesday during our class discussion and in the chat we discussed educating our students and children.  Kayla brought up a valid point when she mentioned “I think it is all based on whether or not kids are taught to be healthy.”  I am sure that many children would watch television, play games, or use their devices all day long if their families allowed it.  Damon and I do not have any children yet, but we have already discussed the importance of making sure that our children will play, enjoy nature, and will be physically active.  We need to be aware of how much screen time our children are getting.  It will also be our job as parents to teach them about healthy eating, treating others the way they want to be treated, and all of the other many important lessons in life.  In the chat Jeremy made a great point when he said that “parents, peer support, and teachers need to teach and model appropriate screen time.”  Check out the next video…it shows the importance of putting our phones down and being present in the moments with other people.  Do you model appropriate screen time to children?

This next video captures special moments between people with their friends and families. In these moments it is powerful to use technology because it is bringing people together.  It is allowing people to be a part of a special occasion, chance to catch up, and someone to laugh, cry, and smile along with.  In my opinion moments like this showcase…pick your devices up and talk!

As an educator I believe it is my responsibility to help educate my students about living a happy and healthy life.  I also need to be a good role model and provide opportunities to teach my students about physical, social, and mental health.  Ian discussed in the chat that students can bring to school events that happened outside of school hours such as cyberbullying; therefore, it is our responsibility to educate our students.  When I teach my outcomes in grade two about safety, fitness, respect, and their feelings I need to talk to them about technology when we are having our discussions. Heather, Andres, and Roxanne told us all about the wonderful things that has to offer technology and how it can help our health is so many areas, but our students will never know about these options if we do not educate them. It takes a whole village to raise a child!  We cannot just expect parents to talk to their children about technology and how to use it properly.  This week  I took a quick look through the curriculum documents and here are a few of the outcomes that provide me with the opportunity to educate my grade two students about how to live a healthy life while they interact and use technology.  I can even give my students the chance to be creative and express their feelings and knowledge on the topics through arts education and language arts.  Here are some of the outcomes I found that matched to living a healthy life:

 

As of right now I am located in the middle of the teeter tooter like the girl depicted in the picture below. I can see how the teeter totter can move towards either side when looking at this topic, but by educating our children and youth I think we can help them begin to find the balance!

The girl looking like me sitting in the middle of a teeter totter

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Does Technology Enhance or Hinder Learning?

teens smiling at the computer Photo Credit: chandlerle025 via Compfight cc

Tuesday was a very exciting class as we had our very first debate and the topic was:  Technology in the classroom enhances learning.  Congratulations to Jeremy, Erin, Kyle, Kayla, Chalyn, and Steve for leading an excellent first debate.  Before the two teams (agree and disagree) presented their side of the debate I already had my own opinion based on my experiences of being a student and a teacher as well as the knowledge I have gained through previous classes and readings that I have been exposed to.  Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?  I believe that technology does enhance learning for students in the classroom, but there are certain aspects of technology that does need to be considered.

Benefits of Technology and How It Enhances Learning:

1.  Technology allows for differentiation.

Students can use assistive technology to help them reach their personal goals in the classroom, especially the students who are struggling or may have a learning disability.  Students can use the different tools to help them communicate with fellow peers in the classroom or display their learning to others.  For example, in my classroom I have some students who struggle with writing and with the use of talk to text apps and devices they are able to independently complete assignments instead of having to rely on myself or another adult to scribe for them.  I have also had students use iPads and other forms of technology in my classroom to help with verbal  communication.  In an article that the agree side shared with our class it explores differentiation and it lists the variety of types of assisted technology that can be used to help children learn in the classroom: written language assistive technology, reading assistive technology, mathematics assistive technology, listening assistive technology, and memory/organization assistive technology.  I have seen technology open the doors for so many students and can provide them with opportunities to be successful in the classroom.   All of the different technology can lead to equity for students in the classroom.  I agreed with the article that “the choice of the appropriate use of AT [assistive technology], whether available or improvised, the right selection depends on the individual child, the skills problems, the setting and the particular tasks the child wants to achieve” (p. 18).   “This implies that one tool used for a child may not be useful for another child in different setting” (p. 18).  Every child is unique and has different learning needs to compared to other children in the classroom and when planning to use the different types of technology it is important to keep that in mind.

equity-vs-equality

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2. Technology allows for new learning opportunities to occur in the classroom.

When teachers use technology in the classroom students are able to learn valuable digital skills and digital tools are helping transform education.  Now students are living in a digital world and I believe it is critical to provide them with learning opportunities to learn new digital skills and improve their skills that they already know .  Those skills that they can learn are “essential for work and life in a 21st century global society” (p. 6).  I was reading through a report that focused on integrating technology with student-centered learning.  In the report I thought  Babette Moeller and Tim Reitzes  brought up some valid points:

  • “Technology can equip students to independently organize their learning process” and this leads students who use technology to “become active users” (p. 6).
  • Technology provides students to opportunity to take some responsibility for their learning (p. 6).
  • Technology can lead teachers “to deliver more personalized learning” (p. 7).
  • Technology can help provide feedback that can “guide the learning process” (p. 7).

During the debate Andrew introduced to us a website that he uses in his classroom called Zooniverse.  On the website it states that it “provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology”.  Andrew talked very highly of the learning opportunities that this website has provided to his students.  There are so many more great websites that provide great learning experiences for students that they would never have access to if it was not for technology.  This week Tyler shared and posted a video his blog post that showcased how technology improves student learning for students who attend Minnetonka schools.  It would be amazing to have the opportunity  to teach using the technology that was showcased in the video and to know how to implement the technology used effectively.  While I was reading Andrew’s blog post “Learning With and Without Tech” he reminded me about a teaching experience when he talked about Chris Hadfield singing with students from across Canada during Music Monday.  My students in my grade two classroom were able to watch Hadfield sing and they sung along with him through the use of technology.  It was a very fun learning experience for my students and for the other students across Canada.  We were able to take part in a fantastic learning experience without having to live in an urban center.  Technology helps open the door for rural students!  For example students are able to take classes online that might not be able to be offered due to many factors that occurs when attending schools in a rural area.  They also can have access to many resources through using technology in the classroom.

3. Technology allows for students to make connections and learn from other people.

I think it is amazing how technology has evolved over the years and Rick Schwier’s presentation on the History of Educational Technology from EC&I831 came to mind.  I wrote a blog post after his presentation and reflected on how education and the tools we used has evolved when I was going to school as a young girl.  Not only did he talk about how technology has evolved, but Schwier discussed how social media can allow people to make connections with others.  He talked to us that humans are social people and communication skills is very important to have.  Another educator who believes in the importance of making connections is Rita Pierson.  In her Ted Talk “Every Kid Needs a Champion”  she discussed how we need to start talking about “The value and importance of human connection…relationship.”  Students can interact with others through apps, Twitter, blogging platforms, and many of the Google tools just to name a few.  My students enjoy exploring other classroom blogs and sharing what they have been learning about on our classroom blog.  I have not used Twitter before in my classroom, but it has been something that I have considered.  I have seen blogging has not only improved my students writing, but their engagement in learning as well.  It has also provided me the opportunity to teach my students how to be good digital citizens and teach them lessons about digital citizenship.

Connected Learning

Photo Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub

Some things that need to be considered:

1. Teachers need to be trained in how to use technology effectively in the classroom and what new digital tools are available to use to enhance individual learning.

For learning experiences using technology to be successful teachers need to have training in how to use the different tools and how to implement technology effectively in the classroom.  If a teacher is not prepared and does not understand the digital tools then it could lead to classroom management problems and teachers not using instructional time effectively.  The school division needs to provide professional development opportunities  and train their teachers in how to effectively to use the different tools, especially if they are expecting them to use technology in the classroom.  During the debate on Tuesday teacher training was discussed.  I also think that many teachers do not know about all of the amazing tools that are available for them to use to help students individually in the classroom.  Teachers need time to explore the different opinions available in order to choose the best fit for their students and provide time for the student to understand how the learning tool works through modeling and coaching while they are using the tool.  Someone in our EC&I830 class also made a great point on how teachers need to also take initiative in their own personal development. (I’m sorry my computer lost connection near the end of class and I was not able to save the chat to give credit to this person).  I agree that as an educator there are many ways to gain professional development in a variety of areas through accessing professional development online.  I could relate to Kyle DuMont’s blog post when he discussed how many people on staff go to him when they have questions about technology.  For example, I have also have many people come to me when they have questions about their Smartboard.  Over the past few years we have had a huge turnover of staff and they did not have the professional development that we had when the Smartboards were put in our classrooms. I have also experienced a problem when I plan for a substitute teacher because many of our substitute teachers do not know how to use some of the tools we use in our classroom.

2.  The use of technology can be distractive to some students.

I have heard many educators talk about how their students become distracted when they use technology in the classroom.  Tami Strang talks in post how many students are tempted to “take a moment and “peek” at sports scores, the latest headlines, or the number of “likes” [they have] accumulated on [their] latest Facebook or Instragram posts.”  She even posted a graph showcasing the “top means of distraction and technology misuse in the classroom.”

cengage.learning.distraction.classroom

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Amy Scuka discussed about students being distracted in her blog post “Nothings Fine, I’m Torn.”  I have not had too many experiences of students being distracted using technology because my students are only in grade two. I can see how many teachers who teach upper elementary, middle year, and high school students can get distracted through using other tools or social media instead of completing an assignment.

3. Students are very connected to technology.

During our class Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk “Connected, but Alone?” was mentioned.  She studies technology and people’s plugged in lives.  In the video she talked about how the devices people use are so powerful “that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are.”  She explores how people are plugged in and how people “are losing the true connectedness with each other.”  I was introduced to Turtle’s Ted Talk when I took EC&I832 and I discussed her ideas she explored in a blog post that I wrote on September 21st.  Are we depending too much on technology?  Are we teaching students to be too plugged into the world instead of living in the moment and interacting with others face to face instead of behind technology?

There are many factors to consider when thinking about using technology in the classroom.  I have only talked about some of the benefits and negative side to using technology.  What are your thoughts on technology in the classroom? Does technology enhance or hinder learning in the classroom?

Even through their are many factors to consider when using technology I still believe that technology enhances learning in the classroom!

 

Bittersweet- My Final Graduate Class

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Hi everyone!  My name is Justine Stephanson-Kyle and I teach grade two at Carlyle Elementary School in Carlyle, Saskatchewan for the Southeast Cornerstone School Division.  I have been teaching in Carlyle for seven years since I received my Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina in 2009.   I cannot believe that this is my tenth and final graduate class at the University of Regina.  I am still in shock that I am thirty-nine days away from reaching my goal and finishing my LAST CLASS for my Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  When looking through the Google Plus EC&I830 community I was so excited to see so many familiar faces in this class and having the opportunity to continue to learn along side classmates that I have met through the nine previous classes that I have taken.  I am also looking forward to continue to build my professional learning network (PLN) and to meet everyone through our weekly class on Zoom and reading everyone’s blog posts on the EC&I830 blog hub.

I know that Twitter is not mandatory, but I encourage you to check it out!  When I took EC&I831 in the fall of 2014 I was introduced to Twitter and was very overwhelmed.  From taking the class and all of the people I have met in that class inspired me to give Twitter a try and begin to explore what Twitter had to offer.  Over time I have become more confident in using Twitter and I use it mostly for professional development.  Kelly Christopherson @kwhobbes  was a part of the class and introduced me to #saskedchat on Twitter.  On Thursday’s at 8:00pm the educators that organize the chat ask questions focusing on a variety educational topics each week.  There are usually around six questions each Thursday evening and the chat runs from about 8:00-9:00pm.  On the Thursdays I am able to take part in the chat allows me to learn from fellow educators from around the province, from Canada, and even other educators from outside of Canada.  Today the #saskedchat the topic is Inclusive Education!

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I encourage you to follow that hashtag because it is a great beginning place to begin to build your PLN.  On the nights I am not able to attend the chat  during the hour time frame I am still able to read the tweets to learn and grow professionally.  Twitter also provides the opportunity to still comment and ask questions even if the chat is over.  Some other hashtags that I learned about from taking other classes that I follow now are: #digcit, #edtech, #digitalcitizenship, #playmatters, and #edchat just to name a few.  If you want to learn more about hashtags for education check out this link!  On the link it lists hashtags that are popular/trending, hashtags for all the different subject areas, and hashtags topics that involve education.  You can follow me on Twitter at @JNSteph87.

Reading Kyle Ottenbreit’s very first blog post today reminded me of my very first graduate class when I took ED800 in January of 2014.  The last few years have gone by so fast and I am so happy that I decided to go on this journey.  For people who are just beginning their graduate journey or new to online learning this is a great class to be a part of!  This will be the third class that I have taken from Alec and Katia and their classes have provided me a great opportunity to learn and grow as educator.   While I was reading Haiming Li’s blog post, I loved the photo that she used in her blog.  The photo had a quote that stated “do not compare yourself to others.”  I can remember when I took EC&I831 and I was very overwhelmed reading everyone’s blogs because I was brand new to blogging. Everyone’s blogs looked amazing!   My best advice is to remember that everyone is at different stages in their journey.  Some colleagues are beginning their degree while others finishing.  There are also many people who are experienced in educational technology and blogging while others have taken this class to begin to explore and learn more about educational technology.  I like looking back to my very first blog post “Life Is A Journey…” because I easily see my growth since my original post (that contains no links, pictures, or videos since I was new to blogging).   I think it would be amazing for students to have a blog that they can write in each school year so they can see their personal growth from year to year!  Through taking EC&I831 I was able to learn more about blogging and even did my major digital project involving blogging with my grade two students.

While continuing to read everyone’s posts on the bloghub I saw that Heather posted some great tips and tricks on her blog if you are new to online learning.  I could make a lot of connections to what she talked about in her post as I have also had moments of when I thought I lost everything on my blog post on wordpress blog.  I did learn and found the magical button beside revisions that allowed me to get back parts of my post that I thought I lost.   While exploring more blogs I noticed on Aubrey’s blog post that she talked about teaching her students how to be safe and happy digital citizens.  I also share the same passion and belief it is vital to educate students to be good digital citizens.  Digital citizenship was such an important topic and when I took EC&I832 during that semester we learned about some fantastic resources!   Here are just a few that I used for my major digital project in that class and they are resources that I use today to help me teach digital citizenship :

  •  Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools- This document is “a policy planning guide for school divisions and schools to implement digital citizenship education from Kindergarten to Grade 12.”  The planning guide was written by Alec and Katia in consultation with other educators from Saskatchewan.  I encourage you to check it out!  There is fantastic information and tools to help educators implement digital citizenship in their classrooms.  Further as you read into the document you can learn about Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and the digital citizenship continuum.
  • Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence– This is an AMAZING website that has units, lesson plans, student interactive activities, and assessments that teachers can use to teach digital citizenship for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.  There are also great information for families and professional development opportunities.
  • The Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve–  The digital continuum “is intended to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.”  This document is formatted using the nine elements.  For each element there are essential questions, what students need to know, what students need to understand, and what they need to do from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

It is bittersweet that this is my last class.  During the drive home from class  on Tuesday Tyler and I were talking about what is next after we are finished our degrees.  I know personally I want to start a family and professionally that I can continue learning through my PLN on Twitter and there is always the option to take MOOCs (Massive open online courses).  I do not want to think about the end quite yet!  I am so excited for Tuesday’s first debate and continue to learn more about educational technology from everyone!  It is going to be a great six classes!

Let the great debates begin!

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Photo Credit: yuridicheskayakonsultatsiyarosto via Compfight cc