So Many Questions….

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I have been working on this post for a while because my mind has been jumping in many different directions so it was hard to stay focused.  The readings and viewings gave me a lot to think about over these last few weeks. In the 1960’s, Albert Bandura developed the theory of social learning (Social Learning Theory).  Bandura, says that “behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning” (McLeod, 2011).  I agree that children learn a lot through observing others and how they act.  Adults need to be mindful of their actions and what they say around children and youth because they are their role models and often many will look up to them.  Very young children will often imitate sounds, words, or phrases that they have heard and copy actions that they have seen.  As the article states, “Children will have a number of models with whom they identify” (McLeod, 2011).  Children and youth are not just influenced by their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or trusted adults.  But, children and youth can be influenced by older siblings, older peers, friends, television or movie characters, video games, actors, music artists, and athletes just to name a few.  Children and youth need to have guidance as they are growing up.  When thinking about a child’s behavior Bandura also makes a good point about how, “the people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment” (McLeod, 2011).  Starting at a very young age babies are praised for the sounds or words they say or for their actions that they have imitated.  When babies get older they get told no for pulling hair, putting something in their mouths that they are not suppose to, or touching something that could harm them.

In the article it also links to a famous experiment called the “Bobo Doll Experiment”.  In this video explores if, “social behaviors (i.e. aggression) can be acquired by observation and imitation” (McLeod, 2014).  I agree one hundred percent that “This study has important implications for the effects of media violence on children” (McLeod, 2014).  While I watched the video I thought about my colleague who teaches grade three and her experience with teaching a particular outcome in health.  That outcome that she was teaching was:

USC3.6- Distinguish between examples of real violence (e.g., schoolyard fights, shaking a baby, bullying) and fictional violence (e.g., cartoons, world wrestling entertainment, video games) and determine the influence of both on health and well-being.

The particular indicators for that outcome are:

a) Develop common and respectful language often used to talk about violence and abuse.

b) Reflect on what is known/believed about violence in communities.

c)Determine that violence can by physical, emotional, and/or sexual.

d) Describe types of violence and abuse including physical (e.g., punching, kicking), sexual (e.g., inappropriate touching), and emotional (e.g., name-calling, exclusion, cyber-bullying).

e) Recognize that physical, sexual, and emotional violence are behaviours that hurt or destroy people, places, or things.

f) Discuss examples of fictional violence (e.g., movies, video games, cartoons, world wrestling entertainment).

g) Investigate the influence of mass media on perceptions of violence (e.g., difficult to distinguish fiction from non-fiction, what is ‘normal’).

h) Distinguish the effects of violence on the mind, body, and spirit (e.g., fear, bruises, self-doubt, hopelessness).

i) Recognize violent and non-violent and/or harmful and non-harmful behaviours and the impact on self and others.

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I can recall my colleague telling me about a parent who was concerned because her child was learning about the differences between real violence and fictional violence at such a young age.  My colleague discussed with the parent that she was covering a topic right from the grade three Saskatchewan Health Curriculum that teachers are required to follow when planning units and lessons.  She explained to the parent the importance of teaching students in grade three about the differences between real and fictional violence.  After the discussion that parent felt much better about the unit that was planned and listening to my colleagues thoughts.  I do understand why that parent would be concerned, but with all the media that young children are exposed to they need to learn skills in understanding the differences between what is real and what is fictional or fantasy.  I have had grade two students write in their journals about playing grand theft auto and other games that are full of violence and adult material.  Do students in early elementary years understand that people do not have multiple lives like they do in video games and in the other games they can play online?  Do they understand the consequences of violence or how harmful violence is? I am happy that children are discussing and learning about those differences in grade three. Those types of lessons are very important because children are exposed to violence from television, movies, games, and other forms of media now at a early age compared to many years ago.

What do you think?  Should the outcome USC3.6 be taught in grade three or do you feel it is too mature of content for children to learn about at that age?  Do you think violence in media effecting our children and youth?

 

Changing gears I was also introduced to readings and viewings that had me reflect on the way children are taught in school!  What do you think 21st century classrooms should look like today?  I think technology has opened the doors for teachers to be more inventive and can begin to think more outside of the box in terms of teaching strategies and how they set up their classroom for learning.  Take a look at this following video!  In the video a grade seven student is giving a tour of how she has been learning in her science class.  This video showcases a student participating in networked learning and creating her own learning environment using different tools and media.

From listening to the student I can see that a lot of learning has taken place.  She has not only learned science concepts, but has learned how to use tools such as: Google Docs, blogging, bookmarking, and Evernote to help with her researching skills and documenting her learning journey. While I was watching the video I was curious how the teacher set up his/her classroom? Many other questions began to race through my head…What does the teacher’s day plans/lesson plans look like?  Would teachers be able to teach using this style with students who are younger than grade seven?  Did the student in the video need to do complete some of her work outside of the classroom or was she provided time to complete all the tasks during class time?  If she was required to complete work outside of class time did she and her peers in her class have access to a computer, device, or the Internet?  I would want to make sure all of my students learning opportunities are the same.  I would love to talk to a teacher using network learning in their classroom.  I began to reflect about…What could network learning look like for my grade two classroom or in the early learning years?

For my class I also read an article by Dave Cormier called Understanding the Basics of Rhizomatic Learning.  I was fortunate to learn about Rhizomatic Learning from Dave Cormier when I took EC&I831 Social Media and Open Education Class from Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt.  Rhizomatic Learning allows for students to decide on the goal instead of the instructor or teacher giving students the learning goals or outcomes.  Students begin to take responsibility for their own learning!  I see this style of teaching more focused on the process instead of the product.  It is refreshing because learning should not just be knowing the answers to given questions.  When students get the opportunity to make their own learning goals I believe learning opportunities are endless.  Instead of the teacher being the person “who knows all of the answers” the students are given the opportunity to research and learn skills to find the answers to questions they are curious about.  If you want to learn more about Rhizomatic Learning and Cormier’s thoughts I encourage you to watch to a video of Cormier – Embracing Uncertainty of Rhizomatic Learning.  In this video he even briefly discusses MOOCs (Masssive Open Online Course).   For class we were to watch Corimer give short presentation in how to have Success in a MOOC.  I have never participated in a MOOC before, but many classmates in EC&I831 took part in one of their choice for their major project.  I enjoyed reading their posts about the courses that they took.  Right now I am too busy with teaching, coaching, and taking graduate classes; however, I think once I am finished with my degree I am going to miss learning and taking classes so I can see myself finding a MOOC that interests me.  I agree with Ashley Murray that I do not feel that our students should be left learning through MOOCs, especially students younger than high school.  I think students do need to still be learning along side their peers and the teacher needs to help facilitate learning and help guide students. I could see students participating in a MOOCs to get more knowledge and to network with other people if they were provided to opportunity to participate in Genius Hour.   Have you ever participated in a MOOC before? What are your thoughts about students participating in MOOCs?

In another article I read Cormier “suggests that Rhizomatic Learning is a means by which learners develop problem-solving skills for complex domains” and that “the community is the curriculum.”  What could Rhizomatic Learning look like in the early year classrooms?  When I took EC&I831 I wrote a blog post (you can see how my blog posts have evolved over the last year) reflecting on my thoughts about Rhizomatic Learning.  It reminds me a lot of the Reggio Emilia Approach which “values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. This approach believes a “child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.”  Some of the fundamental principles for the Reggio Emilia Approach are:

  • “Children are capable of constructing their own learning.”
  • “Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others.”
  • “Children are communicators.”
  • “The environment is the third teacher.”
  • “The adult is a mentor and guide.”
  • “An emphasis on documenting children’s thoughts.”
  • “The Hundred Languages of Children.”

I see a lot of connections and similarities between the Reggio Emilia Approach compared to Rhizomatic Learning and Network Learning.  Students are the center of the learning and not the teacher or educator.  Students can learn through the environments and through communicating with peers or from other people outside of the classroom.  Students document their thoughts about the learning journey and begin to form their own understandings about the world.  I could also relate to Ashley’s post when she discussed the teacher’s role and later on explained, “that there is a lot of information that students MUST learn such as reading, writing and math skills.”  I agree that there are skills that students must learn, but I am finding more ways to teach my grade two students those skills through play based learning.  However, I still have guided reading, writing, and math lessons that are at my students individual levels.  I have found students have continued to develop their reading, writing, representing and math skills through centers, play based learning and projects that they participate in.  These last few weeks of articles and viewing have had me reflect on education and what classrooms look like today more than ever before.  While I was doing some exploring I came across a video that was “adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson.”

I encourage you to watch his lecture entire called Changing Paradigms.  It is fifty-five minutes long, but he raises many great points about education, how people learn, and how they think.  His lecture connects with some of the viewings and readings that I have been learning in my EC&I832 class.  Near the end of his lecture and near the end of the video above he talks about divergent thinking and gave an example of a study.  The question was “how many uses can you think of for a paper clip?”  This study showed that children in Kindergarten scored higher than older students and adults.  Why were the children in Kindergarten able to think of more uses for a paper clip compared to older students and adults?  What does this study show about our education system?  I find that I am left with more questions…what do you think?

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What should education look like today in the 21st century?  Do we need to change the way we approach and view education? 

What Should Education Look Like Today?

It has been a crazy busy week and a half, but I am excited to report that I am officially done my grade two student’s term one report cards!  It is a great feeling knowing that they are all finished and that they will be in my student’s and their families hands on Friday.  Now my students and I just have to put final touches to the portfolios then my student’s will be able to show them to their parents and guardians on Tuesday and Wednesday during student led conferences.  During the conferences I will be setting up show what you know centers so students can showcase their learning to their parents.   What do you do for student led conferences?? I am so proud of each and every one of my students so I am looking forward to conferences!

meme victory baby about finishing report cards

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These last few weeks I have been busy finishing units and having students complete different assessments so I could decide on a summative mark for the outcomes covered in this term.  While I have been busy when marking, grading, and reflecting on my student’s progress I have also been busy exploring the assigned readings and viewings for my EC&I832 Emerging Media Literacies class exploring new and emerging literacies.  One of the articles was a framework that outlined different literacies and then went on to ask some critical questions that had my mind racing.  The NCTE’s 21st Century Framework outlined that, “active, successful participates in this 21st century global society must be able to:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.”

I think teachers should read this document because it had me reflect on what I believe is important to teach my students.  It does not matter what grade or age level of students you teach, it is vital for educators to think about their student’s future.   All of the questions in the document made me reflect on my own teaching practices and beliefs.  I also began to think about the Future Work Skills 2020 document that explores preparing students for the future.   While reading both of those readings I began to make connections and reflect on my teaching philosophy.  I remembered the inventories that I had completed in my EC&I 804 Curriculum Development class.  I can recall two inventories that we completed for the class that had us reflect on our teaching beliefs.  For the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) I scored the highest in nurturing followed by apprenticeship and for the Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI) I scored the highest in humanistic followed by behaviorist.  I was not surprised by the results because I believe in forming positive relationships with my class so I can get to know each of my students.  By getting to know my students I am able to plan around their interests and build their self-confidence so each child can begin to take responsibility in his or her own learning. I also believe it is important for students to take an active role in their learning, but there also needs to be a balance so I see myself connecting to many of the other philosophies.  It is vital to differentiate and reach all of my student’s needs.  But, what knowledge or skills will students need to have to be successful in life? How will educators help shape and create positive citizens?  How do we teach students to become creative and critical thinkers?  What do educators need to do to help students become successful when they get older? 

I encourage you to read Ashley Dew’s blog post, The Future of Education.  She brings up many valid points about using technology in the classroom, 21st Century learners, curriculum, and preparing students.  Ashley asks many good questions at the end of her post that I have started to wonder about myself.  All of the graduate classes that I have taken over the past few semesters has been challenging me to think more critically about our curriculum documents.  What skills and concepts are imperative to teach our students to help better prepare them for tomorrow?  It is so hard for people to answer that because we all have our own teaching philosophy and philosophies about education.

Does education need to start focusing on the skills and framework that was discussed in the two documents?  What should education look like in the 21st Century?  Do our curriculum documents need to be formatted differently?  Are the curriculum documents missing key components that would help prepare students for the future?

During this weeks readings I also watched a video entitled Texts and Tweets: myths and realties’.  During this video David Crystal discusses the myths and realties of texting, tweeting, and literacy.  Crystal points out five myths that many people have about texting and other forms of media such as Twitter and how it has effected the English language. The five myths that he discussed are:

  • Texting is full of abbreviations.
  • Abbreviations is something newly developed.
  • That people do not know how to spell because they leave out letters.
  • That young people are putting these abbreviations into their homework and exams.
  • That texting shows the decline of the English language.

Throughout the entire video he made valid points in showcasing that technology is not causing a decline in the English language.  People need to be literate to text people and to create Tweets  or create posts on other forms of social media.  Many people are fast to criticize how youth are constantly texting or posting on different forms of social media.  Crystal points out that they are improving their reading and writing skills by interacting with other people using the different tools.  Using these tools is more motivational for students as they want to interact with others.  It can also lead people to be creative.  Have you have heard of people creating 140 character novels on Twitter?  I never thought of an author being able to create a story using only 140 characters.  Technology can open the doors for so many people! 

girl sending an sms

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In the video David explores how texting is also improving literacy scores.  Though texting students are learning how to spell while practicing their reading skills.  For people to be able to text someone they need to be able to understand the message that the person is sending them in order to reply back to the person.  I could relate to Branelle’s blog post English Language: Ever-Evolving as I have also experienced my students spelling similar phrases that she mentioned in her post. My grade two students are young and learn from their environment.  I find that many people speak using those similar phrases and my students do not understand yet the difference between informal and formal language, but as they get older they will begin to understand those differences.  Crystal discuses that students know not to use abbreviations on their homework or exams despite the myths.  As  Branelle points out in her post that we all use a different forms of language when communicating to others.  People shift from formal to informal language depending on the audience, what they are writing about, and what tool they are using to write their message.  My favourite part of her post is how proves that she is a capable speller even when using abbreviations!

 

There is a lot to think about when exploring the topic of media literacy.  I  appreciated the video that Gloria shared on her blog post “Greater Appreciation for Integrating Technology.” The short video she posted was called “What is Media Literacy?” and it pointed out the changes in media literacy, what it means to be media literate, and that we are living in a participatory culture. During the video it asks: “What new media skills does a “participatory culture” require?”  Later it was discussed some skills that needs to be taught.  They are not technical skills, but are social and behavioral skills that are learned best through collaboration.  At the end it suggested that digital citizenship needs to be the new approach and those skills needs to be taught as soon as students have a device in their hands.  The Government of Saskatchewan has created a Digital Citizenship Continuum document that helps support teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 12 integrating digital citizenship concepts and skills into their classrooms. I think it is important to teach the concepts and skills outlined in the document because we need to teach students how to be safe, understand the digital laws, and how to interact positively in all the different digital spaces. But, I know this would overwhelm many other educators for many reasons.  I know many teachers  who already feel the pressure and are becoming more stressed because they feel they have so much on their plate.  There are also many other teachers that would not be comfortable teaching digital citizenship lessons because they do not interact in the different social media spaces and do not understand digital literacy. 

So what do you think education look like today?  How do educators help prepare their students for the 21st Century?  What skills and concepts do you think students need to learn in order to be successful?

What Does Media Literacy Mean To Me?

In class we were asked to do a couple of readings and watch a Ted Talk to prepare for our class that explored the topic of Media Literacy.  This was the first time I have ever thought about Media Literacy and what it means.  In Chapter One: “Why Increase Media Literacy” James Potter wrote how “our culture is saturated with media messages” (p. 3).   I never sat back to think about all the messages that a person views, reads, listens to, and watches throughout a day until I completed the readings.  I started to think about what different kinds messages there are and how I have responded to the messages.  I even thought about the lack of response I had when thinking back to some of the messages.  It made me begin to think about my students and in the importance of teaching them the decision making process and how to make positive choices.  Have you ever thought about the different messages you have been exposed to before?  On September 15, 2014 I wrote a blog post entitled “Digital Citizenship Webinar.”  At the end of the blog I discussed a poster that used the acronym THINK.  This poster was created to remind people about thinking before they post or respond on any digital format or social media.  I believe we can also use some of these ideas from the acronym to help us to be more critical when viewing media messages.  What are your thoughts?

new-think-image

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Often people do not think about all the different forms of media we read and view.  I have heard many educators voice their options of the importance of reading and writing, but viewing and the other ELA strands are just as important.  In the chapter Potter explores how media is growing at a rapid pace and it is hard to keep up with all the knew technologies.  Young children and youth are exposed to media on a daily basis and students interact with many forms of media.  During the reading it caught my eye when Potter discussed how “everyone can generate and share information to large number of people every day”  (p. 4).  He talked about how people do not have to be professional artists, journalists, or filmmakers to share their messages using different forms of media.  People are connected to media throughout their day and I never thought about how I am directly and indirectly connected to media.  “Over the past three decades, every new survey of media use has shown that people on average have been increasing their exposure time every year” (Potter, p. 4).  Later on in the chapter Potter explored how humans perform many tasks through developing automatic routines and went on to discuss a concept called automaticity.    Throughout the day humans respond and view to so many different forms of media everyday that sometimes it becomes apart of our routine and we do not pay attention to everything we are viewing or reading.  I believe that it is important to teach our students about media so they can become more media literate since they are developing more positive routines when interacting with media.  It is also vital that they understand more about how they interact with media  because their interactions can affect their digital footprint in either a positive or negative way.  What are your thoughts with children and youth interacting with media?

To prepare for my Monday’s class I also watched a Ted Talk by  Sherry Turkle called “Connected, but Alone?” for my EC&I832 Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy class.

Sherry Turkle studies technologies and people’s plugged in lives.  She discussed and found that the devices are so powerful “that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are.”  In her Ted Talk she talked about how people are plugged in during meetings and texting others instead of being present with the people and the company that they have.  Do you think people are not as present with the people they are interacting with in person?  Are people too plugged in when their focus should be on someone or on another task at hand?  Turkle talked about how “we are losing the true connectedness with each other.”  In my family we decided that cell phones were not allowed at the supper table and we always turned off the television.  Having family conversations was always important to my family!  It did not matter if a family member was away or not we always took the time to sit around the table and talk about our day.  I know when Damon and I start a family I want to continue that family tradition.  It is so important to stay connected with each other and make the time for loved ones!

The other day I was with some friends and one friend commented about feeling lost since their cell phone was left at home.  I know many other people who felt that way when they have forgotten their phone before or their cell had to be sent away to get repaired.  I usually always have my cellphone on me all the time, but when I walk into school I rarely look at my phone until I am finished work and leaving for home.  I like being able to keep my mind on work and not get distracted.  I try not to let my cell phone take over my life at home as well.  I am still someone who prefers to have a conversation on the phone or talk using Face time.  I am not a fan of having long conversations through text messaging.  I do not feel like I get to connect with the person I am talking to if only have a conversation with them through texting.  I know I do not give as much detail when I text someone a message compared to talking with them.  However, I do know many people who are the opposite of me and prefer to text.  Is technology changing who we are?  Are people leading their lives too plugged into the world instead of living in the moment?  Are we depending on technology too much? I know I will be reflecting on those questions throughout the next few months.