Online Could be the Glue

Topic 8: Online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children.

I’m sorry this is going to be a short blog post. Do I think that online learning is ruining children’s development? No, I don’t think it is ruining it. Do I believe that students get more if they are in-person learning? that is when I go back and forth on. I talk to the virtual school teacher frequently and hear about all the fantastic and wonderful things they’re doing and the resources they are utilizing. However, I think those things are more accessible in person, and kids are gaining those relationships with friends, just those everyday social skills, and learning how to regulate themselves in a group setting. There are many adaptations and compromises made in person that I don’t know if I made in the virtual school or Virtual learning. That being said, I know that virtual teachers do a fantastic job. I know those kids are gaining developmental skills and having those connections made online, so I am just unfamiliar with it. I can’t say that I was the greatest online teacher, so I haven’t had enough exposure to make a definite statement about my thoughts.

What I do know is that during covid-19, learning wasn’t an option. Online learning was fantastic, and I look forward to the groups I had every day and the reading we did. I had students that did move up and were able to share and connect with the group that I had, and I was able to personalize learning easier when we were online. Many of the skills that I learned during that online learning time throw covid utilized in person as well. I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to adapt and grow as an educator during those times.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I hope you’re having a great week.

Do Teachers Have to Teach Everything?

Topic 7: Educators and schools have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint.

This debate was interesting because there are many differing opinions on how far a teacher’s reach stretches. Do teachers have a responsibility to impact students’ digital footprint as well. My initial thoughts with this one are that we don’t because we already have plenty of duties that fall outside the side of our scope of what teachers should be teaching. However, I think it is important that teachers support and teach safe practices online, not necessarily to develop students’ digital footprints. However, a teacher should influence a student’s digital footprint.

I appreciated that some of our classmates were willing to stand up for what a teacher should and should not be responsible for. This commonly falls on teachers because when people don’t know who is responsible for putting it into our society, It generally Falls onto teachers or the education sector. I think that we as Educators need to be promoting and teaching digital citizenship and digital literacy to our students. I also believe that there is an opportunity to help some of our families who would not have gone to school when digital citizenship and digital literacy were a focus. I know that may be an unpopular opinion as it puts more pressure and stress on teachers and education. There just aren’t many opportunities or places that pull in so many people and have such an ability to make a positive impact in their community as a school.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that you are having a great week!

Ed Tech Feud!

Another class come and gone in this Master’s program. I do love these classes that have a focus on education technology and the issues surrounding the topic. This is my third class of ECI with a focus on Ed tech and probably my last one for a while as I cross back over to EDL in the fall. I was fortunate enough to work with Kelly Ziegler again in her final class in her Ed Tech Certificate! Congratulations Kel! We had fun making this slideshow and then putting some funny twists on it. Hope you enjoy the video and the journey we went on.


When we started with this idea a simple search on Google of “Family Feud Templates” lead me to Ditch That Book. From there I went through many of my notes on the debates, read blogs, and re-listened to make sure I was doing proper justice to all my colleagues hard work. Once we had all the information it we began typing it into the template from above. However, when I played it through I was not satisfied with the overall fell of the slide show.

  1. From there we went onto Kelly’s favourite, Canva! We began to make a template there along with the red X you will see in the video. Canva made it easy as it works similar to Google docs where you can both work on it simultaneously with auto saves. We downloaded the files and were able to plug them right into PowerPoint.
  2. We did use PowerPoint to collect all our information on. Kelly and I live in different cities and we wanted to the video not feel like another zoom. There is nothing wrong with that, we have just done it before and we like to create something new for each class/project.
  3. While listening to the video you will hear sounds that may be familiar to a Family Feud fan. I found these on YouTube and then used FLV2MP3 to download the audio files from the YouTube videos. I recommend if using this with students you have adblocker on because some of the ads are not appropriate for schools or a younger audience.
  4. Once we had the show set up we wanted to record our voice which you will hear for the answers. I was wishing we had a third person because we wanted a different voice for the host. I remembered something I saw on TikTok where you could use text to voice using a famous person’s voice. After a quick Google we were able to find fakeyou down and they had Steve Harvey’s voice!
  5. Then we had a split in the road as we were trying to figure out of to get us into the PowerPoint. As I said we don’t live in the same city. The idea hit us to use BitMoji extension on our Chrome browser so there was at least a visual representation of us! This is where we had a good time putting in some funny BitMojis.
  6. After we had everything we were able to mess around with transitions till we had it working just by starting it and having good timing along with all our little plug ins.
  7. I then used OBS studio to record the PowerPoint. I’m sure there is an easier way I am just familiar with OBS and find it easy to navigate for exactly what I want.

Now please enjoy the video!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this blog and watch the video. I want to thank Kelly again for agreeing to partnering up with me and having fun! I appreciated everyone’s point of view throughout the class and found it a rich experience to hear everyone’s thoughts on some hot button topics!

Texting or Learning?

Topic 6: Cell phones should be banned in the classroom.

Agree:Disagree:
Lu (Echo) LiuBret McMann
Lovepreet KaurReid Quest
Amanpreet kaurLeona Stephen

This is the new age question should we ban cell phones in the classroom? This is not as simple as yes or no. There is a real digital divide from class to class. Due to the lack of technology in some of the classrooms many of those students are missing out on some of the wonderful enhancers that come with being connected to the internet. Cell phones can potentially bring that experience to the classroom if the school division, school, or classroom lacks the technology to have laptops or tablets for their students.

I will remain split on this topic till the end of time. When I heard recently that Ontario banned cell phones provincial wide I found myself envious and shocked all in the same moment. When debating this topic one of my classmates Stephen Poll made a funny crack saying, “for teachers or students[?]…” Which does raise a valid point. I know there has always been the “why do teachers get it if we don’t” debate from students. However, why are teachers able to be poor role models with their cellphones and students can’t even bring them into the classroom/school. I do think about the amount of text messages I receive throughout the day and the anger people have if I don’t respond immediately while I’m at work. Yes, I do have my phone but the amount I use it is minimal as I want to be the role model for the students on how to moderate their screen time and control themselves. I can’t preach moderation if I myself can’t control myself. There are mostly likely teachers out there who abuse their phone in front of students and don’t allow students to have their cellphones in their classroom.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy week to read my blog. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Virtual Childhood Could Make for a Difficult one?

Topic 5: Social media is ruining childhood.

Agree:Disagree:
Fasiha TahaJennifer Owens
Gunpreesh KaurShivali
Dami OgundipeMike Gerrior

My initial thoughts are that social media is not ruining childhood. I have found myself swaying on this several times throughout the years. There is an unfair weight on negative social media and the impact it has had on students growing up. I may be in the minority by thinking that parents have a role to help guide their kids through the digital citizenship piece. Social media do have age warnings and are not there to overstep. They are there to protect our young people as they are navigating life. I know that it is easy to bypass however I do not think social media is doing more damage than Cosmopolitan/Men’s Health magazines plastered on the grocery store cash registers when we were little kids, distorting our expectations of the female and male bodies were. Also, with big, bold letters around “Best Sex Tips to Blow his mind!” Playing more into a gender-specific role for females, as Devin brought up.

Go online to stay in contact with in-person
This helps relationships to stay contacted. I have several family members in Alberta and Ontario. Social media helps me to feel connected to them and their lives. Also, when I was in a long distance relationship we relied on social media to feel connected.

“Under represented and creating online community: Imagine feeling alone and being able to connect online

Accessibility:
Eliminate stigma, connect with others, get help

Redefine learning:
Access a wealth of knowledge at anytime from anywhere. This helps students to take command of their own learning and also expand on their own interests.

Boundaries
Boundaries need to be taught and not just by educators but parents as well. Social media as with anything in life has many pros, but comes with cons as well.

Magazines and shows created these ideals of the perfect body well before social media. Due to social media, there has been more of a push for differences to be celebrated. In the last few years, we have seen plus-sized models becoming more popular, and we just recently saw the first model with Down Syndrome pose for Victoria’s Secret. This is one of the ways we see social media celebrating differences. Another thing that we see is that many of the front page models also post everyday photos of themselves on their social media not to create fake expectations for young women and help with body positivity.
In the end, I do not think social media is ruining childhood in the present day. I do believe that some trickier issues need to be navigated appropriately. There is this fear of technology, so the conversations are not very open. I believe social media is a great way to connect with others with similar interests. However, when children are doing this, I would like the conversation to stay open, so they feel they have support if things go wrong.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and I will be interested to read your thoughts in the comments!

UP TO BAT

Before I launch this blog post, I’d love to give credit to our opposition, Leah and Sushmeet. They did a fantastic job presenting the facts, and Leah raised some excellent points during our back and forth that stumped me a few times! 

PHEW! 
Debates are enjoyable, but as someone who enjoys making a competition out of everything in life, I found myself more wound up about basic skills than I thought I would be. Reflecting with my group mates and opponent after I had decided it would not matter what side of the debate I was on. I would have felt passionate about it because I like to win. That is not what these debates are about, but that is a retrospective view, not my feelings, as we were skillfully trying to persuade our classmates with our statistics and readings. 

Should basic skills be taught in schools, or is technology readily available, making it a thing of the past? In an Elon Musk world, we would have chips implanted in our brain where we can download this knowledge and not need to teach basic math computations, cursive writing, or spelling. However, in the present day, some of these basic skills still prove useful in day-to-day life.

Basic Math Computations: Kelly pointed out that basic math computations were essential to teach in schools because they are the basic foundational skills needed to advance into more significant math problems. 

There was a separate debate about how math is taught and that the need for memorization is not important anymore. I won’t even touch on my thoughts as this was not conclusive to our debate or the topic we were trying to discuss. 

Spelling: Alyssa outlined the importance of spelling as we develop young students into functioning adults. A focus in our province is reading. Spelling plays an essential role in learning to read and comprehend. There is a direct link to how spelling helps people slow down and learn the word. This makes recall of words easier when reading, and when we are proficient at those skills, it does help with comprehension of what we are reading. 

There were some excellent counterpoints surrounding spelling and the use of technology to bypass this fundamental skill. However, Alyssa pointed out that since 1988 even with the rise of technology, there was an increase in words spelled wrong throughout 100 words. Although we didn’t dive deeper into these statistics and compare reading scores, most reading programs heavily focus on spelling in conjunction. 

Cursive Writing: Lastly, cursive writing, where I spoke on behalf of. This is tricky because when I taught grades 3 and 4, the kids took pride in learning to write cursive. It was not a primary focus, but I had booklets or printouts, and during some free time, kids chose to practice and learn. As a child, I learned to write cursive. One of the big questions is, “why?”. I do not know if there is a correct answer. I enjoy writing notes and find that I write a fair bit in my day-to-day life. I am happy I have the knowledge of cursive writing because I use a hybrid of printing and writing. Along with that, I think that reading cursive writing helps me decipher some chicken scratch I see in daily life as well.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy week to read this blog. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments! 

Round 2… DEBATE!

In this post, I will do my best to summarize a great debate! The topic itself sparks thought-provoking conversation along with differing opinions. I’m sure this will be echoed through my colleagues’ blogs, but I felt both teams did a great job defending their sides, whether for or against. Coming into the debates, I had an opinion about the topics and was already leaning on one side. Throughout the debate and conversations, I found myself hard-pressed to choose a clear winner as they did a great job at dividing the room.


Debate #2: Technology has led to a more equitable society.

AgreeDisagree
Tracey KrenbrinkChristina Puscus
Nicole WiensAmaya Ander
Stephen PollMatt Fehr

Hope you got the mortal combat theme I was going for in the title. Although this was not as one sided as the gif below I do enjoy a debate. There is times of intense heat that resonate with the crowd listening. My favourite part of the past debates was the conversation happening from the observers. The pre-vote was not replicated with the final vote which lets you know it made for an interesting conversation.

Finish Him Mortal Kombat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The agree side started the debate with strong points such as access to education, differentiation for learners’ needs, and sharing of resources. These three points make it easy to see how technology, when properly implemented and utilized, can create opportunities for students not there when I was growing up. Technology can support teachers when planning with resource sharing, which directly impacts the students learning. Having access to a computer and projector in a classroom will enhance learning. We are fixated on a 1:1 ratio when discussing technology in a school. However, technology involved in the planning portion is having a positive impact on student learning. 

As you would know from any previous blog posts or knowign me, I was already leaning favourably in the agree side for this topic. That being said, when listening to a debate, I would be doing a disservice to approach it close-minded. The opposing side did a compelling job at outlining the cons of technology in education.
Christina, Amaya, and Matt pointed out that not all communities have equal access to technology as we may think. Not only separating communities, but there can be discrepancies within school divisions from facility to facility. This is impacted by one of their points which is funding. Technology is not a cheap tool to implement in schools, and with the rapid acceleration of advancements, there is an additional cost trying to repair and replace broken and outdated machines. Lastly, they touched on the digital divide. Throughout the pandemic, we have unfortunately seen this gap increase as we saw less fortunate families struggle to attend school due to a lack of devices within their homes.
Although I am in favour of technology in the classroom, it was eye-opening when the choice for online was made and how many families were impacted due to a lack of devices in their homes or having no internet. Coming from someone with access to technology and the things I need to help me succeed. Watching the digital divide increase for your students and their families is hard.

I appreciate you taking time from your day to read my blog. I’d love to know your thoughts down below. I hope you are having a great week!

The Great Debate Round 1!

In this post, I will do my best to summarize a great debate! The topic itself sparks thought-provoking conversation along with differing opinions. I’m sure this will be echoed through my colleagues’ blogs, but I felt both teams did a great job defending their sides, whether for or against. Coming into the debates, I had an opinion about the topics and was already leaning on one side. Throughout the debate and conversations, I found myself hard-pressed to choose a clear winner as they did a great job at dividing the room.


Topic #1: Technology in the classroom enhances learning.

AgreeDisagree
Megan HenrionNicole Romanow
Brittney MeyersDaryl Sveinson

If you have read my past blog posts, follow me on Twitter, or know me personally, you will see that I strongly agree with this statement. I did not think Nicole and Daryl would be able to change my mind. I am sorry to both of them to say that they didn’t. They did a great job exploring and arguing why/when it wouldn’t enhance learning. However, they changed my mind on how I view this statement now. I had not considered many of their points. It is not that technology can enhance learning in every classroom. Many factors and inequalities can stunt learning in a classroom rather than enhance it.

Megan and Brittney hit on some main focal points around technology enhancing the classroom learning environment. They spoke of:
Quicker Feedback: Technology can give quicker feedback than a textbook and can provide self-correcting steps based on the answers provided and how they were reached. Although not as authentic as an educator, there are still subjects such as math where a teacher’s authentic feedback is not necessary 100% of the time.
Meet the Needs of Learners: Technology can be an excellent aid for differentiating to enhance or support approaching students. Technology allows you to re-watch/engage with the material as often as you need. The ability to stop, pause, and think is not always possible with a teacher in a classroom setting.
Unattainable Experiences: They spoke about how the advancements in technology allow you as an educator to give the students insight and experiences that would not be possible without technology. We do not have the freedom to take our middle year classes to Paris, France. However, we can put our students in a more imaginative situation through virtual vacations and Google Maps. This is just one example of endless possibilities. Throughout the pandemic, companies were getting creative with engaging students virtually.

Although these are strong points and the reason I love technology in a classroom, Nicole and Daryl did a fantastic job arguing against it and giving me a second thought on some of the issues that can arise due to a heavy focus on technology. They touched on:
Unauthentic Experiences: Where educators are relying too heavily on technology and lack the personal engagement that students find rewarding about school. 
Dependency: This point could be argued for both the students and the educators at this point. If we rely too heavily on it, we are losing touch with our practice as educators and the authentic student experience.
Inequalities: With an already increased divide amongst younger students on who has a cell phone and who doesn’t. The norm of BYOD at school is increasing stress amongst our students who do not have those luxuries at home. 

As I said to begin this post I have my own personal biases about technology in the classroom and the positives it can bring to educators and students. However, I am aware that when not utilized correctly it can cause more stress than it is worth in a classroom setting.

thank you for taking time to read my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Another Day, Another App

Technology is a large part of my life and was an early interest of mine. I remember being young and the Doctor telling me that one-day gamers will have all the skills to be surgeons because everything will be through a computer. Although there are many years of school, along with an interest in biology to be a “gamer surgeon”, I just liked the idea of integrated technology in life. 

Whether I like it or not, technology is the first thing I use in the morning, and the last thing checked before bed. It has been for a while, and that is because my phone is now my alarm. I do not check my technology when I wake up; I will make it to work before I fully dive into a technology-filled day. Although I enjoy music in the mornings and rely on my Google assistant to tell me what the weather is looking like that day and tell me a joke or exciting fact before I leave in the morning.

Technology at work without involving the students is emails, communications, and data. It is not the things that necessarily thrill me about technology but necessary to be productive. I am always looking for new tools on Twitter or with colleagues with the students. I enjoy finding something new and then trying it out. There are always pros and cons, but it is incredible to have the students engaged and lead the exploration of a new application. Last week I heard on The Chey and Pav Show: Teachers Talking Teaching Episode 87. They talked about using Google Drawings and making Mosaic portraits linked to identity. However, I’ve used Google Drawing before and never used it in this light. The next time I was teaching the grade 3s/4s, it fits perfectly into our identity unit, so the students were currently in the process of making a mosaic. It was fun to explore with them, and when their curiosity peaked, I could give them tips and tricks to make it easier. 

Due to not being in a classroom full time in my role, I also enjoy sharing applications with teachers and encouraging them to explore with their students. I like this because I always get quick feedback from both the students and the teachers about the pros and cons. When I can get in there, they can teach me about it, even better! 

After school, technology runs a good part of my evening. Every day when I get home, I lay in bed for fifteen minutes and scroll through TikTok. Say what you want about TikTok, but I love it. It is the only social media app that makes me happy, and I don’t even interact with my friends on it. The algorithm gives me a small taste of everything I love: technology, gaming, woodworking, cooking, amazon products, and funny videos. I learn something on TikTok mostly every time I scroll through it. 

In the evenings, I usually wind my time downplaying games with friends. I have always enjoyed gaming because I am competitive. I do appreciate that it allows my friends and me to connect more frequently than we do in person. I stay in touch with family and have made some great friends online. Even if we are not playing the same game, sometimes it is just chatting through discord to stay connected rather than talking on the phone. 

Servers of interests, voice/video chats. Discord is an awesome application to stay in touch or find others with similar interests.

Technology has always been and will most likely remain a large portion of my life. I am always fascinated with the endless possibilities and the ease of access. I am looking forward to connecting with everyone throughout ECI830 this spring semester for some new ideas on utilizing technology to help keep the students engaged and curious learners. 

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this blog post. Hope you have a great week. I encourage you to take a risk with technology in your classroom this week and I guarantee the students will surprise you with their knowledge!