The Great Ed. Tech. Debate: Google and it’s Place in the Classroom

This past weeks debate focused around the topic argument for an against the following, “Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled: Agree or disagree?”. While each of my classmates debated I found myself agreeing with both sides of the argument. Sydney and Aurora both did an amazing job! Syndey’s argument focused on the pro side of the debate while Aurora’s focused on the con side.

Pro Side:

Sydney’s argument focuses on the concept that schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled. Sydney explains the concept of memorization and how why should we as educators spend so much time on ensuring students have memorized the information we have given to them rather than give students the tools they need to succeed. The article,Why learn facts if you can google?” further examines this concept and dives into the exploration of curricula and that if you cut back on traditional teaching such as having students memorize multiplication facts you can spend that time personalizing students learning experiences instead. While  I’m not 100% personally sold on this point, it is one to consider.

The next article, Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education, however, does spark my interest. While the article discusses the concept of minimalizing traditional teaching, it also explores revamping education. This excites me as the discussion of bringing in google searches, collaboration, and inquiry into the classroom. These concepts make me think of how we as educators are preparing students for life once they are done school, and as the saying goes, we are preparing students for careers that haven’t even been invented yet. So remains the question of how do we prepare students for the unknown? This is where becoming technologically literate becomes so important because if students are technologically literate they have the tools they need to think critically, synthesize, and problem-solve to learn.

Con Side:

Aurora’s argument focused on the concept that schools should focus on teaching things that should be googled.  Aurora shared this Ted Talk, which explains the results we find through the act of googling. Technology offers so much information, however, can be censored thus providing biased search results. When learning through inquiry or through other process technology is used to gather information. But when information becomes censored it becomes an inaccurate source because it may not always include all the information students need to make an informed decision.

One of the articles Aurora shared, Will Technology Make Teachers Obsolete? explained the human factor to teaching; in that society will always need teachers, however, their role may change to becoming more of a moderator rather than a keeper of knowledge. In addition to explaining how important a teachers role is in giving students a love for a subject and mentoring students throughout their educational journey. I think this concept is so important because it places value on the hidden curriculum, the things that teachers teach students that aren’t mandated to be taught such as social responsibility, respect, and ethics.

Articles and research aside, my own personal belief is that educators should be providing students with the ability to think critically with the information they gather. So although students may be able to google information to learn from teachers are there to guide students to push students thinking further to really examine their findings to make an informed judgment. In closing, I believe that being able to google is important, however, I still think schools and educators need to focus on teaching students things that can be googled.

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The Great Ed. Tech. Debate: Does Technology Enhance Learning?

Last weeks class kicked off our first Ed. Tech. debate – in which the two presenters were fantastic! The debate stemmed from the question, “Does technology enhance learning?”. As you can imagine this is a controversial question because there are many sides, viewpoints, and perspectives to consider. It was interesting to see how at the start of class so many individuals from our class believed that technology did enhance learning and then slowly that number dwindled down after the debate was concluded.

The Pro Side:

There are many pros that come to mind when thinking about how technology enhances learning. Including some points that Ashlee made in her post, for example:

  • Adaptations: technology can provide many adaptations for students that will enhance their learning and participation in class such as using a speech to text converter for students to record their new learnings if the student expressing difficulty with writing.
    • Check out this Teacher’s story through this article that explores how iPads would enhance student’s learning in this class that have Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.
  • Collaboration: provides the ability to connect with experts from around the world. For example, live chatting.
  • Resources: are at students fingertips where they can access information from a multitude of places and spaces, not only from the Encyclopedia in the library (not that learning from those is bad).
  • Multimedia: provides platforms such as audio, video, simulations, blogs where the learner is able to make a personal connection.

Overall, Ashlee’s debate really made me think about how technology has influenced the world in the past few decades and that we, when able and where it enhances learning, should be incorporating the use of technology into our teaching to instill a skillset in our students that they can translate into other areas of their lives. Additionally, after watching the video of the CNA Speaking Exchange it really spoke to the power technology can have in developing personal connections that enhance learning, such as through learning English via video chat. It was also a very heartwarming video, which I would recommend giving a watch if possible.

The Con Side:

There are certain cons that also come to mind when thinking about how technology does not enhance learning. Including some points that Raeann explored in her debate such as:

  • Cheating/Plagiarism:  Using technology provides students with the opportunity look up their answers where they take someone else’s work and is claiming it as their own.
  • Distraction: Distractions come easily when using technology which causes loss of time of instructional time. For example, students multitasking using platforms such as Facebook while in class because it is too tempting to scroll while in class.
  • Equity: Not every student has the same access to technology and therefore has different experiences in terms of how technologically literate they are. For example, one student may use a laptop, iPad, etc. at home frequently while another student may not and might struggle to keep up with their classmates.

All in all, Raenn offered a very unique perspective as to how technology does not enhance learning. Her argument is further supported by the article, Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom which emphasizes how technology hinders learning through lost learning time, misuse, and distraction.

In conclusion, I believe that under the right circumstances that technology can enhance learning when it is being used equitably. For myself, this means providing all students with opportunities to enrich their learning through technology, as well as addressing when technology is being misused and is becoming a hindrance to a student or their peers around them.

Technology’s Influence on Society

This past weeks class has really left me wondering about how technology has influenced society in the past few decades. While there are so many positives, such as connecting with people from around the world instantaneously, there are many things we must begin to think critically about. Our norms in society have changed so much; for example, wishing people happy birthday over facebook, or a post of sorts, rather than phoning, meeting in person, or sending a birthday card. Of course, there are many other ways technology has changed the way we live our lives for better and worse.

Photo Credit: tecmark UK Flickr via Compfight cc

In the past ten years, social media has influenced the lives of many. Whether it be through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. people young and old are posting online. One thing that I learned in this past class is that the pictures you post on Instagram are not owned by you, but rather the Instagram holds the rights of your photos. Crazy, right? I think this is where reading disclosures, licensing agreements, articles, or educating yourself in some manner becomes so important. Educating ourselves about all that social media entails allows us to become better educators that are able to teach students about how to be smart on social media and on other parts of the online world.

The article The IRL Fetish – The New Inquiry discusses some interesting theory regarding the effect of social media and how we value it in today’s society. This article revolves around the common obsession of focusing on being offline and focusing on “In Real Life” rather than an augmented digital space. For example, individuals are thinking and talking about being offline and are, in a way, chastising those who are using social media. What I have taken away from this article and this weeks class, is that it okay to be online using technology, such as social media, but do it in a way that adds value to your life and to remain critical and question what is found online.

My Digital Identity

After class this past week I reflected on my online presence.  As educators, we are held up to a high standard and are expected to be professionals both in and outside of the classroom. As always educators are expected to act in a way that brings honor to the profession at all times, just as stated in the STF Code of Professional Ethics, which applies to the online world as well. To help educators navigate in the digital world the STF has provided these 10 Tips for Teachers.

Other social media such as Twitter or WordPress I use in a professional sense. For example, anything on Twitter or WordPress is directly related to my teaching career. This social media is open for the public to see. Social Media, such as Facebook or Instagram, I use privately with family and friends. With that being said, I have ensured I have high privacy settings so that only those who are “friends” or “followers” can see my profile or posts. Although these accounts are locked, anything that can be found on my profile would be something I would be comfortable with an employer, student, or parent seeing. I believe that it is important that educators model like they would in the classroom, online behaviour that they would like to see from their students.

After looking at my social media I then turned to Duck Duck Go – a search engine that allows you to search yourself while avoiding a filter of personalized search results. I was happy to see that my blog and twitter account were the first things that popped up. Otherwise, I found things like my old track and field provincial meet records, x-country meet records, awards/scholarships I had won, and I also found some articles about a few of my cousins (but that isn’t too surprising as we share a pretty unique last name). All in all, I am proud of the professional identity  I have created online.

Introduction – EDTC 400

Hello everyone! I’m Kaytlyn and I am so excited to begin this course together! I am a fourth-year elementary education student and am working towards finishing the last three classes of my degree! This fall I completed my internship teaching in a grade four classroom as well as was a part of a learning support team where I worked individually with a student(s). My internship experience was AMAZING and was the best experience I have had while completing my degree (aside from ed. tech classes of course!)!

My goals for this class include learning more about how to teach students to use educational technology independently, to connect with more educators and build my PLN, and to begin using/setting up educational technology I would like to use in my own classroom for the fall. Please feel free to give my “About Me” page a look as well as follow me on twitter at @kplacatka

 

Pre-Internship

I can’t believe has fast pre-internship has come to an end. It seems only yesterday that it was beginning. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful experience I have had; this included an amazing cooperating teacher, teaching partner, students, educational assistants, principle, support staff, etc. There were so many positive opportunities, learning experiences, and memories that I will reflect on for years to come.

The first day of my pre-internship began and ended as quickly as a flash. I spent the day reacquainting myself with students and classroom routines, setting up my first ever bulletin board, signing agendas, photocopying, supervising recess, and teaching the first lesson of my unit. On the first day, we made a classroom culture book to ensure that all students felt they were safe and that their culture is honored and valued before diving into a unit that is full of history, wonder, and culture.

The second day spent in schools began at the new Harbour Landing School where I attended a professional development day where teachers get together in what is called a Community of Practice. For my cooperating teachers Community of Practice, a roomful of teachers discussed the book, “Teach like Finland” written by Walker. It was interesting to myself, and teaching partner, that many of the topics that were being discussed were already being discussed in our classes at university. For example, incorporating learning outside, building relationships with students, taking breaks, and creating a safe environment for students. During the second half of the day my coop, teaching partner, and I went back to the school and had the opportunity to attend a staff meeting.

Over the course of the next week, we dove straight learning about my unit (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Figures and Artistic Expressions). In these five days, we explored terms and definitions that would be used throughout this unit, past and present influential First Nation and Metis figures, the significance of music, dance, and art. For the delivery of each of these lessons, I used a variety of instructional strategies such as jigsaw and learning stations. During this week I introduced the classroom Wonder Board and I must say I loved using it and will definitely be using it in the future. Students wrote down such insightful questions, comments, and thoughts that they were having. It was so great seeing each students engagement with the knowledge that each lesson held. Some of the students’ responses on the Wonder Board were:

  • Who writes history?
  • How did the history of the world come to be? Who made it?
  • How does someone become an Elder?
  • Why was Louis Riel so important?
  • Why is there history?
  • How are tipis made?
  • What did Metis kids do when their parents were hunting and sewing?
  • Where did medicine come from?
  • What did people eat? What did people hunt?
Student Recreation of one of Allen Sapps pieces

In the next week, we dove straight into our inquiry. Each student selected an individual and began researching. Once students had completed their research they wrote a biography of the individual they had researched and then once everything else was completed, created a visual to go along the topic of which the students had been researching. While I think learning through inquiry is so meaningful, it is challenging. Though, challenges can be overcome. For example, some students did not complete their research as they were struggling to find information on the individual they had chosen. So, as an adaptation, I researched each individual chosen and put together a document for each individual that students could read and find information that they could not previously find. During the inquiry process, each student learned at their own pace. Meaning that for some students they worked on their biography for a day whereas other students took four; thus creating a wide gap in each student’s progress of their inquiry process. For someone who likes to be organized and order, this was a challenge for myself personally; so, I went outside of my comfort zone in order to be flexible and adapt to my student’s needs. For students that could not write, myself and my teaching partner scribed for our students as they told us what they knew, we then recorded it into their duotangs.

My teaching partner and I then had the opportunity to take part in the student/parent/teacher conferences. I loved this. As previously, we had been the student at conferences and had never been able to experience all of the work, effort, and preparation that is spent on this crucial meeting place between a student’s education and home. It was interesting to see and learn about each student’s parents, home life, cultural beliefs, etc. worked. It was truly a valuable experience to have had.

In the last week, in my unit, students finished up their inquiry projects. Additionally, on the second last day we read a story and then made our very own bannock; let me tell you everyone in the school was poking their heads into the kitchen to see what was cooking. Finally, on the last day, we had a celebration of learning where students shared what they had learned and produced and ended with having snacks and reminiscing about the past month spent together as a class.

I have learned a lot over the course of the past month; more than can be put into words. While this experience has gone by like a whirlwind, I do not think I could have had a greater experience with such a wonderful cooperating teacher. During my time spent with her, she was beyond gracious. Many preps were spent pre and post-conferencing, having heartfelt discussions, photocopying numerous resources for us pre-interns to take home. She did more than support me, she allowed me the freedom to grow and develop to find out what works, or what didn’t work, for me as an educator. I can only hope to one day follow in similar footsteps.

In the past three weeks, I have learned a tremendous amount about the teaching profession. I have built relationships with students that I now hold dear to my heart. Their stories, ‘aha’ moments, and accomplishments large or small. I’ve come to learn that it’s not whether you delivered your lessons perfectly, misspell a word, or if you pronounce a word incorrectly that students remember. Students remember who you are. They remember if you were kind, caring, and loving. This has impacted my educational philosophy beyond belief. So I leave you with the quote my cooperating teacher has left me with; which is reflective of my pre-internship experience:

“If a student learns something along the way that’s a bonus. But if your students walk in and walk out of your room each day knowing that they are loved – then you have done your job – and you have done it well.”

A Bittersweet Last Day!

Today’s classroom experience was bittersweet! Sweet in that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at my placement and bitter in that it was the last time I will see everyone until March. The day went by so fast, it was crazy! At the end of the day, it was time for my teaching partner and myself to do our lesson. Since it was the last day, we wanted to do something special and fun with the kids. So, my teaching partner and I themed our lesson around cupcakes!

We started by reading a book to all of the students that was about cupcakes. We then proceeded to hand out a template to the students for them to create and describe their own cupcake. Students would then draw and color their ideal cupcake and then describe it using full sentences below. Here are a few examples of student work:

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To the students surprise after they all completed writing and drawing about their ideal cupcake we handed out icing, sprinkles, and a chocolate cupcake for every student to design. All of the students were excited and very engaged throughout our lesson. With the remaining cupcakes, some of the students even decorated more cupcakes for teachers, our educational assistant, janitor, etc.

I cannot express how grateful I am to have had such a wonderful teaching experience. I am looking forward to March when I return to teach and learn more in conjunction with these students, coop, and school community.

Missing Nimama

What a day! Today’s classroom experience was one that full of learning! At the start of the day I taught my lesson for the day in English. To start the lesson I read students the book “Missing Nimama”. Before we began reading the book students all made inferences as to what they thought the book would be about, some of the students were spot on! Next, we flipped to one of the beginning pages where the book identified some Cree words that would be used in the book. We then wrote out these words on the board with their meaning written beside them. While doing this, as a class, we sounded out each word; keeping in mind that when speaking Cree the letter k is pronounced as “g” . I then asked the students what languages they all spoke and there was a variety that was shared! As we read the book students were very engaged and asking questions throughout. At the end of the book students then were to take out a piece of paper and summarize or retell the story in some format (via a comic strip, poem, song, paragraphic format, etc.) in addition the students had to include the following in there responses:

  • Title
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Problem
  • Events
  • Conclusion

I wanted to use this book in particular for this lesson as it includes Indigenous content, such as muddled and missing indigenous women in a child friendly manner. While this was an emotional topic it is valuable as it relates directly to students lives.

Following this we proceeded with the rest of the day. After lunch and I my teaching partner and I read the book “the book with no pictures” and the kids LOVED it! This book is definitely would I would like to have in my classroom library! Later in the afternoon we then had an artist come into the classroom that taught the class about drama, it was an interesting lesson; the artist in her career even acted on the Saskatchewan comedy Corner Gas as the cranky librarian. All in all it was another wonderful day and I cannot believe how fast this semester has been flying by! Only one more field experience to go before our winter break, but I am excited to return to the classroom for the three week block of my pre-internship next semester.

Exploring Science and the Pan Flute

After another crazy busy week/weekend of working on assignments, I am exhausted! Despite this, I had a wonderful day in the classroom with my grade four students once again.  My teaching partner’s and I’s day began as students filed into the classroom at the ring of the morning bell. It was wonderful to see all of their bright smiling faces flushed red from being outside in the new winter air.

My cooperating teacher and my teaching partner both taught their lessons in the morning. The morning went smoothly and by the time the lunch bell rang all of the students were gung-ho to go for lunch and then go back and explore outside, as they were doing earlier during the morning recess. After lunch, the students came in and once they were settled off we went to the library! Before I knew it was time for me to teach my lesson.

I began the lesson by asking if anyone knew what a pan flute was, and I am ever so glad I did! One of my students had an excellent explanation that she shared with the class. In addition, one of the students that don’t usually share, or when he does is not usually relevant to the material we are talking about, shared with the class that he had one at home. For the students that were unfamiliar with what a pan flute looked and sounded like I played a snippet of this video to give students an idea.

After watching this video and having a group discussion we proceeded to the exploration section of this lesson. As a class, each student created their own pan flute. I had written instruction on the board in order to support students construction of their pan flute, provided a verbal explanation, and assisted students throughout the creation process by answering questions and helping students along the way.

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The students really understood the purpose behind this lesson and I was so happy I was able to do it with them! Throughout my lesson I heard students saying things such as, “the smaller straws make a higher sound” or “the long straws make a lower sound” as well as “this is like when you blow on a coke bottle”. It was wonderful to heard the students connections between what we were learning through this activity as that made what the students and I were learning about that much more meaningful!

All in all it was another wonderful field experience once again and I look forward to spending next Wednesday in the classroom again!

Emotional Emojis

After another crazy week of classes, my Wednesday field experience has come and gone. This past Wednesday I taught a lesson about our feelings/emotions in regards to how it feels when you are included or excluded. The lesson began by students reading books about various emotions such as anger, happiness, sadness, etc. in their table groups. Once they completed their books, we then brought in drama to the day’s health lesson by playing “Emotional Animals” where students would roll two dice (1 die’s faces were all animals and the other die’s faces were emotions) and have to act out the results, almost like charades. The students LOVED this, it is definitely something I will hold onto and use in the future.

Next, in order to relate to students interests and to check their understandings of what emotions/feelings are I gave out a handout that had a few scenarios and students would cut out emoji’s and then glue them to the scenario that they felt fit best…. This is a formative assessment that I will also keep for later in my teaching career. Following the completion of the “Emotional Emojis” handout students then gathered on the mat.

From there we then read an excerpt from a children’s book that talked about inclusion. We then had a discussion about why it is important to include others and how it makes people feel when they are excluded. Which is then where one student asked, “What is autism?”. What a teachable moment! I am glad I had my cooperating teacher there as she aided me in my explanation. But after it was explained there weren’t any more questions as all of the students seemed to understand and were very respectful. This students question was a reminder that, as teachers, we always have to be prepared to answer questions in a student-friendly way.

After our discussion, students then went back to their table groups and were given a sheet of chart paper. On the paper students wrote, “Some ways I can include my peers”. Students then brainstormed and discussed with their classmates some ways that they could include their peers by either writing or drawing on the chart paper.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I am looking forward to my next teaching opportunity.