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.

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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