How Open should our classrooms be?

When we first started the debate this I was sure that I wanted to create a transparent space where parents could see any of the work that their child had created and that we could share that openly. But little by little I began to question my philosophy.

One of the articles Dryden shared with us called “Openness to Ideas, Perspectives and Change Yields Trust in the Classroom” Is my motto. Transparency is best and that it is good to be open with those around you about the things that are happening and that way you will create a better bond with the people that you are working with. I still believe that being open with people about what is happening is going to create some of the best relationships, but s sharing students work freely on the internet really something that I want to be apart of?

Photo Credit:CREST ResearchFlickr viaCompfightcc

While one of Ashley’s articles titled, “Teens speak: Should students publish their school work online?” talks about how some students choose not to make their blogs public, so that nobody can read their work or copy it and make it into something that it was never meant to be. Shouldn’t we all have a say in what our work gets to be used for? And maybe once we understand the consequences of having our work online we might change our opinion to how we display our work. Students should be given a choice in what their assignment says about them and who can see is.

I believe now that we can share students work online if we have their consent, or in the case of presentation I heard last night if we are using an anonymous student to teach the class about some common error that is present in their work. But even if we are sharing their work online we should consider what it could mean for the student and their relationships and digital identity. We don’t want to control what happens to their digital identity, but we do want to share their expectational skills with family, friends and peers.  As teachers we need to teach our students what a safe online presence looks like and how we can shape it into something that we want to show the whole world, but don’t have to show if we aren’t comfortable.

 

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“I’ll just Google it” A look into teaching in a Time of Google

This week in EDTC400 we debated whether or not we should be teaching material that can be Googled. This left me pondering the line of what can and can’t we Google? To my understanding if you can put it into words you can Google it. So following my logic, we stop teaching because everything in the curriculum is in words so therefore can be Googled. (I guess I’m already voicing my opinion on this without explicitly saying it. ) In that case what’s the point of teaching if you can just Google it? I know I’m pessimistic but even after the debate I still feel this way.

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By letting a group decide what can and can’t be Googled we are giving them the power to tell us what is and isn’t important. Because we are allowing them to remove content from what we are assessing in the classroom.

One of the articles that Sydney shared with us titled Advent of Google means we must rethink our approach to education states:

Any standard room in a Holiday Inn is better than the best facilities in an emperor’s room in the 15th century. Air conditioning, hot and cold running water, toilets that flush, TV and the internet. The middle class lives better today than any emperor ever did. Going back to horse-drawn vehicles is not the solution to our traffic problems and pollution. Beating children into submission will not solve the problem of educational disengagement.”

So basically we live better now then a king did in the 1400’s, so why would we go back to living that way when we have all these things now that make life so much better. Drawing a parallel to education, that we aren’t going to go back to beating children into submission when we have so many resources to make their learning better. We should be using the technology that is in our space but isn’t it a step backwards to remove a teacher to replace them with a Google machine?

While in one of the articles that Aurora shared with us titled, How Google Impacts The Way Students Think, shares with us this idea that students who “Google it” tend to find the solution to the problem and then they are done. Students won’t go further to understand why it is that way, or question what they have found, they found the solution so why care about that other stuff when you can just Google it when you need again? But isn’t it easier to understand how a chemical reaction works then it is to Google it, and relearn the whole process.

I believe that we still need to teach content that can be Googled (because it can all be Googled) but that we still need to give students an opportunity to find their own solutions first. We should be giving them thought provoking questions related to the topic where they can begin to find a solution and we can guide them in the correct direction, but there are still somethings that need to be taught. I know as a student if you would have told me that I needed to Google in order to learn about World War 2 I would have been lost, confused and frustrated, would have given up and never learnt anything. Teachers still need to be there if you are asking students to learn on their own because it’s hard to learn from a Google search as they are often over-whelming and hard to understand.

Enhancing Learning within the Classroom

Contrary to my position that I took in the EDTC400 debate, I do believe that

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using technology in the classroom CAN enhance learning.

One of the articles Ashlee provided for us, As Technology Becomes Easier to Use, Our Depth of Learning Needs to Continue to Increase, he talks about technology becoming more and more user friendly, like iPhone which don’t come with a manual because they are so easy to use. In this article they ponder if children are more tech savvy or if the tech is that much easier to use. Which to me is a great thing, because the tech is that much easier to use we as teachers should be able to make use of the technology in such a way that it enhances student learning even more. Why can’t we let students use any technology to prove to us that they understand how the periodic table works? We shouldn’t be restricting our students to one way of showing that they have the knowledge that we have asked them to have.

While one of the articles that I have provided the class, The dark side of educational technology, talks about how technology is great but we don’t consider what it means to use it in a way that will enhance classroom learning before we implement it. So as a result it means that many of our classrooms are technology rich, but the technology is used as a reward, or simply to replace a white board, it is not used to enrich learning. And because students have become accustom to technology as a reward it makes it very hard for teachers to get the students away from this mentality of technology as a game.

But when technology is integrated in ways that use the TPACK and SAMR models a lot of good can be done with the technology. This is why I argue that it isn’t about the technology that is being used but rather the integration of the technology. If a teacher simply gets a student to type an essay instead of hand writing it there is no enhancement going on.  But a teacher who gives students access to digital molecule models is enhancing their learning because they are now able to visualize what a water molecule looks like in 3-D. So if the technology is poorly integrated, I say that there is no point in having it. But when the technology is integrated in a meaningful way, it enhances learning and allows students to explore their findings and be curious.


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Can we help when it comes to technology?

Upon looking at even just the titles of the various reading that we did for EDTC400 this week left me with many questions. Was the internet made to make us feel alone in a space full of people? Is technology helping in the classroom? Can we still talk to each other face-to-face?

After listening to “Connected, but still alone” by Sherry Turkle, I am left to ponder if young people especially actually can have conversations with one another, or if we have simply become good at pretending to talk to one another through technology. We have a desire to feel connected to each other but we don’t want to deal with the burden of being connected to someone, seems utterly problematic to me. How can I prevent this from happening to my students, who by the time they get to me will already have such a connection to their device that they will be dependant on it? I don’t think I can prevent this problem, because students will already be facing it. Turkle give the example during her talk that a hospital has implemented robot

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babies that are supposed to help people who are grieving a loss. It helps by letting the parents work through they emotions and the ‘baby’ follows their actions. But is this really helping the parents? Or are they now bonding with the baby that could always be their baby? To me this is a great theory, but seems to be causing some issues that could be more problematic.

Causing issues that could be more problematic seems to be a theme throughout the articles. Giving children in Ethiopia tablets, doesn’t solve their problem of not having a good education. It gives them the option to teach themselves, but what other lessons are they missing when they don’t have a teacher? Especially of those children choose to ONLY play on their tablet.  To me this hasn’t solved any problems, it has just created bigger ones that are going to have a ripple effect. Much like giving a young child a cell phone creates a ripple effect that can be seen following them for years.

As teachers I think that it is our job to address the many issues that come into account when we see a rise in the ways that students use their technology. It is also up to us to ensure that from a young age children are able to understand what it means to be safe on the internet so that we might create students who know the implications of poor choices online.

The Great EdTech Debate: Technology in the classroom enhances learning.

For our first week of debate I am arguing against the statement: Technology in the classroom enhances learning.

My focal points being:

  •  Technology acts as a distraction,
  • causes lots teaching time,
  • changes the morality about cheating,
  • gets overused,
  • is ill-considered when implemented,
  • and has no proof that it actually helps students to learn.

 

What does the class think??

Who am I online?

When I first read the prompt provided for us for EDTC400 I thought to myself that everything that I have on my social medias is nothing that I would be ashamed of if someone saw it. So naturally the first thing that I did was open Microsoft Edge ( a browser that I hardly ever use) and searched my name. The first thing on the list was my blog, this surprised me because I didn’t realize that many people had visited my blog enough for it to pop up as the first thing that appears when I search me name.  Other things that showed up included a Prezi that I made in grade 11, some of the results from the SDA (Saskatchewan Drama Association) Regional results from 2013, more blog posts, some newsletters from the school I went to were my name was mentioned, and the obituaries of some of my grandparents. I was floored, because every other time I’ve searched my name most of what popped up hasn’t even been related to me, and this time the first 9 results were all of me.

Anyone else searched their name before??

After I finished my search I thought I would go look through my social medias. I opened my Facebook and there I saw various photos that I had taken and posted form the many family trips that I have taken, and birthday wishes from all my friends, and a few random posts that I had made back in high school that are like some weird inside joke that doesn’t make much sense now, but if you are not my friend there is very little that you can see. So I switched to Instagram, its a lot of photos of me with my partner, travelling photos and quotes. But if I have not given you permission to see what I have posted you cannot see any of the photos that I have shared. As far as Twitter goes, I have not had it very long so I know that everything that I have tweeted and shared is related to education and technology.

Photo Credit:Salm3nFlickr viaCompfightcc

Overall, I think that my digital identity is sending a message that I am a good person who is rounded enough to teach those around me in ways which they will learn. There is nothing in my digital identity that I fell ashamed of. In fact from the moment I made all my social media accounts I have been aware of what I have been posting and what it might say about me. I don’t want those who don’t know me well to be able to make a bad impression of me from my social medias, and honestly I don’t think that you could.

If I could better my digital identity, I would start my fixing the appearance of my blog, it’s setup very bland and doesn’t really say to much about me. My blog is honestly just posts that I have made for education classes, and I would like to jazz it up and make into something that I could use as an e-Portfolio. As far as my social medias go it don’t want to change what I am doing, because I believe that it says good things about me. I want to keep going and sharing things that my digital identity flourish and make it hard to have a bad impression from what you see on my medias.

 

Welcome to EDTC400

Hi, my name is Raeann. I live on a farm outside Regina, where we have cattle and grain farm.  I also work part time at the daycare in my home town, I’ve worked there for 5 years. In my spare time I enjoy reading and baking.

This photo was taken early one morning when I was driving to work, I feel that it shows you what a little bit of my day looks like.
These are a couple of our cows from the spring

I took EDTC300 last semester, and learned briefly about how you should be using technology in a class. In the 400 level class my three goals are:

  • to gain enough knowledge about the ways that I might tie technology into a classroom in a meaningful way and feel comfortable doing so,
  • to understand how using technology benefits students, and not just making it easier to find information and giving more freedom to the ways that things are presented,
  • and lastly I hope to have created a helpful roster of resources that I can use in my future.

In case any of you are interested in following my twitter adventures click here

o to gain a lelvel of confidence that makes me – And i