My very first vlog in response to this weeks debate in EC&I 830! Check it out!
My very first vlog in response to this weeks debate in EC&I 830! Check it out!
I have a homeroom class of grade 9 students this year and we talk often about what ‘digital footprint’ means along with the pros and cons of social media. I really like this video to prompt further conversations.
I have my own personal opinion when it comes to the idea of sharing personal or student’s work/information on social media, and I acknowledge that my personal opinion is neither right nor wrong (this is a very controversial topic). The past three debate topics in EC&I 830 have all been intriguing, but this week’s topic (educators sharing information online) frustrated me! I found myself frustrated because I agree with both sides of the conversation. I agree with Shelly, Esther and Kari, that sharing online increases connectivity with parents and the community and that it can help shape appropriate use of the internet creating smart digital citizens. However, I also agreed with Amy, Joe and Dani that ethically, posting and sharing things online can be dangerous, unsafe, and unfair to our students and families.
On one hand, we are encouraged as educators to incorporate, introduce, role model and guide the use of technology but on the other, fear is instilled in us regarding what is ethically appropriate and what is not. I am a rule follower (especially in professional environments) and without clear guidelines or policy indicating to me what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, I am not a risk taker. Although there are measures put in place to protect student’s privacy (such as parental consent forms for release of images), I have heard too many stories of teachers being reprimanded for posting something online that is deemed inappropriate by someone else. Also, there have been many active conversations surrounding privacy this year within school divisions. Collectively, myself and fellow colleagues have been told to delete any information that even hosts a child’s name off of our Google accounts and to have no paper or online documentation. How then can I convince myself to create an online presence that in return creates a digital footprint for my students? The debate topic this week definitely frustrated me because of this internal battle I am having.
I agree that fostering appropriate use of social media sites at school should definitely be discussed but also, what responsibility are we placing on parents? Right now, cell phones are being placed in the hands of children and adolescents who do not have the capacity, understanding or awareness of what is appropriate versus inappropriate. Social media sites and online games are open on almost every student’s phone, and many are continually searching for some sort of instant gratification whether it is a snap chat from a friend, a like on Instagram or a gold coin rewarded for winning a game.
To be honest, I try to stay current with advancements in technology but I struggle with it. Like Kristen mentioned in her blog, I am also hesitant and often times resistant to change. Because of my role within the high school I teach at, it is hard to implement and use technology in “cool and engaging ways” because I am not implementing curriculum and don’t have the flexibility to create new and exciting projects. Therefore, I found myself thinking “How does sharing students work promote growth for the student? To what extent are we exposing our students and creating a digital footprint for them in order to promote ourselves as teachers/professionals? Is this fair?”
When your intentions are good.. giphy.com
I realise this could be another controversial topic but unfortunately, sometimes we may be exposing our students for our own personal gain – to showcase what we are doing in our classrooms, how we are implementing inquiry based practices and so forth.
After reading the Forbes article in this week’s suggested readings, things were clarified for me. Dianne Forbes discusses in her paper that “teacher educators must look to make professional use of social media, before turning their attention to social media for student learning.” She also touches on learning communities and the benefit of engaging in a community of professionals where one can trade information, share resources, ask and answer questions and discuss educational issues. That being said, these online communities can benefit and impact TEACHERS and STUDENTS. Specifically, students can learn to become independent learners. Students can also learn to create positive digital footprints by shadowing an educator’s positive behaviour online. There is no doubt that education must remain future forward, and preparing and modelling positive sharing to student’s is essential.
There were many great ideas presented in this week’s debate and it was nice to hear of different tools teachers are using the connect with families (i.e- Seesaw, Remind). These are tools I see myself using in my classroom because of the ability to connect with a specific audience. If I were a parent of a young child in school, I think I would love to be connected and to see photos and work of my child. Although this class is opening me up and creating a more comfortable relationship between technology and I, I will remain hesitant when using social media forums and when sharing photos or work of students until policy becomes clearer.
One last thing…
Although teachers are professionals and should know what is right and wrong, I think the Common Sense Education website does a good job outlining the do’s and dont’s of posting and sharing student information, work and photos online.
My team argued in the class debate this week that schools should not teach things that can be googled… and we did not win the class vote!
Now, I can’t say I am surprised. Although I do agree that schools should not teach things that can be googled, I understand the flip side of the argument as well. Today’s ever-changing world is hard to navigate through for both students and teachers. To view my groups opening argument, click on the blue print! (We used WeVideo to create the video, a great tool for collaboration). While researching this topic, we highlighted three critical points:
Google is beginning to take over our classrooms and I see this in the high school that I teach at. The school is equipped with Google Chromebooks, teachers have Google Classroom’s set up for different classes, and students research anything they take interest in. The New York Times published an article written by Natasha Singer that explains how “Google is helping to drive a philosophical change in public education — prioritising training children in skills like teamwork and problem-solving while de-emphasising the teaching of traditional academic knowledge, like math formulas. It puts Google, and the tech economy, at the centre of one of the great debates that has raged in American education for more than a century: whether the purpose of public schools is to turn out knowledgeable citizens or skilled workers.” Quite frankly, I think there needs to be a healthy balance and that schools should be turning out knowledgeable citizens that are also skilled workers. It is crazy to think that many students we are teaching right now, will have jobs that do not currently exist.
We should be teaching students how to learn versus what to learn. Children are growing up in a generation where more information is readily available to them than any generation before. Because of this, technology has welcomed and linked members of society to a life of lifelong learning. The unfortunate thing is that we are trying to overcome and navigate through this 21st century information overload with learning behaviours that are thousands of years old. Although I believe that memorisation is not “learning” I do value its importance and understand its value in regards to learning skills such as reading, writing and multiplication. However, more abstract ideas require more abstract learning and much of this can be taught through the use of technology and search engines such as Google.
I was speaking with my grandma last night who is 84 years old and she talked about how school was hard for her because she couldn’t remember things quickly and when asked to write a test, she forgot much of what she studied. To say that these traditional practices are proven effective seems wrong. Students in today’s 21st century struggle with these demands, as did students from previous generations. That being said, I think today’s generation has even more barriers to overcome because of the mass increase in the use of technology. My group member Channing Degelman asked in our team debate, when in our current careers are we ever placed in a room with a pen and paper, silenced and told to write down everything we know about particular topics….. never.
In my role as a high school learning resource teacher, I watch my students struggle immensely with particular assignments that require memorisation of information. Many of my students are challenged in areas of short term working memory and long term retrieval of information. As a result, they don’t grasp concepts because their focus is solely on trying to pack their brain full of information. Many times, this results in a feeling of defeat which instils hesitancy towards learning.
If I could change curriculum, I would place more emphasis on experiential learning throughout all subject areas. As educators, we know that the more we teach about a topic, the more we learn. If we flip this around, I believe that the more our students become their own teachers, the more they will learn.
So, ponder this: Does teaching mean we need to continually relay information to students or does teaching mean we can take on a role of a facilitator or a guide to learning relying on resources such as Google to assist us in this role?
I think there a lot of question marks when pondering what the future of learning in a digital age will look like and that right now there is no definitive right or wrong answer. Now and in years to come, I believe the following questions posed by Davidson & Goldberg will continue to be hot topics for debate:
In this week’s class debate I agreed that technology enhances learning although I can identify with those who disagree. Below I have highlighted three points that stood out to me that were argued by each side, with research to support their claims:
|Pros of Technology||
Cons of Technology
|1. Helps engage students
2. Provides opportunities to all kinds of learners (can include everyone)
3. Allows for collaboration
1. Used inappropriately and therefore is distracting
2. Eliminates face to face interaction (lacking social skills)
3. Equitable opportunities are limited due to access
In my ideal perfect world, technology would be incorporated into every classroom to help engage learners, there would be an unlimited supply of devices readily available to students and all devices would be used properly. However, as technology continuously evolves, I believe society struggles to keep up and also to adjust to this new digital era we live in. We seem to have drawn a strong attachment to the techniques and teaching practices from the past. I really liked a point that my classmate Amy Snider made in last night’s discussion when she stated that “pencils and sharpeners were once new technology”. As educators in this digital era I think we must embrace the opportunities that technology present us with (pros), and problem solve in hopes of eliminating the less than ideal barriers that the use of technology pose (cons).
Reflecting on my role as a Learning Resource Teacher in a high school, I am a huge advocate for technology in the classroom as I see first-hand how it impacts and has changed the lives of many of my students with learning needs. Many of my students are provided with assistive technology devices from the school board and programs such as Google Read & Write, Audible, Kurzweil and Proloquo2go help students in a variety of ways (communication, writing, reading, etc). If we were to eliminate these tools from the classroom then we could start a whole new debate regarding equitable opportunities 🙂
I really like what my school has done in response to teacher’s concerns of inappropriate use of cell phones in the classroom. The photo posted below is a picture of the school cell phone policy and cell phone hotel that each classroom has. Teachers are able to use this to their discretion and some use it more than others and in varying ways. Rather than simply taking students phones away to eliminate distraction, my goal is to teach the students that there is a time and place that cell phone use is appropriate (as Katie mentioned last night in the debate). The school also integrated a course called Digital Citizenship into the grade 9 Practical and Applied Arts class. I feel this is beneficial but this is also something that we could be more proactive with in the early elementary school years.
Overall, I am for the implementation and use of technology in the classroom to help engage learners today. I think that moving from teacher-centred instruction to student-centred learning needs to have more emphasis placed on it. By questioning, guiding and facilitating students in the learning process, students will draw on strengths and interests and will develop deeper understandings of content and material. I also believe that if we can create student centred learning opportunities, more time is freed up for teachers to connect with students and to build and strengthen relationships (which is also a leading topic in the world of education).
I have lots to learn when it comes to implementing technology into my classroom in a more efficient and effective manner but I am open to all ideas! As an educator, I believe it is my job to stay current with the upcoming trends and technological advancements. Let’s be honest, technology is not going anywhere.
My name is Jodie Sonntag! Below I have included some information for you to get to know me a little better 🙂
6. I have two cats, Piper and Bear.
7. I am passionate about helping those around me and believe that every individual has the potential to be amazing.
8. Travel has been a huge part of my life and has provided me with experiences that continue to challenge and shape my personal worldview.
9. I am a sports enthusiast. Living an active and healthy lifestyle helps me to maintain balance in my life.
10. Blogging makes me nervous because of the vulnerability around sharing my thoughts with others. I am excited to take on this new challenge.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world- Nelson Mandela