EC&I 830…

Featured Image Source.

…it’s been a slice!  space cat pizza GIFThanks so much for everything this semester as we worked through some pretty heavy course material.  Every debate was a nail biter and I was grateful for the opportunity to explore the other side of topics I thought I was sure on.  You’re expertise and time was so appreciated.  To Alec, thank you for the support and guidance as I worked through another one of your courses – I can’t thank you enough for the chance to directly transfer what I learn in your class, into my own life and classroom.  It has made schooling so relevant and practical.

Below is my official “Summary of Learning”.  I have VLOGGED my way through the course sharing what I feel like are highlights from each debate!  Enjoy.

 

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Advertisements

I’ve decided…I think the force is with us.

Featured image source.

Hello ECI830’ers,

I really struggled with picking a side on this debate because I think the bigger issues of racism, poverty, sexism, location and politics are so prevalent that it’s hard to stay on topic!  Congrats to both groups on making the last debate so interesting.  Sapna, Dawn and Jen took on Rakan and Amy to argue, “that technology is a force for equity”.

First, let’s look at disagree group’s opening statement:

Their main points included 3 topics that really addressed deep issues rooted sexism, racism and colonialism that are embedded in the technologies were seeking out.  In the article, “Tech has Become Another Way for Men to Oppress Women” it points out that the voices of many of the management systems you can purchase are women’s voices – why?  That many of the large technology corporations are still a boy’s club and that many online outlets and social media sites continue to be hunting grounds for harassment.  Rakan and Amy pointed out HUGE biases in facial recognition software that have racist bias built in – meaning that the technologies do not recognize certain races or accents so the programs don’t function as they should.  Finally, they looked at the idea of colonialism in technology using the example of Facebook internet in developing countries – although people would be connected, and in turn bridging the divide, they are exposed to western ideology through adverts and directed media.  We start to get into the “white savior” idea and then the bridge that was created is burned.  All of these points are so incredibly valid and were not where my mind first went when this topic was presented.

Okay, let’s check the agree side’s opening statement:

This team made many great points about technology and how it does in fact equal the playing field in society.  Some of the stand outs for me were the idea that, assistive technology helps balance and equalize your classroom by allowing students with disabilities function more similarly to their classmates, that almost anyone should be able to find access to some technology with access to the library and free wifi, not to mention, that you don’t necessarily have to the best of the technology, you can get creative to offer your class the opportunity!  Check out this youtube video if you want to know more.  Finally, there are so many OER’s available now that people can receive high quality, legitimate education online at the click of the mouse.  They point out that these education resources help equalize the divide between who can afford post secondary and who can’t or just don’t have physical access.

This was a really hard week for me to choose a winner because of the over arching, yet under lying issues embedded throughout the conversation.  However, I will select the agree group as the winner this week WITH ONE CONCESSION – we need to continue the conversation of how we can eliminate or at least address the colonial viewpoints and opinions that run through our day to day regardless of whether the technology is helping to equalize the educational playing field.

As my classmate Sapna brings up to conclude her post this week, “Finally, we have to understand that the power of education is to bring equity in the society and technology aid’s that belief. Technology surely has the potential to enable solutions to some of the most pressing problems the world is facing today and now it is up to us to decide how to embrace it.”  Technology is not the bad guy, our personal bias and belief systems can hurt how the technology is created and the companies selling the pieces can inhibit who is able to purchase it, but the technology itself is just one small piece in a large pot of issues.

 

Thanks for reading, and again, thank you for the important debate this week.

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Will The Technology Force Be With You?

Featured image source.

Hello everyone,

Another week…another debate…another tricky topic to navigate.  I recognize that Alec picks these topics to spark a good conversation and holy smokes, I think this will be another doozy!  Our debate topic begs the question, “Technology is a force for equity in society.”  This one…potentially even more so than last week, will be extremely hard to decide because technology has the ability to both divide and equalize.

Image result for divide

image source

How it divides:

  • There are, what I feel are obvious reasons that technology can divide us, the first being funding!  Now…this isn’t as simple as it seems.  Schools in areas of our city that are considered impoverished receive more money in order to purchase more supplies and technology to compensate for the potential lack of those things at home.  Schools in areas of the city that are considered more affluent are given less as the expectation is that supplies, technology and opportunity can be awarded at home.  Now, the sticky part of this, is that there are students and families with need all over our city so how do we equitable divide funds so that opportunity with technology is actually equal?  Not to mention, in schools that receive less funding, regardless of area, the technology seems to be outdated and often dramatically short for the number of students in the school.  I know with my school, which is located in what would be considered an affluent area, went almost the entirety of this school year with 2 computer carts for the whole school.  You need both carts to accommodate 1 class…it’s pretty hard to do any activities online when you only get the computers once a week. 😦
  • Access is another divide with regards to technology.  If you have the technology but no access to the internet, many of the functions of these technological devices are useless.  Many rural communities, including our many reservations in Saskatchewan struggle with staying connected.  Our grids are old and in need of updating and our crown corporations struggle to ensure that access is equal.
  • Access world wide will never be equal and it will continue to drive a wedge between wealthy countries and impoverished ones.  Although there have been advances in this area in both access as well as the actual devices, I don’t think it will every catch up which is a divide.  Countries who would benefit from access are not awarded it.

Image result for equal

image source

How it equalizes: 

  • Technology awards students with disabilities the opportunity to be equals to their typical classmates.  There are many programs available to help students speak, see, translate, dictate, and organize their thoughts.  These programs are life changing for these students and make their personal divides, much smaller.
  • Technology has greatly improved the lives of our EAL (English as an additional language learner) students.  With programs, even ones as simple as Google Translate, our EAL learners can begin communicating with their peers right away.  Although this science is not exact and often translations are not 100% accurate, it is a step in a pretty amazing direction to making EVERYONE welcome in our schools.
  • Technology brings everyone together!  Technology helps equalize the space between us by letting us communicate in ways we have never before!  We have the ability to speak with anyone around the world instantly – this is something that would have been thought impossible in years previous.

 

These are just quick jot notes of how I think both sides impact this statement.  I am so excited to see and participate in the debate tonight! 🙂  Good luck to both sides.

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

Kids These Day’s…The results are in!

Featured image source.

Hello ECI830’ers,

Another wonderful round of debates in the books!  I don’t even know why I’m surprised each and every week as I watch my classmates slay their topics – I have been on the fence every week because the arguments are so convincing! 🙂  This week, Melinda, Lori and Aylssa took on Erin, Brooke and Daniel in the age old debate, “Social media is ruining childhood”.  So…is it???  Well, I was on no side when I did my post before class…I was completely on the fence about how I felt about this topic because I could EASILY see how both sides could be argued and make a lot of sense.

To start, have a peek at the agree groups opening statement…they make some amazing points as to why we need to cautious with our social media use around our kiddos!

Their main points included some that really resonate with me as a teacher watching kids fight their way through the tricky online world.  Some of these points included the rise in depression from negative response on social media, the kids lack of self regulation skills and understanding about how their actions effect someone else or themselves and the huge point of cyberbullying.  Honestly, without anything else being said, that kind of seems like enough reasons to completely shut social media off for kids!  In the article, “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families” it says that 22% of teens polled login to their favourite social media site more than 10 times a day…now 22% doesn’t seem like an alarmingly high number, BUT you have to think, that’s the percentage of teens that are signing in to their FAVOURITE site, MORE than 10 times a day!  That’s a lot.  Our teens are consumed with checking these sites and I think that has a lot to do with checking how their posts are doing, checking how their lives are stacking up against the lives of others and that, if you are not seeing the results you are hoping for, can be depressing for a mind that cannot rationalize that everything posted is through a very filtered lens.  As concerns around mental health in youth rise, this group did a great job selling that there are significant issues with social media around this topic.

One of the main reasons as an educator that I see with children using social media, and again, this comes back to the idea that the self regulation piece isn’t there, is the cyberbullying.  In the first line of the article titled “Cyberbullying Identification, Prevention, & Response”  it says that children have been bullying each other for generations – however, the way in which kids do so now has changed as they utilize technology.  This is the rub for me, when kids went home when I was younger that was it – the bullying, teasing, etc. was over and home was a sanctuary.  MOST kids wouldn’t pick up the phone and call your land line to bully you.  Kids these days are inindated at all times by social media, text messages, emails and more 24/7.  There are no escapes. 😦  I really appreciated how this article broke down the issues and how we can help in the role of the school, but the parent as well.  I pulled this graphic from the article that illustrates results found in a 10 school survey conducted in 2016-2017.  Please click the link to be taken to a clearer version.  Interesting to consider and see how this data as well affects how we feel about allowing our students on social media.

   Click here, located on page 3.

random winona ryder GIF

image source.

Lastly, another point that struck me was the information regarding parents not being educated in the user guidelines and age limits for the sites their children are using.  I respect a parents ability to make good choices for their child, however, I also respect the people and teams that have created these guidelines and age limits to have done research into what group of children/adolescents and adults should be accessing certain social media and sites.  The fact that the majority of parents didn’t have a clue that these existed is alarming.  Perhaps with all this information what we can suggest is holding off an social media for children and adolescents until the responsible adults have a better grasp on the long term effects it will have?  So much to think about and consider when you are making these potentially life changing decisions for your children or students.

Next up, the disagree group!  Enjoy their opening statements where they argue that indeed it is NOT social media ruining our children’s lives.

I have to admit, I was surprised at how many of their points I agreed with…and how many I had actually utilized with my own classroom.   They argued that, social media when taught responsibly can help children connect, form relationships and feel like they have a spot and sense of belonging.  This sense gives kids genuine support and safe spaces to be.  Social when taught responsibly  helps create a positive digital footprint.  Social media when taught responsibly can encourage learning through shared fact and platforms.  Finally, social media, when taught responsibly can promote and encourage real, positive social change.  As you can see, I feel the majority of their arguments hinged around the correct implementation and responsible teaching and learning of social media use.  Without this, their argument in my opinion, would be null and void.

This group posted many interesting articles, one of which was titled, “How Students Become Influencers and Advocates” where it really drives home how social media can be used to create spaces for hard adolescent conversations while still offering hope.  For students living in a more close minded home or community, these outlets could be crucial in offering information and support.  I love the idea of being connected and using social media to celebrate and encourage all voices to be heard.  I did a project this year with my kids that raised money for Grandmother’s 4 Grandmother’s that used social media as our spring board and my kids are 7 and 8 years old – although I was still playing an integral role and the use of social media was VERY guided and supervised, this project changed how kids viewed the world – they got to see that Regina SK wasn’t the only place in the world.  How connected we’ve become and how much support we can lend one another from afar makes me lean towards agreeing that maybe social media isn’t all that day for our kids…

The last point I will touch on is the fact that it can help build a positive digital identity.  Now, this throws back to my own debate a previous week, that if we are building this presence for our kids, we aren’t really empowering them or allowing them a say – however, what if we did?  What it we taught students proper and responsible use, showed them the negative side and how social media has a potential to show back up in your later life, and with guidance and support showed them how to start building a footprint they can be proud of?  That’s a pretty frickin’ cool thing.  My classmate Joe did a cool thing on his blog post this week, he went through history and pointed out how whatever was new at the time “was ruining the kids” when in all actuality, it was just new and different and after the initial shock wore off, everyone was fine.   I thought this was an innovative and important way to look at it.  Perhaps instead of running scared, we research, become informed and show our youth how to be the same when taking on new challenges in the digital world.

spider man vintage GIFimage source.

To leave you today I will throw a shout out to my classmate Dawn, who had an eye catching graphic on this week’s blog post that reminded me that with great power comes great responsibility.  This timeless saying has never rang truer.  It is clear that there is an immense amount of power at our finger tips and it is so incredibly crucial to remember our responsibility to our youth in showing them how to wrangle that power and always use it for good.  Not to mention, use it properly and safely too.  SO…all that being said…do I think social media is ruining childhood???

 

minions no GIF

image source.

 

Thanks for reading,

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Kids These Days…The Prequel.

featured image source.

Here we are again ECI830’ers, another debate looming!

This week we are looking at the age old question, “Is Social Media Ruining Childhood?”.  Well isn’t this a loaded little question!  This is the first time during this course that I am having a hard time picking a side…I know we are supposed to, for the sake of a good argument, pick one, but for today – I am going to give my feelings on both sides!  I promise to pick one tomorrow!

Image result for teeter totter

image source.

Again, these are my feelings and opinions only as no information or resources have been posted by either side of the debaters yet!  So here goes…

Agree:

I’m going to take the obvious route here and share that THANK GOODNESS THERE WAS NO SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN I WAS A KID! sentiment that I have heard time and time again.  My generation and those before me have had the ability to forget the less desirable choices we made as young people because they were not preserved online for all to see forever.  We had the opportunity to make mistakes and grow from them without having them necessarily impact the rest of our lives.  Social media is taking away the privacy from childhood because there are lens’ on us all the time – documentation of pretty much our ever move.  I literally remember reading people’s Facebook status’ when it first launched that said, “Eating a sandwich” or “Walking to 711” or “Almost bedtime!”.  Our lives are time capsuled in the most mundane way…but our most private and intimate moments are also there – when we’re born, our first steps, teeth, words, school day.  The list could go on and on.  Our social media foot print is built long before we have any knowledge of it or say in it.  Could this ruin a child’s life?  I don’t think this reality has been around long enough to say for sure…I suppose this echo’s back to my debate last week!  We can’t say with certainty how this behaviour now will impact our children in the future…are we willing to chance it?

Disagree:

First, I guess one main thing is that kids probably don’t even know if social media is ruining their childhood’s because they haven’t known another childhood without it!  They have only ever had the ability to see themselves grow up on the computer, frozen in time.  So…I guess worst case scenario, even if we think it’s ruining them, at least they don’t have a comparison? 😉

Social media has connected us to friends and family all over the world.  Social media has made the world we all exist in very small.  By having social media, even as a kid, we have the capacity to keep in touch with our friends and family from afar.  Our grandparents can see us grow up and be a part of that time, even if they live across the country or the world.  The idea of that is really special.  Social media also allows us to document our childhood and adolescence – now I realize I JUST mentioned that this was a bad thing above, but lets look at the other side of the coin!  Our social media is a visual map of our experiences as children!  It shows us where we have visited, who we were with, what we wore, etc.  This outlet is a self-curated look at your life that you can cherish for years to come.  The idea of that is pretty cool!  Being able to share your life with YOUR kids could be a gift, a modern way to share and tell stories.

Lastly, a positive is that IF your caregivers who start your social media are mindful in doing so, your social media will be a beautiful start to your digital footprint. You will have a great step in the right direction in making sure that employers, schools, etc. see the best you.

SO MUCH TO CONSIDER!!!  I can’t wait to hear from you all tomorrow!

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Well…the votes are in!

Featured image source.

Hello ECI830’ers and beyond,

Now, I assume most of you didn’t vote for pizza…but I did notice that most of you did vote for disagreeing with the fact the “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our children” and I can’t 100% say that I disagree with you.  I utilize many technological tools in my classroom that allow for sharing and openness and I, to this point have seen nothing but positive benefit from it.  Shelly, Esther and Kari did a wonderful job explaining the benefits to using sharing in our classrooms.  However, like my teammate Amy mentions in her post, I would not know nearly as much about the risks of sharing online than I do now if it hadn’t been for my reasearch for this debate.  I think both sides presented very good arguments – I just think that Amy, Joe and I presented arguments that are absolutely food for thought as move forward with this much openness and sharing where as Shelly, Esther, and Kari presented facts that show us the immense short term benefits only.  Check out our opening statements below:

Team Agree:

Team Disagree:

As you just saw, the disagree group broke their argument down into 3 main points, the first, that technology is the reality of today’s childhood.  In the article they posted, “Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity” it breaks down 5 main questions that we need to be asking to ensure kids are safe and protected when they share online.  I suppose the crucial thing is that we are doing our due diligence and ensuring the groundwork is laid for our students so they can understand and be safe in the world they are growing up in.  Knowledge is power and avoidance is unrealistic so I think education is key.

motivational the more you know GIFimage source.

The next point the disagree group brings up is that sharing and openness promotes connectivity.  I can’t disagree with this point as my own classroom Facebook page does just that.  I hear non-stop that parents love being able to see what happens in our day, look at photos, ask good questions, etc.  Our families are on social media and technology so allowing to connect with their kids this way is not an extra step.

The final point the disagree group makes is that we as educators can model and promote creating a positive digital footprint.  Children, regardless of when they are born, are not born just knowing what to post and what to do and say online.  This always comes with mistakes and speed bumps.  Teachers can help guide their students down this winding road and ensure that mistakes and missteps are only small.  In the article “Post No Photos, Leave No Trace: Children’s digital footprint management strategies” it reminds us that children around the age of 12, should be capable of curating their own digital footprints.  However, it also mentions that there is sometimes a divide in what the student or child wants in their footprint and what the adults around them want, which in turn makes their decisions stressful and their feelings about their footprint negative.  This is the perfect transition into a recap of our points, as we rebutted with the fact that children don’t feel empowered when the adults in their lives are doing something for them!

Our main points outlined the significant privacy and safety concerns with being online as well as outlining the small amount of long term data we have on how our information and digital footprints will be used in the future.  We concluded with the fact that we could be causing undue stress and anxiety in our kids by posting images, work or video without their consent.  Although I struggled arguing some of these points, I will say, it was eye opening to actually consider of the cons of our practice.  There is absolutely research that suggests that there are serious consequences to posting so much of our kids online.  You can watch our opening statement to hear a more in-depth explanation of these reasons, however, I would like to highlight one of the best reads in our posted literature this week.  It is an article titled, “Dangers of Posting Pictures Online I Is your Child at Risk?” by Robyn Trevaud.  This is a short read but quotes the BBC Poll we site in our video that addresses the implications of what we post online not only for ourselves, but for our kids.  It highlights the potential for anxiety and stress in dealing with social media and their un-chosen online presence.   She says there are three main points that parents should consider.  This ties into school in my opinion, because we work so closely with our families and our social media is pretty much solely for the purpose of staying connected, they are:

  • Utilize privacy controls and ensure that the image can only be viewed by a closed group containing your close friends and family

  • Be mindful of metadata – be sure to turn off geo-location enabled services

  • Always seek permission from other parents before posting images which include their children

 image source.

Image result for ask permissionAnother piece I would like to highlight, was one of the points we used in our rebuttal to the disagree group, they said, “we are empowering youth by allowing them to curate their digital footprint” but as much as I help curate my students’, I don’t know if I am actually empowering them to create a positive digital footprint, because in reality, I am the one creating it for them.  I love the idea of the voice this power gives them, the authority and reach and I believe whole heartily in teaching digital citizenship, but I don’t know if we are empowering them but choosing work and telling them what to take pictures of, or what to write.  As I mentioned above, knowledge is power and kids need to know and have guidelines but I am still on the fence if empowerment is what we are giving them…

image source.

Image result for points to ponderOne huge piece that I honestly didn’t even consider, is a point that my classmate Rakan brings up in his blog post this week, he points out that we need to be mindful of openness and sharing on account of our students’ religious and cultural beliefs.  Our country and city are becoming more multi-cultural and diverse every day and the standard of what is alright and what is not, as far as pictures, where they are posted, if and when they are taken, etc. is drastically different among them.  Although the option not to sign the media release would obviously be given, there are much stricter policies that are not covered on those forms such as children’s photos’ simply being taken, or posted in hallways.  This is another dimension that I, ignorantly didn’t even consider.  Thank you Rakan for bringing this important piece to light.

Overall, although I am sore loser, I really appreciated the quality of the debate this week!  I saw value in the other sides arguments as well as the points that our classmates brought up in the chat and discussion.  So, like Joe’s wife brought up about his “post lose rage”, I had that too…but I’ve composed myself and I’m back…mostly. 😉

sad will ferrell GIF

gif source

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

This is it…get ready for the mic drop!

Featured image source.

Hello ECI830’ers,

This week (on Monday if we’re getting sticky on dates! 😉 ) Joe, Amy and I are presenting our argument on why IT IS unfair to our children to have so much openness and sharing in schools. scared dog GIF I’m not going to give away our arguments just in case the opposition is watching————————————>

                          image source.

 

But I’m just here to tell you that I think myself and my team have put together a very convincing argument on why we need to, if nothing else, be more mindful of how much, and what we are sharing online of our kids and their work.  The world is a VERY connected place now and the implications of what we post will follow our kids throughout the rest of their lives.  We teach them to be careful and think of the consequences of their actions, but are parents and schools doing the same when they sign off the media consent, the facebook page consent, etc.  I’m not so sure!

Image result for pot calling the kettle black image source.

Now, before someone says, “well aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black”  – I know, I have a classroom Facebook page that I readily share both student work and pictures on.  That being said, I have a very strict permission package that goes home with every family that outlines both how I intended to use the page as well as the rules and guidelines around saving, sharing or tagging photos.  I feel better about this because it is separate from the division media release and I can police it’s comings and goings on my own rather than counting on the powers that be.  Also, all of my content is closed and deleted at the end of every school year.  I recognize and respect when a parent declines to be a part of the page however because I absolutely see the risks.

Looking forward to seeing how the debate shakes down on Monday!  Get ready Kari, Esther and Shelly!  We’re coming for you! 😉

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Just google it they say! It’s easy they say!

Featured image source.

Hello ECI830’s and beyond,

It was another amazing debate this week – to be honest, both sides argued many of the same points which leads me to believe that this topic is one that will stick around for a long time as it’s relevant!  Our question this week was, “Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled”  If you are following along on my blog, you’ll know that I was on the side of disagree!  I think it is still the school’s responsible to teach information even if it can be googled – just because Google tracks it down for you, doesn’t mean that the information is correct, relevant or that you’re students understand it.  Google is wonderful, I couldn’t live without it and my job would look dramatically different without it, however, it is simply a tool to help facilitate learning and deep understanding.   

To summarize the “agree” group’s argument I have to say, they were  close to converting me!  Great work Channing, Nicole and Jodie.   So well researched and presented. 🙂

google GIF

                   image source.

They made many very convincing points that really got me thinking about the potential for changing our mindset around what and how we teach in the classroom.  There is no denying that times are changing and the skills that kids need moving forward are not the same as the ones they needed when we were younger, and so how are we going to change and ensure that we are leaving kids with the knowledge and information they need?  The agree group argued that there is a rapid change of knowledge – things are moving lightning speed and we need to keep up and show students how to access this important information so they can keep up.  They devalued the use of rote learning and memorization saying that it was no longer a relevant addition in any classroom.  This group put huge emphasis on the fact that we have smart phones and the internet with us at all times so  we literally have the “keeper of knowledge” in our pocket.  They argue that rather than filling our heads with information, why not show kids how to find the information instead!  Again, as I mentioned above, the agree group focused on the idea that students now require a very different set of skills than they did before in order to be prepared for the “real world”.  In the article this group posted, “The Objective of Education is Learning, Not Teaching” from Wharton University in Pittsburgh posted an interesting question,

“furthermore, even young children are aware of the fact that most of what is expected of them in school can better be done by computers, recording machines, cameras, and so on. They are treated as poor surrogates for such machines and instruments. Why should children — or adults, for that matter — be asked to do something computers and related equipment can do much better than they can?” 

When do we just accept the fact that there are certain things that we can streamline and make more effective – not out of laziness but out of the fact that kids need the skills these tools offer and we need to prepare them for a world filled with them!  To conclude, both groups did agree that Google and it’s affiliates are a tool that needs to be utilized correctly and effectively in order for it to make a difference.  I loved how this group offered up the idea that it is our responsibility to make sure that our own biases are not holding our kids back.  Regardless of what we believe a teacher should be, we need to reside the fact that we are the be all end all of teaching and learning and start utilizing the tools we have to think forward to the skills the kids will need.

Next up we have the “disagree” group!  disagree office space GIFI will have to say, I had already sided with this group!

image source.

I was hoping that the evidence they presented would reassure my decision to select the disagree side for this argument and they didn’t disappoint!  Awesome job to Catherine, Amanda and Shelby!  The first and in my opinion, one of the main points this group made was the need for an actual person facilitating the learning.  In order to ensure understanding and deep learning is happening we need someone in the classroom to talk to the students, to add text to life connection to the conversation.  Google can tell you an answer but it doesn’t offer much past that in the way of deep learning.  Google is a wonderful tool but not on its own.  Another great point that this group articulated is, if we aren’t focusing on or teaching things that can be googled, what would we be teaching?  You can literally Google everything!  The next point this group made was that memorization is important to learning.  It creates life long memories that will stick with students throughout their schooling and beyond.  In the article “Why Memorizing Facts Can be a Keystone to Learning” as posted on The Guardian it reminds us that our brain is a pretty darn cool thing – each time we learn something new, a new pathway and connection is created, the more we repeat it, the stronger that connection gets.  It’s like a work out for our brain!  We have the capability to learn how to organize our brains to get the most storage and the easiest retrieval.  Memorizing isn’t just a party trick – it helps train our brain to be efficient.   Finally, and this in my opinion was this groups weakest point, they brought up that Google is just another distraction.  This wasn’t as relevant to me as there are many distractions associated with technology and Google is no exception.  I don’t think distraction is a reason not use this tool as we should just be responsible and teach kids to use the program respectfully and efficiently, and therefore the weakest point.

Overall, both groups did an excellent job selling their side!  Although there were times that I absolutely agreed with the pro group, I couldn’t get past the fact that the teacher plays an integral role in making sure deep understanding is accessible to all students, and that we can’t possibly  not teach or focus on anything that can be googled.  I am a firm believer in the idea that just because you have an answer, or an answer is accessible, doesn’t mean you understand it or are even reading accurate information.

barack obama mic drop GIF by Julie Winegard image source

 

I’m now going to address one of the big questions Alec posted to our class this week, “In your discipline, is there any content that you feel you could replace?  With what?”  This is kind of a loaded question because I respect what we are asked to teach kids and understand that it works into a giant continuum that follows a specific schedule so that kids learn what the government feels they need to know, blah, blah, blah…HOWEVER…there are absolutely things missing that I would add.  I would, first and foremost, add a unit in health or literacy on digitial citizenship.  I recognize that there are issues with adding content as teachers plates are already full, but I think it would work in well with existing content too.  I think simply making this content mandatory would solve some problems with the generations of kids moving forward.  It is integral that kids understand how to behave online and that their “real life” selves are not too far removed from their “online” selves.  Digital citizenship and learning online etiquette young has the potential to stop the wild growth in online bullying, oversharing, etc. that sometimes comes with lack of knowledge.  Kids are not dumb, they have grown up with technology and they have a better understanding of the implications technology has than some adults.  I teach grade 2,  7 and 8 year old kids and although they don’t all have their own devices they do explore them at school and home.  They are curious and want to be active on the internet but their brains are not developed enough to understand long term consequences.  On the University of Rochester Medical Center website there is an article titled, “Understanding the Teen Brain” where it explores the fact that adolescents brains are not fully developed until around the age of 25.  It also states that there are fundamental differences between a child’s brain and an adult’s brain based on where they both process information.  Adults use the rational portion of their brain and children still use the emotional.  What better time in my opinion to add these skills into the curriculum!  Children NEED to be digitally literate – safe, effective and responsible online.

Thanks for reading!

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

 

To learn…or to google…that is the question.

Feature image source.

Hello ECI 831’ers and beyond,

Here we are, week 2 and you’re in for The Hackel Hub second pre-debate post!  I want to share my feelings on this week’s topic, “Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled”.  Again, just a reminder, this post is happening BEFORE our debate on Monday and so these are my feelings before hearing either side sell their point.  There are actually no articles posted yet so this is my own little bit of research into the subject too.  Enjoy.

technology time magazine GIF image source

This is a LOADED question no matter which way you swing it…we literally have a world’s worth of knowledge in the palm of our hands, on our wrists, on a our desks, everywhere.  We have access to infinite information at the touch of a button.  So, the question arises, do we bother to teach kids in this rapidly changing generation anything that they can google?  They can pull out their phones, type in any question and find the answer.  They have the power to be self-centered learners, 24/7.  Sounds pretty amazing, almost euphoric.  However, I will admit, I am on the disagree side of this argument. 

I think schools absolutely SHOULD be focusing on teaching things that can be googled.  

I think schools and teachers play a valuable role in ensuring that kids not only find accurate answers for their questions.

I think schools can help students weed through falsehoods online – and let’s be real, there a LOT of falsehoods online!  

I think schools can offer the personal, text to life connections that might not be possible with just ask and search learning.

oh yeah ok GIF by Mauro Gatti

image source

To expand on my above thoughts – first, I think part of learning is being inquisitive and being self guided however, and maybe I’m bias as I’m a teacher, but I think that the role of teacher is an important one.  There is an incredible amount of information available online as the whole debate implies. This idea rolls into my second point, about helping kids weed through the false news, fake articles, dark web, etc.  It is increasingly easy for kids in this day and age to learn how to search for information but that in no way shape or form means that they know they are finding the correct answers.  I am also not saying that teachers have all the right answers, but I think we can help guide students in the correct directions, with the correct tools in their toolboxes for the job.  Education is shifting and changing and in order to keep children up to date I think it’s important not to shy away from a tool like google to help find answers but teaching kids, like anything online, how to use it safely and effectively is crucial.  If schools don’t teach that, who will?  If we don’t focus on anything that can be googled, in my opinion our kids are being done a serious dis-service.  They will eventually lose their curiosity about the world because everything can be found instantly – there is no point in wondering.  As I have also learned in my two previous classes with Alec, there is so much fake information online that if we truly believe that students should not be taught anything that an be googled, we can’t guarantee that what they are finding when they google is true.  There are dark corners of the web that will end up doing much more than good.  Again, I am not naive to the fact that not all information received from teachers is accurate or good, but it’s integral to incorporate the human connection with the information so that students can start to make educated, connected decisions.

education hug GIF by Teach Stem

image source

Finally, my third point, and maybe call me old school, but I still put value in the human connection and the connections that you can make with the world around you in person.  The feeling you get when working and learning together in the classroom is what you remember when you move on from school.  It’s often not the information, the facts and the points that you remember from school.  We need to encourage change in the world and do that, we can’t expect it from typing and reading and learning in a rote way.  Teachers can use google to help children find answers and then show them how to use the information to go further!  I am confident that this is the role of “teacher” going forward in the technological world.

 

I so look forward to hearing the debate on Monday and seeing if my opinion can be swayed! 🙂

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑