Our last debate was rather interesting. I found myself having a number of ah-ha moments- as this is one topic that to be honest I have not thought much about before. My laptop screen was filled up with “what about ” comments as I took notes. I found myself getting rather amped up over this topic and I did not expect to.
After seeing these categories, two things occurred to me. One, is that we as Canadians have a tendency to look to our neighbours to the south on this issue in particular and make assumptions that corporate involvement in schools is an “American” thing. Two, that this assumption is incorrect. While it may be more prevalent in the United States, it has come to my attention through this is happening in Canada too.
Andres Aranedastated on his blog that “although companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple have contributed greatly to developing modern Ed. tech that a great majority of us use on a daily basis, we can’t assume these companies are developing these tools solely for the good of our students. Education is an ENORMOUS market that IS going to be exploited, whether we want to see it that way or not.” I would have to agree with this, and accept the fact that we wont be moving away from marketing in education anytime soon. So this is on my radar……now what?
The definition of childhood is so so different for everyone. I have openly discussed how I restrict technology for my young kids. This has garnered a lot of judgement from others. But you know what? Is not so much that I am restricting it, as we are just doing other things! I must do those things because there is a part of my own childhood that I am trying to preserve? This is true. I do think that my kids deserve to have a childhood like mine, and guess what. They are currently having a childhood like mine because I’m not sitting around as a parent or a teacher simply romanticizing my childhood; I get to re-live it every single day alongside my children and my students through Outdoor Education, which I believe will be one thing in their narratives that will forever interweave their life stories back to mine. But children get older, and the inevitable happens! Jeremy shared in his blog his “preparing” for his son to be at the age where he will begin to use social media, which has been so helpful. He said:
Parents look to other parents for support, encouragment and to learn.What we are often met with, is judgement. We think that our children and teenagers feel the heat, feel the judgement of others when they use social media? Try being a new mom!!!
I can relate to depression and social media, which is funny because I rarely use it. The first time I really started looking at instagram and reading blogs, however…was at a time when I found myself seriously sleep deprived, post par tum, and trying to calm an colicky baby who couldn’t be calmed as I prayed she wouldn’t wake my 18 month old who was sleeping in the next room. What I turned to in the middle of the night when the whole world was asleep and I was waiting my 45 minutes until she would be up again, (so no point in falling back asleep) was my iPhone. I relentlessly searched mom blogs for the answer to colic. Sometimes I read the same blogs and saw the same meanies, over and over again.
A peaceful moment in the eye of the storm -Zoey at 3 months. Photo: Nicole Putz
Looking back, I now realize how wobbly I was post-partum. So I can truly relate to teenagers now-when you are at your weakest someone telling you it will get better, (specifically giving you a timeline that doesn’t happen) is traumatic. So is reading other people’s hostile and negative comments, even though not directed specifically at me, they were directed at my situation so still fell on my shoulders. Also traumatic. Seeing “internet perfection” everywhere you look and comparing yourself to it? Bingo. Perfect combination. I also realize now that it was not technology that was the problem, nor was it my baby. It was my own obsession in using these tools to fix something, that just needed time. Sometimes in life, we just need to be patient. This revelation however, is coming from a thirty year old, not a 13 year old. It made me realize how powerful social media and the internet can be.
Social media has changed things, very fast. We have to power to ensure that social media is positive for kids though regulation, education, and being positive role models. I think that some of the responsibility of social media getting in the way of childhood has to fall on the parents shoulders. Not that a parent can intercept every single risk that their child takes in life or online, but in the experience I just shared, I see that parents have a tendency to act hugely judgmental towards each other online and in person over guess what? Each others PARENTING. But our kids….. they are supposed to know how to be nice to each other, and non judgmental; despite the fact that their role models are not. If we are speaking to things within our control, we all have the ability to be nicer, kinder people, regardless of our socioeconomic status.
Lets talk about equality and educational technology.
Looking at Canada specifically, I think that our best example as to how technology may be a part of the answer, but not the whole answer; lay in the calls to action listed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. If you take a minute to read through, these calls are mindfully and carefully written with the intention of telling the truth of residential schools, reconciling from residential schools and the closing the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. Not all gaps that the world needs to close are between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, but many are. For this reason if we are talking about closing gaps, I very seriously encourage Canadians to look at how we can as individuals and a whole work towards meeting these calls to action. In Canada, equitable access to technology may a a piece of the puzzle in meeting these calls and closing such gaps, but lets face it: the puzzle itself is complex. It is economic, it is systemically racist, it is imperialistic, it is historical, and it will not be solved until we acknowledge with truth and begin to reconcile the reasons for the gap in the first place
Why all these women are correct: You can’t necessarily put a long term goal in front of people who are living in the right now, who can’t even meet basic survival. We were given an example during the debate of Luke Braun’s experience teaching in London, where disadvantaged students were given laptops, which they near immediately pawned. Well OF COURSE those kids pawned their laptops. They didn’t see them as a means to an good ending…..they saw them as a means to RIGHT NOW. As Janelle said, we are living in a world where
Too many of our students are coming to school without having their basic human needs met at home which undermines them as learners and puts them at disadvantages when accessing any sort of education, with or without technology.
This is another debate where I notice that there are a alot of factors being discussed, not simply socioeconomic status either. On a more personal level, I teach Grade 5 at a middle class public school in Regina. My students are not currently involved in any type of BYOD at school, in fact they are not allowed to bring cell phones to school. This is a school wide rule. Next year in Grade 6, they will begin integrating BYOD into their school days with education and supervision from teachers.
The reason that I think that the issue of lack of education behind technology is the most serious is how it manifests itself into the bigger picture. I see the bigger picture to be the lack of education being put into the people who are one the other end of this such gap; the one that we are trying to close. As teachers we know that there is a lack of training for us when it comes to… well…most aspects of our jobs. But we are critical thinkers, we have a university degrees, we have privilege…and lets be real, none of us are on the wrong side of the gap. By handing over technology as a means to an end we are shooting first, asking questions later…and we are expecting that technology and education are the same thing.
A colleague and I at Douglas Park School are currently diving headfirst into the “trendy” but intriguing world of mindfulness, and during this journey we have found it to have had profound impact on our students, but also ourselves. In a nutshell, being mindful has been defined as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” by John Kabat-Zinn.We are discussing sharing as it applies to a child’s digital footprint. Its not the digital footprint that they leave for themselves thats at stake, rather it’s the one we leave for them. As an eternal fence sitter during class debates, I do agree that it is morally imperative that we guide children to create their own digital footprints and become responsible digital citizens. On the other hand, I do think that oversharing of children on social media does indeed come with risk and I do have concerns over privacy, and personally feel that I like many others need more education around this topic.
Katja brought up a very interesting point that I was too nervous to discuss last week in the Zoom Room. She questioned along the lines of if it was the responsibility of a teacher to develop their own digital profiles and become educated in this field, and be a role model to their students. I noticed that people did not hesitate to agree that we should, and no one questioned it. This has been bothering me all week. While I do not question that this would be for the best, I must compare this answer to a field I am more farmilliar with. Shoutout to Phys. Ed specialist Jayme-Lee Lazorko, or Steve Boutillier (I feel like you may understand my conflict) what do you think about this? If a teacher is expected to delve into the grey area between personal and professional life and therefor personal and professional choices because of the content they are teaching….wouldn’t it be the same thing to expect that teachers follow good nutrition themselves if they are teaching students outcomes that have to do with making positive and healthy choices with food? Or what about all elementary teachers who teach their own Pys. Ed? Would we reply in the same way if we expected that teachers conduct themselves in a physically active way outside of school? Is it ok to say that we should expect teachers to follow guidelines in their personal lives because we all like Social Media, whereas come on…we don’t all like running or eating vegetables.
I appreciated the video shared by debaters that documented the classroom of Moose Jaw primary teacher Kathy Cassidy, and how she uses blogging in her classroom. I think that the example she gave of one of her students being able to easily access a clip of herself reading in the first grade, listen to that slip, and self determine her own growth is nothing short of incredible. She also has used sharing to connect her students to other students in different parts of the world, so they can compare and contrast their knowledge. For a young child to be able to see growth, make connections, and find meaning through sharing, this is the stuff that is changing education. Blogging in my classroom is a personal goal I have for next year. I can personally speak to the fact that while blogging for this class, I have found meaning in having an audience in my colleagues. I also know that I have experienced exponential growth and learning through having access to the work of my colleagues. I think its very important that we don’t forget about that part; that if we share, we make our work available for others to learn from and vice versa.
I had a moment of pure impulse last week. I had over heard one of my snapchat obsessed students talk whisper about snapchat for the 100,000 time during math class, so I blurted out “Ok kids, when we are done this math unit, we are going to spend the last week of school talking about snapchat and learning digital citizenship!!!!”
Soooo. That happened. I guess all the concern I have about risk that would make me disagree with the debate topic, well…I am about to learn all about it!
I think this is a good start for me as I embrace upon this learning journey. I have exercised this is my own experience using social media, but lets face it. In limiting myself and my presence on social media, I also limit my experience and expertise dealing with situations that arise, and as a teacher and a parent I am beginning to question if this if this is actually the outcome I intended.
I, like others in my class think it comes down to being mindful of sharing. I have caught myself on a few occasions choosing to not share the photo I was about to, because I was THINKING about what I was doing. Not totally sure of the meaning behind this, but I think being present in the moment of choosing to share or not to share, and making that a part of your practice, is enough. Social media has become second nature to us, and we do and share things without thinking. If we as adults can find a balance to sharing and be aware of what we are doing, we will see people using and sharing both in and out of the classroom in meaningful ways and sharing responsibly will be something that is passed onto the next generation. (If they are not already ahead of us on this one anyway, lets face it)Amy Singh-you go momma. You are not that parent, because you are being aware, you are being present, you are being mindful. I think that, is enough.
Yes I do agree that right now, technology is making us unhealthy. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and I have a great deal of faith in technology and in humanity to find balance between health and technology. Hence I will maintain my position, sitting here on this fence.
Although I believe that these blogs are a place to connect academically, I would guess that Katia and Alec also have the intentions of us connecting on a personal level. I am a strong believer in sharing narratives between colleagues and even students, and therefor I am supposing that this is the blog post where I go ahead and expose myself to all of my tech savvy colleagues. At the end of the term, we are supposed to choose 3 people who have most significantly influenced us and our learning. I don’t think this is possible by simply connecting to someones thoughts on an academic level, I think that who we choose to say influences us will be based on a personal level as well. I believe that a huge part of learning occurs when you make yourself vulnerable, which is what this is for me. Perhaps, this blog entry will allow you to connect with me. Perhaps not.
I am Nicole, and I don’t have facebook. I don’t have Twitter, I don’t have an iPAD and I don’t have cable. What I do have, is a husband and two energetic children: my son turned 3 this week and my daughter is almost 2 (you do the math). And of course, a rowdy classroom of 28 Grade 5 students. Can’t forget about them!
The way in which we live our lives in not anti-technology. My husband and I stream TV when our kids are in bed, and we both have laptops. We listen to a ton of music and podcasts. We both text too much and I do throw up pictures here and there of my kids on instagram because they are so freaking hilarious. But we do try really, really, hard to balance our technology use for the purpose of our own health and the health of our children on a daily basis. So the result of this means that when our kids are awake, we dont turn on a TV. We haul our kids outside about 360 days a year. We crush books, and we cook, and and we break toys and make rather large messes and spend a lot of face to face time with them because we find that when technology isn’t in the moment, we do actually have lot of time to be face to face. And because when I went on my first mat leave, I made it a traumatic, difficult, awful goal for myself to not use my phone for texting and random randomness when I’m with my kids, and not to have a TV on. (As best I can, obviously. When both kids where screaming at me, and one was nursing, it was all I could do to not go plant one of them in front of something… ANYTHING). But this is not what I wanted my kids to think I looked like:
In my very short time as a parent I have been heavily criticized on my (some say extreme) limiting of technology in our home probably more than the parent who allows their child the 7 hours of screen time a day. So ultimately, I don’t say much about it anymore to other people. (This is the part that makes me vulnerable in sharing with you folks.) It is unfortunate because in no way do the choices I make for may family mean that I am judging yours, if your goals are different. I see so, so much value in technology for adults and for kids! I know my kids are going to access technology, even soon. I know they are going to have phones. I know they are going to have days when they want to plant their butts in front of the TV for 8 hours, as do I sometimes! What I hope, is that we can establish healthy habits first and entertain more moments of rough, tumble, outdoor play driven by curiosity and imagination in the short period in a child’s life where this is all they need. My husband and I believe that they need to connect to nature and build relationships at this age, but not relationships devices. As Carol Dwek says: “Not yet”. When the time comes, we hope to teach them how to have a healthy and happy and FUN relationship with technology. I don’t live my life this way because of a Ted Talk, but if there was one I liked, here is is. Check it out.
Many (not all) of my students who use technology mindlessly and for hours on end, are home alone or with older siblings who are caring for them. Many (not all) of their parents are working, very hard at low paying jobs, among struggling with other social and economic issues that are at play in their lives. I am sure that most of these parents wish that they could be spending more face to face time with their children. But unfortunately, that is a privilege. My children, like many (not all) in my class whose technology is monitored by parents, are privileged. My kids are privileged with the time and attention of 2 parents who are employed by one job each, financially stable and educated enough on some of the challenges that children are faced with when it comes to technology to make a (hopefully) well informed decision about this very topic. My children do not have parents who are working 2, 3, 4 jobs with back to back shifts and terrible hours. They are not being raised or cared for in the foster care system, their parents are not battling incarceration or addiction or complicated health issues and they have healthy food on the table. While questioning if technology makes kids healthy or unhealthy is a very real issue, so is questioning the increasing rate of poverty facing families in Saskatchewan.
Here comes the ‘disagree’ side in our recent debate. After reading this, you must think that I would take the side of the ‘agree’ team. As a fence sitter, I do not!
At this point, I am noticing a bit of a gap in this class being a parent of very young children and a teacher to students who are not allowed to have devices in class, and a handful do not even own them. Its clear that some of the issues we are discussing are very different when comparing high schools to elementary schools. At the same time, I loved reading this article because it really made me think and it pushed me a bit outside my comfort zone.
That’s all for now. Like I said, I have a feeling that after this entry, some of you may find yourselves connecting with my views, while others do not at all. As an active person, I have really really struggled with the amount of time that I have spend behind a laptop during my graduate work. As this is my 8th class and I am nearing the end, I will very much miss the learning I have experienced. But I will NOT miss, the sitting down. We spent our morning out the cross country ski trails at Echo Valley Provincial Park, where we often go with our kids (along with White Butte). Check out either spot sometime if you have never been, both are beautiful and protect some of Saskatchewan’s last remaining native prairie. It may provide some balance for you, as it did for me today. Now I am ready to tech.
Both agreeing and disagreeing with the question: should schools teach anything that can be “Googled?”
As I enter week 2 of debates, I am learning a lot about myself in a way that has nothing that has to do with technology. I used to think that I was somewhat sound in my convictions on some of the topics that have been discussed. I came into this course having experiences as both a parent and a teacher that have given me, what I perceived to be a pretty good idea of where I stood on most of these issues. However, as I read, read, read, and write, write write, I realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe, this is because the debaters are doing SUCH a good job that I am feeling myself being pulled in all different directions. I am certain that it is in part, a result of accessing resources that are engaging to me (TedTalks, ect) and I feel like I am taking more away from some of these resources than I have in the past when reading photocopies were simply handed out by professors.
At this point in my journey, I am confident to say that I will likely be on the fence for a lot of these issues, because when I am participating in the Zoom Room, each and every comment that is brought up connects to a story. The narrative and experiences of my students as individuals, and their differences in gender, age, culture, and socioeconomic status to name a few factors, mean to me that I cannot answer in a blanket statement if I agree or disagree. It depends on the context of the situation, and which one of my students faces I envision at that moment in time.
If you need a concrete answer to whether I agree or I disagree in entirety, STOP READING NOW.
Should things that can be “Googled” be taught in schools?
No. Of course not.
We live in a society that is starting to be more and more reliant on technology every single day. And we know that critical thinking is a skill of examination, not a skill based on memorization of the things that we as curriculum makers think that students will need to know, maybe…in the future for the job that they might have that may not exist yet, possibly…. We need to be process oriented, and basic skills will evolve within the process. We can’t dismiss the possibility that we don’t know everything about when knowledge is actually acquired along the process for every single one of our students, all the time. Waiting for students to achieve “foundational knowledge” aka “things that can be googled” could be detrimental in killing off the curiosity and passion they have for learning. I have had moments where days later, I will be mulling over a question and have “AH HA’ed” while folding laundry. (I am a mom, after all) Do we truly know, if that “ah ha!” moment has been triggered by the 9,999th moment of repetition by the learner? It is very possible that a moment of questioning the questions that have been continually questioned by the learner has lead to higher level thinking. Or because at a certain moment in time, a familiar scent may have triggered a memory of a lived experience allowing a learner to connect a memory to a puzzle which allowed them to achieve that level of deeper understanding of something they have been questioning. How do we know what goes on in that moment, which is different to every learner, and further differentiated by factors like learning styles, ages, gender, culture and socioeconomic status?
I loved: Ramsey’s 3 Rules
1) Curiosity comes first. Curiously is starting to attract some attention, in a good way. I believe that engaging learners is just another term for embracing the curiosity that naturally drives kids.
3) Practice reflection, (it deserves our revision) This is something that I can appreciate significantly more since I began taking my masters. As an overwhelmed beginner teacher, there was no time for me to reflect. I was simply trying to keep my head above water. However, as the fog cleared and I have embarked on this journey into graduate studies, I have become increasingly aware of how significant reflection and revision is to the learning process, both for myself and my students. I feel that in the process of drill and practice there is less room and meaning for reflection, which leaves a huge gap. When you are actually applying your knowledge through experiential learning there is room for higher level thinking and therefor reflection.
Yes, of course.
Rasmey Mulligan refers to his open heart surgery and taking comfort in the confidence of his surgeons curiosity. I would like to point out that we are all aware of the grueling amount of traditional schooling that doctors endure. A strenuous amount of rote memorization, to be exact. I am going to go out on a limb here and ask, is his doctor’s curiosity and willingness to attempt this trial and error surgery reliant on a foundation of skills, abilities and prior knowledge that we would consider to be “Googleable”?
Being linear, Google obscures the interdependence of information
During the debate it was brought up, and referenced from this article in particular that Google gives students the illusion that answers are in reach when they are not, creating a false sense of knowing. Students don’t necessarily know, or remember and because it is so fast paced they are collecting just enough information that it is not maintained as knowledge in the long term, because they are more likely to remember where they got the information than the actual information itself. As teachers we have all been witness to this. However, I do not believe this is Google’s fault; that the illusion of accessibility is for students is created, nor that answers are seen as stopping points. And being linear???? This is where it gets messy. Replace the word “Google” with the word “memorization” and you could make the exact same accusations. These are all descriptive qualities of the traditional institution of SCHOOL. Google has not created these problems, school has.We have traditionally taught in a product rather than process driven way. Most of us in this class, likely attended schools where there was one right answer to the questions we were being asked. Work was linear, and it didn’t necessarily promote in depth learning or inquiry, and in some classrooms, it is still this way. Lets not blame to tool, or even the user. Ken Robinson states that the current education system (including curriculum) was “designed and conceived in a different age, based on an intellectual model of the mind”, by a bunch of wealthy, white men.
Learning needs to be balanced, and the system of education and curriculum needs to continue evoling. Every day I see professionals around me going to combat against an outdated system, and trying to not only teach but to assess in the way that supports this notion of critical thinking, by teaching basic skills and using inquiry to emphasize the learning process and reflection to be just as valuable to students as the final product. I do take value in the concerns of what happens when students only “Google” as reflected in this debate. However, I believe that these concerns will stay the same and simply be replaced by the next “tool” or “Google” to come down the line, unless we challenge the bigger picture which is the institution of education itself.
Learning needs to be differentiated. Some of my students should be allowed to bypass tasks, and use tools for technology that others don’t get to use. Why? Because fair is not always equal. I do understand that this runs risks of streamlining kids. I really do understand that. But I am a professional. I am trying my best, given the education and training that I have, to do the absolute best for my students. If I allow a students to by-pass a step and go straight to Google, trust me. That student being able to “Google it” may very well be a moment serving of HUGE celebration. For that student, the deeper understanding may be present in the action of being able to Google something.
Learning needs to be meaningful. This can be achieved through drill and practice too. In grade 6, I shot free throws in my front yard for more hours than I practiced my math facts. I wanted to make the basketball team. I did, make the basketball team, and I was addicted for life. I went on to play a lot of basketball in my day (Go Spartans!) and still play women’s rec league with a bunch of great ladies in Regina. This drill and practice of a skill, was meaningful to me. Ben Johnson refers to the body as another learning tool that can benefit from repetition. He states that “the body is another learning tool — another often-ignored concept. The body is connected to the brain and if you engage the body, you are engaging the brain too.He also claims that, like in my case, “learners feel an addictive sense of accomplishment when something has been memorized completely” (Johnson, 2010).
Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning: Agree or Disagree….?
Hello, my name is Nicole, and I Agree and Disagree.
One of the most difficult situations I have with EdTech comes from the place where my personal and professional identities collide. I worry about the physical and emotional “results” that when my student engage heavily with technology at school, and then go home to possibly sit in front of a television, computer, tablet or phone for hours on end. Is it because of my awareness of this issue that I hope to be the kind of teacher that provides balance to my students, opportunities to use technology and be immersed in nature on a daily basis. Because I agree that technology can be a tool that is both beneficial and destructive to learning, depending on how it is used.
The moment that my technological “world” changed was in 2013. I was in charge of the finish line at a multi-school track meet, and I needed to send a list of “results” (hah) to someone at the other end of the track. I began to jot down by hand, as quickly as I could, the names of the athletes. A grade 8 student beside me, said “Mrs. Putz, why don’t you just take a picture?” I won’t ever forget this epiphany, not because it was a moment that forever changed the way that I “do things” in my everyday life, but I couldn’t… for the life of me… figure out why I had not thought of this before. I was a 28 year old owner of an iPhone, and for some reason the possibility of taking a photo of something I wanted to remember, save, or write down later had never occurred to me because I had only ever really used it for….phoning people.
As I stood there in my element with the wind blowing softly as the birds chirped, the sun warming my shoulders and kids excited voices humming under the loudspeaker at the outdoor track where I had literally spilled my own blood, sweat and tears over after 10 years of track and field (as a U of R athlete, and then a coach); my own “result” of this moment was transformative. It paved way for a major evolution in my habits, what I perceived to be normal, as well as my own attitude towards technology.
The Hybrid Mind
Rather than position myself on the side that claims that “computers do not improve students results” or that “digital tools are transforming K-12 classrooms” I will position myself within Louv’s
“third possibility, the emergence of what I call the hybrid mind. The ultimate multitasking will be to live simultaneously in both the digital and physical world, using computers to maximize our powers to process intellectual data and natural environments to ignite all of our senses and accelerate our ability to learn and to feel; in this way, we could combine the “primitive” powers of our ancestors with the digital speed of our teenagers. Evolution may (or may not) be out of our hands, but as individuals we can accept and celebrate our technological skills at the same time that we seek the gifts of nature essential for the realization of our full intellectual and spiritual potential.
The best preparation for the twenty-first century, therefore, may be a combination of natural and virtual experience. An instructor who trains young people to become the pilots of cruise ships describes “two kinds of students, those who are good at video games, who are terrific with the electronic steering; and those who grew up outside—they’re far better at having a special sense of where the ship is. We tend to get one or the other kind.” The first kind of student, he says, has a talent he prizes. “We have a lot of electronics on the ship.” The second kind of student has another talent he needs. That student, using a wider range of senses, “actually knows where the ship is.” The ideal pilot, he says, is the person who has a balance of high-tech and natural knowledge: “We need people who have both ways of knowing the world.” In other words, a hybrid mind.”
In my experience both as a teacher and as a human being, technology is engaging. I have had countless experiences where technology has aided in my being able to successfully teach a concept in my classroom, and has given my students experiences that I know they would not have had interacting with a curricular outcome had technology not been used. Some technology that I like to use in my classroom: Kahoot, Brainpop and Mathletics. I am far from tech savvy. It is not because I am against it. Its just not really in my “norm”.
This year my class has been involved online with an organization called Kiva. Kiva is a non profit that allows “investors” like the students in my classroom, to choose a group or an individual that we will invest a sum of money in, in increments of 25.00$. For the record, I was passed an online gift card in a Christmas gift exchange a few years ago to Kiva, and it has been one of my favourite teaching tools for this reason.
When it is said that computers do not improve the “results” in learning for students, I have to disagree, and then proceed to question thus “results” we are in pursuit of. The “results” of this year long activity using technology in my own classroom, are that my students learn empathy; they imagine what it like to live a day in the life of someone whose challenges may far outweigh their own. And if those challenges do not, then my students find someone that exists on this planet that they can relate to that may be outside the parameters of gender, race and age that they typically interact with. The “results” show that my students can face a social justice issue and they can have a voice. The “results” are that they then want to have a bake sale and raise money so that we as a class can invest more into more people and watch as those people grow their business, and provide for their families all over the world. Oh yes, and I suppose we should talk about their mathematical “results”. They exercise their math skills as we learn about: the banking system, interest, how a loan works; debt. These are not in the Grade 5 curriculum, but we learn them anyways. I hope that does not skew our”results”.
(The above clip is not suitable for young children as it refers to assault)
I think that people are arguing over if technology helps results is particularly interesting, because the results that we are looking for may or may not be measurable in the first place. They may or may not, even matter. Starting an online movement may not be an curricular outcome, but can have huge impact in the lives of our students and students all over the world. While we do know from reading Using Assistive Technology in Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities in the 21st Century “technology can open doors and break down barriers for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. This could be whether in the classroom or workplace, assistive technology, including devices, software, recordings, and much more, can increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of individuals with learning disabilities. “However, if we are using technology simply for the purpose of our students “getting it” and making mundane tasks more flashy, then I think we are missing the point. The article Computers ‘do not improve’ pupil results says OECD
“says education systems which have invested heavily in information and communications technology have seen “no noticeable improvement” in Pisa test results for reading, mathematics or science.” http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34174796.
Which shows incredible value, if you value the Pisa test.
Technology will enhance learning, if the learning is valuable to the students. This is why we can provide technology to students and they can still seem distracted. I would prefer it we as educators and curriculum makers look more closely at what exactly we are teaching, and why.
In conclusion, it is my goal to use technology as a tool to help humanize the learning experience. My official statement after this fantastic debate is that I, agree that the benefit of technology will outweigh the concerns surrounding the use of technology only IF the teachers using thus technology are present and aware of the existance those concerns as they relate to meaningful learning and incorporate such attitude into their teaching practices and pedagogy.
I have been thinking about starting a classroom blog for quite some time. I am happy and excited to be able to begin blogging and to share this new and modern world of narrative with my students, and others.
I am a married, mother of two (my son is 2 and my daughter is 1) and I teach Grade 5 in Regina, Saskatchewan. My areas of interest in education are narrative, play, and mindfulness in education. I try to pursue all areas in my teaching, and am particularly involved in Outdoor Education pursuits with my class and am a huge advocate for spending time immersed in a natural landscape both personally and professionally. My passions and hobbies include track and field, cross country skiing, paddling, and playing rec mom’s basketball. Most recently I have been inspired by Patrick Lewis and Karen Wallace; and I have embarked on a journey to embrace art opportunities in my personal and professional life. I have been heavily influenced in sport in my life, which has been amazing. However, I am looking to be a well rounded person, teacher and mother so at this point in my “journey” I am taking the time to enjoy the arts more than ever before.
I hope to integrate technology into my areas of interest as mentioned above. I find that a traditional attitude of technology can segregate technology from play, narrative, and outdoor education. I am looking for opportunities to take the best from all of these worlds and use this knowledge in my classroom.