To begin, I wanted to talk about the digital divide which is the gap between those who have access and those who do not. To say this is nonexistent would be a lie, but there are many positives to technology that we must focus on, rather than one downside. Technology has the ability to connect students to have more opportunities in the classroom, their personal lives, and in the community. With the agree side, I loved the example of bridge. Showing on one side, those who cannot read and on the other those who can. This is a prime example of our daily classroom practices. As teachers we must aid students with the use of technology to enhance their learning and increase their success rate. A stat that they provided was that 90% of students who are given the chance to use their technology become more independent learners. My goal in grade 8 is to create independent learners and technology has increased my ability to allow for independence. It reminded me of the Equity vs. Equality diagram below.
Assistive technology is the greatest tool for those who may need more support in a classroom. My classroom uses Google Read and Write quite frequently as it is easily accessible on our Google ChromeBooks. Google Read&Write is an interactive add on to Google Documents that can be downloaded from the AppStore onto any Apple, PC, or Smart technologies. The unique add-on reads on-screen text aloud so researching and checking written work makes many everyday tasks easier for students who need assistance when it comes to reading and writing. The add on is simple and user friendly as compared to its predecessor used in many school divisions – Kurzweil(TextHelp, 2015). Google Docs is another online tool school divisions are using to assist students within the classroom. The online word processor lets students create and format text documents and collaborate with other classmates or their teachers in real time in the classroom or from home. This excellent tool helps students stay connected and organized when completing assignments Google Docs also easily allows teachers to provide feedback and guidance while students work on assignments.
In addition when looking at Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education, she highlights that access to education online has increased access to schooling for more than just what was traditionally been an opportunity and privilege for society’s elite. Using online education provides access to what is similar to a real world classroom experience. When students are accessing materials online it shows more engagement and motivation as students can work at their own pace, they have access to flexible work times and education this way can spark creativity and support lifelong learning – which is our goal! All in all, as teachers when we are using technology that supports and enhances learning in a meaningful way, I think our students will benefit much more and gain more insight and opportunities.
Well folks, technology exists whether we like it or not! Therefore, as teachers, considering we spend more time with students than they sometimes do with their own families… we need to use technology as teachable moments to facilitate proper technology use. I do see some of the concerns that come with technology but I think we need to embrace it! Just the other day I was on a school bus with my class and one boy had his phone to play a game while his friend sat beside him. His friend inquired if he could play the a game afterwards to which he agreed. Once the round was over, the student passed his phone to his friend. Then instantly, I watched this student go into a panic. He said, “Mrs. Ortman oh my gosh I forgot my phone at school!” to which I replied, “Sweetheart… you just passed your phone to your friend to play your game…” – then he had a big sign of relief and said, “Oh yaaaa…..”. This is where I see problems arise. Teachers are just as bad as students. In staff meetings teachers are just like students! Distracted, reading online, texting on our phones. So we need to set a standard for our students as well….
Anyways… when looking at the website commonsensemedia, I am going to reference the article 5 Reason You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media. First and foremost, bullying existed even prior to technology and social media. Perhaps accessibility to people has increased, but we can still teach students how to cope and deal with social media in a positive way.
Some positive ways students can use social media…
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram – this always students to connect to others around the world, around their communities and schools. This allows them to share and have a voice in a variety of topics. It enhances their ability to see how others are addressing social justice issues and perhaps it may inspire them even more! This also can allow students to form and strengthen friendships with new and old friends. It allows them to have a platform for their beliefs and it can strengthen other people and uplift them, when they may be feeling down.
On a positive note, our school went to the Robb Nash Project in April. Click here to read more about Robb Nash – but regardless, he was able to captivate young students through music and he has a social media trail that students can follow along, which empowered students. They now have access to his music, his journey to support those who may be struggling with mental health concerns. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p80UzvcYdzs)
Just as the article mentioned: Suicidal teens can even get immediate access to quality support online. The award-winning Robb Nash Project is a registered Canadian charity that engages young people through the power of music and storytelling to inspire hope and encourage positive life choices.
All in all, students need to understand permeates around technology and as teachers we have the power to set a high standard, create parameters in our classrooms and allows students the ability to see how powerful a thing as social media can be!
I think we need to monitor how much we are posting online when we are with students. I think it is nice to capture great things going on around schools, but as teachers we need to create and maintain a positive online identity, not only for ourselves but to model for our students. I connect with Dani’s point about potentially causing more anxiety in an anxiety ridden world, when we are frequently capturing photos. I know for me, I have not a person who loves getting photos taken. I immediately feel anxious and worry what it might look like and this causes me to not want photos taken of me. We need to be mindful that students may or may not want to be photographed….Particularly with the rapid rate technology is changing and we need to be ready for changes. How can we maintain capturing and sharing in a classroom and limit student anxiety? What security concerns are we setting them up for if we are constantly oversharing as Amy stated?
We should not be comparing future generations and current to the previous generations. We as teachers need to be update and informed. If we are going to capture students photos, then we need to have our “bases covered” meaning we have our forms filled out and know who has consent compared to those who don’t. Currently, I have found that I have stopped sharing my students journeys on social media simply because I have more and more students who do not have consent, therefore it makes me be more conscious of where they are when I am taking photos. Secondly, our division has implemented new regulations about posting and saving previous student work. That being said, if I want to share an old assignment or post a photo of their great work on my personal social media, I need to have consent. All in all, I do believe that technology should be used and we should use some way to share student work with families and I feel it is just as important to teach digital citizenship at school. For the most part, us as teachers are the most informed and have the updated knowledge. Some parents may lack the awareness and understanding so I think it would increase student awareness I we include digital citizenship throughout our curriculum, all year long.
I would include the Financial Literacy. I feel as a student growing up, no one ever talked about saving money, RRSP’s vs TFS , student loans, how to buy a new vehicle, the expenses that come with owning a house and the list could go on. Perhaps I should blame my parents… I feel like my teachers never talked about this. Now, as a teacher I often find myself talking about my current financial situation. I do know from talking with my parents now, that money wasn’t as easy for people to talk about before. No one liked to engage in stating what they had in savings, RRSP’s or how much their houses were. I often find myself asking people when they get a new car or house how much they paid. If I ever do this in front of my parents, they ridicule me. They say it is very rude and disrespectful. But usually, people respond with the honest truth. Which I also think we need more of – honesty! I find myself being a very honest person and I find my student can resonate with that more. This world is tough to navigate, so why not equip students in the most effective way possible. At times as teachers we spend more time with children than they spend with their own parents. Students need to understand the value in honesty. When they have jobs later in life, if they are not performing to their expected standard they need to know how to take criticism. I often preach to my students about the importance of being resilient, while advocating for themselves when they need help, dont understand, or need clarification. All in all, we need to prepare students in as many ways as possible and I believe the earlier you start being honest, talk about expenses, and their futures, the better off they will be.
When looking at the topic, it was rather difficult to disagree with the statement that “technology enhances learning” as in most ways I find students are more engaged when using technology. At times, as a grade 8 teacher I find that students are addicted to their phones and become distracted by technology. Often students show up to school with their headphones in, they go for recess with their head phones in, or as soon as they finish an assignment, they want to play games on devices or chromebooks. I liked the SAMR visual because it is a model that supports teaches understand the integration of technology. This idea was made known by Dr. Ruben Puentedura which allows teachers to develop, design and infuse learning supported by technology.
This visual provides a more real life view of how this can be implemented. Most teachers would being by grazing the surface by using substitution for writing notes or reading a textbook, later transformed into allowing more creation of new tasks with technological advancements through the use of apps for videoing, making story boards, etc. I think some teachers need more training for those who are intimidated by technology and at times they fear the students may know more than the teacher.
All in all, I do support technology in the classroom but I think there needs to be perimeters. Students need rules that they have to follow while also implementing a digital citizenship lessons throughout the year. Students need to understand how to use technology appropriately but also need to take a break from it! I find social skills have decreased a little when it comes to classroom discussions as they do not interact a whole lot outside of school if they are not involved in sports or group tasks in the evenings. Often parents will tell me that their children come home from school, have no homework, and just play on a gaming system or a device. I think we need to support students through understanding how to use phones but I also think we need to continue to teach social skills and how to work well within a group with peer interactions.