Posted in EDTC 400

The Great EDTC Debate

This Week!

In this weeks Great EDTC Debate, I will be debating with my fellow classmate Sydney about whether we should focus on teaching things that can be googled! You can view my side of the debate above and make sure you head over to Sydney’s blog post to see what she has to say!  In order to gain a deeper understanding of my view on this topic, I have picked out some required readings for my fellow classmates!

How Google Impacts The Way Students Think

In this article, Terry Heick looks at the way he sees Google impacting students learning. He goes over a few points that describe the ways in which students learning has been changed by simply being able to Google any information they need. Heick then ends his article with an interesting potential solution to the issues he outlines.

The Moral Bias Behind Your Search Results

In this TedTalk, Andreas Ekström provides a more philosophical approach to the results we see when we Google something. In his talk, he speaks of the Google algorithms that dictate what pops up when we enter a search. Further, he discusses what is behind those algorithms. While it is not directly compared to an educational setting, we can still see how the process he speaks of can impact our students search results and even greater, their learning.

Will technology make teachers obsolete?

In this article by the Senior Debating Society at Wade Deacon Highschool in Widnes, England, students draw our attention to the “Human Factor” of teaching. Though their article focuses on technology in the classroom in general, I would like to draw the readers attention to their viewpoint on the importance of teachers.

Sources of information that are not mentioned above:

How much data do we create every day

This is why technology won’t replace teachers

Why graduates lack the skill they need most 

Gripping Issue: First graders lack fine motor skills

How does Google affect the way we learn? 

 

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Posted in ECS 210

“Education is inherently an ethical and political act.”

The quote that I have chosen to use for this post is one by Michael Apple. Michael Apple was one of the great minds that sustained Critical Pedagogy. I believe that this quote aligns itself with my own views on education!

“Education is inherently an ethical and political act.” – Michael Apple

I believe that this quote works to point out how formal schooling should be viewed in relation to and partnership with the cultural contexts in which it exists in. As we have learned from many other theorists so far, there is never a truly neutral or value-free way to do formal schooling. The curriculum will always have hidden messages that are influenced by the power relations that exist in the world or society around it. However, this quote holds with it a great amount of responsibility. It is one thing to read a quote and think that we align ourselves with its message, and another entirely to actually take action. We can recognize that education is ethical and political but unless we are actively trying to make sure our teaching style reflects that, our words are useless.

In a classroom where such an idea is recognized to its fullest extent, a teacher may take into consideration how students live and work inside the classroom and outside it. Just as education is not neutral, our students don’t have the ability to walk into our classrooms free of the circumstances that affect them. Furthermore, students in this classroom are recognized as competent learners that all have unique backgrounds, characteristics, personalities, and learning styles and needs. Students are not malformed steel pipes that need to be straightened out, but rather growing individuals who have come into our classrooms to free themselves.

I would love to say that this idea is upheld in all the classrooms I have been in, but that is sadly untrue. I have encountered only one class run by a teacher that I feel believed this message. That classroom may not have been one that I was in growing up, but it was certainly a classroom I learned a great deal about teaching in. In my own schooling experience, it is almost as if my teachers removed themselves from such a responsibility. There was such pressure to follow the curriculum and their lesson plans that there wasn’t any room for teaching to be recognized in this light (at least that I could see or feel). My own understanding of curriculum and school is that it should be used as a tool that gives us the necessary knowledge about ourselves and the world that in turn, lets us change it.

Posted in EDTC 400

Who Am I Online?

This week, our EDTC 400 class has been tasked with taking a look at our social media accounts and overall digital identity. It is extremely important for educators, even those that aren’t in the field, to be aware of what their digital identity says about them. You never know when a student, parent, or employer will try to find you online!

Incognito Mode

In order to make sure I was only seeing what someone who didn’t follow me or was logged into my accounts, would see, I made sure to do all my searching in an incognito window. This is a super helpful tool to see what everyone else will when they look at your accounts!

The First Search

Interestingly enough, when I search up my name using google, some of my least used accounts are right at the top. These are accounts that I haven’t put much thought into or that I have had for a really long time! It may be useful for me to go ahead and make sure that silly things like my Etsy, Prezi, and school Youtube accounts are either locked or portray the image of myself as an educator.

A useful tool that I learned last year regarding Youtube videos, was marking them as unlisted. This means that your videos will not come up if someone is searching for themselves, they have to have the link to your video in order to watch it! 

One of the things that I did when going through my accounts was to make sure that the profile pictures for all my accounts were clearly me. I feel like this could help in a situation in which someone has the same or similar name. By making sure that my profile pictures are the same, I am hoping to draw attention to those accounts as my own!

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

I will admit I am kind of thankful for this assignment right now. This was a great excuse to go onto my account, fiddle with my privacy settings, and make sure that my likes, groups, and pages that I belonged to all reflected who I want to be seen as!  I have made it so that my Facebook account shows my most basic information and insured that my Instagram account is similarly locked. My Pinterest account is another story. I haven’t done much to “hide” this account as I use it to collect useful resources for teaching and for my work. I don’t think it would be particularly hard to find any of my accounts, however, there is nothing on them that I want to hide.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, I am hoping to make more of a presence on my social media accounts to give those that may find me a better sense of who I am. As we have discussed in class, our digital identities do not need to be hidden away. I want to make sure that my philosophies about education are present in my digital identity! It is my goal to use the STF’s tips for professionalism in a digital world to “model the behaviour [I] expect to see online from [my] students”!

 

Posted in ECS 210

Curriculum Theory and Practice: The Tyler Rationale

After reading Smith’s Curriculum theory and practice, it is no doubt that I experience the Tyler rationale in my own schooling. As it is widely used across Canada I can image it influenced much of the curriculum development and delivery at many, many schools across the country. In my own schooling experience, I can definitely remember more emphasis being placed on absorbing and memorizing as much information as we could in order to write a test or exam and be finished with a specific topic or unit. I would often walk into a classroom and see a list of everything that we had to do on the board and worksheets on the front table of the classroom. You would finish the worksheet, get it marked by the teacher, and start studying for the test coming up. Of course, my teachers tended to be a bit nicer about it and softened the blow of constant testing by calling them “quizzes”. We often did work on our own, going through worksheets, textbooks, assignments, and so forth without much teacher input. As long as you finished your work and completed the assessment, you had done well.

A key component of the Tyler rationale is that it is “teacher proof”. The interactions between the teacher and students, integral parts of the learning process, are radically reduced. The teacher goes from being a true teacher into someone who essentially is just there to answer questions about worksheets. Of course, there are situations in which students need a little more than a sentence or two of explanation but I feel as though this isn’t the true nature of teaching. Providing our students with learning experiences that help them connect and integrate information seems far more appealing than forcing them to learn isolated facts from a worksheet that they then must memorize.

Some of the potential benefits of the Tyler rationale is that it can create a standard of what every student should be learning. Curriculum in Canada is often thought of as varying from province to province. Is there a base level of knowledge that should be taught and learned in school? I think that the Tyler rationale also makes it possible to establish, encourage, and enforce a hierarchy among students. There will always be one or two students that thrive in a situation where they can take charge of their own learning completely. It makes it possible to divide students into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ learners based on how well they absorb material from a piece of paper.

Posted in ECS 210

Kumashiro and Commonsense

In Kumashiro’s article “The Problem of Commonsense,” he defines common sense as a set of things that “everyone should know” (Kumashiro, 2009, p. XXIX). In his article, he encounters many situations in which the common sense of the people in the community around him differs from his own pre-conceived ideas about the same situations. He comes to discover that in everyday living, especially concerning the water in the bazaar, he has had different experiences than those of the people in the village. This is presumably the only way that they have experienced this situation and therefore it is common sense to them, but not Kumashiro. This is also reflected in his teaching position at the school. His students have been taught in one way for so long and have probably heard from others before them that the system has always been this way. Because of this, it is jarring for them when the commonsensical ideas they have about their education aren’t represented in their teacher, who was taught that the commonsense idea of education and teaching in the United States was better.

The problem with common sense is that it is hard to change and it is oppressive. In Kumashiro’s article, he outlines that common sense ideas are so hard to change because not only is there a social pressure to conform to common sense ideas, but because we have become comfortable with these ideas. It is hard to go against the status quo and as such, many people will remain in there common sense ideas where it is comfortable. Furthermore, the second problem with common sense is that it is oppressive. In class, Katia compared the idea of common sense to that of normative narratives. This is a useful comparison when you look at the social implications of widely held beliefs that are often created by those in power. The common sense ideas or normative narratives that exist in our society also exist in much the same way in the institution of education. This means that those who are likely to experience unfairness, discrimination, and inequality in our world, also experience the same thing in our classrooms. However, as Kumashiro points out, we have championed schools and the education system as being neutral and thus we can try to deny this. It is important that educators become comfortable with confronting commonsensical ideas and normative narratives and practising some, if not all, of the four approaches to anti-oppressive education in order to truly support the education of all of our students.

Posted in EDTC 400

An Introduction

Hello EDTC 400!

My name is Aurora Lay-Street and I am a second-year elementary education student at the University of Regina! I won’t delve too deep into my own story here, but feel free to check out my site introduction! Here you will find out a little bit about my background, interests, and hobbies. Instead, let me tell you about my EdTech journey!

Last spring I took EDTC 300 as an online elective and it absolutely blew my mind away! It is quite surprising how much my views and ideas surrounding educational technologies changed after this class and I immediately knew that I was going to be back for more! I very much enjoyed learning about educational technologies, digital literacy and citizenship, and, of course, PLN’s. I was able to explore real-life scenarios related to educational technologies, specifically using Twitter in the classroom! As well, I gained many useful tools and tricks that I can bring into my own future classrooms, and even gained knowledge about the SAMR and TPACK models for actually making sure I use educational technologies to their fullest extent in the classroom. The most exciting knowledge that I gained from EDTC 300 was using Twitter to form and connect with my PLN. I even went so far as to design and run a chat with a friend and classmate last year!

It is my hope that I can fully extend this learning into EDTC 400! Specifically, I have three goals for this class:

1. Better learn how to teach young students about digital citizenship and help them to develop positive digital identities.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

2. Expand my PLN to include educators in all fields! I believe that everyone has something to teach!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

3. Develop my own positive digital identity. I want to make sure that the image I portray online represents my professionalism, passion, and drive. I want to continue to update and grow my online presence! Photo Credit: nodstrum Flickr via Compfight cc

Aside from these three goals I also hope that I can have just as much fun in EDTC 400 as I did in EDTC 300. I also hope to see my mentees developing the same kind of passion and enjoyment with learning about, and soon teaching about, digital literacy.

Posted in EDTC300

My Contribution to Learning

Over the course of this semester, I have done so much learning! Whether it was through class lectures, assignments and blog posts, or through my classmates and the PLN that I have created, I have learned more about educational technologies than I thought I would have been able to in two short months. It is my hope that I have contributed to the learning of others in my class as well.

Blog Commenting

Through blog comenting, I strived to give my classmates unique feedback that was specific to them and the post they made. As simple as that sounds, it can be easy to fall into the trap of giving everyone the same generic comment for the sake of reaching your commenting goal for the week. I wanted my classmates to really feel like I had read and absorbed what they spoke about in their post and respond to it with my own knowledge in return.

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This was one of my favourite interaction/conversation I had with a classmate. It just so happened that Raegyn was looking for some different perspectives on her post and she asked some great questions for readers to respond to. And, I had a lot to say. Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 6.13.52 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter

Twitter was another place that I found it really easy to interact with my classmates and build my PLN! Twitter has made it so easy to actually build a PLN and I made connections with teachers all over the world and made some meaningful relationships with some across Canada and the United States. I tried to follow the same philosophy that I had with blog commenting and post useful and unique resources and feedback for my PLN.

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One of the most memorable relationships that I was able to create was with a first-year teacher from Illinois! Although she was not a classmate of mine, I wanted to include a summary of interactions as I believe they have been mutually beneficial. Throughout my time on twitter, we have participated in each other’s Twitter Chats and have found ways to connect over resources!

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