Reading Response February 7th

Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

Before the Reading:

I understand a little bit of how curricula is made, but not really sure where the ideas come from. I had many teachers in high school who were hired to create new curriculum. I would assume that they bring in teachers who are experienced in the subject area, those who have an understanding of what is missing from the curriculum and how they could make it better, and which parts are good and should stay. Thats about all I know about creating curriculum.

After the Reading:

After doing this reading I have a better understanding and appreciation for creating curriculum. My grade was the grade where teachers started to implement new curriculums (sciences, maths, and almost Christian Ethics) and it was incredibly frustrating for teachers and students, because no one had ever seen curricula like this before. Honestly I never thought of how big of a process it actually is to create curricula. First the ministry of educating needs to provide funding for the development (which I did not know). Then the Ministry brings in people who specialize in the field, where they want to create new curriculum. Those asked to help out are highly specialized in the field, and they are the ones who decide what ideas need to be taught in that course. Then the ministry brings in teachers who are experienced in that subject matter, to create objective and indicators for teachers to follow in the curriculum. Then there are pilot projects of it being implemented and schools. To summarize this process, it is extremely long and a lot of work. Because of this I now understand why it takes so long to implement new curriculum into schools.

Nothing really surprised me after doing this reading. However the one thing that concerns me is how curriculum is sometimes implemented in schools. How the new science curriculum was implemented in my school caused some issues for my education, just based on how classes lined up. I ended up taking Physics 30 (without any prerequists). Another concern I have (not about how curriculum is created) is that the the Science Social curriculum in Saskatchewan is from 1997. I learned the same information, that people were learning since before I was born. This is a major concern for me because how much information is this curriculum missing?

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Should Schools Not Focus on Teaching Things That can be Googled? Oui ou Non?

This week in the Great EdTech Debate we had Sydney (for) debating Aurora (against) debating whether or not schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled in classes. Right off the bat, Aurora had the lead against Sydney.

Sydney had us read two articles that helped build her case about why teachers should focus on teaching students things that can be googled. The first article “Why Learn Facts if You Can Google?” starts by questioning how education works, and whether the traditional way of teaching is really the best approach for teaching. The second article I read really helped me understand the perspective Sydney was debating for. This article highlights the facts that society is changing, yet curriculum has not. Knowing the multiplication table from memorization is not longer as important of being able to collaborate with coworkers. It also discusses how “self-organized learning environments” are beneficial to students, it allows students to collaborate with others, move around freely from group to group, and research ideas that interest them. This article even discusses how traditional testing is not as beneficial for students as many people previously believed, and that for evaluation students should be allowed to use the internet and collaborate with others.

Aurora shared three articles with us that believe teachers should focus on teaching things that can be googled. The first article is “How Google Impacts the Way Students Think”, which discusses multiple reasons why google is not the solution to teaching. The first point was that google doesn’t always give the best answer….. or even a correct one. Then he discusses that even if a student finds an answer which is appropriate, it doesn’t pose any questions. Googling an answer just gives the reader what they are looking for, but doesn’t encourage any deeper understanding. One quote from the article that resonated with me was that “premature Googlers often find what they want rather than what they might need.” (Terry Heick) This quote suggests that being able to just google an answer does not help students further research an idea because they have what they think they need. Next we watched a Ted Talk by Andreas Ekström which I highly recommend. He discusses the difference between googling facts and googling information. That searching a basic question such as whats the capital of France? will give you a straight forward answer. However googling information the conflict in Iraq will not just give you one answer about what caused it, there are countless different perspectives the Google will give you. Then Andreas brings up the topic of how people think google (or any search engine) as an unbiased source of information. He proceeds to give an example of this with Michele Obama and a Swedish terrorists. The main idea of his talk was how these major search engines have the power to decide what information we see, and what gets removed.

In our post class survey we can see that Sydney gained some ground on Aurora, however Aurora still won over the hearts of the people in my class.

Where do I stand on this topic? I think google is a fantastic vehicle for information and a great resource that students should use for researching topics. However I feel that by focusing on topics that can be googled may be more detrimental for student collaboration than beneficial. When I was younger before we could ask our teacher a question we had to ask at least three peers the question, and work together to try and find a solution together. Now if students go and immediately google the answer there is no opportunity for group collaboration or critical thinking. Although this depends on what type of question is being googled. Whether it is an open ended question (knowledge) or closed ended question (facts). So I feel that I stand in the middle of the road. I think teachers should let students use google, but within reason.

Does Technology in the Classroom Enhance Learning?

Technology can have many benefits on students learning, but it also has many consequences. As a French Immersion student, it was extremely difficult to immerse myself in the French Language. Watching the CNA- Speaking Exchange video gave me chills. It is such a unique idea, that using simple video chats, students were able to connect with elderly native English speakers. This allowed students to practice speaking in English, while giving elderly people, who might not have the ability to travel, to see something new. This definately enhanced the students learning experience because it gave them real life experience. In a blog post written by George Couros he highlights how much easier technology is to use in this day and age. The example that he used which I really liked was how when we get a new phone (like and iPhone or a Samsung) we don’t have to read a manual about how to use the device. This is a huge change from what my parents had when they went to school. Technology can enhance learning, because there are so many possibilities as it is so widely available.

Even though technology can enhance learning, it can also be detrimental to learning. In an article written by Julia Klaus named Negative Effects of Using Technology she highlights the three main issues that can arise from using technology inappropriately in the classroom. Her main three points were that there is a loss of learning time, overuse and distraction, and game mentality. She discusses that the loss of learning time can arise from not being experienced with technology, because it takes time to become familiar with new systems, and sometimes the internet just does not work. When technology is overused in the classroom she speaks about how it makes students dependant on that technology. That they become unable to absorb information if it is not given with “splashy Graphics” (Klaus). The game mentality section speaks about how many teachers only use technology for games. Some students get distracted easily, and this will not be beneficial for them.

My relationship with technology is complicated. I am not the best with it, and I am easily distracted online. I think that Technology can enhance students learning, only if it is used in moderation. Technology shouldn’t be used to replace things in the classroom, but enhance them.

Reading Response February 1st

According to our societal norm of “common sense” a good student is someone who follows the classroom rules. They are not disruptive, the sit quietly, only speak when spoken to, gets good grades, shows up to school well rested, and works hard studying. It is someone who is malleable, and not resistant to change. This societal sense of common sense really only benefits students from the upper class. Students who come from lower income households, tend to have to get a job while going to school. While this is not as common for students from middle income households. Giving other students more free time to focus on school work and other things, instead of working. Because of this idea of common sense this becomes difficult for some students to succeed in school. Every student have different life experiences, therefore you can’t expected students to be successful where they are expected to behave the same as their peers.

Is Technology Controlling our Lives?

This week I watched Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk Connected, but alone? I really enjoyed listening to her presentation for several reasons. One thing I have realized about myself, is that I am addicted to my phone. It is always either in my hand or my pocket, and I am always connected online. This has had many benefits for me because I am now able to communicate on a daily bases with my friends from different cities and provinces, but it has had many consequences. As Sherry said in her presentation, people want to be together but not present. This is very true in my own life, I find it very difficult to engage my friends in conversations, when all they want to do is be on their phone communicating with people who are not there. I have had to work hard to become less and less dependant on having my phone with me. Whenever I have a family supper my mom has a strict no phone policy for my brother, dad, and I. Honestly speaking it is really nice to have those break from being online.

I think my favourite quote from Sherry’s presentation is when she is discussing why people like to be online so much because “we get to edit and that means we get to delete”. Online people aren’t really who they are, they are presenting the version of themselves that they want to be, not who they truly are. Just take a moment and think about this quote. An example of this is my blog. There are so many people who are extremely different in person compared to online. I will admit that I am one of these people. Online I find myself a lot more reserved in what I say and share for a couple reasons 1) I am not able to explain my thoughts, and I do not want people to take what I say out of context 2) I do not explaining ideas when I am typing on my phone. If I have a story to tell someone, there is a 95% chance that I will call them instead of typing it.

I thought it was interesting when Sherry mentioned that people wanted Apple to make Siri someone who they could have a conversation with. Even typing that sentence felt wrong because Siri is Artificial Intelligence, not a person or a “someone”. When iPhones started to get big I was in Grade 8. Only one kid had a cellphone and it was an iPhone. We were leaving Agribition in November of 2012 (loooong time ago). I remember there was a group of five of us using her phone talking to Siri, having a weird conversation, that really didn’t make any sense at all. Now when I try to have a conversation with Siri, all she says is “sorry I don’t understand”, then gives me options of frequently asked questions. I think Apple recgonized that people were using Siri as a substitute to human interaction, and realized the risks associated with it.

Reading Response January 15th

 

For this weeks response we were asked to pick a quote that related to education. The quote I picked is “Education is a shaping process as much as the manufacture of steel rails” said by Franklin Bobbitt. For those who did not know this, Bobbitt was a huge supporter of the efficiency movement in schools. This was the stream lining of schools, to get as many students through as possible who received the same education and knew the same information. In this quote Bobbitt is comparing schools to working on a factory line. The main purpose of schools in those days were to educate students and prepare them for life afterwards, which for most was working on a factory line. In theory his idea worked for the time that it was created. Students were forced to sit quietly, speak only when allowed, had to ask to go to the washroom, know specialized information (math and science, not art), etc. These characteristics  are very similar to those needed to work in a factory. Therefore schools did exactly what they were meant to in those days.

However times have changed, but the education system has not. Students no longer grow up to work in factories, therefore the system of preparing students to work a factory line is out of date and no longer works in schools. This quote implies that every student will leave school with the same understandings, but we all know that this is not the case. Even if students learn the same information they have different experiences outside of school which will impact “sticks” with them. An example of this is from my own experience. I went to high school and elementary school with many of the same people, we all learned the same information, took the same tests, but if I have to conjugate verbs in French to the tense Imparfait, I have to sing a little rhyme to remember it. While many of my friends just knew it. This is a small example, but it shows how everyone learns different, and has different understandings. This is why this theory does not work in schools anymore.

My grade was the grade who was always caught in the middle of a curriculum switch. So I got to see the transition away from this way of thinking to a broader way of thinking, of how every student learns differently and a test is not the best judge of what a student understands. To relate this back to my own experience again, every french immersion student in Saskatchewan from grade 6-12 has to write a standardized exam (ELFI). These are terrible exams. We were forced to read an article about pointless topics that were not interesting (corn, potatoes, Andre the Giant) then answer short answer comprehension questions. Students and teachers did not enjoy these, because they lost two classes to these tests, and the felt this was not an accurate representation of what their students knew and understood.

Social Media and Me

Hey Everyone!

This week we were asked to take a look at our social media accounts. To start the process I put my google page into incognito mode (where it doesn’t keep track of your search history, or sites you previously logged in onto). Upon searching my name this was what the first page of results looked like.

Upon doing this search I was really happy that my blog and twitter were two of the things that came up first!!!! This makes me happy because those are my two social media accounts that I use professionally, not personally.

In general I am a very private person, so I tend to keep an extremely low profile on my other social media accounts. My Instagram account is private, and I only allow people who I know to follow me. As well with my facebook, if someone is not friends with me on facebook, they can not see any posts a make or pictures I post. The only thing that they can see is when I update my profile picture or cover photo.

Doing some searches on Instagram and Facebook I discovered that my accounts are very easy to find because I have an uncommon name. Since my accounts are pretty private you couldn’t really find any information on me. Going through all of the photos that I’ve posted or was tagged in, there weren’t any photos that I didn’t want on my profiles. Although I’ve been really careful about what I have on my profile, and I have removed myself from tagged photos in the past.

Since I have such a low profile on social media, I think thats why I struggle so much with using Twitter for class. I have never been one to post lots, or consistently and that’s why I’ve been struggling using Twitter professionally.

I think my social media presence is appropriate and good for someone who wants to be a teacher. I am not one who wants to be in the spotlight, so keeping a low profile is easy for me! In the years to come I will continue to work my Twitter and blogging presence, and try to get more comfortable with being more active online.