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.

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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.

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.

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.

Welcome to EDTC 400

Welcome to the portion of my blog dedicated to EDTC 400.

For those who have not seen the About Me portion of my blog, let me tell you a little about myself!

I am in my second year of the Secondary Education Program at the U of R. I am majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Physical Education and French! I have always been super passionate about being active, but I also really enjoy math, so the degree I am pursuing doesn’t really surprise anyone.

To this day I still play hockey (this is my 14th year playing). As well with playing I am an Assistant coach with the Peewee Female AA Rebels! This is my second season being an assistant coach with a hockey team, and I absolutely love it. In addition to this is my 8th season being a Hockey Official. Through Officiating I have received a few really cool opportunities such as being selected to be a Linesman in the Saskatchewan Winter Games in North Battleford in 2018, and being selected to work the Gold Medal game in the tournament! The photo below is the crew I worked with for the Gold Medal game!

Photo taken by Avery Dudley

I have a few goals for this class. The first one is to improve my digital literacy, I sometimes struggle with technology and how to filter information, so I would really like to work on that. My second goal is to explore the benefits and consenquences of technology in the classroom. A common theme I have heard in some of my other classes are how do we get students to be more active and going outside, because for many of them technology has taken over their lives. My last goal is to find some tactics and examples of how we can use technology to encourage students to get outside and be active.