It’s been a wild ride this semester! It was hard for Rahima and I to pin down the highlights of this semster but below is our final thoughts. We want to say thanks to all our classmates and to Dr. Alec Couros.
Even though the class was online I felt like we had a great community that was authentic and honest. We hope you enjoy our summary of learning video! It has a mix of video highlights, verbal overviews of a week by week summary, and then we end with our final thoughts of what we felt the purpose of this course was. We essentially feel that Dr. Couros has called us, as educators, to action. As educators since we are in the ear of students, it’s on us to spread cautious optimisim and critical thinking when it comes to teaching our students digital citizenship and literacry!
Thanks again everyone for stopping by and checking out our summary!
This week we had our final debate with the gifted: Rokhsareh & Hanieh, and George & Kanwal. Their topic was Will AI Technologies Revolutionize Education for the Better? This was an interesting topic because I feel like it is really too early to say for sure. On one hand I think that AI tech can save us time and optimize our social experiences so we can have more time to be doing the meaningful things we want to do. However, I see the other side where it can also make us co-dependent on technology and instead of inspiring us to evolve it will make us devolve as a society. Below are the points and overview of each side and my final thoughts.
Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS): AI acts as a tutor and is equipped with plans to assess the learner’s strengths and weaknesses and present appropriate materials considering the student’s abilities.
Virtual Facilitators: They are AI programs designed to make learning procedures easier and more fun like 3D gaming and computer animation.
Personalized Learning: With the help of AI, both tutors and learners can be aware of the process of each student’s progress and more tailored feedback and learning experience can be provided for the students.
Speech Recognition: The application shifts whatever is said in the classroom into written words which are useful for the recognition skills of international students, spelling, and disabled students.
Adaptive learning technology – Virtual Assistant: This assistant provides open-format answers using conversational technology and boosts critical thinking as well as one-on-one teaching and feedback
Availability: At any time in the class, each student is capable of participating in asking or answering questions using chat functions
Online Resources Applying: AI makes it possible for class participants, especially tutors, to use online resources and not be restricted to printed ones. Any questions aroused in class can be resolved by online resources.
Not Lecturing: Rather than individual lecturing in class, teachers may apply collaborative methods to ask students to gain information.
Clear Assignments: Just like in-person classes, assignments can be made clear through AI and it assists tutors to figure out which tasks and assignments were well received by students for further modifications
Ongoing feedbacks: Continuous feedback can be provided to relieve students’ stress and the physical distance does not matter for communications.
The above points essentially highlight that teachers who use AI can be efficient in grading and giving assignments. AI can offer students a more individualized approach to learning which is AWESOME because othersie it would be totally unsustaibable for one teacher to make 25-30 individual learning plans for each student in their classroom. This article shines light on the fact that AI, if used correctly, can be a postive part of education and curriculm design.
Opposition: George & Kanwal
I am unable to comment on any additional readings or research as I don’t see anything posted; however, I will make some comments on one of the most interesting points from their opening remarks. The most notable and alarming is the point on Elon Musk’s and Steve Wozniak asking for a six-month pause because of the risk involved in allowing AI to evolve so quickly without regulation. They argue that AI stifiles creativity and does not ingender independent thinking in our students. Kanwal’s point on the definition of education. Why do we teach? She challenges her listeners are we only teaching students to copy and paste from AI robots doing the thinking for them. They also address the ethical and cultural issues that are faced with the emergence of AI technology taking over the classroom. I really appreciated their thoughts and ideas. It was sobering but important.
Today’s class debate really summed up everything we have discussed thus far. Is AI good for society or is it bad? I think it’s unknown really and it goes back to the four philisophical viewpoints that Dr. Couros shared with us which is techno-determinism, dystopianism, utopianism, or techno-progressivism. There are many ways we can view technology, but ultimately it really is unknown so we can either be scared and judgemental of it, or avoidant and passive, or honest and upfront with it. I think technolgoy is going to require a society that is not apathetic. We as a people will need to DEMAND that it is regulated. However, Elon Musk argues that it is too late for even that, so who knows.
I am going to take the optimistic approach and let Chat GPT write by emails like Professor Couros and Bart M stated! I think we can use tech in smart ways that aren’t inauthentic or mischevious. Essentially using it in ways to save us time and energy to do what we love, and to be with those that we love! Then to make sure I haven’t lost my edge I will write my own emails every now and then to keep a balance and I think that’s the hope here. Balance.
In this week’s debate we got to hear from the talented groups: Amanda & Jacquie, and Ramsel. Their topic was Do Educators have a Responsibility to use Technology and Social Media to Promote Social Justice? This topic actually caught me by surprise because at first I was like of course! As teachers we should most certainly use technology to spread knowledge on being kinder and compassionate citizens. However, as we discussed as a class and I heard from both sides of the debtate groups I saw a more balanced view. The purpose of education is not to push political agendas or viewpoints, the purpose is to teach subject-specific skills, critical thinking, collaboration, self-discipline, and time management! Of course if along the way we teach students not to be shitty to one another that’s awesome! I fear that some of the political, social justice movements (while well-intentioned) can actually hinder the learning that can take place in the classroom. As well, it can create futher tensions than building reconciliation and community. Below are the points and overview of each side and my final thoughts.
Blake argues that in order to achieve a socially just classroom, teachers must build a space where students feel safe, and where they feel encouraged to speak openly about their experiences and beliefs. Students need to know that their voices and opinions are respected by their teachers and fellow classmates. Students can share their thoughts and ideas, but it is important that they know these things could bring some disagreements. Although there could be some disagreements, the students’ perspective is still valued. Teachers can model appropriate behaviours and questions, conversations can be thoughtful. Students see themselves as co-learners rather than competitors. Students know that disagreements can occur, but they are to use them as a learning experience and by working together, problem solve together to create a solution, and in turn: fostering a community of learners that builds each other up instead of tearing each other down. One way to strengthen your community of learners is to draw upon the experiences of the students found directly within your classroom. Using information that pulls from different perspectives of the situation that can build upon their prior knowledge. I agree that teachers should “employ books, articles and lesson plans that include diverse voices and cultures. Educators also may need to call upon colleagues or community members from specific backgrounds in order to better understand their cultures.” Once a teacher has provided an environment where students feel safe, it is then that social justice issues can be brought in. I think social justice (how to be a kind citizen, diverse awareness of those different from self culturally, religiously, etc.) can be a byproduct of the learning that takes place in the classroom but I think as teachers we need to be careful that its’ not the main focus. The main focus needs to be teaching students neutral concepts and to be self-motivated to learn and think on their own too so that one day when they face the world they can make compassionate and informed decisions.
Opening statement video: N/A Readings: N/A
Ramsel’s posts and information was not available; however from her presentation I really appreciated her authenticity and her ideas on the ethical components of this debate topic. We are called as teachers to teach our subjects and not to politicize everything.
This article shared by classmate Laura Erikson: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/a-lot-of-reason-to-be-afraid-says-censured-teacher-critical-of-the-woke-revolution-in-classrooms feels wrong to support because it goes against the popular discourse today but I really appreciated it. The article highlights the importance of teaching students to be proficient citizens with subject-specific skills and atrributes. However, the current global agenda is so politicized and it’s making the classroom a space not about learning but about assimilating certain agendas and ideas. We need to be careful with this.
In this week’s debate I was one of the participants! It was really tough to debate from the opposition’s side. I felt so conflicted arguing from a position I whole heartedly disagreed with. However, after really digging into our side’s point of view I was able to constructively see where promoting the development of a digital footprint is tricky and that teachers do need to tread wisely. Our opposiing team, Jolaolowa & Laura, took the affirmative stance and nailed their points and argued well. This call to teaching digital literarcy and development is in our curriculim; therefore we are required and mandated as teachers to cautiously yet optimistly prepare the next generation for the unknown digital world ahead. Below are the points and overview of the argument and my final thoughts.
The reading/viewing post that stood out most for me from Jolaolowa & Laura was the Ted Talk “Kid, you posted WHAT?! How to raise a digital citizen” by Keegan Korf. I like how she talked about the online world being a safe space for her as none of her family members were involved. I agree! I also grew up in a similiar world where MSN messenger or Facebook were unknown to my family members so I had complete autonomy. However, I was a bit older when Facebook came out (late high school) THANK GOD and it was only available to University students. I cringe to think what I could have posted. I didn’t really start using it until my first year in University. Her point that according to Buchanan (2016), kids today start using the internet on average when they are a little under 8 years old. Preschoolers really use the internet, even if it is just to choose song or watch cartoons. Most people now regularly access the internet, with older kids (13+) utilising it for social contact and younger kids (9-13) primarily using it for games was shocking! Essentially her argument is that there are simple things that can be done early on to demonstrate students the positive side of utilising the internet, such as leaving a positive digital footprint as opposed to all the negative things they should continuously be on the lookout for. Don’t get me wrong, both are crucial, but I think one side lacks more than the other. The internet and digital technology are rich with information. It is inevitable that our children will use the internet at some point during their time in school. Instead of scaring them away, we should support their use of it. I agree whole heartedly and was reminded that the digital world I grew up with is much more intense now and children more than ever need guidance, mentorship and support!
Opposition: Rahima & Jessica
I’m not going to do a reflection on our own readings as we posted them but overall some points on the reading piece! IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE to find any support for this topic. Perhaps we weren’t being creative enough or looking for the right things. I even used CHAT GPT to try to find articles or documents and all the suggestions they gave were fake links! I felt like we were looking for a needle in a haystack so what we were able to find worked but I felt like there was no articles or support to argue against supporting developing student digital footprints. It was really bizarre to be honest.
Overall, I think that was a pretty bad ass debate and both Rahima & I, and Jolaolowa & Laura did a great job!
In this week’s debate we got to hear from the tech savvy groups: Kennedy & Ummey vs. Jeff & Graeme. The topic was Has Technology Led to a More Equitable Society? This was also a pretty tough topic as I can see both viewpoints. On one hand I think that tech opens so many doors for isolated communities that would otherwise be excluded from the digital world, but then I also can see how tech creates further barriers and shines a light on those that have $$$ to go towards the latest technology and those that don’t. Below are the points and overview of each side and my final thoughts.
Affirmative: Kennedy & Ummey
Kennedy & Ummey shared the article Bridging The Gap by Don Hall! Which is a pretty interesting read. I appreciated the balance of visuals and text. He explains how attempts to close the digital gap actually brought forth findings of how technology has created equitable learning experiences for students. “Bridging The Gap” is a program that was designed to bridge the divide that technology had created. This program was directed towards students without access to technology at home. The program is entirely student driven & has been held for 3 years successfully. The overall goal of this program was to integrate student learning into the homes of families, which resulted in over 3,000 homes being supplied with technology. This program has brought attention to how technology can help to bring a community together while also providing equality within that community. Hall finishes this article by questioning if the digital gap can in fact be closed, his answer is as follows, “However, if you define closing the digital gap as providing equitable learning opportunities for all your students and ensuring they are successfully prepared for their future where technology plays a valuable role in helping that to occur, then the answer is a definite yes” (p. 18). This article is definitely honest in affirming that brdiging the gap entirely is futile, yet it is hopeful in striving for that anyway, which I appreciated.
Opposition: Jeff & Graeme
Hands down this debate video was probably the best we have seen so far this semester! It was on point, relevant and fun! It reminded me a lot of the first group’s video and had a similiar spirit. I appreciated the playfullness and the use of their interest of hockey, and a homage to Don Cherry in his better days.
The reading that I was drawn to was the article from the Harvard Political Review by Alyvia Bruce “Bridging the Technological Divide in Education.” Bruce provides an overview of some of the main reasons for the divide related to technology and education which are predominantly: Income inequality between families, and also school districts. The gaps between district resource spending have spread inequity amongst neighboring communities. Covid-19 created a monster, forcing students to work from home on inadequate technology, creating a digital divide amongst students of lower income families. The article reports that the average student lost roughly 6.8 months of learning through the pandemic, while students whose families fell into the low income category were closer to a year of lost learning, 12.4 months. These numbers increased once students were placed into rural settings as well. Her call to action is that the “root of the issue lays in the need for a foundational educational reform nation-wide. Everyone deserves a fair chance at educational success, and the only way to achieve this for all students is by reforming educational institutions from the ground up.”
I think this is a hard topic because ultimately like Kennedy & Ummey’s article by Don Hall states pretty bluntly bridging the gap for economic disparity is close to impossible! We will always sadly live in a world where there are people who have less and others that have more. So I don’t think a world with or without technology creates a greater disparity; however, in the video below (it’s a tad sensationalized I will admit but a descent compilation) Elon Musk shares that AI and technology make us super human (3:35 – 4:17). Therefore I worry about those in power that have access and use it in a way that’s bad or dangerous even! This for sure creates a very inequitable society so it’s hard to say. I think it’s on us as a soceity to demand proper regulation.
In this week’s debate we got to hear from the talented groups: Valeska & Bart versus Brendon & Brittany. The topic was Is Social Media Ruining Childhood. This was a tough one, as I can see both sides; however, I firmly began the debate with the affirmative belief that yes, social media is in fact ruining childhood. Mainly due to the fact that it takes away from being in the land and nature, as well as adds layers of worry and social concern for clout and likes leading children away from a care-free way of being. Below are the points and overview of each side and my final thoughts.
Valeska and Bart provided us with an ariticle by Freya India from Evie Magazine. “Social Media is Destroying an Entire Generation of Kids” This article discusses the negative impact of social media on the mental health and well-being of an entire generation of kids. The author points out that social media has become an essential part of children’s lives, but it is also causing anxiety, depression, and loneliness. India, delves into the addictive nature of social media and how it can lead to negative behavior such as cyberbullying and online harassment. Ultimately, arguing (and I couldn’t agree more) that social media companies should take more responsibility for the impact of their platforms on children and work to create safer online environments. Considering that social media is destroying an entire generation of kids by causing significant harm to their mental health, socialization, and behavior.
The talk explores the negative reputation social media has garnered, and how it is often blamed for a number of different issues. She argues that social media itself is not the problem, and can be used to “support personal fulfillment and professional success – if used judiciously.” She then presents a number of guidelines that she believes would be beneficial to teach young people as they begin to use social media, and outlines how it can be a helpful, and even inspiring, tool. Her video sheds light on the fact that any tool or item can be harmful if it’s not used for it’s intended effect or within the recommended parameters. For example, Draino is great to unclog your sink, but it’s not safe to digest!
Both groups had balanced arguments! I appreciate the perspective that Brendon and Brittany brought to the table. While they didn’t convince me to fully change my mind they for sure helped me to see the other side and effectively unpacked some false assumptions I had.
Today our class had the pleasure of witnessing our first debate with Will and Mike (affirmative side) versus Janeen and Catrina (opposition) on the topic of whether Technology in the classroom enhances learning.
Will and Mike had a pretty snazzy video which was quite impressive, while Catrina and Janeen wisely opted out of using tech for their debate to further their argument and cause.
This article highlights the “necessity of complicated and nuanced approaches to edtech that see it as inseparable from socially-embedded human bodies or internal or distributed learning processes, as well as intricately tangled up in social, economic, cultural, political and technical contexts”. In other words, edtech can not be seen as neutral tools but rather as something that exists in relation to the world. It is mixed in with the bodies that use it, the people who create it, national and transnational policy agendas and geopolitics. Requires funding from financial sources that are not neutral. It acknowledges that edtech is marketed to schools and universities and based on “certain theories or assumptions about pedagogy, education or learning”; This paper, as the authors put it, is “an overview of emerging issues and challenges… and [introduces] some of the innovative theoretical and methodological approaches” within the field. It examines edtech in the post-pandemic 2020s and its social and political role and suggests edtech might “propel more globally diverse voices in setting alternative agendas for educational technology than those that originate in either bureaucratic offices or education technology development studios”.
Another article shared was Class, Take Out Your Tablets: The Impact of Technology on Learning and Teaching in Canada provided by the Information and Communications Technology Council, a Canadian not-for-profit center of expertise for the digital economy. I thought this point was of interesting merit that the ICTC, for example, argues that technology is an invaluable tool for Indigenous students in northern communities, promotes e-learning opportunities to collaborate with other students across the country, and to increase inclusivity for students with disabilities by providing Universal Design for Learning. Although attempts at incorporating technology have existed for decades, the ICTC focuses on the new opportunities that continue to emerge for students to become technologically literate in our constantly evolving technologically-savvy world, while providing engaging ways to promote equality, diversity, collaboration, and new ways to think.
While Catrina and Janeen share an informative Ted Talk by Scott Wideman
Scott Wideman poses the question: Is technology in the classroom more beneficial or harmful to students? Wideman affirms that this is an arguable issue, and suggests there are countless discourses for and against it. However, he contends that more importantly, we need to recognize that technology is not going away, and our students today are growing up immersed in it. Thus, regardless of whether we feel that technology is beneficial or harmful in the classroom, it is our responsibility to prepare students to use technology responsibly.
In this article Wexler argues that heavy emphasis on and investment in ed tech in recent years has not yielded expected positive results. She explains that it’s important to understand the science of learning. For example, the “more information you have in long-term memory, the more cognitive capacity you have for comprehension, analysis, and additional learning.” This then demands that we first understand how learning works before we can effectively use technology in the classroom.
Both sides debated their positions well and to be honest intially I was more in favour of technology enhancing learning, but now thanks to Janeen and Catrina I have more of a balanced approach to understanding the role of technology in the classroom. I think there are pros and cons to both. Technology needs to be managed well and there needs to be an option for everyone to have access to the tools needed so no students are left out.
In all honesty, I’m embarassed to say this but I haven’t really broached the topic of teaching my students’ digital literacy. Partially because I feel like they don’t care what I have to say and secondly I feel like there are ethical implications involved. However, it is something I think teachers should MOST definitely be doing. Hence why I’m ashamed that it hasn’t really crossed my mind to do a unit study on this. I teach English literature too so I feel like I can easily incorportate it into my lessons.
The quote shared in today’s zoom class by Marshall McLuhan:
reveals the importance of teaching students not be shaped by the demands of social media. There is a lot of pressure for young people now to fit into the expected fabric of online identity creation. As also mentioned today we are living within echo chambers. Students and even young adults are struggling to develop their own perspectives and viewpoints as we/they are bombarded by certain ways of thinking. With the rise of mis-information and fake news too it’s tough to decipher what is real and what is propaganda.
The most startling point shared in today’s lecture was, computer scientist and tech ethicist, Tristian Harris’ warning of persusive technology. I looked into this a bit more and found this interesting clip where Harris essentially highlights that apps like Twitter, Snapchat, even outlook and emailing funtions on our phone are designed to seduce us and make us dependent on notifications. Hence why I think now it necessary more than ever to teach students about developing their digital footprints and identity (even though I will be debating the negative of this). There is just too much out there that targets young people and I think it is our job as educators to make them aware.
When Dr. Couros shared that the internet can be good because it gives people a voice, but then it can also be bad because it gives EVERYONE a voice. It also reminded me this great mini speech by Sacha Baron Cohen where he discusses the importance of establishing whether all people should have the right to the freedom of reach that Twitter gives. For example imagine Hitler today having access to Twitter 😭
Today was a great class as lots of eye-opening knowledge was shared.
My initial reactions to Chat GPT and the overnight boom of AI was intially deep apprehension. I thought this is it the end is near. What will happen to future generations? However, I saw this post about Chat GPT on TikTok and it gives an interesting perspective on how AI and how, if regulated properly, it can take over repetive tasks and actually give us as a soceity more time to be creative and innovative.
My fears though are that regulation will be tricky. I also worry that if it becomes an application for profit it will create futher of a disparity between those that have access and those that don’t. I also worry that we will be come overly dependent on it. Today in class Dr. Couros introduced me to a more visual AI tools that I wasn’t aware of! While it seems cool and can offer like one classmate sad VA (visual adaptions) it also creates questions about ethical rights to the privacy of artists. As many of these images are being taken from images all over the web that may or may not be open sourced (open to the public for use).
Here are some of my creations with
This site is INSANE! I created a presentation of the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the stanley cup this year. The results are pretty funny.