Video Killed the Radio Star

Picture this. It’s 1978. You’re in your car which has no air conditioning and you have to manually roll the windows down. You turn the radio on and “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles comes on.  You start jamming out. Now fast forward to 2019, the new song is “social media killed childhood”. Okay, so that may have been a bit extreme but this week in EDTC400 we debated the topic of whether Social media is ruining childhood or not with Lauren providing us with facts on the agreement side and Kylie giving information for the disagreement side.

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Agree

Lauren provided us with a very strong argument for why social media is indeed ruining childhood. Points by Lauren and our class include: 

  • Social media is affecting mental health
    • Youth may become depressed if they are not followed by a certain person or getting a certain number of likes on a post
    • F.O.MO. = Fear of missing out which a phobia youth may develop when they see friends partaking in activities in which they are not participating 
  • Digital footprint
    • Youth are creating a digital footprint before they even know what one is
  • Cyberbullying
    • Social media is just one platform where bullying takes place
  • Age Restrictions
    • Many social media accounts like Snapchat for instance but children younger than this are forming accounts
    • One question sparked in our debate was “Social media requires one to be at least 13 years of age to make an account, but parents are allowing children to make accounts much earlier. Ironically, the same parents are not allowing their children to watch a PG-14 movie when they are 13. Why is that?
      • I couldn’t actually tell you the answer but if you have one, be sure to comment it!
  • Whisper and Ask.FM
    • These two apps are where people can post anonymous questions or statements which often included personal information which may lead to cyberbullying.
  • Creativity
    • If students see an idea online and copy it or add their own personal mark to it, is the student really coming up with their own idea or copying and adapting someone else’s?
  • Documentation
    • Are we documenting too much of our lives? Should we step out from being behind the camera and jump into the moment?
Are we hiding behind a camera?
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Smartphones and Anxious Kids: Mental Health Issues and the iGeneration” focuses on the mental health aspect of social media. In this article, the term deindividuated communication is introduced. So, what does the term mean? According to the website deindividuated communication is “when they [youth] communicate via smartphone texting or via social media, they feel essentially faceless, absent or anonymous and unaccountable for what they are saying,”. Ultimately, this means youth are more willing to bully online because they would never say it to the persons face but when you do it online who really cares? Terrible view on the situation I know, but that is what cyberbullying is, it’s saying things you would never say to a person and the only way you are able to say it is online where one feels more powerful because it’s “just words”.

Also, students are not spending enough time in the great outdoors. I can speak for myself when I say being outdoors is rejuvenating for the mind and body. There have been studies on Green Spaces being good for one’s health so if social media is distracting youth from the outdoors, can social media be good for them? 

The outdoors is good for us, who would have thought?
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Is New Technology and Social Media Ruining Our Children’s Lives?” continues to keep the agreement side strong. It brings to readers attention that children are so consumed by social media and technology, they are “growing up with lack of key life skills such as being able to read or riding a bike,”. I learnt how to ride a bike way before I knew how to even turn on a computer. Much to my surprise, I learnt after reading this article “17 per cent of children under 3 own a smart phone or tablet,” which is interesting. I have a 3-year-old cousin who has an iPad, and while she played on it, it may not be in the fashion you are thinking of. She didn’t play a game on her iPad, she instead jumped on her iPad. So maybe technology isn’t as great as we expect?

Disagree

While Lauren may have been convincing on her side of the argument, Kylie stood tall against her argument that social media does not ruin childhood. Points raised by Kylie and our class discussion:

  • Open doors
    • Social media opens doors for youth such as allowing them to have a voice in a space where they are traditionally not invited into
  • Mental health initiatives promotions
    • For those who are struggling with their mental health, there are online platforms to let them know they are not alone
  • MOMO
    • While Momo was threatening kids online, social media spread word of this creature initiating parents to talk to their children about internet safety and warn others of this challenging creature
  • Traditionally, humans avoid social situations.
    • Shaleen raised the point that humans once read newspapers on busses to avoid talking to others and the only element which has charged was what people were reading. Why is reading cellphones on a bus frowned upon but reading a newspaper isn’t?
Why is the same situation frowned upon when the newspaper is replaced with a cellphone?
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5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media” is an article shared by Kylie. One reason provided by this article related to parents reducing their worrisome states caused by social media include “It can offer a sense of belonging”. Youth feel more connected and less isolated by talking to peers online. Another reason offered by this article was “It helps them express themselves”.  Youth are free to upload anything they create online since it is easy. Users are able to hide their identity which allows students to express themselves without anyone knowing it is them. I have multiple friends who have Instagram pages showcasing their art, music, make-up, photography, etc… under usernames where followers will not find out the person’s identity. 

5 Reasons Why Social Media Might Actually Be Good for your Child”first point about social media allowing on to “keep up with friends”, is a point which hits home> Being away from home, I often can see what my friends are up to without talking to them every single day. I can see if my best friend actually went on her trip once she posts a Snapchat story or I can see my other friend doing well at golf at the university they are attending.

The Verdict

Overall, social media is all about balance. Youth are going to have social media accounts. I may not be a parent, but I do know I would rather know about my children’s social media activity than to be in the dust with it. Ultimately, with this debate, I side with Lauren. I do see social media as a means for ruining childhood, it may be a bias opinion since I didn’t have social media until I was 15 and technology was not a big part of my childhood (ask my parents, they will defend me if you don’t believe me). But then that can be argued I am trying to image childhood the way I experienced it. New flash Jayden, things change. It was a great debate with strong arguments from both sides. 

Now here’s some questions I have for you to ponder.

  • How old were you when you created social media accounts? 
  • Do you document everything? Or do you live in the moment?
  • Is it better to experience a concert being a cellphone trying not to be too shaky or jumping around from the energy in the building? 
  • Do you ever go onto social media and still feel alone? Or do you feel like you belong? 

Here are some other articles interesting to this topic but did not fit in with the topics I covered in this post! I highly recommend reading them if you are interested! 

May the Force Be With You… Or Not

Warning: I have NEVER seen Star Wars a day in my life. All I know about Star Wars is the line “May the Force Be With You”. Star Wars has nothing to do with this post, other than this week’s debate is “Technology is a force for equity in society” and the word force is in it. It’s probably not as clever as I thought it was. This week our debaters were Ryan who was on the agree with side and Kaytlyn who was on the disagree side.

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So what is equity?

At first, I was confused about what exactly this topic was about. I had a general idea throughout the entire debate but it was not until someone in our class (I think Sydney) shared a good depiction of what equity it. I could try to explain the diagram but I do not believe I would do it justice so here is the link to the diagram.  h

Agree

Our class was somewhat quiet during this debate but we were still able to draw come arguments on why technology is a force for equity  in society (which branched off of ideas in Ryan’s video) including:

  • Allows youth to have a voice
    • Youth are able to voice their opinions online
  • Refugee camps
    • Technology is used to educate students in refugee camps
  • Students with disabilities
    • Technology is able to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
      • For instance, for those who are unable to speak, they can use technology to say what they want to say.
Photo Credit: Tuesday Digital Flickr via Compfight cc

Ryan also was able to provide insight into this topic in his video including ideas such as:

Dell Technologies also sheds light into the topic. The company offers programs to areas of the world which are not able to afford education and/or technology for their youth. By using technology, the company hopes to create new opportunities for youth. The goal is to “give a child living in a remote village access to the same information as someone living in the most affluent surroundings,”. So far, 2.6 million kids have been given this opportunity though Dell by using technology.

Technology can empower children in developing countries – if it’s done right” branches off of the article above. One key point from this article I thought related very well to this debate is an idea from an Epic Group. A representative from the group, Duncan Clark was mentioned in the article saying “he believes that mobile technology has produced a ‘renaissance of reading and writing’ among young people across the world,”. If technology is assisting children in developing regions learn to read and write, it would create equity as they would be learning skills similar to children in developed regions. 

Disagree

Kaytlyn argued this side of the argument but before we dive into her video and readings, let’s dive into our class discussion first. Thoughts and ideas formed in the discussion include: 

  • Accessibility to technology
    • Some may not have access to technology and if they do, they may not have the means to use it such as no data or wifi
  • Who is getting a voice?
    • Those who have access to technology have the voice
      • Raises the question, who is being marginalized?
  • Is technology equality more important than you know, social rights equality?
    • Techno-colonialism is imposing what is success
  • Financial abilities 
    • Some can afford technology while some cannot 
Should technology be part of one’s cost of living?
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Kaytlyn’s video also covered more points relating to her side of the debate. Points included are:

  • Digital Divide
    • Those who have access to technology to those who do not
      • Rural and low-income students are affected by this
        • Ex: no access to public libraries, no strong internet connection
  • Civil Rights Issue of the 21stCentury
    • Students in wealthier areas have access to educational opportunities while students away from this area are not
      • Ex: look at who are offered AP classes
        • For instance, I attended a school where no AP classes were offered, but just a little further up the highway, about a 20-minute drive, the neighbouring high school had several AP classes. They were a city school and we were more rural, see the difference? 

Schools Tap Secret Spectrum To Beam Free Internet to Students” discusses a school which has set up an internet tower where the school enables all students to have access to the internet at home. This is like the fence diagram I mentioned above, what happens? In this situation, the fence is simply removed. But with everything good, there has to be something bad. The price. A set up like this is quite pricey thus limiting who is able to offer their students such great support.

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Ted Talk Time. Mark Barnett’sTed Talk “Everyone is a Maker, but not everyone has access” opens up by discussing students who are reading textbooks which are 10 years old even though they have the most current information right in their pockets, in their cellphones. He then goes on to explain a Maker Space camp he held, moving into the Maker Movement. While Barnett held very valid points why such spaces were good, he also mentioned “some schools do not understand the power of teaching through projects like this,”. This really caught my attention. While technology being a force of equity in a society may be seen as impossible because of financial situations and accessibility. Another factor weighing in to why it is not a force, may be because people have ideas of what should or should not be taught or used in the classroom. If schools avoid areas like maker spaces, they are only giving students a limited range of learning opportunities. 

The Verdict

I am still not overly sure what this topic was to mean. Maybe it’s due to the lack of education I have in the field of education or maybe it’s just a difficult topic. Ultimately the side I chose to end this debate is to disagree that technology is a force of equity in society.

Thanks for reading,

  • Miss. Lang

The 3-Dimensional Debate

This week in EDTC 400, we explored the topic of whether or not cellphones should be used in the classroom. For the first time ever, we had a three-way debate thus this posts name “The 3-Dimensional Debate” – because the debate has 3 dimensions. Kendall picked the side of cell phones should ALWAYS be banned in the classroom. Cody argued the side of NEVER  banned. And Tiana argued cell phones should ONLY be allowed in high school. While I know this debate has been an ongoing debate for teachers, I would mention that yes: I was on my phone during classes in high school and I still go on my phone in university lectures. It’s not that I am not paying attention but I don’t find the need to give the teacher my full attention when they are repeating announcements over and over again or going over examples of problems which I never struggled with. I had my opinion on this topic decided even before the debate, and my decision has not changed. Keep reading to see which I side I took for this week’s debate!

Now let’s dive into this 3-dimensional debate!
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ALWAYS

With the argument, cellphones should always be used in the classroom, our class discussion came up with various points such as:

  • Cellphones are disrespectful to use in the classroom
  • Cellphones do not have to be attached to us 24/7
  • Can be used for cheating and plagiarism
    • I googled “ways students use cellphone to cheat” and was met with around 691,000,000 results. Crazy, right!? With this amount of search results, it does justify why cellphones should never be used in the classroom. I read one article about “creative” ways to cheat and I was definitely appalled. Check it out for yourself! 
  • Notifications received can become disruptive
  • Not enough storage on the phone for what the teacher may expect of students thus limited students
  • Cellphones create a lack of face to face conversations instead going to the idea of online playdates

These are all valid points. In addition, Kendall provided us with articles to further justify her argument. The first article I explored at Kendall’s recommendation was, “Distracting, Disrespectful Side to Cell Phones in Class,”.  The article raises concern about students becoming attached to their cellphones to a point where they become “restless” if they cannot be on their phones which distracts students from learning. This brief article also includes an experienced where two groups were given a quiz, group one had cellphones and group two did not. Can you guess which group did better on the quiz? You probably guessed right, the group WITHOUT the cellphones did do better on the quiz. 

Students have ditched writing notes on rulers to cheat and now are using their cellphones
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Another article focusing on this topic, “The Disadvantages of Mobile Phones in Schools” raises some concerns about using cellphones in education. Points included in this include:

  • Cheating
  • Cyberbullying
    • One sentence in this section really concerned me, “Students have used their phones to embarrass their peers or teachers,”. I was shocked about the teacher part because never, in a million years, would I have ever thought of doing that to one of my teachers. Why do students do this? Do they cyberbully because it makes them feel powerful? Either way, it is not good. 
      • Read the story of Amanda Todd here

NEVER

Now we move on to the “never” banned side of the debate. Points brought up in our class debate included:

  • students can have their cellphones in the classroom but must place them face down on their desks or in a cellphone holder 
    • Here are some examples of cellphone holders (I really like the ones that allow students to charge their phones) 
  • Online communities such as SeeSaw and Google Classroom are easily accessible via mobile device
  • A class would no longer have to wait on laptops
  • Students could easily research questions they have about a topic 

The first article I read which Cody provided our class with was “Cell Phones in the Classroom: Learning Tool or Distraction. This article gave facts such as one that shocked me being “students check their cell phones in the classroom more than 11 times a day”. I was surprised this number was so LOW. I was expected this to be higher but the fact did not specific the age group or rules in the classroom. This article focused mostly on the positive aspects of using cellphones in the classroom including:

  • “Incorporating digital platforms into lessons” 
  • “Supplementing lessons with digital materials”
    • This translates to teachers being able to “include videos, new stories, online discussion groups, and more,” into their lessons.

The second article I read related to this topic was “A Blanket Ban on Cellphones in Class Would Not Be Smart”. A blanket ban is not allowing cellphone AT ALL in the school. While some schools have claimed to success for their students by using such method, there are worries about why cellphones should not be banned such as:

  • Students should learn self-control
    • Here the question arises: If students are not taught from a younger age when the right and wrong time to use their cellphone is via self-control, who will instill such values? Workplaces do not take away phones.” if you are on your cellphone too much you have a possibility of losing your job!
  • Cellphones cans be used efficiently in the classroom
    • Collaboration, communication, taking pictures of notes (that’s what my camera roll is full of between the months of September to April), accessible calendars and so much more
  • Teachers can set cellphone restrictions in their classrooms if they find cellphones are too distracting for the students 
Collaboration can now be done easily on cellphones if they are used in the classroom
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ONLY

For the last dimension of this argument, Tiana argued the side in which cellphones should only be allowed in high schools. By now I’m assuming you’ve caught onto the drill so once again, here are some arguments for this side of the debate brought to you by the EDTC400 crew:

  • Physical health – cellphones emit a carcinogen which young children are at risk of due the development years
  • Overuse and misuse
    • Can affect one’s mental health such as causing anxiety and depression
  • Cellphones teach children to be more dependent on them, the younger they are exposed to them
  • Preparation for adulthood
    • Avoid technology all together will not prepare students for the “real world”
  • Mobile etiquette and safety cannot be taught if they are banned 
  • Cellphones are not banned in the workplace so why would they be banned in schools? 

Adventures with Cell Phones”, this article raises points very similar to articles recommended by Cody. To avoid repetition, I will not repeat the same points as above. But I strongly urge you to read this article as it is very interesting and includes a list of educational activities to use in the classroom. 

Can using cellphones in the classroom affect the fine motor skills development of younger students?
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With this side of the argument, I looked up the physical development of children. I found children are still developing their fine motor skills when they enter school. At 4-5 years of age (around Kindergarten) children are increasing their artistic ability and are “able to draw simple stick figures and copy shapes such as circles, squares and large letters,”.  By the ages of 5-7 years old, children are starting to write letters and numbers. They are becoming more skilled with writing utensils. If we are giving elementary students cellphones in class instead of working on these fine motor skills usually accompanied by the traditional pencil-paper method, will children not have fully developed fine motor skills at the expected times? 

The Verdict

This three-dimensional post has now come to an end. While each debate participant gave very valid points to each side of their arguments, I am sticking with my side. I started on the side of which cellphones should only be allowed in high schools and I ended with that decision. I do not believe cellphones should be banned from schools because my cellphone is a huge help in my education such as being a calculator, a calendar, a note-taker, a way to contact peers and teachers and so much more. However, I do believe cellphones should only be allowed for certain ages of students – that being high school students (or grades 7-12). By this stage, students have developed the idea of what right and wrong is and will be able to decipher when the right and wrong time to use a cellphone in a class with a teacher sometimes having to intervene if the cellphones become a distraction. 

Thanks for reading 

  • Miss. Lang

Is Sharing Caring?

The debate, “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids”, honestly confused me about what exactly the topic was discussing. Was it discussing if children should be open to share their thoughts with their teachers and peers? Or was it discussing if teachers and students should be able to post their classwork online? The answer? Well, this week my fellow classmates Ashely and Dryden debated the topic along the line of posting classwork online. 

The Agreement Side.

Ashley argued to agree the idea of openness and sharing is actually unfair to our kids. In our class discussion, multiple reasons were brought up why this debate should be agreed.

  • Student consent may not be given to post work 
    • Students may not give permission to the teacher or anyone else to post their work online. 
  • Students may be embarrassed to have their work posted online
    • This may because they believe their work was done poorly or the assignment may go against their own beliefs and values 
  • Cyberbullying may occur
  • Once something is online, it may be difficult to take down
    • Even if something is taken down, it can be saved easily with the click of a button or can be screenshotted or screen-recorded where the user is unaware of such activity 
  • Do teachers have good judgements on what is acceptable to be posted online?
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Aside from points brought up in class, Ashley provided us with a few articles also shedding light onto this side of the debate. The first article, “Teens Speak: Should Students Publish their School Work Online”discusses the idea of plagiarism. The author brings up the point that someone is capable to copy someone else’s entire assignment if they find it online. Is that fair to the student who put hours of effort into an assignment to have it plagiarised by someone else unknowingly just because the teacher chose for the assignment to be published online? I don’t think so. The teacher of the student who plagiarised the work may not even realize the work is plagiarised if they are unable to find it online (I know I can read an article one day online and then loose it the next day, so what if the teacher cannot find the original work?). 

The second article, “Should You Use Student Photos Online?”discusses the impotency of online photo sharing. Cyberbullying is a concern for many and for a classroom lesson, a teacher may choose to watch the film Cyberbully which is a great depiction (at least in my opinion) of cyberbullying and the effects to ones’ mental health. I would go into depth in this portion of the post to educate one on how to avoid cyberbullying and how to safely post photos of students on your classroom social media platforms but I believe the article does a great job of explaining and demonstrating examples of what to do and what not to do that one should simply read the quick article. It takes 5 minutes maximum and is worth every second. 

Photo Credit: Daddy-David Flickr via Compfight cc

Lastly, “The Pros and Cons of Sharing Your Kids Photos Online” talks about what happens if your child does not want their photos online and their parents created their digital identity for them. To begin, the article discusses how innocent at the time baby photos can affect students when they are applying for post-secondary education or employment. In fact, the article states “75% of companies have hiring policies that encourage recruiters to examine an applicants’ online reputation”.  Here a couple questions I have to ask you…

  • Would you like your future employer seeing a photo of 2-year-old you laying naked in the bathtub? 
  • Do you want all your parents random Facebook friends seeing that? 

I wouldn’t. I’d be embarrassed. 

The Disagree Side 

Dryden argued the disagreement side of this debate. Just as Ashley came in swinging, Dryden did not disappoint either. In class, we discussed the following: 

  • Students have the ability to share what they have learnt
    • Students are able to demonstrate to others their growing knowledge
  • Teachers must be willing to be open all the time
  • Document Learning
    • This is a way for students, peers, teachers and parents to watch a child grow within academics 
  • Teachers are able to take pictures of assignments/projects without names of students or pictures of the students 
    • Ensures the student’s privacy if done correctly 
Social media platforms such as Instagram allow for teacher’s to share their classroom activities
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Also, “Openness to Ideas, Perspectives and Change Yields Trust in the Classroom” enlightens the idea of “when we see openness, we see possibility and hope,”. This article discusses how being open, allows for students to trust their teachers more. I believe this is true. I look at my former teachers, the ones who shared information about themselves and asked us questions regarding how a volleyball tournament went or how the trip to Mexico was, those were the teachers I felt I could confide to when I needed to.  

Photo Credit: Neuwieser Flickr via Compfight cc

In conclusion to the disagreement side, I highly recommend reading “Pedagogical Documentation: Opening Windows onto Learning”. The main message is “the goal is documenting and valuing learners and learning”. This means having open communication with parents whether it being a simple email containing a picture of their child painting an art project or using a blog to show others what students are learning. Once I read the many reasons why to document learning and share with others I thought of something else. Say for instance students are learning about the water system and a parent of a student works at a hydro-power station. Let’s say this student does not tell their parents what they are learning because they are caught up in talking about recess activities, if this parent sees students are learning about hydro-stations, it may cause the teacher to contact the teacher and set up a tour of the hydro-power station because the parent is kept up to date with what students are learning. This can empower guest speakers to come into the classroom, parents to take their students on nature walks if they see their children are learning about different types of leaves and rocks, and many more endless possibilities all because parents are able to see what their students are learning. 

The Verdict

In the end, I do not know where I agree. If I was to pick a side it would probably have to be the disagree side as I believe sharing work and ideas of students can inspire other teachers who see this work to facilitate similar ideas into their classroom. It helps teacher’s make learning more fun if they are able to try a variety of ideas since so many are available (just check out Pinterest, there are so many neat ideas for just bulletin boards). Here are a final few questions I would like to know your answer to:

  • Do you believe students will try harder if they know their work will be public?
    • Or will students feel pressure since anyone will be able to see this work?
  • How would you address cyberbullies who comment on your students work?
  • What would you share as a teacher?

Thanks for reading,

  • Miss. Lang