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’s Video

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’s Video

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

What a Wonderful World… of Google?

Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” talks about how the world is wonderful. But the song does not mention Google, strange, right? Maybe it’s because the song was released in 1967 before the birth of Google or maybe it’s because Google is not that wonderful.

Is our world captivated by Google? Just a little something to ponder.
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So what is Google?

Google. What a wonderful search engine. It helps one find out who a celebrity is dating, the scores to the latest hockey game, and learning about the latest fashions trends. It allows you to play games and stream music. 

Also, for those in university, Google is a great source to find help for math questions and translations for Shakespeare’s English. I’d be lying if I said I did not use Google at all. I use it all the time. 

This week in EDTC 400, we discussed the topic “schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled”. Do I agree or disagree? Continue reading to find out. 


Sydney’s Video

Sydney argued the agreeing side to this debate. The article “Why learn facts if you can Google”, helps defend Sydney in her fight. Do children need to learn dates? While knowing dates can be deemed important in a lesson such as history for the sake of chronological order, the dates of an event aren’t usually the main purpose of the lesson. This article suggests students should be taught the history and the reason of why events happened but when it comes to dates, they can be googled. I think this is true, dates are the hardest concept to remember when studying for a test in such a way that they take away from understanding why a certain event happened. What is more important… the dates of every single war between the French and the British when Canada was first explored or understanding the impact the French and British have on Canadian society today? If a student expresses interest in knowing the dates, they are able to go online and search for the dates which can easily be found. 

Should dates be taught in schools if they can easily be searched?
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Google not, learn not: why searching can sometimes be better than knowing” also examines why teachers should not focus on teaching things that can be googled. One point I feel speaks volume towards this topic is “When you start googling for answers to a problem you are facing, you quickly learn that you are not the only person to deal with this,”. Students may feel shy if they need help with a question and are afraid to ask, by using google to help learn how to solve the question, there is a high chance someone has asked the same question on Google. Google allows for students to learn different techniques to solve a problem in math which a teacher may not spend time teaching in class due to limited classroom hours. 

Our class discussion also included many points for this side of the argument including:

  • More time to focus on information that cannot be Googled such as chemistry labs
  • Allows for more one on one time with students 
  • Tutorials online are sometimes very useful for students

To wrap up the agreement side, this same argument mentions how one is able to learn more when they search online. This is true. I’m guilty of it. If I want to find something out, I simply can go on Google to expand my knowledge.


Aurora’s Video

While Sydney put in a good fight for the agreeing side, Aurora did not back out the ring to disagree. 

The TED talk, “The Moral Bias Behind Your Search Results”, brings up argument regarding knowledge. Yes, the video does agree that some questions can simply be Googled, it also argues “But if you complicate your question just a little bit and ask something like, ‘why is there an Israeli-Palestine conflict?’ You’re not exactly looking for a singular fact anymore, you’re looking for knowledge…”. While the answer for such a complex question like the one above may exist, it may only be written at an opinionated level or at a scholarly level which may confuse students. Some lessons can easily be googled, but will students understand the language? Are the sources legit and academic worthy? By the time a student deciphers the articles and source they are reading, a teacher could have explained the answer in a proper fashion at a level where the students are able to comprehend.  

Will technology make teachers obsolete?directs readers to the idea of do we need teachers. Do we? I believe we do. The article talks about teenagers not taking control and fully focusing on their education if they are left on their own to do their own education with technology. I am also concerned about this because I look at myself as a student. Sometimes I will be sitting at the kitchen table writing an essay and the next thing I know, I am on my couch watching Netflix on my computer. 

Do you get distracted when on Google?
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Finally, some points from our class discussion contributing to the disagreement side include:

  • Information overload – students may have a significant amount of information appear which also may be difficult to read
    • This statement made me think of math. While the answers for a math question may be able to be Googled with results showing up, once you enter the webpage, you are required to pay to see the steps and result. Does that help students? 
  • Students may be told to learn a lesson via Google, but will they actually do that? 
    • Would a student Google a theorem for a math equation because it is on Google so the teacher chose not to teach it? I wouldn’t. 
  • Spelling. Do we learn how to spell word if we just Google the word with how we believe it is spelt and then let Google inform you of the correct spelling? 
  • Accessibility. Do students have the means to Google? Is that fair for students who do not have access to Google? 

The Verdict

While both participants in this week’s debate raised good arguments, I have to side with Aurora on this topic. I believe teachers are able to engage students and explain concepts in a better fashion than Google is capable of. Google is great for going above and beyond a lesson to expand the “Google in one’s brain” but it cannot take the role of a teacher. Google is useful to search dates of important events and facts but for the explanation of how to calculate a derivative, it is much easier to have a teacher explain how to calculate it. 

So, as I part from this blog post I have a question for you, how heavily do you rely on Google for your education? Should we avoid teaching things that can be Googled with reasonable results appearing?

Thanks for reading.

  • Miss. Lang

To Enhance or Not To Enhance

William Shakespeare once wrote, “To be, or not to be” in Act 3, Scene 1 of Hamlet. While Shakespeare was certainly not talking about technology in the classroom and especially not talking about technology enhancing learning or not. I believe this quote relates to this debate because either technology enhances learning or it does not enhance learning. 

To Enhance Learning

Ashlee’s Debate Video

Ashlee argued in which technology does indeed enhance learning providing facts and statements which I agreed with. She also provided articles for us to read to help decide where fellow peers would sit in this debate. The first article, “As Technology Becomes Easier to Use, Our Depth of Learning Needs to Continue to Increase,by George Couros is an article I urge readers to read. Couros asks readers if they remember using a manual to set up their iPhone. I thought about this, and no I did not. I switched from Samsung to iPhone and even though the phones are manufactured and designed differently, I had no problem in setting up my iPhone without a manual. At Christmas, I received an iPad for Christmas, which was set up in 2 minutes. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT, IT TOOK ME TWO MINUTES TO SET UP AN IPAD! Technology has been made to be so user-friendly that it takes little time to set it up.

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Couros goes on to say, “In many ways, this generation is better at technology than the previous generation, probably due to accessibility,” which is true for the most part. While some may not be able to afford technology, or keep up to date with technology as it is forever changing, most children growing up have access to technology. I was visiting family this past weekend and my three-year-old who can barely speak yet, is able to navigate an iPad, finding games she wants to find and selecting YouTube videos she wants to watch. My concern is, yes children have access to technology more than ever, but are we giving them access to it at too young of an age? Will they get sick of technology? Or become addicted and reliant on technology? 

An article published by the Journal of College Teaching and Learning discusses the use of webcasts, recorded audio and Skype. If teachers record their lessons or allow students who are missing class participate via Skype, it could enhance learning because students would not be missing instructional time. Even better, watch this video to see how video chat is connecting people across the world, words cannot explain it, it’s too beautiful to describe. 

Not to Enhance

Raeann’s Debate Video

Now let’s flip the switch, to the dark side. Literally, though, the first article Raeann provided to us for her side of the argument is called “The Dark Side of Educational Technology”. The article mentions the cost of technology. While schools may be struggling with budgeting for technology, parents may be too. I recently learnt of a school which requires parents to purchase some form of technology for their child to use for a “tech hour”.

Technology may be costly for some
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This may put parents in a predicament if they are not able to provide this technology, ultimately affecting the student’s learning. The same article asked the question “But what happens when the students go home?”. With this question, the author goes onto explain how some students may not have access to the internet. I would like to add that some students have no access to technology once they walk out of school. Does that enhance learning if the student is to make a video project but has no access to the technology required? 

The article brings up the idea of students using technology for cheating. I am in between about this topic. For one, teachers can choose for students not to have their cellphones or other electronics with them for a test if they wish. Teachers can simply ask students to lay their desks on a table at a front or implement a cellphone bucket. When it comes to plagiarising papers, a high school teacher told me “If a student is to plagiarize, you will know because you become familiar with their style of writing”. While it may prove to be difficult for some teachers to be familiar with all their students writing, there are websites available for teachers to use that simply require the teacher to submit the writing onto the website and it will search the internet for the entire paper. 

Notice the cellphone present in the photo
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Lastly, one last article mentions how students’ needs may not be met if technology is used for learning. The article explains “Many students learn physically and mentally interacting with what they are studying”, providing examples. Students vary in learning styles whether it be hands on, visual, or another form. Is it okay for teachers to be able to teach about the outdoors by an interactive app? Would students get to know rock texture varies with different kinds of rocks from seeing pictures on a tablet? I’m assuming the answer would possibly be yes but it would be more beneficial for students to take a walk outdoors to learn about it. That is, unless it is January in Saskatchewan where we are on week 2 of -20 temperatures. 

The Verdict

While I see the enhaincing side of technology in the classroom, I am able to see the downside as well. For this debate, I will leave you with a question to ponder… Do you believe students will grow tired of using technology in the classroom because they use it so often and want a break? Finally, the side I favour in this debate is the side where technology does not enhance learning in the classroom. 

Thanks for reading,

  • Miss. Lang