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. 

Agree

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.

Disagree

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 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

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

Are We Lost in Technology?

Here’s a question I have to ask you, ponder it for a while and be honest. Now here is the question. Sherry Turkle had a conversation with a boy who said “someday, someday, but certainly not now, I would like to learn how to have a conversation…,”how would your grandparents react to a statement like this one? I know my grandmother would be disappointed in a question like this, if she was asked 5 years ago. Yes, that’s right, I just indicated that my grandmother may have a different take on this statement if I told her it today. I say this with reason. My reason being, my grandmother used to threaten to take away all of her grandchildren’s’ cellphones the minute they walked into the house. Since then she bought an iPhone and will literally pause conversation with anyone to answer a text. Honestly, I was appalled and disgusted by this behaviour by the way my grandmothers take on technology changed but then I realized, this has happened across the globe to millions, maybe billions. 

Let’s start when the world as we know it today began…

Picture this, you turn on your box-style television and watch the evening news. CBC broadcaster Peter Mansbridge appears and starts talking about a world turning event. He begins talking about the internet (which is even included in one of his career highlights) which he explains can be used to “communicate across cultural and continents”. While this may hold true, we are not only communicating with others who are miles apart from us, we are also using it to communicate with the person across the table. So, what exactly has happened? The answer is quite simple, technology has consumed us. 

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The Effects

Technology is everywhere. The only way you are able to read this post is because it is online. 

Returning to Sherry Turkle’s TED talk, she mentions “some of the things we do now with our devices are things that, only a few years ago, we would have found off or disturbing, but they’ve quickly come to seem familiar, just how we do things,”. As I reflect on this, I believe it is true. Who would have thought sending a picture of yourself to other people multiple times a day on app called SnapChat would be might be normal? In class, we talked about how SnapChat has created streaks so people have to go onto the app if they want to keep the streak alive. Who would have thought? We keep the streak alive, why? I could not tell you, I have multiple streaks but do I actually talk to those people? Barely. Strange, right? That’s our norm. 

To my surprise, Turkle says some people have wished “that some day a more advanced version of Siri… will be more like a best friend, someone who will listen when others won’t,”. My reaction was this: The human touch gives a sense of safety and comfort, Siri may be able to listen but will not be able to console us

Nathan Jurgenson’s article “The IRL Fetish” raises points similar to Turkle’s but adds other ideas. He mentions how some may brag about NOT being on social networks, and that is our accomplishment. We are consumed so much by technology so often that when we are off of it, we notice. This goes to show how consumed we have become by technology. 

Can Siri give hugs?
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How are we learning? 

This week in class I was introduced to a news story where Ethiopian children were given tablets with the intention the children would learn from having these tablets. While the researchers claim the children were learning with the tablets, the question is: do they know what they are doing? From experience in the field, I have seen children who have had the privilege of educators to teach them basic skills such as reading and writing use technology to learn a lesson but not actually learn what they are doing. I am the same way, if I was to hear a song and not be familiar with it but it had a catchy tune, I too would learn how to sing it just so I could jam out to this song. My question is, where the children learning for intrinsic purposes or were they learning for extrinsic purposes encouraged by apps with reward such as moving up a level? 

Also, the app Class Dojo seems to be controversial. One article provides insight on the app. Some may claim the app is “a quick behavioural fix”as Mr. Manolev points out as it provides a point system which decides if students are good or bad. While teacher, Leanne Cairns argues the app motivates students and is good to use in the classroom if used and managed properly. We have become consumed by technology in our classroom by using apps like this one by using it to guide students’ behaviours while also allowing parenting monitoring. 

While I am not completely against technology in the classroom, I do see it’s downfalls. This week Katia provided us with an article related to computer note taking compared to the traditional pen and notepad note taking style. The result of the study: “students perform better academically when laptops are banned from the classroom” (Straumsheim, 2016). After finding out this result, I questioned why schools are wanting paperless classroom when studies are showing students do better without technology? I understand both sides of this argument. Yes, some teachers speed incredibly fast and it is quicker to type everything. But, what happens if technology fails? Where do your notes go? I may not know much about computers but I know it is way easier to recover notes on a piece of paper covered in orange juice versus notes on a computer covered in orange juice (I know this from a friend’s personal incident, she swears she had a heart attack and the only thing that kept her alive was the fact she had a hard copy of her notes). 

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Lastly, I want to add one comment about computers in particular. Most expect youth to automatically know how to use computers but they do not. This prior weekend I went home and my brother had over 5 friends. They were preparing for finals with their Chromebooks in front of them. As they answered questions I noticed NOT A SINGLE PERSON was able to type correctly. All 5 of them sat around my kitchen table, chicken peckingtheir notes. I asked my brother later on if he knew the proper way to type and he said no. He added that he has never learnt to type properly. Interesting, isn’t it? What I find even more interesting is my brother is three years younger than me but I was taught to type and he was not. We had the same teachers, but I had to take computer literacy until Grade 9 yet he has never taken a computer literacy class in his life but was given a Chromebook to use every day since Grade 10 and assumed he knew how to use it. 

Has technology taken over our lives? Is it assumed younger generations will automatically know how to use technology? Maybe, but that’s for you to decifer. 

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

  • Miss. Lang

Digital Identity? I Barely Have One

My initial reaction after creeping myself online was: “Man, I am boring to follow on social media”. I was not surprised about what I could or could not find about myself online. Instead, I actually bored myself because I literally am not active on my social media pages at all. But before we get into what I found on various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on, let’s start at the beginning of this.

I started by reviewing the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation document STF’s tips for professionalism in a digital world. As I went through the top 10 tips, I was able to say that I already met the tips. I like to keep my life private and away from others, mostly because I don’t want everyone knowing my every single move (I find it kind of creepy).  I also do not want someone I do not know being able to look at my profiles on various social media platforms because again, it’s creepy to me. I like knowing who I follow and who follows me on social media so I keep all my accounts on maximum privacy (but do not worry, if I know you, I will definitely add you).

When it comes to posting on social media, I honestly don’t. If I do post on social media, it’s because it’s either a) a really nice photo or b) I haven’t posted for a while so I might as well make a presence. My motto for posting online is “if my Mom sees this, will she be disappointed in me?”, and it’s a really good motto to remember when posting on social media. But I should start writing about what I found when I looked at my social media.

Results for “Jayden Lang”

Let’s start with the classic search of typing your name into Google to see what comes up. When I Googled “Jayden Lang”, what showed up was Facebook profiles but when I clicked it, guess what? My profile didn’t even show up. What did show up was multiple YouTube Channels, Track and Field Records, Chess scores, cross country profiles and so many more results that were not me. Interestingly, my Twitter account I use for education and my blog appeared, but I do not have privacy settings set on those two accounts because I want people to see my growth and development as a teacher. It also makes interacting with other professionals so much easier because there are no privacy restrictions.

Yup, the results of “Jayden Lang melville” are of me

 After I searched my name, I added the name of my hometown to my name. The results were me, not someone else. Appearing in this blog, my Twitter I use for education, newspaper articles discussing scholarships and my results from when was speed swimming, and my grandfather’s obituary. For images showing up for the result of “Jayden Lang Melville”, there are pictures of me. My Twitter profile picture shows up, pictures of my swim team and I, and my grandfather. These pictures are available to the public because they are from a public Twitter account and from newspapers which I have no control over if I appeared in the picture.

I think it’s time I dive into those private accounts of mine to show everyone what is posted (warning: it’s not exciting)

 

Facebook 

I made a Facebook account much later in life compared to my friends. As a matter of fact, I was in Grade 11 to be exact, and the only reason I made an account was for group chats with my volleyball teams. As shown above, I do not have a biography written, and my profile picture is of my brother and I. As I scrolled through my Facebook I realized I have never actually written a post. What will be seen on my Facebook is grad photos, volleyball photos, birthday wishes, and a couple of shared videos that I couldn’t help but share. I believe the highlight of my Facebook is my grad photos, which was two years ago.

The most exciting post on my Facebook account

Instagram

Here’s a glimpse into my Instagram account

When I looked at pictures I posted on Instagram, I would be comfortable with anyone seeing those photos. The photos are selfies, of awards, of my family and of volleyball. I don’t post often as the last photo I posted was in November and that was only because I was so proud of my brother medalling at provincials for the second year in the row, I wanted everyone to know. I also reviewed photos that I was tagged in. Those photos are very similar to the ones I posted. Again, I would be comfortable with anyone seeing those photos. But one can view my bio on Instagram which is my Snapchat username.

Photos I’ve been tagged in

VSCO

You’ll see throwback photos of my brother and I

On my VSCO are pictures I have taken in which I would like to share or photos of my friends and me. My photos are once again, okay for anyone to see. On the other hand, my collection on VSCO features quotes about what country song I want to dance in a kitchen with my best friend, or country songs for any occasion, or about relationships. In a way, I wouldn’t want my students to see this but my VSCO is impossible to find and honestly, it holds nothing bad just my basic goals for what I want in a relationship and life and such. I’m thinking I should go through my VSCO collection very carefully and think carefully about the message the collection is portraying.

Twitter

As you can tell, I have never posted on this account

Okay, I have two Twitter accounts. One is for education and this is the one that is public. This is a professional account where I post resources, ideas and anything else related to education. I check this Twitter a lot as it is on my MacBook and iPad. My other account is to see what my friends are tweeting but I have never posted anything on this Twitter account. I mainly use this account to read Tweets by Regina Police to see about accidents that may affect my route to the university, SaskPower to know about power outages and Highway Hotline to know if roads are good if I am planning to go home for the weekend. This account is on my phone and is private.

Pinterest

Honestly, my Pinterest account would show others what food I like (chocolate anything), what I want my house to look like, quotes (way too many), wedding ideas (I’m not even sure why this exists but it does), photography ideas and teaching ideas. Again, not very exciting.

What did I learn from stalking myself?

I learnt my digital identity is hidden from the public for the most part with the exception of my Twitter I use for education and my blog. If people were to see my other social media accounts, they would see only pictures of me and get a general idea of what I look like and a little bit about my interests. As an educator, it shows I respect others as I am not shaming anyone, I respect my body and appearance, and I care about education (you would notice this by the number of Tweets I’ve been doing since the beginning of class. I just love seeing new ideas and learning about the art of teaching).

The message I send on social media, that is a tough question. Mainly because I never thought about it. It may be because I am not very active on social media, but I honestly do not know. On my education Twitter account, the message is simple though. I want to show parents/employers/other teachers that I care about my job and I am passionate about it. I am willing to learn more about teaching because I believe a teacher learns just as much as the students, maybe even more.

For the most part, my digital identity is hard to find. Majority of my accounts are private and I couldn’t find any of them and I tried everything. Comments, pictures, and anything else you can think of, all set to private, so you have to friend or follow me to see what is posted. If someone found any of these accounts, I’m okay with it, there is nothing I wouldn’t want anyone to see because of my motto stated earlier.

Areas I would like to work on with respect to my digital identity and steps I will take:

  • Letting people get a sense of who I am, aside from a future teacher
    • I should include my personality into my social media more often as personal identity is important
    • Tweet a photo of my dog, post a selfie of my family and I hanging out on a Saturday, make a category on my blog with photos I have taken
  • Being more confident
    • If I appear more confident in my Tweets, my profile pictures (a picture where it shows I’m happy and not trying to get the perfect angle and trying too hard to look like a model) and so on, students may feel confident in their teacher because that is how their teacher presents themselves.
  • There are probably more areas I could work on, but I can’t think of any but I am certain I will learn more as I continue my education on my way to being a teacher!

Who Am I?

Hello!

My name is Jayden! I come from the community of Melville, SK where I lived my entire life. I attended high school at Melville Comprehensive School. During high school, I played senior girl’s volleyball and coached the junior team. After graduation, I assisted in coaching the senior team for a year.

After graduation, I attended Yorkton Parkland College, taking university classes through the University of Saskatchewan for a Kinesiology degree. During this year, I learnt that Kinesiology was not for me, so I applied to the secondary education program at the University of Regina. This year is my first year attending the University of Regina, taking the secondary education math program with a minor in social studies.

In my spare time, I enjoy going back home to visit my friends and my family. I also like to read, take photos, and go for walks with my dog.

 

3 Goals I Have for EDTC 400

  1. To learn how to communicate with other professionals in education using platforms such as Twitter.
  2.  Be aware of debates and discussions surrounding technology use in the classroom.
  3.  Become more familiar with social platforms such as WordPress and Twitter.

 

Check out my Twitter I will be using for this class!

@JaydenLang7