Summary of Learning

It is crazy to believe how fast the semester has flown by. It seems like only yesterday I knew nothing about the curriculum. Now, I can no longer say the same thing. I am happy to have learnt what I have in ECS 210 as I believe it will be a benefit for me and my learners. Here is the link to my video. It is also posted below. I would like to thank Mike and Katia for all they have taught me and making lectures enjoyable by incorporating different curriculum orientations.

Check out my nifty video!

Video Transcript:

Line 1: Perfect. We’re all comfortable and ready for our story. So here it begins, “The Scrooge of Curriculum”. Once upon a time there existed a teacher who did not understand curriculum at all, she thought it was nothing but a set of documents that indicated what she should teach her students. However, curriculum is more than that but she was unaware so later that night, she would learn lessons from 3 curriculum ghosts – the curriculum practice ghost, the Treaty Ed ghost, and the Ghost of Curriculum. The teacher, Ms. Lang went to bed with her failing curriculum paper beside her, which she was very upset about as she thought her view on the curriculum was absolutely correct. As she fell asleep, she awoke in a room.  

“I am the curriculum practice ghost. While you think the curriculum is simply a set of documents it is so much more. In fact, there are four forms of curriculum orientation. 1. Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted which essentially means students learn what is on the syllabus through lectures. 2. Curriculum as product meaning there is something to be learnt and it will be evaluated in one form or another. 3. Curriculum as Process essentially means students get choices in their learning and assessments. 4. Curriculum as Praxis focuses on tackling social justice. While each of these approaches has pros and cons, one approach does not trump another since each has its own unique purpose. In fact, to run an effective class, using all 4 models is very beneficial to your learners. 

Ms. Lang awoke from her sleep shocked with her new learnings however, she decided that she would not rewrite her paper. As she returned to her slumber, she was visited by another ghost – the Treaty Ed Ghost. This ghost would take Ms. Lang to an empty field. She would be greeted by notes on trees and echoes in the wind. 

What is this? Curriculum as Place? What does that mean? 

It means the curriculum does not simply imply traditional classroom learning, it is taking your students outdoors and teaching them from here. It provides learners with the opportunity to learn in another environment and connect with the land, family, culture and community. It is very cross-curricular and is not just limited to a few subjects.

We Are All Treaty People? 

Well of course we are. You learnt this through the teachings of Claire Krueger and Dwayne Donald. This means we are all part of the Treaty and as teachers, you are to incorporate Treaty Ed into every one of your classes. This is simple as you learnt in the lesson planning seminars as you saw hands-on examples with science lessons regarding pipelines and their environmental impacts to using the area of reserves for math problems instead of just teaching Treaty Ed in the humanity classes. Teachers are to ensure the lesson is not inappropriate and not to fear teaching Treaty Ed because it is okay to make mistakes, just remember to correct them (also asking for help doesn’t hurt and it is perfectly fine to become comfortable in the uncomfortable). There is no excuse for not teaching Treaty Education.

Okay I get it, curriculum is more than outcomes and indicators but I still think my paper is good enough and I’m too tired to rewrite it.  

Finally, I am the Ghost of Curriculum Dictatorship and the last ghost you will be hearing from. You know, it is not just teachers and curriculum designers who create curriculum, it is governments, the public and others but how do these people know what should or shouldn’t be taught in the classroom? It’s not only people who decide the curriculum perspectives but it is the literature and resources you use, pay attention to them and you may find that those materials are often from a viewpoint from the most powerful population. Even social media is included in this.  Typically, it is the white-Eurocentric perspective preferred in the formal curriculum if you investigate it. These white Eurocentric ideas also form the null and hidden curriculum which dictates how the classroom should be run. Heck, even influential moments in history dictate the curriculum. The curriculum is far from being neutral

So, curriculum is more than a set of documents and I need to consider curriculum orientation when lesson planning to benefits my students. It is also should be considered that when I teach Treaty Education and or I outside the classroom I may feel uncomfortable, the benefits of learning outweigh this feeling. I never would have considered this. 

 “Hey, you wrote, this paper and got a good grade you must be a good student”. 

Actually no, I am not a good student. A good student is just someone who agrees with the teacher and society’s standards such as being quiet and doing what I’m told to do. Often, the good students are those who are also privileged in society, for instance, reflect on your own education with this.  I wrote my paper on my opinion because I know single stories limit our knowledge of the world and keep us blind to stories we disagree with which negatively affects the students. You’re a math major but you only know one variation of math. For example, you tell seasons by dates on a calendar while the Inuit community tells the seasons by events in nature. School is simply a way of assimilation if you look at it like that and we have a far way to go.  This may seem common sense to you with how to do the math, but you must be aware that common sense varies and we should not avoid the conflicting common sense presented to us in the opinion of how schools should be operated. 

I suppose that is all true, I will rewrite my paper because my view of the curriculum has definitely been changed with all this information. 

And that is the story of how Ms. Lang was no longer the Scrooge of the curriculum. What a good story. Essentially, this story was written to show what all I have learnt in the curriculum and how my view has changed. When I begin to teach, I hope to consider the single stories and orientation being presented to avoid telling a story that is in favour of one social group. For Treaty Ed, my goal is to try my best as I now know that being uncomfortable is okay and I am not alone. While I still fear the curriculum, I now feel more comfortable in my knowledge that surrounds it.  I would like to thank Mike and Katia for all they have taught me. 

This Class is Brought to You by…

We live in a consumerist society. We see something shiny advertised on a billboard and we are sold. We like to be the best by having the top brands and we stay loyal to the brands we like. At least I do. I can honestly name 10 companies I always buy products from in the matter of a minute. Crazy? Maybe. This week in our EDTC 400 class, our debate focused on the topic if whether or not “Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests”.On the agreement side was Liz and on the disagreement side was Shaleen. This was an interesting debate to say the least as we talked a LOT about the University of Regina’s million-dollar sign but we did explore ideas beyond the sign.


Liz’s Video

Liz started the debate by hitting us with cold hard facts. Some of these facts included companies like Pearson (a textbook company) creating standardized testing in the schools to coincide with THEIR textbooks… Other ideas included in Liz’s video and our class debate were:

  • Textbook companies
    • The companies are instructing teachers what to learn and some companies favour regions which by the most textbooks
      • For instance, Liz took a class where the company sold the majority of textbooks to Texas so as a French immersion student, she was upset when there was a Spanish translation instead of a French translation 
      • What does Pearson offer? Check this out!
  • Pepsi and Coke drink machines
    • Kids are getting hooked on these drinks since they are easily accessible
    • I don’t think I need to explain to anyone why pop isn’t healthy, it’s kind of common knowledge but here’s some facts anyways. 
  • Schools spend money from cooperation’s foolishly 
    • Ex: University of Regina sign
  • Creating lifetime consumers
    • Students will buy what they are familiar with
    • Ex: If students use Chromebooks all throughout their education, they may be afraid to use a PC so they will buy a Chromebook since they are familiar with it.
Is this okay in schools?
Photo Credit: _moonpie Flickr via Compfight cc

The Inside Story of How Bill Gates Bought the Common Core” further emphasizes how corporations have taken over schools. Bill Gates was asked by two gentlemen about him to create education standards, known as the Common Core standards. Schools did not even conduct trials on these standards, they just went along with it. Crazy? As the article goes on to say Gates did something no one else had done it concludes by leaving readers with one comment; “never has one man had the wealth, the political connections, and the grand ambition to buy American education. But Bill Gates did it,”.

Switching gears from standardization to Pepsi and Coke. Did your school have pop machines? Mine did, but they were not allowed to put pop into the machines, instead our machines were filled with Gatorade, juice and water. But no one bought juice and water, it was all Gatorade. In an article written by Tom Philpott, titled “80 Percent of Public Schools Have Contracts With Coke or Pepsi”, we are able to learn more about corporations entering the hallways of our schools. School are using these drink machines in a term called “pouring rights contracts” which means schools are allowing companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola into their schools in drink machines and advertising their companies. We had multiple students point out they had scoreboards with the Pepsi logo clearly visible on it. Is this good? No, companies like Pepsi have products which are high in sugars and who knows what else is bad in which are affecting student’s weight. In fact, students are more obese more than ever in this day and age as Philpott found “according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, obesity rates among children ages 6 to 11 have quadrupled over the past four decades, and nearly a third of children and adolescents-more than 23 million kids and teenagers-are obese or overweight,”. Concerning, right? Let’s explore what Shaleen had to say about this.

Do teacher’s have a say with where money goes?
Photo Credit: theirhistory Flickr via Compfight cc


Shaleen’s Video

Shaleen did not back down from this fight. She brought up points such as schools buy what they can afford and other strong arguments with ideas coming my other EDTC 400 classmates including ideas such as:

  • Schools buy what they can afford 
  • Do teachers have a voice for what is bought for their classroom?
    • Do administrators at the schools acknowledge teachers’ needs and requests?
  • We live in a capitalist society
    • Our government is not providing enough money for schools so companies are filling in the void to get teachers and students what they need.

Ask the expert: smartly investing in education technology” written by Matthew Lynch explores the rise and need for technology in the classroom. If you have taken any education classes, you will quickly learn technology is a pretty handy tool in the classroom, and this article justifies that. The problem though? Schools are not able to keep up to the rising cost of technologies. The solution? If schools are not given a large enough budget to cover the needs of technology, corporations are stepping in. Lynch provides examples by writing, “A number of companies and foundations regularly donate to schools, for example the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,”. 

Aside from the cost of technology, schools are also using corporate companies for good. Schools are using Google DriveEdmodoTwitter and other corporations for education. Look at the University of Regina, UR courses is a Google product and we use it EVERY DAY. 

How many companies sponsored this scoreboard?
Photo Credit: ensign_beedrill Flickr via Compfight cc

The Verdict

In this debate, we also talked about how some schools have field trips sponsored by companies like Boston Pizza. Even though this is a corporate company, isn’t going to BP’s with your classmates the most exciting field trip ever when you’re young? It’s debateable, some schools may not be able to go on field trips but is going to BP’s to eat pizza really an educational school trip? Does it sound more like a birthday party? Another question brought up from this debate is, how are schools using the funding? Reference the U of R sign, again. And lastly, are rural schools funded by corporations as much as city schools? I know at my old high school, we did not have scoreboards with the Pepsi logo, our new football booth, is not corporate funded unless you call local businesses donating the supplies and the grade 12 construction class doing the labour, a corporation. In the end, I do not know exactly where I stand with this debate. In one way, I see concerns about textbook companies like Pearson’s favouring their top buyers by putting information more relevant to that area as compared to another area which does not buy textbooks as often or in as large amounts. That scares me. So does the health risks with pop machines, but if a high school student is buying Pepsi every day, should they not know better by this age? Would this topic not be covered in health? What’s the difference if a student buys the Pepsi in their school hallways or at the convenient store at the corner of the street? The problem isn’t about where the Pepsi came from, but the student not knowing the health effects of this. On the other hand, schools may not be able to afford ‘stuff’ for their students without extra money from external sources. If students do not have this extra ‘stuff’ or even necessary ‘stuff’, their education is being affected. In the end, I did vote for the agreement side for schools selling their souls to corporations. But in reality, I think it all comes down to BALANCE. 

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.

Photo Credit: Mika Stetsovski Flickr via Compfight cc


Lauren’s Video

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?
Photo Credit: hehaden Flickr via Compfight cc

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?
Photo Credit: thor_mark  Flickr via Compfight cc

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?


Kylie’s Video

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?
Photo Credit: Patrick Rasenberg Flickr via Compfight cc

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!