Category: EDTC400

An Honest Review of Mentoring.

At the beginning of this class, we were given a few mentees to mentor throughout the semester. At first when I found out about this, I was super excited and really wanted to do it, I ended up reaching out to each one and only getting very few responses. This left me in a kind of bad spot because I didn’t really want to harass them, but I wanted to help in any way I could. I found it difficult because I often found myself not knowing what to do, do I continue to try to communicate with them in hopes to get a response? I couldn’t force them to need help, so I didn’t really know what to do about that.

I was really grateful to the few people who did respond because it felt rewarding to be able to help in small ways. I do feel like this was more difficult in an online class and it probably would have been easier to do if it was in person. One thing that this made me realize is the importance of making a connection to your students, in this case I had never met most of the people that I was mentoring so I think that if I had met them before it would have made it easier to communicate with them. In this case I was going in blind, I knew nothing about them besides the fact that they were in edtc 300. If I was teaching them, I probably would have tried harder to make a connection so there could be more communication.

Debate: week 4

The first statement for this week’s debate is “Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression.” In this article from the pro side makes a lot of good points about making a classroom community where you talk about social justice issues openly with students, which I think is the most important thing. I personally think that advocating for social justice issues on social media should come second to advocating for social justice in real life. On the other side there is this article that talks about not everyone needs to be a social justice advocate. I think that teachers should be able to advocate for social justice and to an extent they should, but they shouldn’t be responsible for advocating for social justice issues specifically on social media.

The second part of this debate was if cellphones should be allowed in schools, since this is a three-way debate (never allowed, not allowed in k-8, and always allowed) I think that cellphones should not be allowed in k-8 classrooms (check out this article) there are a lot of good points on all sides of this debate, but if cellphones are banned in all grades that is unrealistic especially for high school students because like it or not most students are going to rebel against this rule and use their phones anyway, but if you allow them for all grades you end up with very young kids using their phones when they don’t know when and what it is appropriate to use them. The more time goes by the more time needs to be spent on teaching students when it is appropriate to use their phones.

The main reason I feel that phones should not be banned in high school is the personal experience I had when I was in high school. I found that the teachers who respected that students had a phone and didn’t make a big deal about it, were the teachers who did not have an issue with students using their phones in class all the time and it is disrupting the class. I had this one teacher that had a very strict no phones policy in the classroom. This was the teacher who had the most issues with students using their phones in class and often the teacher made such a big deal about it that it ended up disrupting the entire class on a daily basis. I don’t think that restricting phone use is a bad thing but when it is used to the extreme the restriction itself tends to be a bigger distraction.

Debate: week 3

This week we debated if teachers have the responsibility to share lesson plans and resources for free. On the pro side there was this article that talked about some of the benefits of open educational resources, the one point that was talked a lot about in class was that OERs provide a lot more access to learning for students and teachers. On the other hand, in this article the author talks about how it can be beneficial for teachers to sell their materials online. I personally feel that teachers should be able to choose if they want to sell their lesson plans or not, I don’t think that it should be teacher’s responsibility to share their work online for money or for free.

One of the things that we talked a lot about in class and one of the articles talked about it as well, was teachers’ pay teachers. On one side it’s better for the teachers to get paid rather than the government. However, I am still not convinced that it is the best way to go, I feel like this encourages the government to not have to pay teachers as much. For me personally, I don’t feel right charging other teachers for lesson plans, I want to educate and help people and therefore don’t want to charge other teachers. I am not saying that any teacher that wants to charge for resources and lesson plans is a bad teacher I am just saying that it is not the right thing for me. Also, I think that teachers should have access to good free resources, I know a lot of teachers that don’t have extra money to use paid subscriptions or lesson plans, and for those teacher’s free lesson plans and resources are a life saver.

EdTech debate: Week 2

The first debate for week 2 was if social media was ruining childhood. I have mixed feelings about this topic, most of the debate topics I found that I land somewhere in the middle rather than firmly on one side or the other. For this topic, I find that I also land somewhere in the middle. In “Is social media ruining our kids?” the author made some good points about with the rise of social media, and how it is affecting kids and teens. One point that a classmate made is that kids are exposed to things way too early and having to deal with things that as a kid should not have to deal with.

On the other side of the debate in “Social Media in Education: Can they improve the learning?” the author in talking about how social media can improve learning. In the article it mentions a few reasons why social media is useful however most of the reasons can also be reasons why it’s not usually a good thing. For example, the first point that the author makes is that social media encourages communication and collaboration, as is does help with communication it also allows for bad communication such as bullying. And worse yet, it makes it much harder for other people to miss what is going on.

For me personally I feel the social media doesn’t improve education, especially in the younger grades, it might help more for older grades but for younger grades I don’t think that it is helpful. When I was a kid, I was a bit of a sheltered child and I wasn’t exposed to social media at all really until I was about 13, meaning my parents didn’t have any social media, so I wasn’t posted anywhere, and I didn’t have any kind of contact with things that where being spread around on social media. This helped me understand the affect that social media has on me, as I have gotten older, I have gained a distaste for social media, it has a tendency to have negative effects for my mental health and I just don’t need to know all the things that are on social media.

In the second half of this class, we debated if schools should be allowed to use surveillance online to make sure students are safe. I will start off by saying that I feel very strongly that schools should not be allowed to survey students online. In this article, the author discusses how schools are using technology to make sure students are following rules to stop the spread of covid 19. I understand how this might seem like a good idea, but it seems like a bad idea to me. I feel like this is an invasion of privacy and I think that there are better ways to deal with this then to be constantly tracking students. One of the reasons I think this is a bad idea is that if that information gets into the wrong hands, students’ safety is being put at risk and since they are being tracked at all times, if someone wanted to hurt a student, they could easily find them.

On the other side of this debate there was this article that stood out to me. One of the main points that the author makes is that schools should make a culture that everyone looks out for each other and helps out when they see something that isn’t right. This idea might seem a little extreme, however, I think that schools should be focusing more on the root of the problem rather than just what is happening on the surface. Schools should be making an environment that students feel safe to talk about what is going on rather than the school “spying” on them and confronting them about what they find. Also, schools could be spending the money that they would be on this technology and instead spend it on hiring more teachers and guidance counselors to improve the quality of the school.

The Great Edtech debate

This week’s debates when on if technology enhances learning and if schools should continue to teach googleable facts and information.

For the first argument, if technology enhances learning or not, both sides had good points. One of the main topics was if it was more of a distraction than a helpful tool. It is easy for students to get distracted by technology and not actually learn anything. Whether that is by having unnecessary tabs open or playing on your phone while in class. One of my classmates mentioned that it depends on what you are doing on your device if it is a distraction or not, it was also brought up that students will always find a way to be distracted either on technology or not. Another good point that was brought up was that technology opens many doors for students that aren’t possible otherwise, visual learners, for example, there are resources online that wouldn’t be accessible without technology. I think that even if there is a possibility that technology is a distraction, it is still worth using in the classroom. I think that if technology is used in the right way it greatly enhances learning, however it can be a distraction so if teachers are going to use it, they should have a plan in place to deal with it if it became a distraction. A good point to not use technology is that not all students have access to it, as mentioned in “five reasons not to use technology in the classroom” I think this is an important point that cannot be overlooked. I find that many teachers assume that students have access to technology and internet at home, giving those who don’t an unnecessary disadvantage. It is important to consider how it will be used before you start using it (only using technology when students can be provided with everything they need at school might be a good option.)

The second debate was based on if schools should continue to teach googleable facts and information. In “most likely to succeed: schools should teach kids to think, not memorize” one thing that stood out to me was that they say that the argument that “the more you know, the better off you will be” is not relevant anymore because all the information is on a device. This implies that we shouldn’t have to learn anything because we can find everything online. While yes there is lots of information available online it doesn’t mean that you should just not learn anything for yourself. For example, using that same logic, say you are a med student, and you figure that since you can find all the information you could possible need is online why should you waste all your time learning what you can just look up on google when you need it? Now this is an extreme example, but I wanted to make my point clear, there is power and value in knowledge, it doesn’t mean you have to know everything but the more you know the better off you will be. I was debating the disagree side of this debate. Although many valuable points got brought up for the agree side, I still think that schools should still teach googleable facts and information. One of the main points on the agree side was that schools should be teaching skills rather than facts or information, as much as I think this is a valuable idea the facts and information that students are taught are the foundation to build skills on. Facts and information also provide valuable context for learning. A good point that one of my classmates made was that if we were to not teach facts or googleable information also affects how teachers teach, and what they need to learn. Doing this has a ripple effect and education programs and classes will have to be re-thought in order to properly prepare teachers for teaching this way. Teaching “googleable” facts and information give context for learning skills. For example, building creativity is important but without some information to give context, being creative about what exactly? I will say that building skills is important, but you have to have something to build on. I made the point that memorization is also a skill, many people like to make it bad, but it isn’t a bad skill, and it helps with your memory, as much as everyone hates memorization it is an important skill to learn if you intend to go to post-secondary especially because professors still expect you to commit some things to memory.

Mini- Lesson reflection

As a part of Edtc400 I taught a joint lesson with another student. This lesson was on digital rights and responsibilities and digital access. I had a few concerns and a few things I was pleasantly surprised by. I am happy with the overall experience of teaching and it was my first time facilitating a lesson.

One of the main things that was a concern to me when I was working on the lesson was the amount of time that it took to put it together. The main reason why I was concerned by this was that I knew when I was doing the assignment that it was taking longer than I would really have to prepare a lesson if I was teaching in a school. In other words, I probably would not have time to plan this lesson without revising it. Another thing that was a concern was how many things were going on at one time. When we were actually presenting the lesson, we used mentimeter and another document for a small group activity as well as the slide set. I found it difficult to manage all the things that were going on. I think in the future I will try to put everything in one place, so I don’t have to jump around too much.

I was pleasantly surprised about how easy mentemeter and google forms were to use. I heard mixed reviews about mentimeter, and some people had issues with it, so I was nervous to use it however, it was very simple and worked like a charm. Google forms was super quick and easy to use, and I can definitely see myself using it again in the future. As for the actual teaching, I tried not to directly teach too much and focused on group work instead. For the group work I gave a video and discussion questions for the groups to complete, from the feedback I got, this seemed to go over well and seemed to work well, I wish I could have given more time to work on it in class and have more of a discussion at the end. Overall, I am happy with the way the lesson turned out.

Technological reality

In terms of responsibility with technological world I don’t think it’s like necessarily the school’s responsibility but also realistically I know that most likely the school is going to have to deal with it and educate young people even though it shouldn’t be totally on schools and teachers to do that. I also have some what a bit of experience with this because it was a very sheltered child, and I wasn’t on social media and neither were my parents. My parents were anti-social media for most of my childhood so they always took pictures of me, but they never put them online and so and I was raised with the mentality that social media and technology was bad, and I didn’t have any education on it, mostly because then didn’t know much about it themselves so they couldn’t really educate me on it. I didn’t have social media and I never had a phone until I was 15. The only information I had about technology was what my teachers in high school taught me.

It’s also interesting to me that a lot of teachers try to avoid technology and they won’t use it in the classroom. They don’t want to use it and they don’t want to get involved in trying to figure it out, which is a fair perspective, however there are good things that come with technology like really helpful websites and visuals that you just cannot duplicate by hand. I think just getting technology involved in little ways is good to begin with and then teaching students how to how to decipher between fact and fiction is also key.

In Sherry Turkle’s Ted talk she talks a lot about being connected online yet being disconnected, the idea of seeming like you should be connected, and you should feel connected, but you don’t. Feeling lonely even though you are talking to people. Just because you’re talking to someone online doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be connected to them. I know in my personal experience especially through this pandemic I found that having to talk to people through either FaceTime or texting just isn’t the same as talking to them face to face it isn’t the same as having a conversation when you’re both right there especially with my friends, we tend to not be on our phones when we are together except for maybe a couple minutes but we will always be very present (pre-covid, that is) when we’re together and since I haven’t been able to see anyone it’s been hard because I’m relying on social media to keep me connected and it hasn’t been the same. As much as technology and social media tries to mimic the feeling of being connected with someone it’s just not the same as being face to face and being present. it is difficult to stay connected to people because you do feel really lonely when you aren’t able to see anyone. The example she gives in the Ted talk with her daughter and her friends in the picture of them being together but while being on their phones that was really interesting example because that’s oftentimes what happens. You see it more often now than ever, people avoid actually talking to each other and looking at each other and having a conversation, that’s something that has been a big issue in the last few years. I think the key with that with dealing with this is a balance, you have to balance the online time and offline time and recognize that when you’re with people you should at least try to not be online and scrolling through your phone.

Let’s talk about Twitter!

I think Twitter can be a really good resource for teachers to use to keep connected to other teachers and other future teachers and share resources. One of the drawbacks that I found with using Twitter is that whatever you post on there it is hard to remove once you posted it so if you post something that you thought in your first year of University and when you get to your actual teaching career and you don’t necessarily think that anymore it’s kind of hard to erase that off of Twitter.

One of the nice things about twitter is that you can build your professional network, You can meet and talk to and share resources with people that you wouldn’t normally be able to talk to or interact with so that’s a really good thing about Twitter and using it, is so that you can actually interact with people, especially now, with it’s much harder to meet people so it’s nice to have the online platform to connect with people and meet people that you might come across in your teaching career.

As for the Ed chats I really like them more than I thought that I would. I think that they can be in with a good way to connect with other people and talk about things that you don’t get to talk about on a daily basis, so for example, this week saskedchat was based off of mental health and self-care and that was really interesting conversation take part in and see what other teachers did and give like tips and ideas on what you could do to help you.

I was never a fan of social media mainly just because it was made out to be a place where everyone just ranted and share drama and that’s all it was ever made out to be for me when I was younger and so I never had an interest in being on social media because I never knew what the positive side could look like or what it could be if you used it in a positive way. Twitter now a more positive platform that I just don’t talk about my personal life as much (or interact with personal posts/random ranting)  and so it’s kind of nice to like keep off the personal side and stick with the more professional side of Twitter.  

Also if you don’t follow me on twitter yet you can here!

My Digital Identity

For my digital identity I don’t feel that it has a very significant impact and it’s something I’ve been trying to work on and try to get better at, but it’s not necessarily something that has been going really well in terms of making it more positive. My Facebook and Instagram are both private so there’s not a lot you can really find neither do I really post anything on either of those accounts except for major life changes and things I really feel strongly that I should share and on top of that there’s not really anything to find. My Twitter however is more of a professional platform, for me I try to keep it as much towards education and teaching as I can so that I can build a bit of a network and that way I have it organized so that I can use Twitter for that and use my other social medias for my personal accounts.

So the only thing that is really public is my Twitter account and I’ve only had it since I started University and I’ve only used it for EDTC 300 (I have used it outside of EDTC but a very small amount) and sharing resources and keeping connected to other teachers and future teachers. I feel like if the impression people would get when they look at my Twitter account is that I’m not terribly active but when I am active I do a lot of Ed chats and sharing resources and that’s all I really do on Twitter so it’s kind of makes it difficult for people to get a really good sense of who I am as a person or as a teacher. I don’t like social media a lot, I use it sometimes but I don’t like using it all the time and I don’t like my whole life being on it so I try to keep off of it and it’s something I’m trying to work on is just like shifting it towards using it as a professional platform and using it for teaching resources and education resources. I do follow quite a few teachers on Facebook but that’s more to keep up with them personally not really for professional development.

Hello and Welcome!

Hi, my name is Sarah and welcome to my blog! I am in my second year or secondary education with a major in math and a minor in Chemistry. Some things about me: I really love to learn new things, I also like all things nerdy (math stuff, science stuff). The last new thing I learned this summer was how an engine works, I went in knowing absolutely nothing but my boyfriend (now husband) got me into cars and now I am interested and want to learn more, I honestly learned so much! We took a seized engine from an older truck and basically took it apart to figure out why it had seized and what we needed to fix.

A few things that I am looking forward to learning in EDTC this semester, is that I want to learn more about how to use media for education purposes, how to manage it better, and just learn more in general. In EDTC 300 I learned a lot of stuff that I did not anticipate learning so I am just looking forward to learning more.

If you want to know a little more about me, here is my intro post for EDTC 300, and my other posts from EDTC 300, and my twitter account.