This week was bittersweet, as I have greatly enjoyed these debates and both of the EDTC classes in general. I am certainly sad that this class has come to an end, but I am also very much looking forward to summer and having a break from online classes.
Topic #1 – Cellphones should be banned in the classroom
This debate had three sides. The first was that cellphones should always be banned in every classroom, the second was that cellphones should be banned in K-8 classrooms, and the third was that cellphones should not be banned at all. There are many pros and cons to allowing cellphones in the classroom. The ‘agree’ side argued that cellphones are a distraction for students and that they allow for cyberbullying to take place. However, I do not think either of these points are valid because both of these things are unfortunately inevitable. Before technology, students would be distracted by passing notes or paper airplanes. Also, cyberbullying often happens outside of school hours, so banning cellphones in the classroom is not going to eradicate cyberbullying by any means. The ‘disagree’ side argued that we have a responsibility to teach students how to use technology appropriately and that, when used effectively, cellphones can improve student’s learning experience. At the end of the debate, I sided with the argument that cellphones should be banned in K-8 classrooms, simply because not enough students will have their own cellphone in the lower grades. I do not think it makes sense to allow students to use their cellphones when only half the class has one, as you will need to get devices for the other students anyway and it may promote inequity for students from lower income households.
Topic #2 – Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression
The debate did not change my opinion on this topic. I believe that educators who are actively posting on social media have a responsibility to use online platforms to speak out about injustice and promote equity. Remaining neutral about current events regarding social justice usually just further marginalizes minority groups and promotes the status quo. The ‘agree’ side also argued that remaining silent about current events, such as the Black Lives Matter rallies, is insensitive and implies that you either do not care or do not support the movement. The ‘disagree’ side argued that not everyone is active on social media, and nobody should be forced to post online if they do not want to. In addition, what does posting a Tweet actually do to help promote real change? They argued that we should focus more on our actions and less on posting about whatever social justice issue is currently trending online. Although I agree that real action is much more important than words posted online, I still believe that any teacher who is active on social media should be advocating for social justice online as well. Posting openly about your support for the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement (just to name a few examples) will demonstrate to your students that they are always welcome and safe to be themselves in your classroom. That is what is most important to me.