The Future of Technology and its Privacy!

The world we live in is changing so rapidly that it is becoming harder and harder to keep up with everything. Specifically, I am referring to the changes in technology. In the previous weeks, we discussed the history of AV in education. In the 1930s, we used film projectors, then moved to video cassette recordersoverhead projectors, and whiteboards, just to name a few. In the 2000s, the widespread adoption of the internet and digital media established the integration of online resources into daily teaching. Laptops and tablets became prevalent in the classrooms, allowing for a more fun and engaging learning opportunities. We are all aware that AV’s benefits to teachers and students are crucial for success in a digital learning environment. However, what will the future of productivity tools be in education, and how might they evolve to meet educational needs better?

Photo by Yan Krukau on Pexels.com

The articles below give a detailed description of the future of technology.

https://meetingstore.co.uk/future-of-av-education/

https://online.purdue.edu/blog/education/evolution-technology-classroom

Some of the advancements stated in one of these articles are:

  • Biometrics -which is “a technology that recognizes people based on certain physical or behavioral traits. Science will be able to identify the physical and emotional disposition of the students, enabling the alteration of the course material and tailoring it to each student’s specific and unique needs. Considering the various high needs of our students, this part of technology would bring enormous benefits for both teachers and students.
  • Augmented Reality Glasses – (even contact lenses) will layer data on top of what we see naturally, enabling a real-world learning experience. Can you imagine a student sitting at a desk and wearing AR glasses conversing with Thomas Edison about invention? Well, this may become true in the future! Who knows! It is also interesting to mention what Edison has stated about the future of the books: “Books will soon be obsolete in schools. Scholars will soon be instructed through the eye”. Edison is right when he says that books will be outdated. When you ask students if they want to read a book on paper or an e-Book, they will choose eBook most of the time. I find this new invention very exciting because of the real-world experience that it will offer  and I can only imagine how that might change the whole education perspective.
  • Multitouch surface – we already have touch phones and computers, which we use daily. However, multitouch surfaces such as desks or workstations will send education to a different level. 

These technological advancements will require teachers to stay well informed and always strive to adapt and be on top of the knowledge. The future looks bright with all these changes, but will this advancement in technology threaten our privacy? When you sign up for a new app or program, you will be asked all sorts of information. Will this information be protected?

When it comes to privacy, I see many concerns here, some of which were presented in last week’s article but also from a personal event that happened just recently. My husband owns a local private business, and since we live in a digital area, the information for the company is all online. The services the company offers, display of previously completed work, and contact information are just a few things that the website provides. An advertising company, which, for ethical reasons, I won’t mention its name, has claimed on their website false information about my husband’s company. They have claimed enormous revenue and many employees, which both are not true. I wish the company had what they claimed, but the reality differs from what they were presenting. Two main concerns are raised here for him as the owner. First and most important, “Where did they get this information”? Second, but not least, “Can they remove that false information”? They have yet to answer when the advertising company was contacted and asked where they found that information. When they were also requested to remove that information, as it was not true, the answer was they could not remove it. The concern is that my husband has NEVER contacted this company to give them any information about his business or ask them for any advertisement. Consequently, he has NEVER signed a contract with them. This raises high concerns about unauthorized access and ethical handling of information. The same concerns can be raised in education, too, with students’ information being used without their consent. As parents, we do sign every year on how the students should be respectful when using technology in the school, and if they break it or misuse it, there will be consequences. Still, I am trying to remember when privacy was mentioned in that signing form.  Users of productivity suites, educators and students, may face challenges managing and controlling the educational data. Demanding transparency in collecting, using and sharing data and obtaining consent are crucial aspects of ethical data handling.

In conclusion, the future of technology will be bright, with so many exciting opportunities for teachers and students. Advancements in biometrics, augmented reality, and multitouch surfaces are all innovative technologies that will revolutionize the world. However, upholding privacy standards and responsible data handling for all our students is crucial. Obtaining these principles will allow educators and students to fully embrace the potential of technology in education. 

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Sesame Street and the Impact of AV Technologies!

 As I read Postman’s quote and the questions for this week’s blog, I realized I had no idea what “Sesame Street” was. I asked my kids if they knew about it, but my son’s answer was, “Google it mom”. Fair enough! Nowadays, if we do not know anything, we have the easiest way to find it out; we Google it, as opposed to the 90s, where we would ask each other or go and find a book to find out what we were inquiring. I keep reminding myself not to ask, but sometimes old habits never die. Anyway, as I was googling “Sesame Street,” I came across so many YouTube videos that I spent most of my Saturday watching as many episodes as possible. I must admit that that was the best Saturday in a long time. 

Ironically, the first episode I watched was about New Year’s Eve, the best celebration and time of the year for me. If you have not seen this episode, click below, and I guarantee you will learn a lot from it.

As I watched this episode, I realized how much a child can gain from watching Sesame Street. Learning about different holidays all around the world, practicing the countdown for the New Year, finding the letter of the day, seeing Elmo’s friends getting frustrated when they could not keep Elmo awake and being able to regulate their emotions were just a few skills to mention. Engaging young learners and enhancing their knowledge while having fun is the best way to teach students. As I watched more episodes, I wondered, “Why can’t we educate the students this way? What factors have shaped our current education system, and how can we improve it to be more effective and efficient”? As I was Googling to find the answers to my questions, I came across these videos, which helped me realize why we teach the way we teach. 

The Dark Truth of The School System (Why it sucks)

Rockefeller Monopoly, Work, Slave School Education

The traditional idea of schooling is centred around structured classrooms with rows and bells, and the teacher is the primary source of information. Our education system emphasizes obedience and discipline as the only way to maintain order in the classroom. However, “Sesame Street” presents an entirely different model which provides learning entertainingly and engagingly for the students. Using songs, various characters, engaging storylines, and educational content, “Sesame Street “challenges how the education system functions and gives us a better way of educating our kids. This show is a challenge for all the teachers to make them think about how to shape their teaching strategies to be more effective and engaging for all the students. “Sesame Street” sets higher expectations for schools, which should create an environment as entertaining as the one on the show. At the same time, “Sesame Street” shapes children’s expectation that education is fun. This is a bit concerning because the way education works nowadays is less fun than the kids expect it or want it to be. When we extend this idea to the broader effects of AV technologies in school and various educational apps, we might risk creating an expectation for the students that learning will occur only with the presence of technology. This expectation creates further issues, such as not liking the traditional education method and making students engage less. However, the question is, “Is technology valuable to education? Should we include it in our daily teaching”? The video below answers these questions.

So, technology is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it offers innovative and more engaging ways to enhance learning, and it makes education more accessible any time and any place you are. On the other hand, it might be a distraction and cause a lack of focus on learning objectives. As technology advances, so is the school policy for implementing BYOD and smartphones policies, allowing students to use their own devices for educational purposes. While the aim of this initiative might seem positive, in the same time it is concerning as it might highlight the economic disparities, and deepening the inequalities among students. BYOD assumes that every child has a smartphone, tablet and access of internet but the reality is different. For some families these devices might be considered a luxury, as such not all students will have access to them.

In conclusion, Postman’s quote highlights the consequences of a fun education and learning environment for students. This perspective invites educators to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the long-term effects of integrating AV technologies to ensure a balance for a better-enhanced learning experience and improved student outcomes.

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Navigating Learning Theories to Enrich Teaching Strategies!

This week, we explored various learning theories and their application in better supporting the students. While I was familiar with some of these theories, I had yet to think how we educators can utilize them to enhance our teaching strategies. As I was inquiring more on this subject, I found that many of them resonated with me personally. I also found new ways that will help me in my journey as an educator. Learning and understanding these various theories will empower me to choose the most effective teaching methods for my daily work.

As Anthony William Bates states in his book, no teaching method can fit all the circumstances. That means that teachers should have the skills and the resources to adapt to different learning styles, unique circumstances, and students’ individual needs. Alternating the various approaches will enable them to make the best choice to meet the student’s needs better.

In Objectivist Theory, a teacher believes that a course is a body of knowledge to be learned consisting of facts, formulas, terminology, etc.. Effectively transmitting this knowledge is crucial. Going further, an “objectivist” teacher controls what and how students learn and choose the learning activities and the assessment form. Regarding what students learn, I am referring to the outcomes, the Ministry of Education makes the decision, however, the teachers decide on the way they teach and the resources they use. So, based on the explanation of this theory, I believe that all the teachers are objectivists because they incorporate these strategies in  their everyday teaching.

Behaviorism Theory emphasizes the reinforcement of positive behaviour through utilizing rewards and punishment. Many teachers use Class Dojo or edibles to reinforce positive behaviour in their classroom. Behaviorists have identified that rewards or punishments can reinforce positive behaviour. Since many teachers use this practice, I included behaviorism as part of our teaching approach.

Cognitivism focuses on comprehension, decision-making, problem-solving, creative thinking, developing more robust learning processes and a deeper understanding of concepts and ideas. As a Learning Resource Teacher in an elementary school, I see all these components being taught to my students when I pull them for intervention. Other teachers use this approach daily to enhance students’ learning and engagement.

Constructivists believe that understanding is achieved by taking new information, connecting it to existing one and cognitively processing it. Social constructivists assume that learning happens through social experiences, allowing us to challenge our understanding of others. Don’t we help our students gain new knowledge, connect it to existing knowledge and then cognitively process it? Hence, we do apply this theory to our students.

Connectivism states the impact that networks and technology have on learning. Connectivists argue that the internet changes the essential nature of knowledge. The role of the teacher here is to provide the initial learning environment and to help learners construct their learning environment.

After analyzing all these learning theories, the fundamental question arises: Which one should I/we use? It is crucial to recognize that a single theory cannot fully address the needs and complexity of our students nowadays. Hence, effective educators should adopt a holistic approach and blend various theories to create an inclusive teaching environment and better meet our students’ needs. Every student is different and has his/her way of learning. Adopting various theories will enable teachers to avoid a one-size-fits-all mentality and create a unique learning environment for students.

My job as an educator is to become familiar with these theories, to reflect on my teaching strategies, and to adapt them based on the circumstances and needs that arise in the classroom.

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My Journey in Education Technology!

Initially, I thought that educational technology referred to just the use of computers and the internet which would benefit me in my daily life and career. Indeed, education technology has become an inseparable part of me and something that I cannot see myself without it. Programs such as Microsoft Office, Prodigy, Seesaw, EDSBY and tools such as speech to text, text to speech, dictate are essential not just for the teachers but students as well. In fact, as I was putting down some of my thoughts in this assignment, I was using Dictate as a faster way of jotting down my ideas.

However, Merriam Webster defines educational technology as a practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area. Hence, if we consider the application of knowledge as a vital part of technology, then the definition expands. So, I will define technology both as a tool and knowledge that we can use to make our life easier. In the realm of education, technology goes beyond the smart board and the projector, but it can also include manipulatives like magnetic letters or blocks which we can use in reading and math. Instructions.

The articles that I read this week, reminded me how education technology has evolved in general and specifically for me, from blackboards, floppy disk, and CD in Albania to smart boards, Mimio, EDSBY, Seesaw, Microsoft tools etc. I went form a very restricted and slow transformation of technology in Albania to a wide array of advancements in Canada, which sometimes make me wonder if we really need these many technology tools and if all of them are helping us for better. Neil Postman suggests being mindful of how we use technology, because technology should help us achieve our goals and not dictate our lives. To fully enhance the benefits of technology we must think critically and reflect on the way how we engage with technology.

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