Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Back in the good old days, news information was mainly delivered in the form of paper, magazines, radio and television. Now, as to whether the information was false or accurate, it seemed easier to detect fake information when its delivery was simpler. For instance, tabloid magazines will often feature stories using a silly headline in … Continue reading Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Back in the good old days, news information was mainly delivered in the form of paper, magazines, radio and television. Now, as to whether the information was false or accurate, it seemed easier to detect fake information when its delivery was simpler. For instance, tabloid magazines will often feature stories using a silly headline in a large font. They specifically do this in hopes to capture your attention and read the content found in the magazine. In my experience with browsing tabloid magazines, the “National Enquirer” and the “Star” often distribute exciting yet suspicious information/stories. Celebrities and breaking news are usually easy targets for conflict. Inaccurate information, conspiracies, lies or changes to a narrative are spread often but now a days it can be more challenging to detect fake news due to the growth of the internet and social media.

In today’s digital world, news information can be found everywhere. Sites such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook contains a ton of stories and informational content, which we can choose to accept as true. It can be very easy to get caught up in an interesting headline or two. However, we must be aware that online websites will intentionally try to pass themselves off as authentic when they’re not.

I must admit, I have been fooled more than once with believing fake news to be true and after realizing it is not, I feel pretty ridiculous. As we learned from last week’s class, fact checking is important, especially before sharing creditable/non-creditable information using social media sources. Although it can be difficult to spot fake news, here are five different practices to detect a non-creditable resource:

  • Look for Unusual URL’s
  • Dissect the Layout
  • Dig Deeper
  • Cross-check
  • Try a reverse image search

As an educator, it is important first and foremost that I understand how to detect non-creditable information before I can teach my students about how to detect it. But, if I am not confident in this process, how can I expect my students to be? Doing this requires both research and critical thinking. When identifying fake news, it is essential to discuss examples of creditable and non-creditable resources with our students. In Ryan’s blog, he states “Fake news doesn’t mean we need to panic, and distrust everything’. ‘It does however mean that we need to slow down and read’. ‘Not just read the title of the article, but read the article, and compare it to information that we already know’”. I completely agree with Ryan. By presenting students with the tools they need it will assist them in identifying trustworthy resources, but also teach them how to critically analyze digital literacy. As teachers, we need to model this process and offer our students practice so they may develop self-assurance in their abilities to identify fake news and information.

Thanks for stopping by!


Learning in the open…should we be concerned?

In today’s digital world, people have become dependent on technology. Both our personal and professional lives are dependent on technology because it has transformed the way we do things; the way we live, the way we obtain information, the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we entertain, and the way we learn. … Continue reading Learning in the open…should we be concerned?

In today’s digital world, people have become dependent on technology. Both our personal and professional lives are dependent on technology because it has transformed the way we do things; the way we live, the way we obtain information, the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we entertain, and the way we learn. In fact, technological advancements occur due to people’s demands and life-style changes. The specific needs, wants and knowledge of society are what drives technology to evolve. Moreover, the advancements of technology are driven by adaptive learning, even if knowledge is commoditized.  

It is apparent that the advancements of technology present both positive and negative effects. Positive, because technology has simplified the way we operate. Technology is convenient, saves time, increases productivity, simplifies communication, and improves education and health care. Negative, because technology can be distraction, eliminates the need for face-to-face interaction, and can contribute to the development of unhealthy habits; such as obesity, addiction, and tendonitis. Despite the positive and negative effects of technology, our world could not function without it.

For this week’s post, we were asked to share our biggest concerns for teaching in the digital (social media) age. Let me start off by saying that I am all for social media. Social media is used often within both my personal and professional life. Social media allows me to communicate with my family and friends, access news and information, and expand my professional development as an educator. As an experienced digital citizen, I am aware of the potential dangers that comes hand-in-hand with using social media. However, my biggest concern is that educators will shy away from using digital literacy within their teaching practices simply because they fear the potential risks involved while using social media, and that alone. As explained in my blog from last week, social media can be a productive and valuable teaching tool, if it is used appropriately and in a controlled environment. Thanh Hoang Nam Le, a fellow classmate of mine, expressed his thoughts in regards to open education and sharing students work online. He states, “Before engaging students to learn in the open, professors need to introduce students to an established media guidelines and policies that clarify the appropriate use of social media tools”. I could not agree more. In order for social media to be viewed as an effective teaching tool, it is the responsibility of the teacher to educate their students about digital citizenship, digital footprint, social media etiquette, and the specific purpose of the selected tool they intend to use. This educational process is concerning to me as potential online dangers can be avoided, only if the necessary preparation/precautions are taken before we encourage our students to learn in the open.

With technology being so convenient, it also makes me wonder about my profession. Should educators be concerned about their careers? Nowadays, anything you want to know about can be Googled or watched on YouTube. Are we expected to incorporate social media within our teaching practices? If so, how much time is expected? If we avoid it, are we doing a disservice to our students. Therefore, the big question is: what is the role of the teacher? Well, the truth is teachers do not need to feel intimidated by learning in the open because teachers offer a learning experience more essential than technology offers. Teachers offer personal connections and one-on-one learning experiences that “virtual learning simply cannot do”. Teachers teach students critical thinking skills and inspire students to be lifelong learners. Teachers also establish trust and special bonds that lead to special memories in the lives of students. So, with confidence, I can say “relax teacher friends”! Technology cannot replace us but rather assist us in our teaching practices! So, get out there and show our students how learning in the open can be fun and beneficial. But under the supervision of the teacher, of course!

Thanks for stopping by!


Share, connect and chat!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media to showcase students work publicly. As you already know, there are a wide range of social media sources which can be used to display student work or to assist in learning. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, … Continue reading Share, connect and chat!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media to showcase students work publicly. As you already know, there are a wide range of social media sources which can be used to display student work or to assist in learning. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and blogging are some of the most commonly used social media sources by teachers today.

For instance, teachers can create a Facebook Group Page, specifically designed for their classroom. On this page, teachers can showcase their students work, post assignments/reminders, control its group members and maintain steady contact with both students and parents. Instagram can showcase student work by offering a place to feature student art work. Twitter provides a place where students can access current information about the world and use the information they find for classroom discussions, activities, or projects. However, there are many more social media tools available that each serve a different purpose. Some teachers may note that social media, when it is used appropriately, can be a useful tool rather than a distraction.

If you do not have experience using social media as a teaching tool, here are some of the pros and cons involved:

Pros of using social media in the classroom:

  • Social media sites can increase student collaboration
  • Using social media in the classroom can encourage more participation
  • Social media sites can be useful for homework help
  • Share resources quickly when using social media in the classroom
  • Social media helps keep parents, teachers and students all on the same page

Cons of using social media in the classroom:

  • Social media can be a distraction in class if it is not used in a supervised/controlled setting
  • Improper use of social media in the classroom
  • Using social media in the classroom can detract from human interaction
  • Cyber bullying on social media websites
  • Posting inappropriate content on social media websites

With social media being an ingrained part of today’s society, it seems almost impossible to avoid it. So, before you make the decision to dismiss it, consider “learning in the open” to be a positive experience. Moreover, the many life lessons we can learn from using social media. As teachers, we have the ability to control the setting and the way we allow our students to use social media during class time. But if we expect our students to be responsible digital citizens while using social media, then we need to teach them how to be. Many of our students are unaware of the consequences associated with the inappropriate use of social media. Therefore, we need to educate them about internet safety and all that comes with it; such as the do’s and don’ts when sharing or posting information online. We must also model appropriate commenting skills and social media etiquette. Yes, social media can be used for enjoyment but these tools were also created for a reason. Therefore, introducing social media sources to your students while also demonstrating their specific purposes through a teacher-guided lesson is recommended. Remember, there are many social media platforms that have great educational potential. So, it is time to start exploring them and discover all the different ways they can showcase student work but also contribute to learning.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 


I blog, so let’s all blog!

Hello everyone! I would like to begin my first blog post for EC&I 831 by saying how excited I am to be a part of this course and to be working alongside all of you! Throughout this semester, I look forward to reading all of your blog posts and collaborating with you in the Zoom … Continue reading I blog, so let’s all blog!

Hello everyone!

I would like to begin my first blog post for EC&I 831 by saying how excited I am to be a part of this course and to be working alongside all of you! Throughout this semester, I look forward to reading all of your blog posts and collaborating with you in the Zoom room!

For my major digital project, designing and implementing an open student blogging project has always been an interest of mine. Why? Well, since I began the blogging process last year through online courses with Alec and Katia, I have been able to demonstrate my learning in a productive and creative fashion. Blogging allows an outlet for me to express my thoughts and opinions about specific topics in a professional manner. It also provides an environment for me to explore, collaborate and learn from people who share the same profession as I do. I have never considered myself to be a confident public speaker and although I have been teaching for 8 years, I still feel uncomfortable with public speaking, more so in front of adults. However, blogging creates a comfortable setting where I am able to share information, in the form of writing. Blogging has also encouraged me to reach out and explore the digital world in many different ways, as well as utilize social media as an effective digital tool.

That being said, I would love to provide my students with the same positive learning experience, by designing and implementing an open student classroom blog. Although this is simply an idea at this point in time, I have created a basic outline of content which would need to be taught to the students before the actual blogging process could begin. Only after the following content is covered by the teacher, may we begin to navigate through the classroom blog site.  It is important the students are prepared and fully understand how to demonstrate responsible and accountable behaviour before posting or commenting online. The outline of content is as follows:

Step 1- Introduction to blogging.

  • What is a blog and what purpose does it serve?
  • Who can blog?
  • Why do we blog?

Step 2- The Do’s and Don’ts when sharing information online.

Step 3: Appropriate and responsible blogging (teacher-guided).

  • Quality vs Quantity
  • Sourcing of information
  • Review examples of appropriate and inappropriate blog posts/comments

As for the LMS I intend to use for the student classroom blog, I am unsure at this point in time. Although I blog often, I only have experience using WordPress. So, if any of you have any suggestions for possible blogging programs I can use, I’d love to hear from you! Also, please share your experiences while working with blogging programs! Within the near future, I plan to do some research using social media tools, such as Twitter and YouTube to assist me with the process of selecting a classroom blog site as well as setting it up.

For those of you who are new to the blogging experience, blogging can be beneficial for both teachers and students! And here’s why…blogging engages both students and parents, it serves as a form of student expression, reaches marginalized students who may be more comfortable writing than speaking, serves as a great classroom resource, aids in teacher and student relationships, and encourages self-directed study skills. It is important to note that blogging cannot replace the role of the teacher, but it can serve as a fun and engaging learning experience as well as teach our students how to be effective digital citizens and navigate the internet safely. I mean, let’s face it, we now live in a digital world and technology is advancing every day. So, we can choose to reject it or use it to our advantage, whichever way that may be.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

 


EC&I 834 Summary of Learning Project

Hello everyone! This semester, I had the opportunity to work on my summary of learning project with my friend and colleague, Jayme Lazorko. Jayme and I have collaborated before on previous summary of learning projects, creating a slideshow presentation using Animoto as well as a Podcast. Together, we always have a great time creating digital…Read more EC&I 834 Summary of Learning Project

Hello everyone!

This semester, I had the opportunity to work on my summary of learning project with my friend and colleague, Jayme Lazorko. Jayme and I have collaborated before on previous summary of learning projects, creating a slideshow presentation using Animoto as well as a Podcast. Together, we always have a great time creating digital content! For our summary of learning project for EC&I 834, Jayme and I decided we would try something new! So, we chose to create an animated video using a digital tool called Goanimate. Awhile back, we were asked to experiment with a digital tool that was new to us. We both decided to explore Goanimate as we always wanted to learn how to create animated videos which includes dialogue. After exploring this program, we both found it to be user-friendly, engaging and fun! Seeing as we both had a positive experience using Goanimate, we wanted to represent our learning using this digital tool. Therefore, if you’d like to check out our summary of learning project, just click “play” on the video below! We hope you all enjoy it! I look forward to collaborating with you all in the future, whether it be in person or online! Thank you to everyone who shared in my learning experience this semester and have a wonderful Spring/Summer!


Do we really have to say good-bye?

Hello everyone! Oh, how quickly this semester has gone by. It is hard to believe that our journey in EC&I 834 is nearly over. I’ve really enjoyed spending my Tuesday evening’s with all of you in the Zoom room and want to say thank you to Alec, Katia and everyone who has shared in my…Read more Do we really have to say good-bye?

Hello everyone!

Oh, how quickly this semester has gone by. It is hard to believe that our journey in EC&I 834 is nearly over. I’ve really enjoyed spending my Tuesday evening’s with all of you in the Zoom room and want to say thank you to Alec, Katia and everyone who has shared in my learning this semester! I am also looking forward to viewing everyone’s summary of learning projects before we are officially done!

For our final blog post, we were asked to provide an overview of the developing process of our prototype projects as well as include the link for our course prototype project and a response about making changes to the prototype, based on the feedback we received from our peers. Listed below are some links to previous blog posts that details the developing process of our course prototype project throughout this semester:

Prototype project for blended learning, take one!

Google Classroom it is!

Prototype project is well underway!

That’s a wrap, folks!

Student login information to our course prototype

If I’m being honest, there were many times this semester where I felt somewhat overwhelmed and confused about the prototype project. At times, my group and I were not sure whether we were on the right track or not. However, through collaboration amongst one another and with feedback from Alec, Katia and our classmates, we were able pull it together and create an awesome course prototype project completely from scratch! What an accomplishment! For our LMS platform, Jayme, Andres and I decided to use Google Classroom. This decision was easy for us, seeing as the three of us use Google for almost everything! However, through our experience using Google Classroom to create our course prototype, we definitely were able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of this digital tool. As explained in my blog post from last week, I provide a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of this LMS platform.

As for the peer evaluations, my group and I were quite satisfied with the feedback we received. I think between the three of us, we were a tad bit hesitant about whether or not our course prototype project would measure up to others. However, through this process we were able to identify a variety of courses which included different subject areas, targeted age levels, LMS platforms, artefact samples and detailed modules! My group and I feel that the feedback we received was very helpful and gave us some ideas about how we can better our course prototype project and its material. It also pointed out many issues with Google Classroom which we honestly hadn’t noticed before or details we omitted without even realizing it. We found the evaluation process to be beneficial and appreciated the constructive criticism we received. We also enjoyed being able to view other course prototype projects. It was nice to finally see some of the things our classmates have been working on all semester!

Changes to prototype project

Overall, I am very happy with the content I learned this semester in EC&I 834. I’ve learned a lot about the pedagogical foundations of online and blended-learning as well as many new digital resources, LMS platforms and even how to create digital content. I am fortunate to have been a part of such a supportive online community. Even though this course is coming to an end, I wish all of you the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope to collaborate with you in the future!

Thanks for stopping by!


That’s a wrap, folks!

Well EC&I 834 community, I cannot believe how quickly this semester has gone by. The end is near and we have come a long way together. Through the process of completing our prototype projects, we have learned about a variety of online and digital resources as well as pedagogical elements that applies to online learning…Read more That’s a wrap, folks!

Well EC&I 834 community, I cannot believe how quickly this semester has gone by. The end is near and we have come a long way together. Through the process of completing our prototype projects, we have learned about a variety of online and digital resources as well as pedagogical elements that applies to online learning environments. We now have the tools to create online or blended-learning material based on a variety of artefacts and learning experiences that we have discovered together, but in different ways.

This week, we were asked to discuss our prototype projects before we submit them. Like my group member Jayme, I also found the prototype project to be consuming and overwhelming. At times, I felt confused about its components and was not always confident that my group and I were on the right track. However, I really appreciated how Alec and Katia were available to answer any questions or concerns we may have had. Also, the Google+ Community proved to be a helpful space for when we had questions regarding the prototype project. Throughout this course, each week we covered a variety of online and digital resources, which enabled us to explore new tools and assisted in the development of our prototype project. Andres did a terrific job describing our experience using Google Classroom and our LMS platform. Within his post, he explains why we chose to use Google Classroom based on our experiences using a variety of google apps and resources. Choosing our LMS platform was definitely one of the easiest decisions we made.

While working with Google Classroom, my group and I were able to identify both the pros and cons of using this digital tool.

Pros:
– Clean and user-friendly interface
– Going paperless
– Access from any device
– Effective Communication and sharing
– Provide timely feedback
– Personalized learning

Cons:
– Difficult account management
– Lacks room for customization
– Editing problems due to automatic reformatting
– Letter size and fonts cannot be adjusted
– Impersonal

This assignment was a pleasant one. I enjoyed the flexibility and openness that it offered. I also appreciated how the details of this assignment flowed with the weekly teachings, this deepened my understanding of the content. I also learned with this assignment that creating digital content is possible, even to someone who may feel they are not too experienced working with technology. Creating digital content can be fun and also contributes to a unique learning experience. Within this assignment, my group and I had the opportunity to create content in the form of modules as well as artefact videos. This is something I have never done before and now I can say that I have!

Overall, I am very pleased with our prototype project. I truly enjoyed working with Andres and Jayme as collaborating was easy, teamwork was evident, and we challenged each other by taking on a different digital tool to focus on. Creating a prototype project has definitely opened my eyes to all of the different digital tools and resources that are available through online and blended learning courses. Furthermore, I’ve enjoyed my interactions with all of you! I look forward to seeing everyone’s prototypes and summary of learning projects! I am excited to see what all of you have been working on this semester! Also, thank you Alec and Katia for introducing me to the variety of the digital tools and platforms I have not seen/used before!

Thanks for stopping by!


Open education…authentic sharing?

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to reflect upon the idea of openness in education. So far, my experience involving open education has been extremely positive. Due to the flexibility that somewhat comes hand in hand with open education, I now realize that as a teacher and an adult learner, knowledge literally has…Read more Open education…authentic sharing?

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to reflect upon the idea of openness in education. So far, my experience involving open education has been extremely positive. Due to the flexibility that somewhat comes hand in hand with open education, I now realize that as a teacher and an adult learner, knowledge literally has no limits! Moreover, open education offers a unique, authentic learning experience and helps us grow into the future.

With open education, what we are learning and how we wish to learn appears to be flexible in the sense that it offers somewhat of an unstructured format, allowing learners to explore other people’s perspectives while considering our own. Open education provides a variety of forums which allows for people to expand their knowledge through a collective experience. For instance, being a member of EC&I 834 has allowed me to share my thoughts and opinions as well as learn about my fellow classmates perspectives in regards to similar topics, through class discussions, blogging and using Twitter. Not only is this refreshing, but it continually helps to better my understanding. As adult learners, we may not always have similar perspectives about particular subjects but this does not necessarily mean the information we share is inaccurate or demands its authenticity to be questioned. Open education presents us with the opportunity to study others and to consider numerous perspectives in order to enhance our learning experience.

This week, my classmate Amy Singh wrote a fantastic blog post about open education. She explains how she enjoys the concept of open education tremendously and how its flexibility offers an exciting yet challenging learning experience. She also shares her experience with using Learning Management Systems and how they offer a “one size fits all” mentality, leaving little or no room for collaborative or cooperative involvement. She also notes how closed forums are limited and offer less opportunities for discussion, which contributes to deepening a person’s understanding of information. With that being said, I’d like to thank you, Amy. Thank you for sharing your experience with both open and closed forums. Your perspective regarding open education has contributed to my learning and is a perfect example of the effectiveness of open education!

As a Grade 3/4 teacher, it has been difficult to provide my students with the experience to work with open forums. Within this specific age group, working with closed forums may appear to be somewhat simpler and more effective. My reasoning for this is based on the limited experience my students have with technology and digital resources. As noted in Benita’s blog this week, she states,

“I think that open learning is more challenging in a school setting. Kids are not trained to be self- educators yet. They thrive on structure and guidance. I do think that there is opportunities for open learning within the closed format”.

I agree with Benita’s statement as teaching students how to navigate through closed forums can prove to be a challenging experience. However, it is important for educators to not rule out openness in education because of these challenges but rather find ways to incorporate open education by offering their students choices and the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of concepts.

What are your thoughts regarding openness in education? How do you determine whether the information being shared with you is authentic? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by!


Project prototype is well underway!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to provide an updated description regarding our course prototype project as well as elaborate on any progress we have made. Within the past few weeks, my group and I have made a great deal of progress, establishing many important details/elements that will be included within our prototype…Read more Project prototype is well underway!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to provide an updated description regarding our course prototype project as well as elaborate on any progress we have made. Within the past few weeks, my group and I have made a great deal of progress, establishing many important details/elements that will be included within our prototype project. Therefore, allow me to share the details about what my group and I have accomplished thus far, starting with the details listed within our course profile.

Jayme-Lee, Andres and I decided the course format for our prototype project will be based on the blended-learning concept, simply because all three of us appreciate the combination of face-to-face instruction and the use of online digital tools. As for the course subject and grade level, we chose to focus on English Language Arts at the Grade 6 level. But most importantly, the purpose of our course prototype project is to provide students with the opportunity to create digital content. Within Andres blog post for this week, he thoroughly describes the goals outlined for our project as well as provides a detailed portrayal of what our project will resemble, from start to finish.

“Students will learn how to use various online and digital tools to help them find new ways of representing their written work. The final project: the summary of learning, will be an amalgamation of everything the students learned throughout the unit. The unit will focus on scaffolding and providing students with the skills necessary to create a final product. The unit has been designed with student collaboration in mind, meaning students will work, interact and collaborate with other students in various ways. The final project will require students to pair up with their reading buddies to create a narrated digital story”.

Due to the stresses technology can sometimes bring, Jayme-Lee explains the purpose for the Grade 6 students actively working alongside with a reading buddy in Grade 1. She states,

“We have all been in situations where technology has been a challenge, especially those teachers in the younger grades. Students are unable to log on; internet access is low etc. So what better way to get our students using technology then to buddy them up with an older student who perhaps more experience using these tools, apps, resources etc. We have decided that our buddies will be a big part of our project, involved, commenting, providing feedback, learning etc”.

Therefore, our group decided that working with technology and online tools is possible for the younger grades and may work to the students’ advantage, if they are presented with the opportunity to work with a student in an older grade. By doing this, student interaction and collaboration will occur and may also promote digital citizenship, along with respect for the various online tools the younger grades have not yet been exposed to.

We have decided to use Google Classroom as our LMS platform and for a collaborative space where we may upload various Google documents, our course profile, modules and our artifact videos. Furthermore, Google Classroom provides an environment where our students have access to the information they will need for our prototype project but also have access to numerous resources and tools if they require additional support. Within our project, we designed Google Classroom to be the primary source for teacher and student interaction as the Grade 6 students already have access to and have experience working with Google Classroom and creating Google documents. Google Classroom also allows the students to work at their own pace and is beneficial for all types of learners.

As outlined in Andres blog post, our course prototype project will be set up in the form of “how-to tutorials”, paired up with assignments as well as assessments for each module. The modules of our project are listed as follows:

– How to use Read&Write for Google Chrome (for assisted learning and when students are brainstorming ideas for their narrative stories with their reading buddies).
– How to use Google Docs, Google Drive and other cloud-based software.
– How to use animation tools such as Videoscribe, Powtoon, Telegami and Puppet Pals.
– How to film using your device. Students will learn the basics to simple screenwriting and script writing; they will be given tips on what makes for good and captivating cinematography; and how to capture good footage for your project.
– How to edit videos and raw footage using Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or other video editors.
– How to create podcasts (learning how to use audio recording software such as GarageBand and Audacity for podcasts and narratives for our stories).
– How to narrate and add life to your videos and digital artifacts.
– How to create a time-lapse video.
– Final project. Summary of learning: a narrated digital storybook that combines everything we learned in the unit.

Overall, our prototype project is progressing smoothly and my group and I are enjoying working together! We are determined to provide our students with a variety of digital tools to work with so they may experiment and find new ways to represent their work as well as actively collaborate with other students. I am eager to see how our final product turns out and I am excited to share it with all of you!

Thanks again for stopping by!


Cell phones…useful technological tool or a distraction?

For our blog post this week, we were given the opportunity to write about an article or articles we read and discuss our reactions to them. Luckily for me, I came across a short article which proved to be very interesting. If you have not yet read, I recently tweeted an article posted from CTV…Read more Cell phones…useful technological tool or a distraction?

For our blog post this week, we were given the opportunity to write about an article or articles we read and discuss our reactions to them. Luckily for me, I came across a short article which proved to be very interesting. If you have not yet read, I recently tweeted an article posted from CTV News about a Toronto middle school banning the use of cell phones within classrooms and in the hallways. When I first came across this article, I read it immediately as the title alone caught my attention. The article states,

“Since September, students have been prohibited from texting, taking photos or signing into social media over the school’s lunch hour”.

Following this statement, the article notes that the use of cell phones may be permitted where a cell phone may be “helpful” to the task at hand, which includes a school activity or a specific lesson.

After reading this article, I felt somewhat torn about the situation. I understand the real life struggle that teachers and instructors face with permitting the use of cellphones in schools. It is evident that there are both pros and cons for allowing the use of cell phones within the classroom and now a days, many students own cell phones, starting at a young age. I’m sure we can all agree that it is very easy to become distracted by our cell phones. Personally, I use my cell phone for almost everything. From paying bills online, texting, taking photos and exploring social media, it is difficult for me to put my phone down and remember that moderation is key when it comes to the use of technology. In my opinion, whether or not the use of cell phones is permitted in the classroom depends entirely on the classroom teacher/instructor. However, it is encouraging to know that there are ways cell phones may be put to good use in the classroom. Rather than exhausting ourselves while “fighting the good fight and asking students to put their phones away during class”, consider the different ways technological devices, like cellphones may be used during class time. Recently, my colleague Jayme-Lee tweeted an article about “Five Ways Students Can Use Their Cell Phones in the Classroom”. Within this article, it provides a list of 5 digital resources that includes Kahoot, Quizizz, Pear Deck, Google Slides Q & A and Socrative. These resources are engaging, fun, encourages team work, and are effective for examining informational content. Therefore, if you find yourself in the position of picking battles with your students about the use of cell phones, remember that cell phones do have potential to be used for learning, as long as it is in a controlled and teacher-lead environment.

Since taking online classes with Alec and Katia, I learned about many digital resources available to both teachers and students to assist with learning. Professionally, I have grown and am much more open to technology than ever before. As an adult, I enjoy taking online classes. I am able to learn and communicate online with fantastic individuals, many within the same profession as me. Furthermore, I am able to collaborate from the comfort of my own home. As a teacher, I also believe in the concept of Blended Learning. I appreciate the combination of face-to-face instruction with my students while using technology to assist in my everyday teaching. When implemented effectively, a blended learning program can be beneficial and serve several purposes:

1) Institutions have the potential to manage instructional and facility resources more efficiently, teaching more students within a semester.
2) This approach is beneficial for students, providing the convenience and flexibility associated with online learning, freeing up time for work, family obligations or extra-curricular activities.
3) Blended learning develops a skill set for students that otherwise would not be possible in exclusive face-to-face instruction. Skills include digital citizenship, information management skills, self-directed learning, and web research and collaboration skills.

Therefore, what are your thoughts regarding the use of cell phones in the classroom? In your experience, do you agree we can use them to our advantage to assist in learning or do you feel they are a distraction? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic!

Thanks for stopping by!