ECI833 – Are Productivity Suites Taking Over Education?

Now, if you are asking yourself what a “productivity suite” is, look no further, follow the link here to find out more, and for further understanding watch this video of an exemplar of a company productivity suite.

Even in the root word of this concept, it focuses on productivity and efficiency. It appears the major two companies that education relies on for productivity suites are Microsoft 365, and Google Suites. Both of these programs create a collaborative method for connecting and communicating with a team in an efficient way. Personally, Google Suite has become a critical aspect of organizing my classroom material, content, and lessons in a straightforward yet methodical manner to maximize efficiency. I really love it when I can easily access previous years’ content and see my own professional growth and development. However, as much as I thoroughly enjoy my experience with Google programs, it is the students who should be the focus of this discussion. , I have noticed that there is a disparity among students and their access to Google programs and technology at home. Some of the reoccurring thoughts and questions this semester are triggered about productivity suites in education and those revolve around:

  • Who benefits because of these products?
  • Do these programs offer deeper learning opportunities for all students?
  • What type of knowledge are we valuing utilizing these programs?
  • What are the implicit messages that we are conveying to students by using these programs?

I certainly do not have an answer or solution to these questions, but I do think there is value in being cognizant of their impact in the classroom, and awareness that we as educators need to have as we often make decisions for the sake of “advancement” in educational technology. I am reminded of a quote by John F. Kennedy that eloquently states the importance of education and how that may contrast key notions of productivity suites in the classroom.

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth”

— John F. Kennedy

In reflecting on that quote, and examining the use of various productivity programs in the classroom, it is challenging to have a concrete answer there. It is convicting to think about how the answer to some of those questions above only really benefits the students who do not need it, thus broadening the inequity gap. However, some key takeaways from the quote reveal what type of knowledge are we aiming for students to aspire towards, and what our own understanding of truth and its validity will inherently be transcended to students through osmosis.

I do think that the varying productivity suites that are utilized in the classroom are designed with the focus and efficiency of the teacher (Teacher Centric), yet these tools are to aid in learning, and not become the main vehicle of learning. Therefore, I think it is critical to examine how we use these programs, their positive and negative impact, and reflect on whether the ends justify the means.

EC&I 833 – Ms. Cailen Tribier 2024-01-22 02:04:00

Educational Technology – Critical Analysis to Continue being a Reflective Educator

Hello, and welcome to my blog for my ECI 833 course where I will explore the foundations of educational technology. Educational technology is a tool, invention computer hardware or software, manipulative or theory that helps facilitate learning. Personally, I view it as any tool that helps me teach in an innovative way to increase engagement and learning or a tool to help support my students more efficiently in their journey of education. What I realized was in my first few years of teaching the tools or assessments I chose were solely to engage and benefit my students learning, which is great but I did not focus at all on how to save time for myself. Most days began working at 8 am and finishing work at 10 pm. I had no work life balance.

In my tenth year of teaching, I am slowly trying to balance making my classroom a fun place to learn but as well finding educational technology that can adapt my content more efficiently for differentiation and assessing more quickly to have a personal life. I have become very interested in instant feedback assessment. Jiajun Zou from Emory University explains self marking programs have helped teachers gain their lives back with the growing responsibilities they have these days, as well as aiding students in the learning process. With out timely feedback “students can easily forget what they just wrote, and their brain instantly switches to other important tasks or seeks a drink as a reward for their hard work. Without instant feedback, ideas fade”.  I have experienced students telling me that they don’t remember this assessment. So it feels pointless to review it; it feels like reteaching without a purpose. Instant feedback is especially important in formative assessment so students can improve before summative assessment time. Automated mediums Audience Response Systems such as mentimeter and blooket are a great way to help students know how they are doing and facilitate fun and enjoyment in the classroom.

There are some issues with some of the instant marking or feedback programs I have been using for summative assessment. I first started using google forms with multiple choice questions and zip grade. I am becoming aware that these tools benefit me but not my students when it comes to higher level or deeper learning. My questioning in the assessments became more knowledge and recall based rather than analyzation of the content.  I can’t seem to find assessment technology that benefits both the teacher and the students quite yet. Neil Postman explains how only certain groups will benefit from new technological tools or advances in certain industries. It even goes onto say about how some groups could be harmed. My students are being “harmed” in sense of not being assessed in a way that helps them be critical thinkers and on the flip side it takes me hours to assess high level of analyzation questions which in turn keeps me working many long hours.

Hack education explained in regards to automated essay grading, they disagreed with the idea that instant feedback benefits learning.  Even though I disagree in some aspects, I see the importance of the critiquing these automated feedback tools.

Neil Postman confirmed for me that it is very important to be critical of new technology. There will be some people that will benefit and some that won’t. There will be advantages but also detriments to people. When new technology becomes the norm and is no longer looked at with a critical lens, this is dangerous. I will keep researching and reflecting on technology I choose and hopefully someday I will discover educational tools that develop student learning and help me do my job efficiently and yet thoroughly.