Productivity Suites – Get them when they’re young and sell their data.

Productivity Suites are programs to help people create, organize, and present items. In education teachers use these to create documents, activities, presentation, and worksheets. Students in high school anyway, use these programs for very similar purposes programs like presentations, and differently by writing papers, answering questions, making visuals and more.  

I only thought of these tools as supports for my students and I; tools for success! I am finding more and more students are struggling to write with paper and pencil. Hence, some students do the work digitally by typing or using speech to text on google docs. When they are creating, I love how they can use google slides or docs and all have access to the same document. Makes for more efficient collaboration and group work. Google forms have been a wonderful program I use for exit slips or reflections. They don’t lose their reflection book! It is all saves automatically on their drive. I can upload their reflections onto a google sheets and see them all in one area. It makes it so much easier to mark; I am not hauling around 30 journals. Google classroom has also been wonderful how students can access the material at home when they miss school. The responsibility can be put on them to watch the lesson video,or read the material and try the worksheet at home. It helps me organize my semester as well! One issue is those kids that are already missing school because they don’t have a lot of support at home, or they have a lower economic status don’t have these privileges. They don’t have devices at home or wifi. So, these expectations are too much.

Wow that was a lot of mentioning of google programs. It has engulfed my classroom. Is this a bad thing? Are there issues?

Most definitely, is what I learned after our class this week. I have always wanted to work for people, serve the public and try to make a difference. I chose to be a teacher. I do not have a business-oriented mind, so I never thought about how even companies focused on making products to help people are still just trying to make money. They may disguise this but it is their number one priority. Hence, we need to be weary of Google and Microsoft companies’ intentions, as well as the fine print. A very smart ploy for companies is getting young customers for products. I recently have realised that the reason Scotiabank has great deals for university students, is to get them signed up right out of high school.  I remember liking that I could get points for free movies just for spending money. Twelve years later I am still with Scotiabank; they got me.

Google & Microsoft have been the front runners in technology suites for a very long time. In high school I still was writing mostly on paper, but into university all I had known was Microsoft, so I bought a Microsoft suite for my laptop. I created things on Microsoft publisher and wrote papers on Microsoft word. When I became a teacher, I still use these products for creation. My students as you read above are google users. Google was very smart to get themselves into schools. Kids will only know google moving into the workforce, therefore this is most likely what they will use into adulthood and pay for their products. A technology analyst, Mike Fisher stated for the New York Times “If you get someone on your operating system early, then you get that loyalty early, and potentially for life”.

As of now, I don’t believe Microsoft or Google has ill intent creating products to help students learn and grow, but at the end of the day they are a corporate company. Therefore another concern was around student data. New York Times said that Google says they don’t sell the data. The gmail and information is only collected to use the services . But, Google declined to provide a breakdown of the exact details the company collects from students use of its services. So many parents are concerned and think google should be more transparent about the information collection of their users.

Is it more helpful than harmful? I think time will tell.

Cailen Tribier

My view of Knowledge and its effects on My Teaching Philosophy

I am a reflective teacher, hence I do think about how I am teaching, facilitating or running my classroom and if it is effective around student learning. But to define what theory or theories underpins my teaching philosophy, I am forced to dig deeper than just what I do but what I feel is right at my core. I need to look at who I am as a person, and how I view knowledge. Anthony Bates explains our “epistemological position has direct practical consequences for how we teach.”

At my beginning of forming my own ideas I believe I would have named myself a positivist. In school I was trained to find the right answer. The academic classes I enjoyed were math and science which had right, or wrong answer and I was praised if I figured it out. The creative classes I did not enjoy, it was too arbitrary. I was and am still very motivated by solving complex problems and finding the answers.

However, into my adulthood I started to learn there were multiple answers and multiple experiences and these are all valid types of knowledge.  Even with an objective reality there are mysteries and unknowns. Knowledge is ever changing but I believe it is objective in the idea that what we know now is true until we can prove it is different otherwise. I also realize in certain subject areas experiences do shape our knowledge and this is also valuable. This is why I have developed to be more post positivist as I am moving through university, teaching in a classroom and my masters. I believe there is objective truth but I think this truth is individualized. We all have bias and background experience. This will influence our world view. This won’t affect objective scientific truth most of the time but when it comes to the discovering , and analyzing new ideas this will affect learning. It is important to explore different perspectives, abstract ideas and unique processes. Hence in a classroom to have intellectual conversations and abstract thinking we will need multiple theories of learning for success.

Firstly students need their basic needs met, feel safe and feel like they belong. This is Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs which is involved in the Humanistic Theory of learning. Learning will never occur without these basic things. Students need to have drive for learning, have structure and organization, feel safe, enjoyment, and praise. All of these things I accomplish through the Behaviorism theory. This means we need to use behaviorist techniques to teach students how to behave. A specific one I use is “Tribier tickets”. They are little cards that give students privileges if they complete their personal goals. Goals could be completing work in class instead of being distracted by friends, or handing in assignments on time or getting a certain grade on an assignment.

With some support, motivation and organization we can move to teaching concepts. This is a cognitivist idea. It is the process of learning, connecting, explaining, and applying information. This still has the idea that there is right answers and we go through a process to find or explain these answers. In my classroom I do this through direct teaching different processes, activating prior knowledge to make connections between ideas, science labs to experience concepts, and problem solving real life math questions. The cognitivist theory uses Bloom’s Taxonomy which explains at what level students are learning. I find it to be a very thin line between high level concepts of thinkings such as creating, and evaluating in the cognitivist theory with the constructivist approach to learning.

“For a constructivist, even physical laws exist because they have been constructed by people from evidence, observation, and deductive or intuitive thinking, and, most importantly, because certain communities of people (in this example, scientists) have mutually agreed what constitutes valid knowledge.” . I love this quote, we wouldn’t have science without people who have tried to make sense of our world when there were unknowns and no right answers. Hence why forming your own thoughts, through experiments, trials, proofs or exploring new ideas is so important in education. It just takes a long time and effort to get there. The constructivist approach is about creating ones own ideas, and forming opinions. In the classroom I have used debates, inquiry research, interactive gizmos, manipulatives, experiments, discussions and videos that provoked opinions and feelings about a topic. This has all been successful to get students to develop their own ideas around science theory.

However, it can be unsuccessful when it is used alone. I remember when I was first introduced to inquiry learning, I would send students onto the world wide web to read and interact with new concepts without giving any background information. The depths of knowledge they obtained was minimal. They could not have deeper discussions about the topic because they didn’t understand first. Students need guidance from the teacher to find appropriate knowledge base. This includes teaching students how to find information, credible sources, fact check, find evidence before they can create. I will continue to use a blend of these theories as this is the bests practice in my opinion. Is this the best practice? As time will tell new theories, and new knowledge will arise. So true best practice is to continue to be a lifelong learner and keep trying new ways to grow as a teacher.