EC&I 833 Summary of Learning

Well I got inspired by an old coworkers, Logan Petlak’s, summary of learning on the exemplar page, so I decided to do a rap. WOW, did I bite off more than I could chew. Trying to get all the content and explain myself while rhyming felt impossible. Also to get 5 minutes when you are saying everything so fast was very difficult. Splicing music to make the song longer was also a new skill I had gained along the way. But what matters, is it is finished! I hope it comes across as clear to you, as it does in my own head. I put the names of all the dance moves I was doing from the 90s because I am weird and had to stay on trend with Prince of Belair song! Toby (my doggo) is obviously the star of the show. It is very embarrassing. So enjoy.

Summary: I start off by speaking about how I have learned about the different types of knowledge and how all are important not just Positivist view of one objective answer. Multiple realities and how students use said knowledge to create their own ideas is also valuable. Then I speak about the learning theories we learned! I demonstrate different technology that fits the different theories. The behaviorist technology that I have used to helps students learn objective knowledge in math and science. This including online learning technology that helped me create lesson videos! Next I talk about Cognitive learning theory and some technology that you could use to foster discussion and allow for that higher level of learning. Lastly for the theories I speak about constructive theory technology that students can use to create new items and ideas! Including, makerspaces and how they foster resilience and life long learning. I also take some time to talk about how I learned about some new assistive technology that I am using now in my classes! Lastly when I was diving into my AI blog I came across this video of machines taking over our lives. So I think it is important we still keep learning and have more knowledge than AI so it does not control our lives.

The next section is the negative side of technology and how there is good but there is also evil! I never knew I had to be weary of new technology! I always knew corporations top priority was making money but I was so unaware that had leaked into education and how this might affect our students. Web 2.0 was a great invention but because everyone can put their own realities and knowledge on the internet it has made it so people take some of this knowledge as objective knowledge when it is not. This has caused a political divide, even here in Canada. Social media has contributed to this as well. Machines are very efficient but not a lot of morality as well.

Not sure if I needed the summary or it was clear, would love any comments or questions, thanks!

Will humans Devolve? – Generative AI

When I think of artificial intelligence, I think of robots talking to you, self driving vehicles and the Jetsons. But it isn’t futuristic, it is now and we have been using it for a long time. According to the Alan Turing Institute an “AI system means any computational system (or a combination of such systems) that uses methods derived from statistics or other mathematical techniques to carry out tasks that are commonly associated with, or would otherwise require, human intelligence and that either assists or replaces the judgment of human decision makers in carrying out those tasks.”

As I was doing my research I did not realize how many things I used that is AI. The first tasks for humans I remember being replaced by a machine was thinking of your next word when texting on your block of a phone. Predictive text is AI.  Shout out to my millennials, who remembers T9 texting! Search engines uses artificial intelligence to locate information faster. Siri is AI task manager and researcher summoned by your voice; this technology was inputted on the iPhone in 2011. I use google home to shut my lights off, lock my doors, turn on tunes, and tell me the weather. I know Netflix and other apps give me recommendations which is are all AI algorithms. Generative AI is a category of AI which is defined as programs that learn and train to be able to create products for humans based on the prompts given. Not only can they do tasks, but now they can construct new products.

An industry that has been taken over by generative AI is customer service and it sucks. I feel like the old person that just wants to talk to a real person for help. A lot of the AI I have experienced does not think outside of the box quite yet and the training they get is very black and white. If there isn’t an option given they cannot help you.

Due to EC&I 833, I have been diving into new programs to help make my job easier. I have been using Brisk Teaching Chrome Extension to give feedback, MagicSchoolai to create questions from YouTube videos, showed kids how to use Quilbot paraphrasing tool, used ChatGPT to locate research for myself and used Arlinear to create quiz questions.

The benefit to these tools is they all save us time or make things more convenient. In regard to teaching, generative AI tools gives teachers time to give more thorough feedback, or differentiate lessons quicker and adapt for our students better so students can participate in meaningful ways. My EAL students can watch the videos I have assigned in their own language or translate documents or help them paraphrase. These are all assistive technologies to help them be successful.

In other realms of our world generative AI has helped to detect fraud, identify diseases efficiently in healthcare and facial recognition for security purposes.

The idea that AI can support my career, my students learning, and make the world a safer and more efficient, convenient place is great but there are problems. We need to critically analyze this technology. The training that some AI has raises concerns such as bias, prejudices and discrimination. Also most generative AI does not exhibit emotion, interpersonal skills and morality. Humans have emotions which play a role in doing a job well in my opinion. Considering other emotions is critical. With that said, AI’s ability to understand humour and emotions is advancing. I experienced this recently when the AI DJ on spotify used humour by playing a song they thought was a summary of all my favourite music this year and it was a yodelling song. If artificial intelligence can do a task with consideration of all societal constructs, law, feelings and without bias and discrimination that would be amazing, right? Maybe yes, but machines doing all tasks better than humans, I don’t think is great either, some yes, but not all. Humans bring value to some tasks and those tasks also bring value to humans. Interaction between people is important and I think AI might slowly take this away. We will only have relationships with machines. I don’t think that would help our economy or benefit society for machines to be doing everything. Humans will lose their knowledge and livelihood.

I understand this is a bold statement and maybe far in the future, hopefully, but I think it is something to think about.

It is important to be weary of new technology. We have seen already what search engines, and social media apps have done to our society. This technology with these AI algorithms has created a confirmation bias with in our society. In history I am unsure if we have ever seen such divide between people among what is right and wrong. Social Media apps use AI to manipulate you into using their apps to make money. How is that a good thing? So this generative AI that creates a paraphrased piece of work for a student, is this beneficial? It is assisting them to help them be successful, but it also does not help them learn to critically think on their own. They will lose the skill of using a thesaurus and finding new words and to create their own work. Is this a pointless skill to have because the machine will do it for you?  As Ted Talk explains humans knowing how to do the task or having the knowledge how to do it can be beneficial. I think machines doing some tasks to make our lives easier is great but we need to keep the enhancing our skills of connecting, constructing, evaluating, and critiquing to be functioning intelligent beings. We need to stay smarter than the machines! If we don’t machines will pass on knowledge to machines and humans won’t have a purpose.  For now I am still going to be cautious about generative AI but I do believe we should embrace it as well and adapt our education accordingly because this is where the future is going.

Innovation means time and money – Coding & Maker Spaces

Once I started diving into this topic it wasn’t as scary as I thought. It is honestly a lot of what I already know and have tried a bit in my own way with in the restrictions of our curriculum, time, money and space. My prior knowledge among coding was minimal; I always thought coding was extremely complex process which gave instructions for a program, apps, or computer to process. I also thought it was only for people who had training or schooling due to its complexity.

Photo by Pixabay on

It turns out like many aspects of learning new things there are simpler easier ways to start coding. It does not need to start or look like the image above. The program we were shown in class was Scratch Jr  and I can see the benefits of teaching coding. Students could create stories or timelines on many topics.  It lets students create, problem solve, and infer. This would help them with attention to detail, and particularity by having to break things down into steps. It is all very high levels of thinking according to Bloom’s taxonomy which is very beneficial for our students. It definitely falls under the high level of the cognitive learning theory and fits the constructivist learning theory as well.

I just did a project in science where they had to analyze history of atomic theory by creating a timeline of models and changes throughout history. Coding could be a great way to order and differentiate between scientists findings through creating a story of some sort. This hits the outcome at an even higher level for enhancing student learning.

When I saw the word Makerspaces, I was even more in the dark,  I had never heard of this. What I have learned is it is a place where people come together to solve a problem. In an educational setting it would be giving a group of students materials, time and space necessary to create something, or come up with ideas to solve a problem.

Makerspaces also fall under the constructivist theory and has many benefits. It gives students freedoms and choice with in the outcome. It supports in collaboration, problem solving and perseverance. The really important one is that attitude of making mistakes is valuable, and when things don’t go right to try again in a new way. This is a wonderful life skill as nothing will go great the first time. It fosters life long learning and resilience.

These skills I have been talking about is extremely important when it come to complex topics in the world of math and science. According to Let’s talk science students are losing interest in the science and math. Over half don’t graduate with a senior level math or science. Also only 12% of graduating students take physics.

Hence, students need to be inspired in these courses. We need to be given the time and money to get tools and tech to allow students to problem solve in interesting ways. Especially in math, it has been pencil and paper and drill and practice for so long. Our math courses are so jam packed not only do we have barely enough time to just traditionally teach the outcome, let alone get them explore it and play. The other problem is when trying to do the outcome at a higher level, kids need basic skills and they are not coming to high school with those solid skills. There is a lot of reteaching to get the basics hence we don’t have enough time for creation and innovation a lot of the time. There needs to be some change in our curricula for this to happen.

Sometimes the issue with doing something that is a higher order of thinking than the outcome is asking for, is students are working so hard to create that sometimes they completely miss the mark in the analyzation of the content that was asked for. I have seen this many times when I try something cool that my weaker students get left behind. Is it great for those students to try these things, yes, but sometimes it can be very overwhelming and they aren’t successful. This is when differentiating the assessment would be and encouraging your excelling students to try these innovative projects. On the contrary, when students realize one way will be more “work” than others assessments it is hard to inspire them to dive in. Maybe maker spaces should be more for non-curricular clubs to avoid this problem. But then the government needs to give more funding to education. Hard enough to get funding for curricular items, I can’t imagine trying to get more money for makerspaces!

Even though there are issues around materials, money, motivation and time in some areas, I think education is moving towards finding ways to help our students be innovative and solve problems. Central Collegiate in Moose Jaw where I work is doing some great things! We have innovation club at our school which work with drones, the 3D printer and create computer games and much more that I don’t even know about. We have coding and drafting classes which all involve collaboration and creation. In science we are giving students materials and building anything from houses to protect objects, terrariums to roller coasters. It is happening but we just need to push for more time, and more money to give our students the best education possible.

Assistive Technology – My Experience

According to the Disabilities Education Act Assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities”. This is a very descriptive definition except it only takes into account children with disabilities. In my experience all types students might need or benefit from assistive technology. At Central Collegiate we have a lot of English as an additional language learners who don’t have a disability but they can understand so much more clearly with these technologies. Therefore, the definition from the World health organization fits a little better for my practice so far. “Assistive products help maintain or improve an individual’s functioning related to cognition, communication, hearing, mobility, self-care and vision, thus enabling their health, well-being, inclusion and participation.”

The issues I have come across is not having enough hands-on deck or space to support our students who struggle whether they have disabilities, or they are learning English or they are neurodivergent thinkers. Hence, this assistive technology replaces a scribe, or a reader for activities or assessment. As there are more and more students that need supports to be more successful, we will either need to buy more subscriptions to supportive software, physical tools to help or have more adults in a classroom. The assistive technology I have used the most in my high school classes is google read and write, speech to text software, and google translate features on docs. Speech to text software is great for students with ADHD to help them get all their ideas down by speaking rather than typing, same for my students who struggle to write and type. The technology that was shown in the presentation was called immersive reader and this was such a neat tool to replace a person for a student with dyslexia. Instead of having a reader a student could use earphones with a chromebook to listen or use the line reader aspect to support themselves. This is the exact reason and importance for this technology, is to help students become more independent regardless of their limitations.

However, there are limitations with these technologies. Firstly that students need to have independent instructions on how to use these tools. They then need to practice them and when other students don’t need to do this sometimes it is an issue. There seems to be a lot of comparison in my grade 9 and 10 classes when I try to use these technologies. Kids do not want to be different. My language learners really are happy about the support but my students that need those adaptations to be more successful they seem to rather not do well than be different. The other issue is the space. Students to use text to speech will need an alternate environment and we have no room at Central. There are no where for kids to go with adult supervision and a quiet environment. There is always that adult needed to support. Sometimes kids don’t want to leave the room because again they look different. I have tried getting all kids to try this technology with their phones to show that is normal to use different tools for writing. Still hasn’t helped a few of my students. According to the Assistive Technology: Enabling Dreams video, students should learn these skills from a very young age to foster independence as they get older. I think this would help with some of these embarrassment issues. I speak to students about equity vs equality when they notice differences, we speak about all different people need different things. But they seem to compare often so kids would rather not use the tool and not do well than be different. I have tried getting students to then try these things at home, but then there is the issue of accessibility, wifi and the parent having to know how to use the technology as well.

I am not sure how to go about the needing space or relieving embarrassment around assistive technology in my high school classes. Any suggestions?

All Assessment is Valuable

“Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it’s a conversation”, stated by the late teacher, Joe Bower. I think he is saying summative assessment with a number or letter attached to is not good assessment or depiction of what a student has learned. Instead, he imagines assessment as a lifelong process and it is never finished, hence it isn’t about what is learned but what learning has occurred and how to move forward. I mostly agree however what he is saying is easier said then done, and I think the “spread sheet” isn’t all bad.

I always tell my students there are 3 reasons for what you learn in high school: one, to help you learn ideas about the world, formulate your own ideas, and explore new ideas; two, to inspire interest in certain subjects or ideas; and three, to teach you different skills in the process of learning different things; how to manage time, how to collaborate, problem solve, critically think and so forth. This is just my personal philosophy I have used to make sense or our education system and to explain to students why they are learning what they learn.

Because this is my idea I believe our curriculum does have valuable outcomes and we should assess them, hence we do need summative assessment. Depending on the goal or outcome giving a range of what the student may know at that point and time helps them know how well they learned the topic. For very content-based outcomes this works! Here is an example: “Distinguish between physical and chemical properties of common substances, including those found in household, commercial, industrial, and agricultural applications.” If a student got an 80 % on the assessment for this outcome it tells me and them they get the concepts 80 % of the time. In the world of assessment tools. A multiple choice assessment tool like zipgrade might work just fine for this outcome to determine a students ability to distinguish this. It is an efficient way for teachers sto save some time! Kahoot, blooket and quiz multiple choice programs on socrative are all great to practice these concepts because of hte wide variety of premade quizzes. Time saver for teachers and fun for students. Everybody is hatin’ on this a little, however science knowledge can be objective hence this is a great way for the teacher to assess a students abilities to distinguish this information. Even if we wanted to remove grades for specific concepts it would be difficult.

I do live in the high school world where students need certain classes and certain grades to get into the program of their choice. So removing grades is impossible at this point in education. University, and secondary programs still need numbers on a spreadsheet called a high school transcript to determine if someone is eligible for a certain program. On the other hand I wish there was more options for students, those that know they were not heading to post secondary it would be great to have pass fail courses based on a variety of outcomes that hit these different categories that I believe are most important. Number two is really important hence why choice for students is key.

We need to inspire and motivate our students and studies show grades don’t do that. Relevance does. The problem is some of these outcomes are not interesting to students and have no motivation to learn anything about them. So, if we were to completely change to only formative and remove grades there would need to be more choice for students. This would help build intrinsic motivation. This would help students to be excited about what they are learning and maybe students would be even more inspired! If we remove grades and continue with the curriculum we have it will not work.

In this article, Pendergast et al. goes onto say that objective ideas aren’t as valuable as skills. I agree that, sometimes the content is not as valuable moving forward in life as the process of getting there. However, it is still a duty as teachers to asses the outcome. But is it a duty to summatively assess the outcome? I think so? Correct me if I am wrong. So, should we be assessing their effort, or the skill of just distinguishing and not worry about the content at all? According to this article yes.

I think the third one is what has gotten lost sometimes.   Learning should be exploration, engagement, discovery, analyzation and creation. Hence we should assess these processes. This is where some amazing assessment tools can come in because be honest, formative assessment with personal feedback is the ultimate goal. However, the amount of time given to teachers to assess this way is -1,000,000 hours. That is what it feels like anyway. Although, there is some great tools to help with this. I was very impressed by the Brisk Teaching Chrome Extension. It could give extremely accurate and thorough feedback based on your rubric instantly. It gave positive feedback as well as next steps on how to improve and continue growing and that is exactly what students need.

 All types of assessment is valuable from tests, assignments or questions on content, to rubrics evaluating ones process and opinions, exploration and creation. Some should be assessed by how much effort was put in by the teacher, self assessed, or peer assessed. The means of how we asses should also have variety as well like conversations, projects, observations, questions, team work and so forth. The key is look at the outcome but also look at the big picture and this will guide you in assessment.

The Social Dilemma – Our Society is in Crisis

Web 2.0 has made my life easier from creation software, YouTube videos that have amazing visuals to explain difficult concepts, to giving students unique exploration experiences with things like gizmo and google products that provide collaborative opportunities for incredible creation. Yet, it has come with a major cost of our health. These tools mentioned are littered with advertisements for these companies to make money. You say, just ignore the advertisements! But it goes so much deeper than this. These companies and social media apps have put together teams to create products that manipulate you to use their products more. These companies do not care about you or our kid’s health or well being. I am not exaggerating when I say if something doesn’t change, they will continue to kill us.

In the Social Dilemma on Netflix, they stated in 2010 and 2011 teen girl non-fatal harm increased by 62% and preteen girl self harm increased by 189% and the percents are similar for suicide rates in this group as well. This is largely due from social media apps. Through my Educational Psychology Masters, I studied mental health issues specifically in teen girls, and a lot of literature spoke about the upsurge of anxiety and depression in this group. A probable cause of the rise in anxiety is females are more likely to look for support around their health over males as well the stigma around anxiety is decreasing; hence more people, especially women and girls, are self-reporting more often and seeking help (Booth et al, 2016). On the contrary, another reason discussed for the anxiety increase was the rise in smart phone, and social media usage ((McRae et al., 2016; Phillips & Yu, 2021; Fatania, 2019). It is also causing other mental health disorders such as eating disorders and body dysmorphia (Himanshu, 2020). Teenagers and anyone on social media are bombarded with filtered images and picture-perfect lives. This is not what real life is. It is not glamorous, or perfect, it gives a false sense of what life is like, hence the increase of these disorders.

We are addicted to our phones, and this is by popular design of these companies. “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product”. “The gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behavior and perception that is the product.” These quotes are from the Netflix documentary from two people explaining the terrible schemes these companies use manipulate people to use their products.  Companies use algorithms to learn about who you are and what you like to keep you using their app or platform. They can then advertise to you and make money. This is horrible for your health. One you are in a sedentary position doing an activity that does not challenge your mind nor does challenge your body. We are moving less and sitting more. We are also sleeping less. Robert (2011) focused on teenagers and their sleeping habits and found due to lack of sleep there was an anxiety increase. He hypothesized the lack of sleep could be correlated with the increase in smart phone and social media usage also.

The other horrifying aspect of this technology is confirmation bias. Google is built to put the highest paying item at the top of your search list, along with what it thinks you will agree with or like. People read the top item rather than finding factual information. People are having trouble finding objective information due to the amount of ideas out there that do not have any science backing. People just believe what they read and do not critically think about who wrote it, who made it, and is it correct. Our society is going backwards with the amount of radical hate groups, and groups of people with blatantly incorrect ideas around many scientific topics. The scariest part is this is leaking into politics. There is a major political divide in our society due to this allowance of subjective ideas with no scientific backing. It is alright to feel a certain way and have opinions but when these opinions are being placed on all people, they need to have scientific evidence that demonstrates it is best for the greater good.  Objective truth is important. Instead of rights being stripped away from people our government should be focused on having regulations on companies to ensure their company is doing good for our world. We regulate many markets, and we should regulate social media.

Technology isn’t all bad, it is actual amazing how it has made our lives easier. According to the Netflix documentary the “like” button on Facebook was meant to spread positivity and I believe that they did have good intentions. I enjoy my social media to see what my distant friends are up to as well as post my own photos and keep digital albums. However, when people at the head of these companies know that there is a major issue and continue to do it regardless of how many people they hurt, they need to be stopped. This is what our government needs to regulate but with the political divide I am very scared for our future as a society. But until these regulations happen, try to support kids through understanding that these apps are addicting, how to help regulate their use, and how to get back to the basics of socializing with friends with real life physical interactions.

Distance Learning it Helped me Grow but Please No…

The best tools for blended and online learning that I have used or are aware of is Wacom, Zoom, Google meet, Kahoot, Edpuzzle, Remind, and Screencastify. When COVID-19 happened, we were forced to go online very quickly with a few tools and keep our students engaged and learning just like before. This was a huge undertaking. I survived but only because of a few wonderful tools. Zoom was a great way to still teach with some contact with students. Without scheduled classes, I think no work or fun would have occurred. The Zoom classes made it feel a bit more normal; we could still discuss, and students could ask questions but in the comfort of their home. I even did work out classes with the students over zoom for my Wellness 10 and Physical Education 9 courses. Through Zoom and Screencastify I made lesson videos for my math and science classes. It was great if students missed class or just wanted to go back and see how we worked through questions together; it was all there for them on google classroom. The Wacom tool made it possible for me to write like I do on the smart TV in the classroom. Therefore, we could work through problems in math as we always did and my videos reflected what it was like in the math classroom regularly. Collaboration and teamwork was more difficult though, as I couldn’t supervise the groups in breakout rooms well. I still use these videos on my google classroom. Some of them wouldn’t fully match my content as I adjust my program all the time but is so helpful for when students miss. The complete notes to how to work through questions never seems to be enough. Students have trouble figuring it out with out a visual or explanation. This type of independence seems to be rare hence the videos was a wonderful tool that came from the terrible COVID-19 pandemic. I learned about a lot of great online tools during the pandemic.

For assessment I used google forms and moodle multiple choice assessments, but also posted written assignments because it was hard to change it all to digital platforms. There was a lot of issues with cheating with certain assignments unfortunately. Photomath is a great tool to help you find answers and learn backwards but also a bad one for online education cheating. Google meet and remind kept parents and students informed about changes, reminders about assessments or to support students and guardians with the technology issues. Google meet was great for students to be able to access support from me and again I could use my digital writing tool to demonstrate how to do a task.

I mostly spoke about the positives and how these tools supported me through these difficult times, but how would I feel if I had to teach in this blended learning way or full online with Moodle through distance education? I would hate it. I didn’t like it during COVID and I wouldn’t like it now. Regardless of being more prepared if I were to do it again, it still removes my favourite aspect about my job. I enjoy interacting with students, discussing new ideas, debating, having conversations, building relationships, supporting them with the “hidden curriculum” and having fun. In my opinion I couldn’t do this at all in a full online platform and only partially in a blended online class format. Not only would I hate it, but as far as I learned through COVID it wasn’t beneficial for students either. I see many issues with online and blended learning for public education for grades K-12.  I mentioned a few times how some of the tools I used made it feel more normal, like we were in the classroom again. I was trying to recreate the classroom because this is the best place to help students be involved and excited about learning. Most students don’t have the maturity to stay focused, be involved in discussions, or complete assignments and learn in an online or Zoom class environment. There are a lot of distractions at home, and it was a lot easier for students to disengage. I am guilty of this myself. I would NEVER touch my phone in an in-person lecture in a university class. But I have in my online zoom classes.

Trust me, I tried to engage my students on zoom. Although, without parental guidance of getting students to school, a lot of students opted not to turn on their devices to sign into class. To foster engagement and get them to want to come to class, I tried Edpuzzle which takes youtube videos and allows you to pause them and ask multiple choice or discussion questions as you move through the video. I also used Kahoot for practice games before quizzes.

Students need, and most enjoy the face-to-face interaction in the classroom; online there is a lot of isolation and according to Martin and Bolliger these in-person interactions create a “dynamic sense of community”. The Edpuzzle videos I created during that time, I still use in the classroom to foster discussion. If that video with the questions was on an online moodle platform, the student could create their own opinions and ideas with those questions however it doesn’t give them the opportunity to hear other opinions or a new perspective.

I personally have an issue with the lack of movement and connection to our physical world due the technology shift in schools and not everyone has access to this technology! The government would have to provide all students with device and a proper wifi connection. Other funding is hard enough and I don’t think this will happen. Physical manipulatives and activities with peers foster appropriate relational knowledge and teamwork. There could be a similar activity online but then it is done individually on a school device. Learning with physical objects outside in the real world is a more authentic experience than virtually. If it is not possible to experience something in the real world due to funds, or distance or accessibility than virtual is the next best thing.

I don’t want to teach online and I think it is the best option for K-12 education but for graduate students it has shown to be a wonderful way for many people to increase their education. Those that don’t live by a university can continue working and going to school with this shift in remote learning. Martin and Bollinger said in one study student to student interactions were least important for graduate students and they preferred online communication tools. This makes a lot of sense, they have the maturity and drive to continue their education and engage as much as they need to be successful.

I would rather use every classroom management tool in the book to try to control an excited, chaotic, talkative, loud classroom than never get to discuss and just assess written work by students. Physical togetherness is better, and evolution has shown that is how people thrive.

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

Why you hating on Sesame Street?

Neil Postman wrote “We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Which is to say, we now know that “Sesame Street” undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents.”

Upon some research around the quote, I believe Neil Postman is saying that Sesame Street is not education it is television. School involves learning content, which television can do but there is some key aspects missing for learning to occur. He believes interaction is important. He says with television this isn’t possible. There is only a direct way of learning from the television to the students. Students can’t ask questions with television, hence there is no room for curiosity or discussion and therefore insufficient learning.

He also discusses how it pushes the importance of entertainment, and amusement rather than learning. Television is educational in the way that it teaches about the ideology of television. This ideology is misinformation, and exaggerated information.

I agree with some aspects of his argument and disagree with others. Firstly, television itself which has dramatized and unrealistic content is harmful as people believe it is true or how things work. We become so invested in it we forget it is not real. This can be damaging to children especially teenagers who are starting to watch shows with more adult and complex content. I agree that it can cause people to believe untrue information and cause ignorance. Producers goals are to make money, not educate people most of the time. They will be creating content that most viewers will enjoy and not worry about the ramifications.

I also understand how since television can be so entertaining so students will need this in the classroom. I think students should be able to enjoy themselves in school to a certain extent. Learning should be fun and television or audiovisual technology can do this! However if they are expecting to be just entertained and amused this will not be the case. Another quote from this chapter is “they will expect it and thus will be well prepared to receive their politics, their religion, their news and their commerce in the same delightful way” . Students do become bored very easily, they do want to be entertained in many ways and give up when they don’t like something or things get too difficult. Some of our audiovisual technology especially videos have made it so students have shorter attention spans. If it is not amusing, they move on. Certain aspects of life just are not entertaining and are difficult, so this is definitely a problem. Teaching resilience needs to be a continued priority in education.

I disagree that television is not education or interactive. I show my students a Netflix show called explained. We watch the episode designer DNA. This gives them some background into what is possible in the science world around altering DNA in humans. From this I get them to form their own opinion around whether we should edit germline DNA or not. There is important points on both sides and it is an excellent discussion. Television initiated that conversation. It may have not been interactive in the moment but after students can ask questions!

Lastly, it can be interactive in the moment as well. There is this tool I use called edpuzzle. It takes any video from youtube and makes it so it has discussion questions throughout the video. It makes you think about what you are hearing. My students also go straight to youtube videos in my lessons to learn how to do a new math or science concept, especially when they have missed a lesson. Audiovisual technology is a wonderful starting tool to foster learning. By itself it isn’t perfect. But nothing is. A variety of ways of instructing is how students will learn. I agree teachers should not be replaced by audiovisual technology, movies, youtube videos, projectors, virtual reality and so forth. However, they are a wonderful starting point. It is a great instructional strategy.

How is this little blip of an episode of sesame street not a great way to learn counting! Music is an excellent way to retain information as well! So, I do not hate sesame street as much as Neil Postman I think. Are there negatives, yes, I spoke about a few but this is the technology age we are living in. I am not about to fight it. Do you think the negatives out way the positives?

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.