Author Archives: jennyw1979

AV Technology: Entertainment VS Education

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.”

One, two… two bats flying

When I think of Postman’s quote regarding “Sesame Street” and it is undermining the traditional schooling of children. I found it hard to understand the implications he sees that it brings to education. I, as a child, loved to watch Sesame street and looked forward to seeing my favourite characters. I loved the letter of the day and then counting with the Count. I still enjoyed the show even after I became school age. I felt lucky if I was sick and had to stay home from school because I got to watch Sesame Street. According to Wikipedia, Sesame Street used a curriculum with measurable outcomes based on research. Each character was created to achieve these curriculum goals.  Oscar the Grouch, for example, was designed to teach children about their positive and negative emotions (Wikipedia). The Letter of the Day was designed to teach children about a letter and words that start with it. The show has children counting, practicing their alphabet, and learning about real life situations. Why does this seem like a problem according to Postman? The idea in the production of Sesame Street was to sustain children’s attention and created this through the appeal of Muppets, catchy songs and celebrities. Thus made learning fun! The question then becomes the idea of entertainment vs education.

Selling the letter V

As a parent I allowed my son to watch television programs I deemed educational such as Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid, Super Why, Dora the Explorer, and Dinosaur Train and a few more. These shows are all aimed at preschool age children but many primary school age kids also enjoy them. Parents want to make sure that these programs hold their child’s attention so they can have a moment to their self or to get things done. We do this guilt free with the hopes that they are learning a thing or two. Yes these shows all have an educational element to them but education is lost when we do not engage in the programs with our children. I think think this is where Postman’s quote comes from.

In Learning in the Age of Television, I saw the whole picture when Postman states, ” Whereas a classroom is a place of social interaction, the space in front of a television set is a private preserve. Whereas in a classroom, one may ask a teacher questions, one can ask nothing of a television screen. Whereas school is centered on the development of language, television demands attention to images. Whereas attending school is a legal requirement, watching television is an act of choice. Whereas in school, one fails to attend to the teacher at the risk of punishment, no penalties exist for failing to attend to the television screen. Whereas to behave oneself in school means to observe rules of public decorum, television watching requires no such observances, has no concept of public decorum. Whereas in a classroom, fun is never more than a means to an end, on television it is the end in itself”. After reading this article and specifically this paragraph the idea became very clear of why educational television programs undermine traditional schooling. It is the social interaction and personal engagement!

The idea of using “educational shows” to teach children is not bad but is powerless if we do not engage with what the show is teaching our children. It should not be a babysitter but a tool in our child’s learning. If we do not have conversations or ask questions how do we know understand what the TV show has taught our child or the value of the learning taking place.

Education is continually changing and the way we present information to students. This timeline that was shared during group presentation denotes the change of AV technology. The change from tech and a peripheral tool to tech as an integrated tool in the digital classrooms we all are a part of today.

When school went to online teaching and learning in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic all teachers had to change the way we teach. I had learn and find ways to get the information I wanted my class to learn us different educational programs. I used programs such as Khan academy to supplement the math I was teaching to my students. Students and myself f had to learn how to use Google Classroom as a way to learn. Prior to this I often used AV technology in my lessons. I used and continue to use Mystery Doug, Youtube videos, Kahoot and Crash Course in my lesson plan delivery. I feel it is educational but I am in charge of what I am showing my students. Some may thing it is just entertainment which I would agree with it is was just shown without purpose. So as Postman discusses you have to be the buffer in the interaction of material students are watch and allow students to ask questions and allow for discussion. Without this is takes away from the educational value of it and simply makes it entertainment.

Digital Teaching Made Better

In the world of digital technology there are so many different tools or extensions that can be used to help with students learning and support their academic needs. I currently use or have used the following Apps Google Drive, Google Documents, Google Slides, Google Classrooms, Google Meet, and Google Read and Write. To be honest I did not know the difference between Apps and Extensions. With the help of this video it assured me I was on the right track.

I have used the Google Read and Write for many of my students who needed adaptations or support in their work. I also have Grammarly which has been a huge benefit for me in my writing especially when I am completing University papers. I have seen the link for the Google Webstore and G Suite Marketplace but have never gone into to see what it was. I assumed that you had to purchase items, so I stayed away from it. After our class last week, I began looking at extensions and those that I thought would benefit me in my teaching and my students learning. I have since added Mercury Reader, AdBlock for YouTube, and Kami. The biggest game changer for me personally was adding the AdBlock extension. I often use YouTube to supplement my teaching, but you always have a fear that something inappropriate would be on the side of screen. The ads and the up next videos often distracted my students and would get them off track. Since using this extension, I have not had students interrupt or get unfocused by what they see on the YouTube page. If you do not have this extension I suggest you add it!

On Friday I assigned my students an assignment on Google Classroom and wanted to show them all how to use Google Read and Write and discuss different ways to use it inorder to help them. The entire lesson was a bust! Many of the computers did not have Google Read and Write or Google Texthelp PDF Reader on them so I spent most of the class adding the extensions. I guess that is why they say never ASSUME!! The computers that did have it the extension, wasn’t working the way I had hoped. After school I put my head down and thought I am done with this assignment we will just do it old school, pen and paper!! It made me wonder if students had these types of problems when doing online school in the spring and perhaps maybe that’s why some gave up (just a thought). It was the weekend and it bothered me the whole time. I looked through other PDF readers and found Kami and gave it a try. I found it to be way easier to use and it it did more than Google Read and Write or Google Texthelp PDF Reader was able to do. The only thing I don’t think Kami did was read the page. Today I had students open their new assignments to make sure everything worked and Wednesday will hopefully run smoother using Kami.

COOKIES!!! What are cookies? I see it and it always asks to click saying you accept this site using cookies but I never read it (who has time?) I click yes or the X to close it. I have zero competence of privacy in using websites/web pages. I realize I need to learn the knowledge and figure it out. It does not take much for someone to use your information or data. I better get reading because I am still confused about these cookies and what I am storing in my cookie recipe!

To-Do or Not To Do: Theories of Teaching and Learning

When I hear the word theories, I suddenly feel overwhelmed. I began to question my teaching pedagogy and if I am using the best theory of teaching for my students learning needs. I feel that I touch all three of these theories in my teaching. I base it on the subject and content I am teaching as well as my students and their learning needs and styles. After reading Ertmer and Newby’s article Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From an Instructional Design Perspective made me realize it is perfectly fine to follow different theories. I like the analogy they used in their article as a doctor writing a prescription. They can not give the same prescription to all their patients just as teachers cannot apply the same technique to all their students. Teachers need to apply different theories throughout their teaching practice. Teaching to me is not a one remedy fits all approach, but we need to know how to apply these different strategies when the learning suits it for student success.

Over the last few years, I have begun to add the theory of Connectivism to my teaching pedagogy. We are now living in a digital world and it is a part of everyday life. Siemens article, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age addresses the importance being able to connect to a world that is ran by the ever-changing digital era we live in. I now spend time teaching my students how to use technology in the classroom in a useful way and that it is much more than a gaming device. I still have so much to learn and hope to connect my students with all the new knowledge I am learning about using Educational Technology in my classroom.