EC&I 830: Summary of Learning

It’s hard to believe both my school year and my student’s school year is coming to an end! It’s been a highly enjoyable semester, and I’d like to thank everyone who was a part of it. Below is a link to my summary of learning for this semester. This is my first time using an unlisted YouTube Video, so please let me know if something doesn’t work properly!

Good luck to everyone continuing with their programs, and congratulations to those who are finishing up. Have a great summer!

Yeah, We Learn From It, All Of ‘Em Days When We Were Young and Wild, Yeah, We Turned Up that Summary of Learning with All Those Debate Topics…

A Final Summary of Learning A Few Quick Thoughts I have to say, the Summary of Learning project is always a task that I feel the least comfortable with. Luckily, Durston came to the rescue and brought me on board for a second time to work on our Summary of[Read more]

Debate #8: Is Online Education Detrimental to the Social and Academic Development of Children?

Debate #8: Is Online Education Detrimental to the Social and Academic Development of Children?

The last class debate, and certainly one that I was looking forward to. The Covid-19 Pandemic thrust the education world into an unplanned version of emergency online learning. While this unprecedented time was certainly a change for everyone, the high majority of our population now has some experience with online learning. Although emergency pandemic learning and properly planed online learning should certainly not be compared as equals, the growth in the student number and discussion on the benefits of online learning have grown exponentially. Therefore, educators, policy makers and the public are starting to ask, Is Online education detrimental to the social and academic development of children?

Kayla, Britney, and I certainly enjoyed debating with Kat, Chris and Arkin. I appreciated several of their insightful points, and in particular starting their opening statement a land acknowledgment. Within the last few years, I have become quite interested in Treaty and Indigenous Education, and I appreciated the respect and time given to read the land acknowledgment before their side of the debate.

 Throughout the debate, my conclusion was drawn from a mixture of one of our points, and one of Chris’. To me, online education can be a good alternative to a brick-and-mortar classroom for a small percentage of the overall population orused as a supplement to traditional education courses. The main points that led to this are outlined in paragraphs below.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Online education benefits affluent, mature, self-motivated students, who are capable of learning and working with little to no direct supervision. Unfortunately, this means that online education remains nearly impossible for those of a lower socioeconomic status, young students (particularly those in early primary years,) and those who run into internet speed/access issues based on their location. Through one of the articles our group shared, a study was done in 2013 (important to note as it’s prior to the pandemic,) in which the research team investigated the lack of access for Indigenous Australian students. They found that “online learning will in fact be hugely detrimental to this section of Australian society and will see the potential for a widening of the gap in education.” It is important to notice the parallels between this study and the lack of quality internet access found on some reserves and rural land here in Canada.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Throughout Britney’s portion of the debate, she touched on the differences in mental health supports and concerns in an online teaching environment. The online environment, with a possible lack of webcams, makes it easier for students to ‘disappear,’ while also make it difficult for teachers to pick up on the behavioral cues of their students. The lack of recognition of what could be considered obvious cues within the traditional classroom, can result in less teacher directed support for mental health issues. Additionally, counselling or learning support looks very different in the online world. It is much easier for students to avoid/hide from tough conversations, which can make it difficult for all supports to be confident in knowing how a student is truly feeling.

For students with disabilities, technology and online education can have a large variety of affects. For students who are able to engage with computers and technology with a high degree of independence, online education can be extremely beneficial. Apps, software and assistive technology, can be extremely helpful with communication skills, diagnoses such as dyslexia and dysgraphia, while being in a separate environment may also help those with high amounts of anxiety. Furthermore, as written on onlinedegrees.com learning online allows the “ability to work at their own pace, reviewing materials and video lectures as needed. For students with certain types of disabilities, like dyslexia and visual processing disorder, the ability to manipulate digital texts — by, say, changing the font style or size — can help them process and retain written information more effectively than they would viewing PowerPoint presentations in class or reading through traditional textbooks.” However, students with disabilities that affect their life to a higher degree physically or cognitively, can find great difficulty engaging in an online environment, particularly without the numerous direct or one-to-one supports that are common in a traditional school setting. This can also be tough for parents, as many are not prepared or able to fully support their student during typical school hours.

Throughout my section, I explained that while some classes can be taught to a high quality online, many classes that contain a major practical component, such as practical and applied arts, physical education or science classes, cannot be matched to the same degree online. While it is possible to teach a large portion of the theory online, practical, or hand-on projects that require specialized equipment are nearly impossible to replicate in every home. This fact alone can greatly affect the academic development of students, as it has the potential to affect their decisions for postsecondary schooling, along with potential career choices. Good points about hybrid learning were brought up in the debate, and while I recognize that this cannot be beneficial for every student, the possibility of seeing hybrid models increase in the future certainly interests me.

I also touched on extra-curricular involvement, and the differences in the online world. As many extra-curricular programs are athletic or performance based, it is quite difficult to replicate this in an online setting. Athletics and the arts alike vary greatly when you try and replicate them virtually. Additionally, many students learn and develop social, group and life skills while participating in extracurricular activities. Not offering these same opportunities to online students can certainly affect their social development.

To wrap this up, I’ve come to believe that online education, or a hybrid of such, can be beneficial to a small percentage of students, but also has the potential to be detrimental to many. Students that are mature, affluent, self-motivated, and self-disciplined may be able to succeed online, while granting themselves the flexibility that comes with online learning. However, students that benefit from the traditional supports within brick and mortar schools, struggle with motivation, lack access, or are simply are younger in age/grade, will benefit from the utilizing the traditional school system in comparison.

I’d like to thank Dr. Katia Hildebrandt and all the members of EC&I 830. This class was extremely enjoyable to be a part of, and I’m happy to have shifted some of my own teaching philosophies as a direct result from the meaningful discussions this term. Good luck to everyone going forward in their programs, and congratulations to those who are finishing their degrees! Have a great summer all!

Summary of Learning

I enjoyed this course and the format Katia used to engage us in the current and emerging trends, issues, and developments in educational technology. The critical discussions we engaged in through The Great EdTech Debate will stay with me throughout my continuing endeavors with technology. Everyone debated their topics with passion and made compelling arguments. The video highlights the key points I took from each topic.

Thank you to Katia and all of you. I have learned so much from each of you and even changed some of my thoughts on all of the issues presented. I wish you all the best in the remainder of your courses. This is my last course in my Masters of Curriculum and Instruction and I am glad I ended taking this course with you. It was valuable to my learning experience!

Debate #7: Do Educators Have a Responsibility to Help Students Develop a Digital Footprint?

Our last week. This is the first time I’ve taken a spring class, and although I knew the pacing would feel quite different than my previous fall and winter classes, I’m still surprised we’re here already. Within this debate, I once again got hung up on the word responsibility. Developing a Digital Footprint can certainly be beneficial, but is it the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that this happens and that it happens efficiently?

As Rae and Funmi explained, your Digital Footprint is the virtual trail left by your interactions in the online world. As the debaters mentioned, it is important to realize that your digital footprint includes both purposeful and passive data- in other words, data you mean to post online, and data that may be collected about you based on your behaviour, interactions, etc. I appreciated our discussion around the importance of teaching students how this information may stay present online forever, and therefore educators should do their best to help students learn about how to act appropriately online. Dan Spada explains the basics wonderfully in the first few minutes from his video titled Teaching Students About Digital Footprints and Digital Citizenship.

Those interested in his video should definitely go through and watch the entirety. He has links to a Teachers Pay Teachers lesson that allows you to go through numerous digital citizenship related skills that are important to teach to students, as well as numerous videos on related topics.

However, getting back to the debate, as mentioned, I continue to get hung up on the term responsibility. Gertrude and Kim indicated during their portion that topics such as a digital footprint is encompassing all areas of a student’s life, and therefore requires a ‘global village’ to assist. Government and family involvement are important in doing their part to allow students to find success in developing their digital footprint. These sectors are extremely important, particularly when we consider data and privacy. As screen time increases in our society, the potential for data to be farmed from our interactions does not slow down when a child is behind the screen.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece about TikTok and the need to protect children’s privacy, in which they quoted an expert that estimates

“by a child’s 13th birthday, advertisers will have gathered on average more than 72 million data points about them.”

https://amp-smh-com-au.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.smh.com.au/national/tiktok-time-s-up-to-protect-children-s-privacy-20210726-p58cyx.html

With the mind-blowingly large amount of data being collected from our children and students, should we put the responsibility of increasing a child’s online presence onto teachers and teachers alone? To me, it wouldn’t make sense to. The online world is a topic that far exceeds the hours in the day that educators have control over. Participation from the government and family sectors are pivotal to support children throughout the entirety of their childhood.

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

On a slight tangent, educators, administrators, and school division personnel should be wary of the collection and storage of student data, both within their own systems, and on the systems of the applications that they roll out within their schools. While it is known that there are several school divisions within the province that are wary of or will refuse to allow teachers to use software that lacks data storage transparency, school division use and distribution of student information or photos can also be debated. Colin Anson-Smith wrote a thought-provoking article, that includes discussion on the common ‘all or nothing’ photo/media release consent forms that are common on the first few days of school/at registration. He writes:

“If schools are collecting parent consent using a bundled ‘all-or-nothing’ approach, they are unknowingly breaking the law. Privacy regulators and industry experts generally advise against bundled consent because it will rarely ever meet the test of proper consent; that is, consent that is voluntary, informed, current, and specific.”

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-ok-share-student-photos-online-heres-why-colin-anson-smith/?trk=public_profile_article_view

Through the debate and preparing for this blog post, it’s become more apparent to me where I stand on this issue. Rather than curating an online profile, platform or digital footprint, educators and policy makers should focus on facilitating quality digital citizenship education, particularly in elementary aged students. Creating good habits early, through the teaching of appropriate digital skills, will allow students to learn how they can stay safe online, while also allowing them the opportunity to decide if they’d like to expand their digital footprint as they age.

Down Go the Debates – Rounds 7 & 8!

Educators and schools have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint.

Who’s Responsible?

Again, another loaded debate topic! Initially I began to think that well maybe it is our responsibility to help students develop their digital footprint….then I thought to myself would I place that responsibility on my son’s teacher? ….I would not. That made me rethink my initial thought to it is our jobs as educators to EDUCATE students on digital footprints and developing their own.  My viewpoint on this topic was quickly confirmed within the first couple minutes of the disagree opening statement when they said “students arrive at school with a digital footprint.”  To me this is a pretty powerful sentiment to who should bear the “responsibility” of helping students develop their digital footprints…. parents.

Where do Parents Fit In?

To me, I feel that the majority of the responsibility of creating students’ digital footprint should fall with the parents.  I am not saying that educators do not play a role in their development, however, I think we need to see teachers as another resource for students to utilize.  Parents are the ones who decide who, what, when and where their child begins to create a digital trail online, and as a result, they must be responsible to ensure their child is indeed ready to be online.  Like teachers, many parents are likely not very comfortable or lacking training and knowledge to effectively teach their kids so they may just choose not to and pass the buck to us educators.  

Helpling their children create a positive digital footprint does not just include teaching them how to behave online or modeling what it looks like to be a good digital citizen, it also has to encompass keeping tabs on what their little ones are up to while online.  In today’s day and age, there are a lot of apps that parents can utilize to help supervise their child from afar, giving them the trust to be online as long as they are behaving properly.  I often find myself wondering who would be held responsible if the behavior online was one that needed to include the authorities in any manner? I would have to think it would be the parent or whoever owns the phone that the youth may be using to engage in the sketchy online behavior. 

Where do Educators Fit in?

This is a valid question… where do educators fit in? How far or how much do they talk to kids about digital footprints? How comfortable do they feel teaching youth on this subject?  Leona outlines a good starting point to ensure that educators feel more comfortable with this subject matter…. Training or PD!  Most teachers are aware of media literacy, digital literacy, or digital citizenship, but do not feel properly trained to effectively teach their students. Leona outlines that if teachers are indeed going to be given yet another responsibility, then they should at least be trained accordingly and know what and how to model proper online engagement.   She also shared a study that outlines a few more ideas surrounding focuses when and/or if we decide to utilize in our digital citizenship lessons:

  • Going online is a normal activity done by many youth, however parental involvement and supervision with online activity is varied
  • Online communication is often exchanged on social media apps between people they already now in their face to face relations
  • Some student are aware of online identity, many have no clue
  • Students are concerned with their cyber safety and it shapes their digital identities
  • More management strategies need to be implemented that reflect the age of the student

Personally, I don’t want to be the one creating digital footprints for my 30ish students.  They deserve the right to be educated on how to create a strong, positive and safe identity on their own.  They need to experience the ups and downs, challenges and triumphs of being a positive contributing member of their digital community.  I feel that if we as educators are held RESPONSIBLE to create these footprints for the kids, we are creating 30 robotic identities and essentially taking away an opportunity to show their unique individuality.

Online education is detrimental to the social and academic development of children.

This debate topic is one that I still don’t know which side of the fence I fall on.  I seem to think of online learning as what we were forced to head into during the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.  I think that before I can answer this or find a side of the fence to reside on, I need to separate supplemental/emergency learning vs true online learning.  So to get a better idea of what online learning is I did what any person in the 21st century would do, I asked Google for a definition… here is was I was given.  

Online learning is education that takes place over the Internet. It is often referred to as “e- learning” among other terms.

The online learning that we saw at the beginning of the pandemic is a type of learning that can be detrimental to the students overall well-being and development.  It was optional and there was no pressure to be there, just trying to survive a situation where many of us have never been before.  Teachers were not required to hold video meetings with their class or instruct online.  Fast forward, we are back in the classroom and COVID is getting out of hand again, and we are back online.  This time with some more guidelines.  Teachers were required to have daily meetings, office hours and do some online instruction, which started to make it feel more like a classroom, albeit at a distance.

I recall heading back to the classroom after the first long bout of online/supplemental learning and thinking to myself what happened to some of the skills these kids used to have, specifically more of their social skills.  They seemed to have forgotten how to have a conversation and how to behave in a social setting.  They also seemed to have lost significantly more skills over the time away than we would normally see over a normal summer regression; we are still trying to close some of these social and academic gaps these students have from COVID learning.  

7 Important Social Skills for Kids and How to Teach Them

To me, online learning is very age dependent.  I found it difficult to engage many of my grade 5 students during the online learning of last year.  They were not able to work a computer properly on their own nor were they mature enough to let the novelty of something new ware off quickly and get back down to business.  Online learning is geared more towards the highschool and university students were they can reap the rewards of the flexibility that online learning can provide.

Online learning doesn’t have to be a complete failure.  I think that if it is implemented and set up properly, many students can and will continue to develop socially and academically.  There needs to be guidelines and expectations that are followed to a T, if that is not present, then it may turn into a waste of time.

Online Education

Debate #8

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Is online education detrimental to the social and academic development of children?

I very strongly was on the agree side at the start of the debate. When I hear the words online learning or education it brings me back to COVID19 and the emergency learning we had no choice but to do. Kari in the group conversations stated, “Pandemic learning is different than online learning”. I think this is a key statement. No one was ready in March 2020 to close their classroom door and lock the school up. We had no idea what this would look like and how we would reach all our students and continue teaching them adequately. Just like the video “We’ll Be There for You” we all stepped up and did our very best. Why? We are teachers and that is what we do.

Both sides of the debate gave compelling points and I know find myself on the fence and think online education is equally good and bad. There are truths to both sides and I feel it comes down to the student whether online education can be successful for them. We need to remember that online education differs from the emergency online learning we all were a part of. These are some of the main arguments for each side.

Agree Side -Colton, Kayla, & Britney S

  • digital divide
  • safety & security of students
  • parents unaware if child is attending or doing their work
  • not everything can be taught online
  • difficult with authentic assessment
  • impact on mental health

Disagree Side- Arkin, Kat, & Christopher

  • flexible
  • cost effective
  • self discipline
  • customized learning
  • smaller class size
  • inclusivity
  • family dynamics

Online Education is now available by choice. The disagree side during rebuttals discussed that the option of online education provides more options for students. I have enjoyed being able to take my master courses online. It was more convenient, made my life easier and made me become more self disciplined with timelines. Colton in the rebuttal suggested that online education makes students more prone to procrastination and many students fall through the cracks. I did see this happen during the pandemic in some of my students and some who did not show up online or submit any work. Working with parents on these matters I felt there was no follow through. We are aware of our students and that not all have good work habitats. Procrastination and bad work habits can occur regardless if online on face to face.

This is my child. There are other factor that attribute to his work as well, but that is for another post. He is very capable, but regardless he struggled with online and struggles face to face. The teacher in me and as his parent it is very frustrating. High Focus Centers, article has a section called How To Help Your Teen Cope which gives strategies to use with your child. I tried all of these during emergency online learning and none of it helped my son. It was and is a daily battle.

Another great debate, which keeps you thinking and sorting out the positives and negatives in online education.

I Believe Kids Oughta Stay Kids, As Long As They Can, Turn Off the Screen, Go Climb a Tree, And Take a Break From Online Learnin’…

Debate #8: Online Education is Detrimental to the Social and Academic Development of Children (Week #6: Post #2) This, or That? I’m Still Not Sure… Okay, team, I know that this probably isn’t what you want to hear about our last debate topic, but this was one that I really[Read more]

I Can Almost See It, That Dream I’m Dreaming, But, There’s a Voice Inside My Head Saying, It’s Not Your Responsibility…

Debate #7: Educators and Schools Have a Responsibility to Help Their Students Develop a Digital Footprint (Week #6: Post #1) Feeling the Calm-er Vibes To be quite honest, I quite enjoyed this debate topic. Even though people seemed to really be on one side or the other, it wasn’t heated[Read more]