Category Archives: EC&I 830

Dialled in, plugged in, and loving life.

Look up“.

Great advice for some, but not all. I think in some cases, we need try to reflect on the value of looking down… and what looking down allows us to do – connect, answer, and learn. Yes, we can go to a concert and hear musicians tell us to unplug and live in the moment, and we need to, but what about getting a video of Chris Martin singing “Fix You” for your friend who couldn’t be there because they were sick?

Some moments don’t need a camera and there is value in appreciating things without a digital record… but, like every other debate we’ve had, we need balance, moderation, and an open mind. Is taking a video of a child’s first steps also not living in the moment? Or is it an opportunity to reflect and relive the moment years later? Humanity is evolving, constantly rewiring the hardware of our brains, and with this includes modern connectedness and socialization which occurs by looking down and utilizing our technology and devices. We are comfortable with looking down when it helps us learn with PLNs or to help facilitate learning and friendships, but are quick to antagonize it when people don’t appreciate moments the way we might want them to. There is a challenge to begin to recognize that who we are today involves a link between offline to online life. This is echoed by the concept of augmented reality, and as we learn about what our digital footprints are, and adjust our digital identity to improve this, we improve our IRL identity as a result… we project a better us to live up to. (But this can create pressure to please, so we need to continue to reflect and be fair to ourselves).
Optimism versus the facts against being plugged in.

“Plugging in” has been called a way to avoid dealing with loneliness,

Loneliness_(4101974109)

Loneliness via Wikimedia Commons

but perhaps it is rather an opportunity for less boredom, two states of mind that are, at times, difficult to differentiate from one another. I would seek to argue that perhaps we are more engaged and stimulated than ever before, but is there a backlash to this? We are all capable of multi-tasking and some evidence points to the idea that I am, in fact, wrong. Having too much going on at once is imposed by tech and causes higher levels of stress… including how connected we are and the inherent expectations for shorter response times. I would argue that I feel efficient when I get a lot done in a day, and am capable of getting a lot of things done thanks to technology, and have a lot of positive means of coping with the potential stress that occurs as a result. I want to be involved and I feel fulfilled when I am… or am I just afraid of missing out?

Fear of missing out is a reality for some, and some may tell you that technology is making this worse, but there is also learning to be had when struggling with this this fear. Speaking from personal experience through toddler to teenager, I have been completely wrapped up in what others are doing, and over time learned to accept the things I may be missing out on for what is more important, isn’t that what growing up is and has been for some time? Some argue that technology can be an addiction, observing others make trips home to retrieve devices that, without, individuals would feel naked. I have a hard time agreeing that technology is an addiction, we have it to connect and it is something that we feel improves or is needed in our lives. How is this different than applying the argument to being addicted to our cars or other modes of transportation? It is a part of our lives that improves our lives, and the fact that I feel that I “need” it to get to work wouldn’t be considered addiction or “bordering on obsession”, so many things would therefore border on obsession. My love of hockey, teaching, cats, and my family, borders on obsession. However, the points listed above make my life better, no question about it. Does being plugged in actually make my life better?

Does being plugged in legitimately make your life better?

Does being plugged in make your students’ lives better?

If you think it doesn’t, then stay unplugged.

For me?

I am dialled in.

I am plugged in.

I am educate-in.

And I am loving life.

 

EC&I 830, have a great summer.

Logan Petlak

 

 


The New Norm: Keep Pluggin’ Away, People!

How often have you had anxiety in the following situations?

  • When you forget you’ve mistakenly left your phone somewhere and won’t have it for the day or evening?
  • When your phone dies on you while you are out or away from a charger?
  • How often do you see people immediately on their phones when a plane lands?
Photocred:ww2.cfo.com

Photocred:ww2.cfo.com

And what about the times when we CANNOT have technology?!? (God forbid!)

Photocred:siobhandonnelly.blogspot.com

Photocred:siobhandonnelly.blogspot.com

Bpb Yake raised this point and shared an example we’ve all experienced: “my internet & home phone were both down this afternoon and I felt soooo lost..”

Elizabeth Therrien also shared a recent example about dependency: “I can see the point of dependency. A couple weeks ago when SaskTel Internet went down, some of our classes at school kind of stopped working…. Couldn’t log onto chromebooks, couldn’t photocopy anything, couldn’t even make a mobile hotspot. It just showed how dependent we could be.

So why can’t we handle NOT having technology?

Furthermore, why can’t we handle being alone? And how is this affecting us socially and individually?

Photocred:thepolicytree.com

Photocred:thepolicytree.com

In the following video, I think Louis C.K. is so on point when he pokes fun at the sad current reality we live in, and the fact that we cannot STAND being alone, for even one second, nowadays because of technology.

Louis C.K. also puts a comedic spin on this question and pokes fun at the idea of being present by unplugging from technology and “being a person” in the real world.

FOMO (fear of missing out) is another component to this discussion that Ainsley made me think of: “Takes a little while to realize that you aren’t being left behind (when without phone)”. Ainsley’s chat comment reminded me that there is an undeniable reality today is that we now feel a dependency on technology feeling like we are missing out.

Photocred:www.quickmeme.com

Photocred:www.quickmeme.com

Finally, Louis C.K. also really related this to kids and how much more difficult this presumably is for kids because they do not know any different, compared to adults., and Kyle Ottenbreit echoed this when he said it “may be easier for us to unplug rather than our children, who have grown up totally plugged in”. Amy Singh discussed this more in-depth during the debate sharing her experience as a mother: “I am constantly telling my kids they’ve had enough screen time. More and more I am noticing when I say that I have my device in my hand… I’ve started to put it down and do something with my kids now!”

I think Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk “Connected, but alone?” echoes Dean, Kyle and Janelle’s sentiment stated in their opening video that “Connecting to hundreds of friends but really we are just connecting our fingers to keys”. I think we need to live “better lives in the real world” as Turkle puts it.

What I specifically enjoy about Turkle’s video is that technology is exciting, but that it could possibly be “taking us places we don’t want to go” and that technology, specifically, our devices, are “so psychologically powerful…that they change what we do and who we are”. Turkle also points out that our behaviours nowadays would be unacceptable years ago but have become the new norm. How many of Turkle’s examples do you agree with?

  • Answering emails during meetings
  • Going on social media during class
  • Avoiding eye contact during meetings
  • Using your phone at the table or during family time
  • Texting at funerals
Photocred:fremdeng.ning.com

Photocred:fremdeng.ning.com

These behaviours not only effect how we “relate to each other, and how we relate to ourselves”.

This semester, with a lot of the debates, I’ve been in support of embracing the evolution of technology. This topic, however, really made me think about the importance of keeping a bit of our “old ways” with this contemporary change in how social interactions online and offline and when those communities collide.

Photocred:www.techdirt.com

Photocred:www.techdirt.com

Concluding thoughts…Keep on Pluggin’ in to technology!

While I’m in no way against technology (come on get real!) this debate REALLY made me think about my use of technology and how disconnected I can be while simultaneously appearing to be connected online.

Photocred:iai.tv

Photocred:iai.tv

Am I in denial? Do I need to unplug more than I’d like to admit?

To be honest, in everyday contexts (when data is readily available- unlike some travel examples mentioned by Ashley during the debate) I don’t think I could successfully do unplug from technology. When we are forced to unplug, like Ashley’s example, I feel we can “handle it” or “it’s not as bad as we think”. I honestly don’t think, however, that I could unplug from technology in an everyday context. Nor do I WANT to! Believe it or not, relaxing for me is watching t.v, being on my cell phone, and sometimes even being on my lap top!

I think this is just the new normal.

Photocred:youngzimbabwe.com

Photocred:youngzimbabwe.com

Does that make me a terrible person? I don’t think so. And I agree with Alec’s point that perhaps we’ve over romanticized the notion of unplugging.Is it all it’s cracked up to be? This was the way we’d socialize in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s “the best” way to socialize.

Photocred:mysirsmynx.com

Photocred:mysirsmynx.com

Overall I think my outlook after the debate is similar to Nathan Jurgenson’s view that unplugging has been idealized:

“too often discussions about technology use are conducted in bad faith, particularly when the detoxers and disconnectionists and digital-etiquette-police seem more interested in discussing the trivial differences of when and how one looks at the screen rather than the larger moral quandaries of what one is doing with the screen. But the disconnectionists’ selfie-help has little to do with technology and more to do with enforcing a traditional vision of the natural, healthy, and normal. Disconnect. Take breaks. Unplug all you want. You’ll have different experiences and enjoy them, but you won’t be any more healthy or real”. 

Photocred:www.nextads.ir

Photocred:www.nextads.ir

I’ve realized I don’t want to be “that person” that is texting while you are talking to them, texting at a funeral, or feeling the need to be on social media during class. Last night’s debate has definitely made me more mindful of how this effects my social interactions and my individual interactions. Ultimately, I’m going to stay plugged in…for now!

Educate and you will be gold.

My summary of learning seeks to revisit my music video remixing ways of the past with Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself and this time targeted Lukas Graham’s 7 Years, attached below.

This course was very different from ECI 831. I found the debate format very engaging, especially when I got to participate. That being said, at times felt like I was coming to the same conclusion with a different spin on it each week and this left me feeling like I was in a rut. Fortunately, this spoke to the strength of my classmates and their ability communicate and illustrate their ideas, and it occurred to me that the ongoing message of balance and education isn’t a bad thing. Despite this, and as I outline in the song above, there are some things I agreed with over the course of the term and some things that I did not agree with.

Plain and simple, the baseline defence for any of our debates, as an educator, was: educate and you will be gold(en). Teach students to think critically, much like we challenged ourselves to do so in many of our debate topics. Approaching each debate with optimism maintains a solution-focused mentality that we need to bring to the field. Accepting problems as is doesn’t change them, and while change may not be a reality in each of our respective career-spans we can still push our students to grow and in doing so excel professionally.

Erin and Heather walked through each of our debates in their summary of learnings… I will follow suit, albeit much more informally.

Is technology a force for equity or enhances learning? With proper education and available resources, it can be.

Does technology make people unhealthy? Some people overuse it and are, but with proper education, it should help.

Openness and sharing is unfair? We teach students to share throughout their lives and we do it because it is something that is morally just only to turn around and say it isn’t good for them? I don’t buy it (within reason).

Social media is childhood. Some aspects of it may be ruining some experiences in childhood, but it is part of modern socialization/learning.

We may have sold our “souls” in education at times in resource consumption or device usage, but if students are engaged and learning, that is the priority.

And do we need to take time to unplug? For sure. Unplugging doesn’t mean an active disregard for useful technologies at our disposal today however. Appreciate nature. And appreciate potential for growth with tech.

Once again, I may be over-generalizing and not providing all of the facts – but with the facts taken into consideration from both sides, we still can be optimists about education, and I feel like we need to be optimists in education (while thinking critically).

The one argument that I felt people would make is “how valuable or ‘good’ is something if you have to teach about it to make it worthwhile?” But applying this ideology to everything we teach would make our curriculum meaningless.

I’ve made it this far in life being optimist, would be a hypocritical shame to stop being one now.

Logan Petlak

Ps – Thanks Alec and Katia for another great class. Lyrics for my jam below.


Lyrics

“Educate” by Logan Petlak 

ECI 830, let’s debate please,
“Learning is enhanced with technology”
And I agree.

In a connected world, is tech an equalizer?
Does it shorten achievement gaps, with the help of teachers
Or are students distracted, thinking more bout liking pictures
Social media relationships does it help or hinder

ECI 830, let’s debate please,
“Tech is making kids unhealthy”
Better believe that I disagree.

Yes, people might say that, tech could cause obesity
But this is just another age-old complain/blaming story
Whether FitBit or Gaming, here is a simple warning
preach moderation and display a little maturity.

ECI 830, online bullies take hold,
commenting what they want with anonymity
Bad for kids any years old.

(Alec and Katia!)

I think we need open ed, and I believe in sharing
Unless you overshare, then your problems can be major
Don’t share your boy’s first pee, or some lewd behaviour
It applies if you want a job or are an online dater

EdTech equity, here’s a tech pro
Students could be writing, typing, sharing, and learning
with #digcit share your posts.

WiFi, tech and websites, has public ed been sold?
Paying for knowledge filling the pockets of the wealthy.
Learning wins with our morals.

Is social media the new life?
Devices for children and me
So we can teach to question more
rather than Google anything
Share your stories with me
Share that tweet about Finding Dory
But take the time to step back,
Unplug, or you’ll be sorry

Log on and try to behold, by accident have some fun
Reflect on life, share your life with your loved ones
You might be unhappy if you’re in a Snapchat once
But learn to connect with students on that technology front

Logging on how it will unfold, comments will be bold
And will it affect children positively?
Educate rather than patrol.

For learning is it selling your soul, what is the real toll?
And will it divide children, socio-economically?
Educate for their household.

ECI 830, let’s debate please.
Student well-being is our priority
Educate and you will be gold.

Educate and you will be gold.

 


Summary of Learning: That’s all She Wrote!

Hey EC&I 830, friends!

I can’t believe it’s semester end already, and can’t believe in one month I’ll be done my masters!!!

Photocred:blog.evolvevacationrental.com

Photocred:blog.evolvevacationrental.com

I’m happy to share my completed Summary of Learning. I always find The Summary of Learning project intimidating because in past semesters the work has been so creative and so exemplary! Going into the assignment I knew I wanted to create a summary that contrasted two things, in a similar way that we agree/disagree in the debates being that the debates were a huge basis of the semester. With this in mind I kept thinking What to do…What to do…What do to?

After “hitting a wall: (metaphorically speaking) I decided to have a glass of wine and watch “Dateline” and forget about my Summary of Learning for a bit. And just then it hit me! I would take clips of old and new investigative/crime/mystery shows and compile them into my summary of learning. A lot of these shows end with a verdict, and the guilty/ not guilty verdict would match well with the agree/disagree part of the dates!

Thank you, Keith Morrison!

Photocred:www.nbcnews.com

Photocred:www.nbcnews.com

I used Animoto for the introductory video of our date and I had a lot of success with that, as it’s user friendly and gives you lots of creative options. I also used IMovie last year and, while I liked it, I ran into a few problems with it-needless to say it wasn’t smooth sailing. Using Animoto became a no-brainer, and with my concept realized I went to work!

Voila! Here is my Summary of Learning! I had a lot of fun making it, which I hope translates in the final project! Enjoy!

Thanks everyone in the class for all of your comments, ideas, amazing blogs, and collaboration on Google Plus! And a special thank you to Alec and Katia for even opening up the extra section to begin with!! I’m sure this helped A LOT of us out! This was literally life changing for me, because now I’ll be finished my masters this summer!

Photocredwww.candlerockland.org

Photocredwww.candlerockland.org

Best of luck, everyone!

Should you sell your educating soul for the right reason (students)?

I have such a hard time trusting corporations or people in power.

Maybe it’s from watching V for Vendetta, Fight Club, or Mr. Robot too many times, but my default assumption on individuals who are extremely wealthy or powerful is mistrust and doubt.

What did you do to get there?

Why are you so wealthy?

Do you believe you need that much more money than others?

What motivates your decision making?

preview2

Big Business via socawlege

And sorry to those of you who are well-off (which is a loaded comment in and of itself) that this may offend…

But can you blame me?

We obviously can’t paint every company with the same brush but when it comes down to students and learning, but what resources and deals that we as teachers, administrators school boards and divisions make are actually valuable to students and what is simply fuelled by greed or is filling the pockets of those that we are obligated to appease?

Soft drink and food companies push to get their brands into the school with some “noble” marketing. Textbook companies even cash in on the curriculum and testing system in some states south of our borders. While there are examples of positive and noble gestures by certain groups, there is a large monopoly on learning and its associated resources. When I consider the impact these corporations have on the learning I attempt to facilitate in my classroom I’m not sure I know where to begin. Textbooks, laptops, projectors and SMARTboards are the obvious ones, but can we not extend this to the desks, air conditioning (if so fortunate), the phones they use and the gymnasiums and facilities the student train and compete in? The line is pretty ambiguous. Is it okay to use desks but not textbooks?

This presents the idea of the Faustian bargain in education. Do we allow for companies to exhibit some forms of dominance and investment in the learning process for the sake of better resources? Does saying yes mean you’ve sold your soul? You can see in comics and media examples of “selling your soul” for the right reasons, and I would argue this applies here, much like Dean Shareski argued in our debate, highlighting that we kind of have to and it happens whether we like it or not. Our goal is student learning and as long as we do not become obligated or bound to do something unethical in the process of receiving what these companies provide to our students, we should be able to accept a pizza hut lunch day at school. Or free Google Chromebooks to all students. It is “free marketing” for those companies, but they are still providing a service to students with the potential to enhance learning and we need to utilize it that way. As Audrey Watters reminded us, this isn’t a new problem, capitalizing on education has been happening for over a hundred years but our ideologies on education have changed. Regardless, this has been happening for a long time. It doesn’t mean we completely trust these corporations, but we can at least see the value in what private companies can provide. We can’t be afraid to use the resources if it is for our students to learn (it is important to note I don’t mean “do anything for the sake of learning”).

//gifs.com/embed/ghost-rider-you-can-t-live-in-fear-gJEgOr

Once again in ECI 830 we ask, where is the line? What is the balance? Education needs funding… and in times of lower provincial revenue, what do our leaders turn to? Maybe we do need outside funding, as Andres reminds us, but I would posit the idea that we aren’t selling our souls to do so when it is done for a morally just reason.

Connecting to my opinion statement referencing movies and comics as well as my post from last week on doing what is morally right, I will close on a Ghost Rider reference when discussing selling our souls for education. In this comic, the antihero sells his soul to the devil to save his father… who ends up dying anyway.

6760969341_0a07a83245_b

Ghost Rider by Clayton Crain via Tumblr

We want to avoid dying (getting manipulated by businesses) at all costs, and by being aware of these potential effects on our children, we can. But as educators, we, like Ghost Rider, can take comfort knowing that embracing the positives can lead to achieving what is right and just for ourselves, and more importantly for others (our students).

Thoughts, comments? Share below.

Logan Petlak

 


Good intentions and what is morally just make EdTech equitable.

Equity versus equality.

Equity involves an attempt to level the playing field for all as exemplified in the picture below.

equality doesnt mean equity

Health Equity via CommunityView.ca

The importance of this concept was made more apparent in the presence of “straight pride week” posters and social media posts appearing recently in light of pride week… and people sometimes fail to make the connection that equality is not equality without equity. And despite the use of social media to spread this hate and discrimination, technology still can be used as a force for equity.

straight pride

Straight Pride Posters Removed via Worldnow

 

 

Equity, education, technology and well-intentioned actions.

Technology can be a force for equity in society. It can provide health and learning alternatives for those at risk or at a disadvantage and seek to level the playing field for individuals. These actions are practised with good intentions for helping others. Some emphasize that using these technologies widens the achievement gap between rich and poor students and that may be the case in some instances, exacerbating socio-economic divides. Well-intentioned actions (more on this next week) can lead to further issues and may place importance on skills related to certain forms of technology that may make individuals more equipped for life in another culture rather than helping them to develop their own. As it applies to education, every effort needs to be made to educate our youth to put them in the best position to be successful learners and citizens, and while there are potential repercussions, decisions made in good conscience/faith need to be encouraged while productive feedback is provided. Well-intentioned actions may be flawed, but with the students in mind and the potential for enhancement of their learning, the process of integrating these technologies is worth practising. Technology, apps, robots and devices are developed with the intention to serve a need in society and many of these needs today are to bridge gaps, regardless of the paycheck associated with it (there is a host of issues with that as well, however). Just as there are needs in society, there are needs in the classroom. Literary needs, language needs, even motor skill needs. 

Socio-economic divides, do these technologies actually help?

Technology in the classroom may not actually improve performance in classrooms. And the introduction of these new technologies when made available to all will likely only be used by those with the resources to acquire it. This doesn’t mean it isn’t worth creating or practising. By that logic, a new, expensive, potentially life-saving practice for heart disease shouldn’t be allowed or encouraged as it will further push the divide as rich people with heart disease will be able to live longer while those who cannot afford it may not be able to. Morally, all should have access to it, but is our reality consistent with this? No. And there is the potential that this technology can someday be made more accessible for all. But for now, one student, even if there are rich that has a learning disability and there is an app that helps them learn, it’s worth it. I understand the associated issues with what the creation and subsequent use of technologies provide, but what is the potential solution then? Equal/equitable access for all so that these technologies may not be privatised? Complete societal upheaval and restructuring? It’s not feasible. I don’t intend to be pessimistic, mind you, quite the contrary. The creation and use of these technologies for health and learning present an opportunity for learning and well-being… and when these occur, equity can follow and I am optimistic despite potential short-term gap widening, the benefits and morality of equitable tech casts a shadow over it.

 

The moral question I ask is: Is an act done with good intentions and is morally just, but has potential consequences, wrong?

A loaded question. And while bad decisions have been made in the past with good intentions, with the right research and preparation, the moral good that technology can provide in the learning and health for some outweighs the potential gap-widening problems.

Debatable, no doubt. Thoughts?

Logan Petlak


School Privatization: The De-professionalization of Teaching

Professionalization defined as “the social process by which any trade or occupation transforms itself into a true “profession of the highest integrity and competence.”

Let the thought of de-professionalization REALLY sink in for a second.

Scary thought isn’t it?

But is this becoming the reality of our school systems in Canada?

Photocred: simple.wikipedia.org

Photocred: simple.wikipedia.org

Yes, as Dean Shareski pointed out in the debate it is good to have “critical friends” and that these business dealings are everywhere in ever business.

But the idea of privatization seems like it is also a case of competing ideas about “what is best for the children”. I agree with what Logan Petlak said during the debate that the idea of “moral rights for students versus what is best in the public eye”. But that “It unfortunately can translate to mistrust of admin and management of divisions from the teacher level…”

We also have to ask, why the corporate interest? What is in it for them?

Photocred: blog.al.com

Photocred: blog.al.com

As Kyle Ottenbriet said these corporations are ultimately looking for profit: “in a perfect world a company comes in with best of intentions, but they are looking to make money first and foremost” With power also comes control, and as Shannon Fedorus pointed out during the debate with corporations funding comes their demand for control: “When Cochrane was being redone to be Campus Regina Public many corporations offered incredible amounts of funding but wanted incredible control over programming”.

Our guest speaker Audrey Watters also pointed out that how class-ism also seeps into this discussion as “It is frequently the most vulnerable populations that get these for-profit schools”

Why are corporations spending this money? When the teachers, ideally, know their students best.

Like Kyle Ottenbreit questioned in the debate, “If every company joins the school with their own special interest, what do we have left to give at the end”? I also agree with Amy Singh that the idea of companies like Pearson, “Viewing students as a product” that one hurts – that’s a horrible thought”.

As Audrey Waters pointed out in the debate it is “not just what buying, who is selling, but how does that change the classroom?”

This relates back to my initial fear about privatization and credentialism; that is that privatization is just taking away schools and teacher’s credentials?

Privatization is an impersonal, one-size-fits-all approach to our education system, and in essence would be a way of selling our soul, in the sense that we are blatantly disregarding the very essence of teaching, learning and education.

Alec reminded us that we need to come back to the question of how much we respect and appreciate education and ask “What do we actually value as a culture when it comes to schooling?”

Ironically, during last night’s debate we received an answer when the budget for Saskatchewan teachers was announced. The government basically told us that we should not expect funding from the government and that our school divisions are expected to be innovative.

Standardized Testing: Canada moving towards a U.S. model

As Audrey Watters mentioned last night, “We can’t talk about corporate interests and ed tech without talking about testing”

As the budget is announced, and more and more standardized tests are filtered into our schools each year, the American education system model is slowly becoming something to be feared happening in Canada as Katia mentioned “Canada gets the trickle down of the US”, and that “we ultimately get everything that hasn’t worked in the US” as Alec put it.

Photocred: canadiangovernmentexecutive.ca

Photocred: canadiangovernmentexecutive.ca

Alec added another layer to this discussion and explained that “that’s what I continue to hear from schools I work with in the US – we bought computers, not for anything of any value re: curriculum or pedagogy, but simply to test students”. Again, whose interests are being served here? And at what cost?

I don’t think I need to get into the negatives to standardized testing in too much, because John Oliver does so well in the YouTube clip below, detail but include many factors that again ultimately take the integrity, professionalization, and credentialism away from teachers.

 

More about Charter Schools:

Charter schools were also mentioned last night, which could also become a reality for Canadian schools if we in fact model US education system behavior.

Here are two great documentaries, “The Lottery” an d”Waiting for Superman” that provide a deeper look into the education system model in the U.S.

 

Conclusion:

This debate left me feeling that we need to change the dominant narrative about teachers, schools, and the education system in Canada.

With our current Prime Minster being a former teacher, my hope is that he saw that with great power comes great control and at the very least made a statement about this to the Canadian public, in an attempt to change the narrative. We need to change the discourse from that of schools are failing in order to get out of a crisis mode, and into a mode of respect to see our true potential.

If we have more respect, maybe then we would get more funding from the government rather than private corporations, as Alec stated last night in our debate: “…I think we need to pour more funding into SK schools, especially at a time where we need innovative solutions to our ravaged oil sector and carbon economy… It is a public good, should pay good money”.

Why did we became teachers in the first place? To be like a teacher we looked up to, respected, admired? To give back to the community? To be a part of lifelong learning? Dean Shareski was right when he said education was about relationships and relationship building.

Our integrity as teachers and the education system’s integrity itself, is being gradually being stripped away from outside systemic support and funding and taking away the very essence of our teaching profession and our identity as professional teachers.

Photocred: mned1140.blogspot.com

Photocred: mned1140.blogspot.com

We need to have more faith and respect for schools, and teachers. The de-professionalization of teaching, and seeing how undervalued and looked down upon teachers and education as a whole is becoming in society is what was the most unsettling about last night’s debate topic.

Social media IS childhood.

Childhood and social media

I can spew out a multitude of statistics that speak to both the positives and negatives of social media on children as well as state my personal opinions on the matter, and make no mistake, I intend to do both, but the opinionated “fact” of the matter is that, today, social media IS childhood. Before my classmates hop on-board and say, “But Logan, I thought you were on the agree side of the statement: social media is ruining childhood. It’s true, I debated in favour of that comment in class. However, the statement itself is too black and white. Addressing the statement as an impartial and judicious individual, you are obligated to disagree. For some, it enhances creativity, for others, it can be catastrophic. Regardless, it is what our kids our doing and it is how they connect with the world and each other, be it positive or negative, it has the capacity to achieve both. Friendships are no longer limited to the two hours where you could go out and play together, dependent on dad to give you a ride to Rene’s house. Now you can connect with friends to meet in person, rather than be stuck on the landline, fighting over who gets the single phone in your family. But is screen time becoming overwhelming,  and is our children’s health at risk? Much like the argument can be made that adults (some) have a tendency to complain about the next generation, children and society is constantly evolving in its learning, socialization, consumption of information and inherent problems therein as I attempted to identify above. It doesn’t mean that social media is all sunshine and butterflies, just like it doesn’t mean that because some adults have a tendency to romanticize their own childhood functions as a feasible argument against the

facebook creepin.jpg

“Mr. Petlak Facebook Creepin'”

negatives of social media.

And there are negatives.

Social media comes with potential backlash as you can still connect to past partners which potentially inhibits breakup recovery and growth. It can cause anxietylimit sleep, correlate to dating too young, a decline in communication skills or be a distraction in class… and this doesn’t even acknowledge the widespread availability of pornographic material.

And there are positives.

Learning about digital citizenship can translate to advocacy campaigns to bring about positive change worldwide rather than limited to a particular community, building on the notion of six degrees of Kevin Baco- err… separation. Digital literacy and connectedness through social media are valuable assets in a job market growing to utilize social media. And, if educated properly, can make students leaders online in communities that may be subject to abuse and misogyny using anonymity for protection much like those who incite hatred may do. Not to mention expanding opportunities for knowledge in open education or personal learning networks.

Social media is worth arguing and researching about, but facts aside, it’s what most of our children do and love/hate. As always, rather than scold, education is gold. It’s not meant to be a deliberate lack of appreciation for the research and facts, as there is evidence supporting both sides, but social media present a wide spectrum of possibility.

Below is our closing statement video in which students spoke of how social media is ruining childhood, but childhood, as Ellen and Elizabeth put it in their debate, is abstract and subject to change generation to generation. Today’s childhood is social media. Student experiences will be different than ours, the emotions may be the same, but the vehicle in which anxiety and connectedness occurs is and has been constantly evolving, for better or for worse.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below! Or give my fellow debaters a look to see their opinions on the matter! Amy and Carter

Logan Petlak


The Downside of Extreme Nostalgia

“Remember the “good ol’ days…” We’ve all said or heard this often while reminiscing or taking a stroll down memory lane.

Photocred: sites.psu.edu

Photocred: sites.psu.edu

It’s not uncommon to hear people romanticizing their childhood, or missing “simpler times when people would just put their damn phones down!”

But are we idealizing our past? Is this romanticism causing us to put on rose colored glasses when looking towards technology today?

Kyle Ottenbreit’s comment during the latest debates that “Our nostalgia is pushing us to think that our way is the best” sparked a thought: is extreme nostalgia and romanticized outlooks on the past interfering with and denying technology’s potential?

Photocred: 8tracks.com

Photocred: 8tracks.com

Maybe nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Pain and aches? Is nostalgia even an accurate recollection of the past?

As Jacoba Urist points out on today.com, if parents are longing for a simpler time, maybe from the 60’s or 70’s, when society was free from the negatives to technology, perhaps we need to keep in mind that there were many other types of negatives within that society such as the lack of concern for sunscreen, skin cancer, healthy eating, and even smoking! Maybe DECADES from now future generations will look back and think “people resisted technology? Why?”

“Ironically, while parents pine for a less-structured time, romanticizing the 70’s may make today’s society feel more dangerous. “A distorted view of the past results in a distorted view of the present”

Photocred: vulcanpost.com

Photocred: vulcanpost.com

This distorted view of the past has great consequences for the future:

“This yearning for yesterday is based on a selective reading of the present,” according to Borer, “which overemphasizes today’s problems and tend to support a conservative, culture of fear.”

Therefore, rather than evolving with the changes parents are perhaps resistant because of the accessibility to information, which in my opinion could be a good thing: “the problem today is that parents hear about dangers much more than they did 30 or 40 years ago. “Bad things were still happening but we didn’t see it on the news every night. Really we just had less information.” Things like Amber Alerts, sever warnings of weather updates, monitoring internet activity, and home security apps could all be embraced as positives changes to society rather than focusing on the dangers in society themselves.

Photocred: quotesgram.com

Photocred: quotesgram.com

Childhood is a Social Construct:  I also agree with Elizabeth Therrien’s point during the debate that childhood is a social construct and is something that is created and defined culture to culture. According to revisesociology.com Childhood “differs across times, places and cultures. There is considerable variation in what people in different societies think about the place of children in society, about what children should and shouldn’t be doing at certain ages, about how children should be socialized, and about the age at which they should be regarded as adults.”

Parent’s use technology too! So why ban from children? Ellen Lague also discussed this point during the debate and said “social media is brand new”- and this social change was/is exciting for PARENTS as much as children. Many parents are using as well.

If parents are being resistant to technology in their children’s lives, this daily mail article suggests that “it was also easier to for children to follow these rules if the entire family decided on them and if parents weren’t being hypocritical and followed in suit.”

We turned out okay, right?  On a lighter note, I agree with what Amy Singh stated in class and that is that forms of technologies have just evolved. We used Nintendo, and Gameboy even as a child and it wasn’t detrimental to us!

Photocred: iml.jou.ufl.edu

Photocred: iml.jou.ufl.edu

Alec even echoed that reminding us of a frequent noon-hour cartoon we ALL watched, despite it’s questionable content: “I mean … the Flintstones was maybe the most racist (and sexist) cartoon I remember and it played every noon hour of my childhood”

The New Reality: To end, I thought Lisa Cooper summarized the reality of our current society that we live in, which serves as a reminder that children’s worlds have simply changed with the times:  “today’s children now live in three worlds: the real world, the imaginary world, and now, more increasingly, the virtual/mobile screen world.” Ultimately, we cannot deny this reality.

Photocred: careerpivot.com

Photocred: careerpivot.com

Technology & Equity: The Have Have-nots Persists Online

A series of staggered bleeps, tech-sounding piercing shrieks and often having to scream upstairs “Mom! Get off the phone I’m trying to get on the internet! I was almost connected!!!!”

Sound like a familiar past?

For 3% of the Canadian population, dial up internet is still an unfortunate reality.

According to various estimates from different research studies, there are between 250,000 and 370,000 dial-up customers in Canada primarily located in Canada’s rural communities. For people living in rural areas that want high speed internet it comes at a price, meaning higher monthly fees compared to urban setting users. Often this means spending more money or else suffering through the shrieks and wails of dial up internet.

Photocred: uncyclopedia.wikia.com

Photocred: uncyclopedia.wikia.com

Clearly there is a digital divide across Canada which cannot be ignored when talking about technology and equity.

Misty Harris from FP Tech Desk writes that this digital divide is so ignored that people are viewing technology as viewing socioeconomic splits:

“Worse still, researchers report that strides made in Internet penetration are being falsely perceived as having resolved this socioeconomic split when, in fact, the inequalities have just moved online”

What I found interesting about Harri’s article was that it refers to a “2010 Statistics Canada’s Canadian Internet Use Survey – which plumbed 22,623 residents aged 16 and older”. This Stats Can survey found that the following factors HUGE inequalities which impacted not only internet access but also digital literacy: Income, age, education and location.

The survey looked at a list of 25 online activities, such as checking email or looking up medical information to further understand digital inequalities.

Income: Canadians at the highest income level reported performing nearly two more tasks than those at the lowest income level over the previous 12 months. Similarly, with education, university graduates performed nearly five more activities online than those lacking a high school diploma. People with family incomes between $41,000 and $65,000 were more than twice as likely to use the Internet as those in the lowest-income group; people in families with incomes between $65,000 and $100,000 were nearly three times more likely to go online; and people in families whose incomes topped $100,000 were five times more likely.

The results are telling me that income effects our ability to perform online activities. The lower the income, the less activities people have access to and know how to use. Just like in the offline world, income creates inequalities and this seeps into the technology world as well.

Age: The role of age was more complex: Among Canadians 16-54, researchers found a stronger relationship between education and online activities, while for Canadians 55 and older, income was a more important predictor of Internet proficiency.

These results are to be expected in that seniors did not grow up with technology so it is unfamiliar to them. Notice how income is still a factor. This also suggests that internet literacy is a competitive skill among younger generations potentially even in the job market. 

Photocred: supernanny.wikia.com

Photocred: supernanny.wikia.com

Education: In terms of education, people with some post-secondary education (and who were no longer students) had Internet-use rates nearly 10 per cent higher than people with just a high school diploma, and nearly 50 per cent higher than those without a diploma.

This is good news for educators as it stresses the importance of education, but realistically the topic of access to quality education brings about several issues of social inequalities and unfortunately isn’t always an equal reality for all.

Location: Access issues also persist, with a fifth of Canadians reporting that they hadn’t used the Internet even once in the previous 12 months.Finally, those living in urban areas were 54 per cent more likely to use the Internet in 2010 compared to those in rural areas.

Again, even our location results in social inequalities. We have to consider those remote, rural areas when considering technology and equality because divisions persist, as Ian temple mentioned in our class debates

This research, coupled with last night’s debates, shows me that digital literacy is is VERY important. Once we ARE online, we need to know what to do to take advantage of the services. This knowledge will also help bridge existing digital divides.

Karlie Robinson discusses more about the digital divide and proposing suggestions to bridge this divide. She also discusses many initiatives, also mentioned in class by Alec, such as one lap top per child. 

A big takeaway for me from this debate was that it is not only access that is an issue in technology inequality but also what KIND, as Ainsley alluded to in class. 

Mary Beth Hertz write more about this at length and argues that studies show that

 “In 2010 only 56 percent of African American households reported having broadband access compared to 67 percent of white households (Home Broadband 2010). This creates an entertainment vs. empowerment divide. As one of the Pew studies suggests, you can’t fill out a job application through a cell phone or update your résumé on a game console (another way that many minorities report they access the Internet)”

As much as we’d like to think technology has solved all of our problems, because it has GREATLY improved a lot of people’s lives, technology social inequalities still exist and allow the division between the Haves and Have-nots. The debate, and these articles, helped me to see how the online community holds a mirror to offline community and that we need to see this in order to make change to this contemporary inequality.