It can’t be true, technology making kids sick???

This week  our lovely debaters had a chance to dabble with the idea that Technology is making our kids unhealthy.  Aubrey,  Jayme, and Jennifer had the task of trying to convince us that technology was really making us suck.  They had some fabulous points for their side of the debate and they suggested that we read.  The first article is a Huffington Post article,  Sneaky ways technology is messing with your body and mind.  The article mentions that tech is really taking a toll holistically. The whole tech neck thing is actually a serious problem, I just saw a diagram on Facebook about how our spines are actually curling up because of technology use.  spineI went back into my Facebook and searched and searched to find the article, turns out it was my hip grandma who posted the article The Harm of Looking Down at Your Cell Phone Does to Your Spine. This article that my grandma shared mentions that staring down at your device is like having an eight-year old sitting on your head while you are standing. It is scary to think that just typing a message, reading an e-mail, or browsing the Internet,  puts you at risk of spine injury.  With that in mind you also have to consider  you’re enduring about 60 pounds of pressure. It is even more scary to think that the average person spends two to four hours a day in this position. Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spinal surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine points out that the quickest way that we can avoid this neck injury is to put the phones down once and for all.  Unfortunately, we know that dropping the phone is not likely not going to happen.  Some of the solutions that the Dr. suggests is that we try to hold our phone straight in front of us instead of bending your head down. Wow, my grandma is right on trend with all this tech stuff!

Back to the Huffinton Post article, thinking about all that bacteria on a phone is super gross.  We should defiantly be cleaning our gadgets more often. The eye strain things is so true for me, late at night or early in the morning I am guilty of using my cell phone in bed.  I may have even dropped it a few times ahaha. Ooohh no, is this cell phoning around at night is messing with my sleep cycle too.  I am defiantly a constant Face Book feed checker too. The suffering from withdrawls also goes to show how long a person can last without their cell phone.  I will drive home to get it, even if I know that everyone knows that I am at work and could reach me there if need be.  I really enjoyed this article as i relate to so many of the points it may be concerning that my holistic health is being effected by technology.

The quick video Five crazy ways social media is changing your brain right now defiantly hit home for me as well.  I know that when it comes to Facebooking around, I am for sure guilty of having the addiction that is mentioned in this video.  As I sit here at the kitchen table working on my blog and watching video’s , the phantom phone effect is something my husband admitted that he swears he feels buzzing, pulls out his phone and it is just his imagination.

The flip side of the debate was represented by Heather, Andres, and Roxanne.  They had their work cut out for the as they had to highlight that technology is not making our kids unhealthy.  The first article that was chosen for our class to explore was Determining the effects of technology on children.  The article opens with how beneficial technology in the classroom is. I will admit that my students are writing way more now that many of my daily writing assignment are being done of the computer using Google Docs.   Many of the points discussed in this article have been mentioned in previous debates about the benefits of technology.  There is no need to convince me, I know exactly how great technology is.  The article goes on to point out that technology is not going anywhere and we should look at both sides of the coin.

I believe that part of growing up in this internet age is understanding the big risks of the internetImage result for teen on internet.  The article Researchers: Forget Internet abstinence; Teens need some online risk suggests that we need to get teens to handle small risk situations, and learn from there. Teens used strategies of ignoring content or leaving the site.  Teens did share with parents and friends when they can across explicit content.  It is important as a parent and a educator  to keep up with the trends so we can keep our kids healthy.

Turning bystanders into upstanders against bullying is a great resource that classroom teachers can use to show students how to be upstanders.

All in all I totally love the debates and the learning that we are doing in this class.  It is opening both my and my husband’s eyes (he has the unpaid version haha) about issue that we face with technology. Everyone understands that technology is moving at such a rapid pace, we just have to do our best to understand both the pro’s and the cons.  More learning as we go!!



Should we just google it??

Wow are these days ever flying by.  I am not sure if they are moving so quickly because there is only 22 teaching days left in the school year, or I am just ready to enjoy all summer has to offer.  This week we were lucky enough to enjoy 2 debates.  I will just give an overview about instant access to the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips with just a few clicks of a button and scrapping all the memorization in the classroom.  I will also explore the other side of the debate talking about ensuring that students are ready for the world by making sure they know all the drill and kill facts.

I enjoy how the opposing team finds articles reliant to their side of the debate. Luke, Ashley, and Andrew provided us with 3 articles and a video for us to ponder.

25604791633_68b30737b0_tThe first article How Google Impacts The Way Students Think really opened my eyes in the sense that when students are using Google they are missing out on the process. Knowledge is not simple searchable.  The internet is making it seems as though the answers are always accessible to us. The whole idea that googling is easier than thinking is scary, now we are so used to just searching for what we want to know that all we need to do is type, we don’t even need to know how to spell. However, I must admit that I am a fan of Pinterest, but again it is just plucking visuals and saving them for your own access at a later date. 

Wow, How the Internet is Changing Your Brain is another eye open27135322851_e146739bd8_ter of a article. I understand that Google searches are on the rise but i would have never guessed that the idea of instant information reached 4.7 trillion searches a day.  I know first hand that it is so very easy to whip out my smart phone and look something up, perhaps I continue to do the same searches over and over again because I know that the info will be waiting there for me.  Google has become my longer term memory.  I think I am going to do a running tally of how often I use Google in my daily life, both for personal and for the classroom use.  It is bizarre that Google that become a storage place for our memories.

Three Rules to Spark Learning was a very interesting TED Talk by Ramsey Musallam. 19579711075_e3d5f76df1He makes many valid points about how students questions come first in learning these are the seeds of the learning that will take place.  He further goes on to remind us that we should not dehumanize learning by just allowing the students to look things up and use technology.  Learning is about so much more than just finding the answer it is about the trail and error and the frustration, and the ahh ha moments in the classroom.  Most of all learning is about the reflection and the revisions so that we can get better and do better.

Amy and Heidi chose some great articles for us as well. The first article that I explored was When Rote Learning Makes Sense.  There are many valid point that made me lean towards this side of the debate. I really believe that before students can think critically, they need to have some sort of background knowledge or something to bas27058606696_6e0fba0ecd_te their new knowledge on, the scaffolding. This article further pointed out that gaining something from a quick knowledge source such as Google doesn’t allow us to actually think about in our brains. ” Knowledge without comprehension is of little use, but comprehension requires knowledge and it takes time and effort to acquire”.  We needed to understand that the brain is a tool that needs an active effort to make it work harder and somehow Google just isn’t making our brains work hard enough.  The old saying practice makes perfect is true when it comes to allowing the brain to soak up more knowledge and actually move it from short to long-term memory storage facilities. Googling does not engage our bodies or allow us to learn aloud.  If we move past the memorization of the basics we are overlooking all the basics we need to continue to build on what we know.

Memorization is Not a Dirty Word is a great article that talks of the importance of memorizing info.  We have to remember that there will be times when we don17872082364_6627224f4f_t‘t have access to the internet or our phones.  This memorization is exercises for the mind and the brain. I 100% believe that memorization trains our brains to get ready for building on to the knowledge that we already have.  The final words of the article make so much sense “But what good is learning if you don’t remember it?”

Why teach facts to the level of automaticity? This article continues to illustrate that memorization improves students ability to learn.  When students memorize information or facts it allows them move to higher order thinking without having to back fill. They are able to focus on learning the new facts and continue to build their knowledge and retention.

Humm, I guess this is a very tough one for me.  I defiantly think that memorization is a very important learning concept.  I have always struggled when it came to learning math or just learning in general.  I would have to come up with all sorts of 10274768143_72b7df57a7_tmnemonics and rhymes to help me study.  That is just how my brain works.  I understand that accessing knowledge at your fingertips makes for some simple answers but sure takes away from what you know and what you can recall.

So what are your thoughts, does technology in the classroom enhances learning?

6088317370_42c18f46e4Last week came and went so quickly. It’s hard to believe that the long weekend just blew by us. I managed to enjoys some me time and finish up some projects around the house like baby’s room. However, I am sooo guilty of putting my blog on the back burner. My husband had surgery last week and I even had to care for him. Anyhow, here I am now, in the moment.

Last week  Jeremy, Erin, and Kyle D. had a chance sway the class into believing that technology in the classroom does enhance learning in the mean time Kayla, Steve and myself had a very tough job in attempting to present our side of the debate that technology in the classroom does not enhance learning. From the start i understood that attempting to argue that technology in the classroom is a bad thing to a group of Grad students taking a class about online technology was going to be a tough sell.

I started out with a quick survey of my staff, I asked what were some of the challenges that they faced using technology in the classroom. I thought a Wordle  would be a fun touch.  If you have never used Wordle, I don’t suggest you do it on a RBE Laptop, you need to update Java and to do so you need a secret username and password.  So I had to use another generator called Worditout, which I managed to create this collage.wordle






I then thought maybe a Prezi would be a cooler visual.  I had never have used a Prezi before, I also found this to be a challenge.  I had difficulty getting the images to go where I wanted to go.  I did not finish the Prezi, just had a little fun playing with it. Watch my attempt at a Prezi.


There is many sides to this debate coin, I was able to find many articles such as Don’t give students more tools of mass distraction to support our argument that technology in the classroom does not enhance learning. Many educators believe that technology is becoming more and more intrusive.   The main point of my article was that technology in the classroom is a tool of mass distraction, much of what students do during class time on their devices has nothing to do with learning.  This can become very frustrating to educators as we can not often compete with cell phones and student devices.

Students find it very hard to concentrate during class if they are constantly receiving notifications or texts.  I know that in some schools students are even receiving text from parents.  Shouldn’t parents know that their child is busy in the classroom.  Now that technology is in our hands for most of the day it is easy to think of something and fore off a quick text.  Gone our the days of writing a to-do list, now we are so into multitasking that if we don’t do it right this moment we will forget.  Perhaps, this is where some of student impatience in my classroom comes from, their minds are wired to do things right now.  It doesn’t matter if I am talking, they will interrupt or get up and go get what they need at that moment.  Okay, may be that’s a pet peeve of mine, haha.

Not every student has access to technology at home, so when they receive a cell phone or get on a computer they can’t always handle it.  Many are constantly over stimulated. Some of my students can not manage to stay on task with their cell 3806557564_cd9f7c0ef0_tphones so accessible, this digital age is much tougher to regulate than the old note passing. It is not just students who are distracted by technology it is people everywhere are paying more attention to their devices than what’s going on around them. 

Another point that I made during our debate was that technology becomes nearly impossible to monitor in the classroom. It is easy to walk into a room and see that every student is using a computer or a device, but how do you really assess if and what type of learning is taking place?  

It is even more scary that school firewalls are far from foolproof when it comes to what students can access at school. In my first year teaching I had a student who was on a website called stranger chat.  I couldn’t believe that a child would want to chat with strangers and further how the school computer offered that wide open freedom.  I spoke to tech services and asked about banning Facebook and stranger chat, I was told this was something that my Admin would have to tackle as it was a school issue.  I spoke to admin who thought it was just a one time incident and did not need any more attention.  The whole stranger chat saga just allowed me to educate my students to become better digital citizens.

It becomes easier to do what you want on the internet when you are using your own device in the classroom, most students do not have the data plans so they will sign into the school WIFI. At times I even believe that our WIFI password should be changed to deter students abusing it.  As an educator I find it difficult to supervise my behavioral class as I constantly have to keep walking back and forth to make sure they aren’t clicking tabs.  Much time is wasted as I could be helping another student instead of policing technology in the classroom, as soon as I turn my back to write on the board, out come the phones.

A final thought is that students are using cameras to record teachers, videos are ending up on Youtube or Snapchat.  With students having so much access to technology the privacy is becoming more of an issue.  My debate partner Steve also made note of the fact that much student info and their work product is given away when using school computers.  Often, we don’t realize what we are giving away when we create an online identity.

I defiantly enjoyed the debate that my group was a part of, but deep down I appreciate technology in the classroom and I try very hard to incorporate it into my lessons and have students use it responsibly.  It was super cool to see both sides of the issues and I can’t wait for other groups to share their findings.

Putting a name to an online face

Hi everyone! My name is Chalyn Smith and I have been a Special Education classroom teacher at Kitchener Community School for the past 5 years. I have been teaching at Kitchener since I received my Bachelor of Education after degree from the First Nations University of Canada in 2011. The program that I facilitate is called a Structured Learning Classroom (SLC), which was a created to meet the needs of all learners within the public elementary system. My classroom focuses on providing a safe, nurturing and caring environment where my students feel comfortable building relationships with all team members and students. I strive to meet each student’s social, emotional, behavioral and educational needs. I encourage and focus on the strengths of our students.


I am blown away thinking that this is my sixth graduate class at the University of Regina in Curriculum and Instruction. I love the flexibility of the online courses offered by Alec, this is my second course with him and Katia as I took 831 last semester. Meeting in person last week allowed me to again see some familiar faces. I enjoy looking at different classmate blogs, and challenge myself to explore even more this semester. imgresLuckily my wonderful co-teacher Kayla (who I share my classroom with), convinced me to jump into the debate with both feet, eeeekkk we present next week with Steve. Hopefully we can convice you all that technology does not actually improves learning. Wish us luck!!


I managed to create my 831 blog last semester and since beginning to blog and leaning more about technology I’ve tried to increase it in the classroom. I have attempted to do mini lessons on such things such as formatting, email, and all the other things little I had overlooked. Currently I share all sorts of cool articles and video’s off Facebook (wow I love the save link feature), I also have began to use Kahoot and the students love it. I am lucky to have 2 iPads, a student laptop, and 4 Chromebooks permanantly homed in my classroom. If anyone has any cool ideas or suggestion to add to my tech toolbox please share.

See everyone next week in the Zoom room!!