We are way too dependent on technology

As soon as we are with a group of friends at a restaurant or sitting with family visiting, someone pulls out a smart phone and somehow the domino effect takes place.  Less people are socializing with the bodies that are present.  Some of the people with gadgets begin to engage with online activities.  I am sooo guilty of it, I have even coined the phrase “what are you FaceBooking around?”, because of the amount of times people get distracted by their gadgets.  I understand how awkward it makes it when your friends are attempting to talk to you and you are choosing to engage with online likes, comments, texts and tweets.  It is terrible when you miss out on someones accomplishment because you choose to engage with tech.

I agree with Sherry Turkle and her Ted Talk Connected, but alone that receiving an affirming text is just like getting a hug, as I write vjmkqthis I think that I should text my step-daughter and let her know that I am so proud of her today.  I have know her since she was 7 and today she wrote her last grade 12 exam.  I was going to send the message as imagined in the fake text message on the right that I made using the fake text generator.  Then I thought that giving her a hug in person and congratulating her is better than any text message that I would send.  I guess I have some control as to when I should be talking in person and when I should send a quick message.  Later that evening I congratulated her in person and had tears in my eyes thinking about watching her grow from a 7 year old little goofy girl to a beautiful graduate.  I am so glad that I realized that I needed to send a message to her but face to face was the best as I could look into her eyes, with the little stream of tears running down my cheeks.  This connection is what we both needed!

urlBut, it is sad to have to admit, but the first thing I do in the morning is roll over and grab my phone, as it is only an arms reach away.  I like to peak at my emails on Hotmail, my Facebook, and perchance I went to bed earlier than my friends I might have a text to read. Sadly, I continue with this routine before I drift off at night.  Let me tell you it is so so easy to lose track of an hour on Facebook.  Just this morning one of my students pointed out that we should unplug ourselves from technology and games for at least two hours before bed.  However, I do find many posts on Facebook that I save using the new save feature.  In the morning I fire up my computer in the classroom and share my findings. Just today I was able to share the New Heritage Minute that explores the dark history of residential schools, this was an amazing tie into National Aboriginal Day and Truth and Reconciliation that I have been focusing on in Literacy and Social this term.

Between this course and 831 last semester, I have made a conscious effort to include more technology in the classroom. I started finding current events that I could share with my students in my Facebook feed.  In class we would read the article off the whiteboard then allow students to use persuasive writing to chose a side of the issue. My students were not writers but now I can present an article on Harambe or the Japanese boy who was left in the forest as punishment, and watch them go.  I creatimgresed an outline and expectations for their writing and shared it with them on GoogleDoc’s.  Now I can help them edit online and teach them the ins and outs of typing and formatting.  My class despised using pencil and paper to write.  Now they are ecstatic to grab a Chromebook.

However, I am guilty of attempting to multitask by using my phone during meetings to send out emails.  The days of the to do list are gone, because now we just do it at the comfort of our fingertips. Sherry Turkle further talks about just paying attention to what we feel is important, how do we even know what we are zoning out?? Zoning out information while we are doing what we want on our computers and phones isn’t a skill we should be bragging about.

Last night as I was sitting for supper, I had my computer connected to zoom and my Husband and I watched the intro video by Janelle, Kyle O., and Dean.  My husband quickly pointed out that I should mention it was only 2 weeks ago when we were travelling to mapYellowstone national park.  Having to turn our cellular data off made for a long car trip.  We drove 2800 km and enjoy conversation and scenic views. Luckily we had a GPS that guided our travels, a gift I had received for Christmas.  When we would get chatting, something would come up, Arron at the wheel and me as passenger, I would say “just pass me your phone, I’ll look it up, let me google that”.  I must have said it 50 times on our trip, and we both had a good laugh.  What a fond memory, Aaron made a great connection to the into video.  All because of the atrocious data charges that happen once you leave Canada.

Text or Talk: Is Technology Making You Lonely? made some very great points that I have to agree with.  The article pointed out that a recent study found that 48% of respondents only had one friend orimages companion . It is true I have a huge social network online, but the depth of my networks offline has decreased. I have a few confidants at work and basically only one friend that I can confide in outside of work. In fact I sent my friend a text just this morning that I missed her, as I haven’t had a face to face conversation with her in like 10 days. Yes, technology has made it easier to stay in touch while keeping distance, I find myself feeling distant when I haven’t made connections with people in person.  

I truly believe that myself and larger society is was to connected and addicted to social media.  I think that social media acts as a safety net that protects us.  Once we say or do something in real time, there is no taking it back. Online activity  allows us to control what we share with our friend, family, or even strangers. We can make all sorts of edits and add filters to made us appear happier, better or just different.  I think the bottom line is to make sure that we keep the connections that we have with our real life friends.

 

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The end is near SUMMARY OF LEARNING

It’s unimaginable to think that another semester has passed, and scarier yet another school year for all of us teachers. I love the flexibility and freedom that online courses have.  I will admit I don’t have a cat but being 7 months pregnant makes me want to be a home body, and I have no trouble getting cozy and doing my blogs or zooming in for class. imgresI have taken four EC&I classes, and two of which have been with Alec and Katia. Being able to interact with other Grad students through Google+ and also with our blogs has been awesome.

 

Talk about learning, signing up for the first debate was a little scary but Kayla convinced me to get it out of the way, peer pressure I tell you!  Having Steve on our side of the debatefile25508 was awesome.  When we first me up for our game plan, h mentioned being on the debate team in high school.  I figured I would post this picture in hope that someone may believe that Steve was the one holding the victory trophy. Of course Steve being way too honest admitted that he was not in the photo, but either way I had a good laugh.

Well now to sum up what I have learned over the semester

But first a flash back to last semester… Some of you may recall in EC&I 831 Kayla, Dallas and I attempted to use Nawmal to make an animated movie for our summary of learning.  For anyone who wasn’t in that class and needs a good laugh I suggest you read my summary of learning from last semester.  To make a long story short Nawmal left a bad taste in my mouth.  Kayla suggested that we give PowToon a shot.  PowToon appeared to be easier to use that the software that we had used prior. I figured we would go ahead and use it.  The software came with a 2 day free trial that allowed you to use all the customization options. If I needed to buy more time it would just cost $19.99 billed monthly.  Friday afternoon we began working on our project by selecting a some-what ready made layout .  With about 2 hours in we decided to call it a day.  Luckily we were able to save our project, I even opened it on another computer before I shut the browser window.

Saturday morning I decided to set my alarm and get up and attempt to work on it again. Little edits such as making sure the  color in each slide matched, there were 200 to choose from, and that green looks like the other 50 greens.  Another edit that took a long time was making sure the text boxes displayed in the right order. I must have spent 4 more hours just tweaking the presentation.  I did have a tough time attempting to get the spy song to loop through the whole presentation.  I fought the spy song battle for 2 days before I uploaded it to YouTube.  The 2 day trial came with a little timer that appeared in the corner of the screen that somehow just stressed me out.  Although, I was curious what 2 day trial really meant, I was going to look it up, before I got locked out and lost all our progress.  I think PowToon has many great features and would student and teacher presentations look awesome but I think the people would also feel the time crunch, if it was not a paid subscription.

Well folks for the moment you have been waiting more!!

Well I guess the time has come to thank everyone for their input, contributions and insights to my learning, and  a special thanks Alec and Katia for everything that they prepared, brought to the class, and for all of the fast paced discussions that they facilitated. Ohh yeah and I love the debate format, so much more engaging than straight forward presentations.

Selling souls in the name of eduaction!!

Another week and another great ED Tech Debate. I am defiantly a fan of the debate format.  It allows us to explore tech issues and then take it further by reading relevant articles and linking it all together.  I would highly recommend an online course, I just love them so much!  This week I had a chance to catch up on reading other’s blogs.  It is great to see so many people with amazing insights.  I agree with Angela, when she talks about not noticing how many partnerships are actually happening in front of our eyes.  She mentioned the vending machines,  in the elementary school that I work at we don’t have machines in the halls.  But with 35+ staff members in our staff room I mentioned getting rid of the Coke machine to make room for another fridge, my principal mentioned that unit was a permanent fixture as Coke gives the school a lot of money.

Dean’s blog got me thinking about the old Taylor Field, hard to believe that the name switch happened 10 years ago.  It also got me thinking about how the Agridome went to Brant Center back in 2005.  Dean’s blog sparked a brief conversation with my husband Aaron.  We chatted about how the sports industryimgres is looking for ways of generating additional funding through the use of ad’s on jerseys.  Shannon pointed out that corporate impact is everywhere “education is not immune to this mind set and so the tendrils of corporate influence have most definitely become a part of the foundation”.  Aaron suggested how long will it be before Regina is home to Pepsi Middle School or Rexall High.  If schools were to be sponsored by big corporation perhaps education wouldn’t be underfunded or maybe teachers 2016 -2017 salary increases would be fully funded by the government as mentioned in good faith bargaining.  Perhaps we would never hear that the education minister is just funding half the salary increase and expecting the school boards to make the tough decision of whichimgres programs to cut and which people to let go.  Maybe in time, education will be forced to sell it self to corporate interests, never know when we will see the Regina Mosaic Public School Division.

Luke  made some very good points about corporations wanting to be involved in education but also wanting recognition. He further mentions that the most important consideration becomes whether the corporate involvement in schools is actually providing enhanced learning for student.  Shannon further pointed out that “our guest debaters indicated that some corporations do have morals and values that promote student achievement and what is good for education.  These companies may the lesser of the business evil”

I think that when educators are forced to wrap their heads around corporate sponsorship and education we have to realize that our government is severely under funding education.  This forces school boards into corporate partnerships. Our government is giving us no choice but to sell out and to create these critical friends, and partnerships.
imagesSo much more to keep my eyes open for when I look at all the branding that we have within my school.  I will certainly begin to question what’s the motivation behind the$e partnership$.  Thanks to last week’s debaters and to all for the great blogs!!

 

Childhood will never be the same :(

This past week has given me time to think about the question: is social media ruining childhood?  The presenters did a great job highlighting that this tech trend is causing children to mature too quickly.  In talking to teens I know about social media, one girl mentioned that social media is pushing girls to wear make up and look more adult like. Another point that was made was that social media is not providing good role models for today’s children.  I agree with this statement, too many silly challenges such as the rotating corn challenge  and too many silly kids that are willing to try anything for their 15 seconds of fame. These challenges make children want to be daring and take some unhealthy risks.

Photo Credit: Mike Brown via Brainzooming

I think social media is pushing kids to grow up in a world they are not emotionally ready for.  I was strict with my husbands 2 girls as to what the boundaries were when it came to accessing social media.  To this day his 17 year old daughter seeks approval when posting photo’s or will show us a friends photo when it is in bad taste.  These are skills that we need to teach children.

I 100% agree with Danielle  that social media has such an influence on childhood and many children are growing up at a very rapid rate compared to the childhood that I had. She further adds that it is important to embrace the technology, as it is not going anywhere.  I think that she did a great job compiling a list of strategies for educators and parents.  Sometimes we forget to setup boundaries with little ones or even the big kids too!

Kyle  reflected on going back and getting rid of social media, even his colleagues thought it would limit the many problems that stem from social media.  I think that moving forward and embracing the technology and social media in a respectful and responsible way is a skill that we as educators can teach children.

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Raising 2 girls has taught me a thing or 2.  One of the things that is happening so much, and most children do not want to talk about it is cyber bullying.  Children can not get away from it as they are so connected to technology 24/7.  I have seen first hand the real tears that ask.fm can cause. I believe that social media provides platforms for kids to take risks and often tmes forget about using better judgment.  Just this past week in the Leader Post “Teen first  to be punished under Regina’s anti-bullying bylaw”. This story comes down to a video being spread on social media of a Down Syndrome student in his underwear as  he changed for phys. ed.. The boys who made and spread the video through social media were the first to be charged since the introduction of the bylaw in 2006.

I have begun to take an interest in reading comments that people post in relation to Facebook or Youtube videos.  I have quickly learned that the comments should not be looked at in the classroom as anyone can write anything even on a simple you tube video for kids.  All in all the internet and social media is about teaching and learning, as we as educators and parents have a duty to do the research and do our best for the children.

Openness and sharing in schools, are we creating a monster???

Wow, I am so amazed with all the online learning that I am doing between reading blogs and our assigned articles.  I enjoy finding some little tidbits on Facebook and Twitter and sharing them with the class, I absolutely love when others share the same.

The TedTalk, How to Think about Digital Tattoos gave me lots to think about. I had never thought about our presence on the internet as digital tattoos, but it certainly is just like the permanent ink we adorn our bodies with.  The footprints we leave on the internet are there forever.  They are traces that were leave behind and are attached to our identity as they shout and tell stories for whom ever to see.  I was even more taken back by the facial recognition Face.com software that allows the user to match a photo of someone’s face with his or her identity. Even when Alec show us the Russian Facebook which can match a picture to your profile, and let anyone find out who you are by just uploading your picture.

Peel Region School Board Staff Guidelines for Social Media  was a great article about some of the guidelines and boundaries for using social media in the classroom and within the school. Sometimes people might not see posting on the internet as black and white, they may find some grey and feel okay about tip toeing into the grey area.

A friend asked my opinion of a situation involving her son’s teacher and authorization for photo usage.  Another friend of hers screen shotted a picture and sent it to her, the photo was of my friends son.  The photo was posted on his grade 1 teacher’s personal Instagram account.  Without trying to alarm her, I instructed her to have a conversation with his teacher.  I mentioned that the conversation should focus on the fact if she wanted her son on social media she would post pictures herself, and that the media release form did not cover non-school social media accounts.

I believe that educators are held at a higher standard as they are viewed very critically in the eyes of the public.  When it comes to social media, your posts may cost you your job, or even haunt you for a longtime, yeah and there is that forever piece like a tattoo.  Employers tendImage result for teacher to us social networking sites to research job candidates, and close to 59% say they would be influenced by a candidate’s online presence. Sadly when it comes to social media. the whole world is watching, and just waiting for you to make a slip.

Safety is a concern when posting details about school and the students that attend, I like how a safety tips are suggested such as to refer to the sports schedule for information about location and times.  This is a good deterrent for people who are looking to track down kids, by just browsing the internet.

Another teacher tip that I took form the Peel document was the idea about including professi27500249795_d79a8da6b3_tonal hours in communication with parents.  This has come up for me personally as a parent emailed at 10:00PM at night then became upset in a second email at 7AM that I didn’t respond.  I explained that I would only respond to emails during my work hours.  By having professional hours this sets boundaries were the world assumes you are available 24 hours a day.  Again this came up in my head last night as I forgot to follow up with a parent and thought about calling at about 7PM, again Kayla reminded me that I should just call in the morning.  I agreed and said “professional work hours” good point Kayla.

The staff supervision section makes many good points about staff use of social media. Staff must consider that online activity is still subject to the rules of a school and their professional responsibilities. I enjoy the example of a staff member choosing to read a book during student supervision.  I have seen too many incidences of staff on their cell phones, except I did not believe it was my place to intervene and make them aware of their responsibilities.  However, it is a distraction problem and a huge safety risk.

All in all I3987299037_9da9d3a3a7_t defiantly enjoyed the agree side of the debate.  Either side of the debate that you choose, you always must tread lightly when it comes to your own and your students digital footprints.