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.

Learning Knowledge in a Connected Age

Wow, another week flies by.  I quite enjoyed the readings and more so the videos this week, something about reading more than a few paragraphs on my laptop is torture, but somehow never a problem on my phone.  I will reflect briefly about each article, hitting a few points on what I have taken away and connections that I have made.  

Networked Student really clicked with me.  I do believe that all learning is networked.  As a student, it is very easy to put off reading or even avoiding purchasing a costly textbook.  Just last week a gal in one of the videos admitted that she rarely did the reading.  I think that knowledge and learning is moving past books.  Knowledge changes so quickly, and new edition textbooks are just annoying.  I believe that connecting with experts is such an amazing idea, technology at our fingertips allows us to connect with experts and authors by simply tracking them down on twitter or through the web.  I also am intrigued about iTunes U.  I think that I may just explore a free learning course this summer, such a cool idea.

Welcome to my PLE was such a cool video.  This girl is in grade 7, wow what a pro.  There is still hope for me to tweak my techno skills.  I think it is great that she is using note-taking software to help her keep track of her reflections.  A friend of mine uses Evernote for everything.  At the time, I was not sure if it was something that I needed in my life but as a way of keeping all your little notes, reflections and anything else you want to organize safe, it seems like something I should check out a little further.  I also think it is amazing that this girl is sending off her work to be peer reviewed; perhaps this is something that I should try.  Collaborative learning is the way of the future, and why not gain insight from others along the way.  I think that by having students use technology from such as young age make them so much more connected, even their learning, this young gal is proof.  She made a valid point about the learning being her choice as to the how and the when; quite often, it is nice to work at your own pace.  Overall, I think allowing the students the freedom to work on the internet will make them accountable in their learning and make them digital citizens.

The article on Connectivism has really illustrated how technology has reorganized life.  I believe that it is difficult to keep up with the changing knowledge; I understand this from the perspective of a Grad Student who has to find current research.  It is amazing that knowledge doubles every 18 months, wow!  As for informal learning, my brother always gave me a hard time about taking classes, he often pointed; out he could just read the book and be as smart as I am. Another valid point is the know how has changed to the know where to, quite often we turn to YouTube tutorials, online forums, or the web when we are looking for information on how something is done. Just today in my class one of the boys said, “Search it up” as we were chatting about the process of a grape turning to a raisin.  The fact that even young students understand that you just need to know how to Google something and voila you have the answer instantly.  My husband has noticed a decline in what he calls the “Bullshit factor”, buddies can no longer easily bullshit each other cause everyone has a smart phone and will challenge you on something that they don’t feel is accurate.

networked
In the final article, Attention and Other 21st Century Social Media Literacies the author makes note of the disengagement from students.  As a teacher, I know that eye contact somehow equals attention; I am forever waiting on a student to pay attentional and look up front.  I know that while I am attending university class, it is respectful to pay attention and avoid distraction; I have even heard a Prof Stress that phones should be shut off and put away. Even as an adult, I am guilty of using my laptop at a staff meeting for multitasking, total partial attention.  I have run into problem with too much technology in the classroom, I thought about asking the school division to change the Wi-Fi password as too many students are distracted on Facebook during lessons, I understand the necessary intervention that banned the internet use in university classrooms.  Many people in society are always attending to media, I am guilty as I can’t even watch a TV program without googling or face booking, my husband is the same way.  Even when people are in a group, someone typically has their cell phone out.  I enjoy making the connections with the articles to my teaching and my personal life, wow I am networked!!