My EDTC 400 learning journey is coming to an end and I am so excited to share with you a video that summarizes my experiences and growth. Thank-you Katia for providing myself and my EDTC 400 peers with the opportunity to discuss important topics concerning the integration of technology into teaching and learning. As a preservice teacher, I value the critical conversations around technology as it relates to classroom practice that I was able to engage in through my Ed-tech journey. Despite my completion of EDTC 400, my learning about integrating technology into the teaching practice has only just begun and I look forward to continuous learning in the field of Ed-tech!
EDTC 400 – Summary of Learning Script
This is me, a second year Education student fairly confident that I had a great understanding of Educational Technology and the Digital platforms that dominate our society thanks to my EDTC 300 learning experiences. Turns out, there was still much more to learn. This semester allowed me to further explore topics discussed in EDTC 300 but in greater relation to implementing them into teaching and learning opportunities. The student-led approach to learning in this class opened my eyes to modern teaching strategies and the critical class discussions concerning the effects of emerging technologies and media in school and society challenged my personal beliefs and allowed me to see various perspectives that are essential to consider.
First, let’s take a look at my journey through the Great Ed-Tech Debate series.
Debate #1 – Technology in the classroom enhances learning.
Agree Statement – Of course, technology enhances learning, it provides global collaboration, can be used as an instantaneous resource to endless information, and allows material to be represented in multiple different forms.
Disagree Statement – But technology is also a distraction, it permits plagiarism and cheating, and is causing a digital divide among our students.
Debate #2 – Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled.
Agree Statement- By not teaching things that can be googled, the focus of education will stem away from memorization, personalized learning will be promoted, and students will be better prepared to live in our modern society.
Disagree Statement- Yes, but it is difficult to decipher what is true with the overwhelming abundance of information online and students should be proficient in basic skills in areas such as reading, writing, numeracy, and creativity without relying on Google.
Debate #3 – Openness and sharing in schools are unfair to our students.
Agree statement – the internet is forever and teachers should not be contributing to their students’ emerging digital footprints or exposing students to greater probabilities of being cyberbullied or embarrassed
Disagree Statement – Yes, but sharing students work online permits open conversations between students, teachers, administration, and parents and the benefits of documented learning are undeniable in multiple aspects of learning, including the emotional, cognitive, and social strands.
Debate #4 – Cellphones should be banned in the classroom.
Agree Statement – Of course, cellphones should be banned in classrooms, they are distracting, disrespectful, disruptive and dangerous.
Disagree Statement – No, Cellphones are a major part of society, provide immediate access to online tools and resources and permit inquiry-based learning thus it would be a disservice to our students to forbid them of use of their cellphones in classrooms.
Debate #5 – Technology is a force for equity in society.
Agree Statement- Technology gives youth a voice, enhances education across the world and helps people living with impairments or disabilities in their daily lives.
Disagree Statement- But doesn’t technology create even larger divides? Technology only seems to provide equitable opportunities for those who can afford the devices and are already belonging to majority groups.
Debate #6 – Social media is ruining childhood.
Agree Statement- Students no longer go outside and play, or have meaningful face-to-face conversations with others and they can be incredibly mean to one another via cyberbullying. Social media is associated with extreme health risks and there are numerous basic skills that children are no longer developing.
Disagree Statement- Yes, but think about all of the new possibilities. Social media has opened doors to new opportunities for children to learn, create, and collaborate, provided them with global support, and offers them a voice which I never had as a child.
Debate #7 – Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests.
Agree Statement- Of course, public education has sold its soul to corporate interests. There are common core standards that guide learning across the country and teachers are forced into teaching to the test.
Disagree Statement- In order to afford technology in classrooms schools must rely on corporations but they do practice ethical consumption. Corporations may be unavoidable but schools still value and prioritize the needs of their students.
Debate #8 – We have become too dependent on technology and we’d be better off returning to the “good old days” before the Internet and smartphones took over.
Agree Statement- I rely on my phone to navigate me through the city, monitor my banking and google every question asked if the answer is not obvious to me immediately. We have become unsocial beings with our heads always down and that is problematic.
Disagree Statement- Yes, but don’t you like being able to call home during stressful weeks, communicate with your friends across the world and participate in digital activism by supporting cause-related movements?
Debate #9 – Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression.
Agree Statement- We owe it to our students to demonstrate exemplary citizenship, advocate for social justice, and fight oppression to strive towards equitable opportunities for all and teach our students how to critically think and make informed decisions.
Disagree Statement- Don’t you think teachers are in the public eye enough? Now you want to draw more attention by discussing important issues and brainwashing your students with your biased views?
The opportunity to debate serious topics concerning technology and its effects on education has taught me the value in having discussions from directly opposing sides. There are often two valid sides to every story but we can be quick to agree with the majority without considering perspectives from opposing points of views and that is problematic. I have learned that tangent conversations are unavoidable when a class discussion is opened up but that sometimes these conversations provide the best learning opportunities and thus, they should not be shut down. I also learned that it is okay to be unsure, or lie in the middle as long as you have taken the time to become informed about perspectives from both sides of a topic. My thoughts concerning some topics still remain a jumble but I am still learning and through classroom experiences, I hope to find clarity in my beliefs. Personally, the debate component of this course was the most powerful for me and where I found myself experiencing the most growth as an educator.
Additionally, this course provided me with opportunities to practice many roles of an educator which I will be forever grateful for. Mentoring EDTC 300 students was not always easy through online means because I never got to meet them. At times I became concerned when their weekly blog posts were late but I had to remind myself that I did not know their stories and that it was my job to be there to support and encourage them but not to step on their toes. I hope my mentees recognized the value in being able to ask me questions and reference the links I provided them with to my EDTC 300 course work, and twitter page because I believe having supportive role models can greatly improve one’s learning experience. The mini-lesson component of this course also provided me with an opportunity to be a teacher by requiring me to design and implement a lesson which proved to be more daunting than I ever would have expected. I was surprised by the large amount of detail that is required in lesson planning and the feedback I received reminded me how the underlying messages of one’s lesson can be problematic. I have learned that beyond the content of a lesson, it is important to examine safety considerations, possible adaptations, and the various ways diverse students may interpret the ideas being presented. As a preservice educator, I believe the best way to become comfortable with the roles and responsibilities of a teacher is to practice them and EDTC 400 allowed me to do just that.
Lastly, I continue to build my e-portfolio through my WordPress account that allows me to record my learning reflections, formally share my opinions, join in conversations to further my learning, demonstrate my growth as an educator, and present myself positively online. I also became active on twitter once again by sharing resources, using hashtags and retweeting or commenting on other posts. Twitter opens up learning conversations, allows important ideas to be addressed, inspires me as an educator, and provides an opportunity to engage with others globally about a specific topic. Focusing my twitter page around math education and education technology has allowed me to create a network of followers who have similar interests in which I can learn from and interact with. By creating a professional digital presence, I have taken control over how I am perceived online and thus, what employers find out about me when they conduct their search.
As a preservice teacher, I am a lead learner who is responsible for representing and encouraging positive uses of technology. It is crucial that I am aware of how technology influences education and the positive and negative effects that it can have on learning environments. Our world is becoming increasingly more digital and as an educator, I am responsible for exemplifying digital literacy, citizenship, and activism and helping my students benefit from technology which requires me to first and foremost become informed, remain open to learning, and be willing to embrace change.