We made it folks

Well,

It’s nearing the end of the semester folks. We are so close! I can almost taste not having to wake up to an alarm. Good luck to everyone who is struggling to finish their final assignments and studying for their finals!

For my summary of learning, I covered a song! I am not a good singer so please don’t judge me too harshly.

 

Again, please don’t judge too harshly! 😛

Debate:

For my great EDTC debate, I faced off Jesse in debating whether or not teachers should use social media and technology to promote social justice and fight oppression. I was on the against side. It was not a topic that I felt too strongly about, especially the against side. However, the debate must go on! It was difficult trying to defend a side that I wasn’t passionate about. I admit I could have tried harder but again, no passion. It made me think about teachers who are not passionate about their jobs. Can students receive the best possible education from a teacher who is not motivated or passionate about their job? I don’t think so. Getting back to the debate, Katia had informed me afterward that one of my main points and one of my argument against Jesse did not match up. I said that students are too young to make rational decisions for themselves but argued with Jesse that students should be presented with facts from both sides of a topic and decide for themselves. This made me believe that debates are hard! However, she made a valid point that I had missed. I am still inexperienced when it comes to debates. I know that there will be parents or even higher-ups in the education system may question my teaching methods or topics. I have to be prepared to debate with them to prove my point. During the debate, we as a class talked about basing opinions on proven facts. I need to get better at acquiring facts or scholarly articles that support my case. Overall, it was a fun debate and I will definitely miss the Great EDTC Debate opening song!

Mentoring:

It was hard trying to be a mentor. I struggled to give useful feedback to my mentees because I am not that much more educated about what they posted on their blogs. My mentees’ learning projects were knitting, cooking, and calligraphy, all of which I have little to no experience! Even with EDTC course topics, I am not that much better than them (if not worse!). I may have more experience with the EDTC course but they may be more tech-savvy than I am. I wanted to give useful feedbacks but I didn’t want to give them wrong info or not-so-good feedback. It was a difficult time trying to figure out what to comment. I know from personal experience that helpful feedbacks make a huge difference in the student’s improvement and honestly, it’s a skill to be able to give helpful feedback. It is one of the many things that I hope to learn or improve on before I become a teacher. In the end, I just tried to motivate or encourage them on their learning projects. I genuinely am interested in all three of the hobbies but I’m too lazy to actually pursue them myself. I lived vicariously through my mentees! I hope they continue to pursue their learning projects after EDTC 300!

Mentee comment log

Mini-lesson:

This was my first time preparing a lesson plan. It was scary having no experience or knowledge in making one. I was glad I had my amazing classmates Jayden and Raeann to rely on! I was lucky to be in a group with these two. For our mini-lesson, we did a fun little activity called the Estimation Stations! We each set up stations to work on an Esti-Mystery. Esti-Mysteries are fun activities that requires students to use math to get to the answer! I know, math and fun don’t always go together but trust me on Esti-Mysteries, they are so much fun! We found Esti-Mystery on Twitter and knew that it would be fun to use for our mini-lesson. I am a firm believer in using games to teach or enhance students’ knowledge. They won’t even know that they are actually learning! This mini-lesson assignment was a good experience for me and I hope to make better lesson plans in the future.

Overall, I learned many new things from articles that either Katia or my classmates shared, found resources through PLN, gained useful experiences, and learned what I need to improve on if I want to become a good teacher. It is sad that there are no more EDTC courses after this one. I know that what I learned and experienced in this class will be useful for my journey to becoming a good teacher.

Have a wonderful summer everyone!

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Should teachers be neutral?

It was my turn for the debate and boy was it a hard topic to defend. Sadly, this topic was not one I wanted to do but was the only few left. Going by the vote on my classmates’ opinion on it, it was not a very popular topic. Never the less, I tried my best.

The few points that I used for the debates were that education systems are political, teachers are scrutinized, and students are easily influenced by teachers. Out of these points, the teachers being scrutinized is the one that I feel the most strongly about. There are many possible reasons why teachers are so hated, but there is no clear explanation of why. You hear so many stories about teachers getting fired for just basically being human.  There was the incident where a teacher was fired for posting a picture of herself on Facebook holding alcohol. Adults drinking alcohol is not a new thing. In fact, it is so common and yet, this teacher was fired for it. This teacher was fired for playing Fortnite with his students. For those who don’t know what Fortnite is, it’s a super popular game and you probably have not been on the web for a while because Fortnite is EVERYWHERE. Katia showed us an article before the debate about a teacher who was fired because her students had gotten a hold of her topless selfie.  Now this case was very interesting to me because Katia had stated that it is legal for women to be topless in New York where she resides. Also, the picture was a private picture that was only meant for her boyfriend but somehow students got a hold of it. It raises the question, why is the teacher being scrutinized instead of being looked at as a victim? Her private picture was either leaked by her boyfriend or somebody hacked her phone to get the selfie. Either way, she should be considered a victim or am I just being crazy? I hope she wins the lawsuit because her life should not be ruined when she is the victim.

Now Jesse, the winning side of the debate based on the votes, had some very compelling arguments. The ratio only increased for Jesse’s side at the end of the debate! Great job by the way Jesse!

This article from Jesse stated that

“By remaining politically neutral, ‘teachers are enacting the opposite of neutrality by choosing to maintain the status quo and further marginalizing certain groups.'”

I had never thought about it this way. Since the horror that is President Trump, many teachers are choosing not to stay neutral anymore. Teacher of the Year winners are saying they can no longer stay silent. I won’t be able to stay silent either, considering just how racist Trump is. As an immigrant, I simply cannot support Trump or even bear to listen to him. Even though it is the opposing side of the topic that I had defended, I believe that teachers should promote social justice and fight oppression using social media and technology. However, teachers should not be promoting their own personal opinions. Their opinions should be back by validated facts. A prime example is anti-vaxxers. There is not reason why people should not be vacinated and the claim that essentially strated this anti-vaxxer movement has been debunked and the doctor who wrote it fired. Yet, there are so many people against vaccinations. Teachers need to fully educated with valid facts before promoting any social justice and fighting oppression on social media or through technology.

The good old days

When I hear people complain about how technology has ruined people’s lives and that everyone should go back to the good old days, I just kinda laugh. It’s funny to me when people remember their childhood as being better than the current generation’s childhood. “We didn’t have games or internet so we went out and played.” or sentences like that frustrate me. Children still go out and play, albeit maybe not as much as the older generations did. I just do not understand why people would want to go back to the “good old days”. So, you want to go back to the days when central heating was not invented yet? You wanna go back to the days when medical equipment was not as advanced? Why not just go back to the stone edge when no electronics existed? The times are changing, and for the majority of it, it’s getting better. Just like this article presented to us by Jayden, it is quite apparent that people are getting addicted to technology. However, cocaine was legal up to 1914 in the U.S. I don’t know about you but I would rather be addicted to technology over cocaine. What about alcohol or tobacco? There are so many other addictions that cause more bodily harm than technology that has been available long before technology. Being addicted to technology does not seem that bad to me when compared to other addictions. Take a look at this chart to see which top 5 substances are used by Canadians.

Another “con” that people may believe that technology use has is that we lose basic survival skills. We rely too much on technology so that we slowly forget how to do it. This article states 29 once common survival skills that had been lost to technology. While going through the list, I thought 3/4 skills are useless. These skills were lost to the change of time, not to technology. Let’s look at skill number 5, baking. Why do we need to know how to bake? Why not just go to a bakery where professionals bake for you and will probably make it much better than you? The article asks a question that if society collapses (I’m visioning a post-apocalyptic world), how many of us would be able to survive without these skills we lost to technology. Would bread really be my main concern when I’m trying to survive in this scenario? Skills 6 to 11 are all pretty useless too in a post-apocalyptic world. Like seriously, why would I need to remember my driver’s license number when there’s probably no cops to enforce driving laws. Moving away from the post-apocalyptic world scenario, reading a map and a compass could be useful to learn how to do. However, there’s GPS to help with all that for you. This article talks about how we are too reliant on GPS systems. Take this truck driver for example. In this truck drivers case, he probably would have made the same mistake on a map too. You can’t blame the GPS for this extreme mistake.

Kiera had one article that really resonated with me. I am a huge sucker for those heartwarming and wholesome stories about how people come together to support a cause. Stories like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge or how people crowdfund for people who are in need. Although I do enjoy how the article talks about technology unites people from around the world, I thought the article was going to talk about something else when I read the title. I had the impression that it was going to talk more about how people can converse or stay connected to people around the world. My girlfriend lives in Texas and I probably never would have visited if it wasn’t for her. We met on Instagram and eventually met in real life. We are both finishing up our degrees in separate countries but we can still be connected through technology. Technology is believed to disconnect people from the “real world” and makes people less social or lost the ability to socialize, but looking at my relationship, I don’t think that’s true. Technology connects people. I never would have met my girlfriend if it wasn’t for social media. It also helped me and my girlfriend stay connected and relatively happy. Of course I would much rather be with her physically but we both have our degrees to finish. I have met many friends in online games that I met in real life. I have made friends who are from far away countries that I still regularly chat with or see what they have been up to through technology. It’s all about how you use technology.

Why are students so lifeless?

Why are students so lifeless nowadays? Is it because the workload of their education is so overwhelming? Is it because this generation is just more lifeless than the last? I don’t think so. There’s really only one reason and that reason is money. Students are so in debt and so stressed about how to meet ends meet on top of their education. To try to balance the two, there are no other choices for students to sacrifice their mental well being. Money and the lack of money seem to be a problem for almost everyone. Even Canada, as a nation, has a huge debt.

With so much money owing, it’s no wonder that public education is severely underfunded by the government. Public education has turned to corporations in hopes of having enough funding to give quality education to the students. Big names like Coke or Pepsi are big contributors to public education, funding 80% of public schools.

Just imagine how you could do for students with 4 million dollars plus a yearly $350,000. But at what cost? Sure getting a new SMART Board for your class is great, but is it worth the possible risk of developing an unhealthy habit that could eventually take your life? In return for getting the funding, schools have to sell Coke or Pepsi products on site. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing. I remember in my high school there is a gas station that sold many drinks, chips, ice cream, and etc. If you were to take away all the sugary treats on school property, students will make their way to other sources, such as the gas station across the street. Not only did the school not receive the funding by declining to sell Coke or Pepsi products on school property, now they put students at risk by forcing them to go outside for their sugary treats. Kids and even adults are weak to temptation and will seek out that sugary treat because they are young and won’t affect them as much. It is the habit of constantly consuming those sugary treats that is the major problem. So what can schools do? They can’t just not accept funding from Pepsi or Coke because it’s unhealthy for the students but the students are still gonna be consuming their products whether or not the school accepted the funding. Schools fail to educate students on the health risks of what they consume and the habit that they are building in the teen years. The schools should be educating the children not only on what is going to be on tests but also on how to take care of their own body. In my high school, there was only one assignment that was geared toward eating healthier. It was an assignment where you record everything you eat for a long period of time, including the nutrition facts. Did I learn how to eat healthier from this assignment? NO. Did I learn that it matters what I put into my body? NO. Did I realize that tracking macro is annoying and never wanted to do it again? YES. The way that my school approached healthy eating was not effective in the least. It was more harmful than good in my opinion.

So why don’t schools try to moderate students consumption of unhealthy products from sponsors? Again, money. While it is entirely my opinion based on what I have experienced, the higher-ups of public education simply do not care about students anymore. They only care about money.

I wish my childhood had social media.

I wish I had social media when I was growing up. You may be wondering why I’m saying this when just a few weeks ago I made a blog post about the dangers of using technology at a young age. I say this because I grew up playing video games. I played games on my Xbox and sometimes on the computer. As a Korean immigrant, I had access to Korean MMORPGs and I loved playing them.

There was one game in particular that I spent a lot of time on and naturally, I made some friends. There was a guild that I joined and it honestly felt like I was part of a family. The bonds I developed with my guildmates is something I can never forget, even if I can’t remember their usernames anymore. I lost touch with everyone except for one person and the only reason was that he was living in Canada also. In Korea, Facebook was not a big thing yet so no other guildmates had Facebook except for the player living in Canada. I still talk and meet up with this one member whenever I visit Vancouver. I recently went to Korea for a semester through an exchange program. Oh how much I wished to meet up with my old guildmates. Sadly, I lost contact with them many years ago and had no way of getting in touch with them. If only we all had a common social media that we could have used to stay connected. I will always cherish the memories we shared through the game.

Now, that would be in an ideal world. I know that there are many cons to young children using social media. While Kylie made some very good points (and actually swayed me to change sides during the vote), I am going to talk more about the facts that Lauren brought up (since I made that long personal blob about pro social media). In one of the articles that Lauren shared, it stated that

“17 percent of children under 3 own a smart phone or tablet”

I was shocked. I never had a tablet before and I got my first phone after graduating high school. Now, kids under 3 have phones??? That’s just crazy. If you’ve been keeping up with my other blogs, you would know that the cost is a huge con for me when it comes with technology. Just imagine the parents coughing up hundreds of dollars to get their 3 year old a smart phone, only for them to break it. It’s gonna cost another few hundreds of dollars to get it fixed. Instead of spending money on a smart phone, couldn’t they have spent it on something else, like oh I don’t know….. putting it into a savings account for them to use for higher education? Maybe it’s just because I’m a broke university student right now, but I feel like that money could have been spent more wisely. Now the 3 year old has a smartphone the child doesn’t break it. How it’s being used is very problematic. This is a  screenshot from Lauren’s article:

I’m sure the majority of adults are addicted to their phone, I know I am! To be honest, 50% doesn’t seem accurate. The teens who said they weren’t addicted probably don’t realize that they are. Now, this addiction leads to other problems, such as not going outdoors and getting the exercise that children need in order for them to grow up healthy. If you’re like me, you probably always spend time looking at your phone before going to sleep. This causes me to get distracted and stay up longer than I was planning on, losing on precious sleep. Children, just like everyone else, need to get a proper amount of sleep. The article also talks about children becoming socially disabled, but going back to my experience, I think it varies from children to children.

So for this debate, I will have to end on a neutral stance again. I wished I had social media when I was younger, but would I have ended up at the same place I am now if I did? All I can say is that children should be taught how to use social media in moderation because while it can be used in negative ways, it can be used to connect with people all around the world!

Equity and Equality

On last weeks debate, we discussed whether or not technology is a force for equity in society. It seems that the debate topics only get harder and harder as our EDTC 400 class progresses.

One of Ryan‘s article made a compelling argument for the pro side. This article stated that there are around a billion people with a disability. According to this world population clock, there are about 7.7 billion people on earth right now. That means that roughly 1/8 of the world’s population has a disability. That is a crazy number for me. Ryan’s article goes on to talk about how technology aids people with disabilities to not only improve their everyday life, it also aids them in the workforce. It even talks about how Steven Hawking, who “is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein“, was diagnosed with neurone disease. When he was no longer able to speak, he used technology to have a voice. Thinking about cases like Steven Hawking, you could definitely say that technology is a force for equity. However, is it the same case for equality?

There is no denying that technology is expensive and not everyone can afford it. Steven Hawking was a renowned physicist who probably had no trouble gaining access to technology to help with his disability, but what about the people who simply can’t afford it? When Katia mentions the LA school district trying to implement a program that gave every student an iPad, it got me thinking. Sure, it would be great to give every student an iPad, but what about after when the student receives it? What happens if the student cannot maintain the iPad? What if the student does not have reliable wifi? What if the student accidentally breaks the iPad, would the student be expected to pay for the replacement? Giving an iPad to every student certainly sounds like equality, but what if they are not given the other necessary resources needed to fully utilize that iPad? Things like no reliable internet connection or prior knowledge on how to use an iPad will create a gap between the privileged and the non-privileged students. Isn’t this the opposite of equality?

The money will always be a con for technology for me and this is a HUGE con for the side of technology being a force of equity. In one of Kaytlyn‘s articles, it states that “Connection to the Internet is not a choice: It is a necessity”, and yet only “45% of households that earned less than $30,000 a year had broadband in their homes”. 

If it is a necessity, why is it not more affordable? In Ryan’s article I talked about earlier, it states that people with disabilities are not as likely to be working. However, if “a million more disabled people could work, the UK economy alone would grow 1.7%, or £45bn ($64bn)”. If the economy will grow when more people with a disability works, isn’t it a worthy investment? While technology can give people opportunities, it can also hinder other’s opportunities. So can we really say that technology is either a force for equity or a hindrance to equity? I really cannot decide on this debate.

 

You just can’t live without ’em

Last week’s debate was on cellphone usage in the classroom. Before the debate, I was pro cellphone usage. However, after listening to Tiana’s debate I was swayed. In her video that she made, she discussed how there’s micro wave radiation emitting from cellphones that are harmful to younger people. I was not aware of any radiation being emitted from cellphones and it’s scary to know! Luckily for me, adults are at a lesser risk of exposure.

The main reason I was so pro cell phone use before the debate was because as a student who learned English as a second language, there are many times I struggle with words. There are many words I do not know the meaning of or I just forget. As an education student, I should know what the word “pedagogy” is but for some reason, I am always forgetting the definition. Since I am constantly forgetting words or not know what they mean, I am using my cellphone to constantly look up definitions. In the past when smartphones were not common, I had to use the dictionary to search up definitions and for those who have used a dictionary before, you know just how time-consuming it is. Flipping through a huge dictionary can also be distracting to other classmates, even more so than cellphones. Getting up from my desk, going over to where the dictionaries were, putting the huge dictionary on my desk (sometimes not so lightly), and ruffling through the pages till I get to the word I am searching for. Smartphones have made looking up definitions so much faster that I simply cannot go back to using dictionaries anymore.

Although I am an advocate for cellphone usage in classrooms, I do acknowledge that it can be a huge distraction to students. In one of Kendall‘s articles, it talks about the “brain drain” hypothesis. Simply having the cellphone within reach can greatly hinder a student’s concentration. Ever heard of the phantom phone vibrations? It’s where you feel your phone vibrate but when you check there are no notifications or anything else that may have caused it to vibrate.

The phantom phone vibration is what came to mind when I read about the “brain drain” hypothesis. I am constantly pulling out my phone because I thought I felt a vibration, only to see my phone blank from notifications, and now I’ve been distracted from the professor’s lecture.

So how could we limit the “brain drain” in students? Cody had a great article that could potentially limit brain drain in students. Instead of just banning any cellphone usage in classrooms or even in schools, you should teach students to use it in a more responsible manner.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am one of those people who will want to do the opposite of what people tell me to do. For example, I’ll be on my way to do the dishes when my mom tells me to do the dishes. I suddenly don’t want to do the dishes anymore. If I had a cellphone in high school and the teacher told me not to use it, I would likely want to use it more than I was originally planning on using. I’m sure there will be many students like me so flexible policies will have greater results than just banning cellphones.

I really enjoyed last week’s debate and I can’t wait for tonight’s debate!

It’s like sharing a cookie

This weeks debate topic was about sharing and openness in schools and is it unfair to students? When I gave it some thought, I imagined sharing a cookie.

Let us say that the students works are cookies. If the cookies are all the same (lets say the staple chocolate chip cookies), then is it okay to share to people? I think yes! Since almost everyone had had chocolate chip cookies before, sharing them would be okay. Let us say that all cookies except one was chocolate chip cookies and the other one was a custom made, elaborately decorated, one-of-a-kind cookie. Is it fair to share both the chocolate chip cookies and the special cookie? I do not think so. The student has put so much effort in to making his/her cookie (assignment) special and personalized to him/her. Now if we share that special cookie, people may try to copy it like this article says. Now if the student was okay with sharing his or her cookie to the public, then that is fine. However, there may be people trying to benefit from the student’s creativity.

One of Dryden’s article talks about open educational resources (or OER) and it got me thinking. Is it okay for teachers to share their cookie recipes? The teacher took the time and effort to create this recipe but are willing to give it away for others to use? I think for teachers this is a great thing to share recipes. The teacher’s main focus should be the students and how they can learn the most, not trying to get recognition for the incredible recipe they made. By sharing recipes with other teachers you can get ideas to create your own recipe, change the recipe to fit your personal taste, or just copy the recipe entirely. Which ever method you pick is fine as longs as the students make the greatest cookie they can.

All this talking about cookies is making me want to eat some!

Do we really need teachers?

Our EDTC 400 debate was on whether or not subjects that can be searched online be taught or not. This was a very tough topic for me. As an aspiring teacher, I could potentially be out of a job if students were made to learn materials online because, let’s face it, you can learn almost anything online. However, I am not against learning materials online over learning it from a teacher. I had taken a class where the teacher was not very efficient at teaching. The more I tried to understand him, the more confused I would be. Instead of going to his class, I skipped and learned from online sources. This allowed me to learn at my own convenience (because his class was too early for me), and I was given the option of learning from someone that I could understand. Although I had understood it better from sources online, the teacher had a specific way he had wanted us to do the questions and I have been docked marks off because I did not do it his way.

The materials given to us by Aurora and Sydney gave me some new perspectives. This Ted talk has taught me that Google can interfere with people’s searches if they wish to. While I did approve of when they did it for Michelle Obama and not for the terrorist, it is still frightening that for a search engine that almost everybody uses and believes the search outcomes, they have the power to manipulate the searches.

This article talks about how “have a romantic attachment to skills from the past”.

Which I do agree, partly. I talked about in my last blog post about how students are slowly becoming uncomfortable with face-to-face interactions. Is human interaction nota skill from the past that younger generations still need?

I also mentioned in my last blog post that the technology had stopped our ability to think for ourselves and this article shares the same concern.

So, what is my conclusion? I think it matters on the teacher who is teaching the subject. Like this article states, the teachers need to motivate the student. How can a teacher do that? The teacher needs to be passionate about what he/she is teaching, need to be knowledgeable on the subject, and also understands that every student has different mental abilities on learning that varies from subject to subject. The right teacher will eliminate the need for students to turn for online sources to learn a subject.

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