To Teach or to Google That is the Question

This week in my ECI 830 class we had two more amazing debates. The first one raised the question about what do students need to know vs. why not just google it. Do students really need to retain different information teachers ask them to or can they just rely simply on technology to access that knowledge for them?


Photo Credit: nikobogio via Compfight cc

The two sides gave very valid points and supported their points with some fantastic information. I want to discuss two of them. The first article is by Terry Heicks How Google Impacts the Way Students Think. This article suggests that the fact that any question that can be asked can simply be googled is not a good thing. Google is changing the way students think by giving the myth of accessibility. When we have a question we all to often “google it” and Voila answer appears sometimes even before we hit the enter key. But, what happens when google doesn’t give us the answer we want or doesn’t have the answer at all? What happens when after our first search nothing appears? What if google brings up a non-creditable website and the answer given is wrong?

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Many people simply stop looking. There are many answers that google can teach us but, not all. This is important for all students to know. Hiecks also discusses how once we find an answer on google we stop the search. We are programming students brains to find the answer to the initial question, then to stop. Teachers should be encouraging inquiry, to build on the curiosity of students. In one video  about the internet changing us, it even goes as far to say that Google is becoming a humans external hard drive. No need to keep anything memorized because it is all available with a few touches of ones fingers. There is no reason to be curious about anything, after we can find  “all the answers” whenever we choose. Is this detrimental to our brain development? Are we really teaching students to simply google everything and store nothing in their own heads? Or is this just evaluation in a new form? 

I think that it is important to teach skills that students will need to be “successful” (whatever that means) in life. I think that one key skill is how to google things. Students should be taught how to research different topics about themselves and the world around them. If they cannot use the technology at their fingertips how are they going to achieve their goals? I think it is important to also teach students to critically think about what information they are taking in, where it is being accessed from, and what the use of that information. But to do this there are many skills a student needs to know first and needs to know well. Teaching students to a mastery level in things like reading and math can make accessing google more meaningful and insightful. If for example, ones reading level is lower than critically analyzing the information they are accessing from google is going to be very difficult. Not all websites can be read by the computer aloud. The mastery of this basic information can also be beneficial. An article by William R. Klemm Memorization is not a Dirty Word. Goes as far to tell us that if we can achieve this automaticity or mastery it can actually grow our brains into taking in more information. But again what do students really need to know?

This leads me to think back to my ECI 831 class I took last semester where we discussed the difference between knowledgeable vs. knowledge-able.

 

This debate really challenged my thinking on what I am teaching my students. Is that something they need to know? Do I have a choice in what I teach my students? Or can I simply teach them the curriculum in a way that teaches them skills for life?

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EdTech Changing Conversations

This past Tuesday I took part in a debate. The main debate question was “Does technology enhance our learning?” Well being in an ed tech class I want to agree, but I was challenged with the task of arguing that it does not. To begin I struggled what points are my team and I could even going to stand on? Everyone knows our world is becoming more technological everyday. As a team we decided to meet up and get things started.

I was so thrilled with my teammates  Chalyn and Steve. They came in with a game plan and I thought I would take it to the next level. Instead of using some technology we decided to simply argue our points. We decided that our best bet to win this debate would be to argue that the way technology is being used in classrooms today is not enhancing student learning.

  1. Teachers need more training to know how to use the technology better
  2. The cost is significant
  3. Technology is almost impossible to monitor

So with these we went into our debate. The other team consisting or Erin, Jeremy and Kyle  did awesome as well. Take a peek at their opening argument.

Throughout the debate I was full of anxiety. It was very difficult to balance listening, taking notes, messaging team mates, creating a rebuttal, and changing the closing argument. With all this on everyone’s plate I feel the debate went surprisingly well. I want to thank everyone who worked hard to put it together.

Now for what I have learned. This experience has challenged me to use tech in efficient and effective ways. I feel I am guilty of using tech as a “time filler” on occasion. I feel that some of my practices are not enhancing my students’ learning as much as they could. That was one of the reasons I love the Ed Tech classes that the University of Regina offers. I feel every semester I learn a better way to prepare my students for a future while, they get to enjoy being kids.

This week I enjoyed reading many things about the pros and cons of tech. I especially loved a colleagues blog, The Never Ending EdTech Debate.  He discusses the perfect movements when tech goes wrong, the importance of teacher training, how tech can be a distraction, and how we can use tech to prepare our students for the future. One of his closing points mentions that tech can be a huge enhancement to student learning but, can also be a huge distraction. I completely agree with this.

Life in north american society is always pressuring people to multitask in better ways. The technology that many of us have access to allows us to check emails, listen to music, search up something on the internet all while staying continually connected to social media. Is this a good thing? Are we slowly forgetting how to give our full attention to one thing or one person? While doing my research this week I came across a Ted Talk by Sherry Turkle. I felt it fit into our debate but, we did not have the time to go into length. So I thought I would share it now.

Do you think we are losing the ability to have meaningful conversation? Does this lead to not being able to not have meaningful conversations with ourselves? Will we be able to self reflect? Is this a good or bad thing?

Sherry has really challenged my thinking about how technology is changing our world. I have a need to ensure my students are learning both the technologies that could help them and how to connect with people on a deeper level. What do you think?

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EdTech Round 2

I just began my second graduate ed tech class with Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrant. This class seems to be set up a bit differently. Last class I was able to build a PLN (Personal Learning Network) and explore many online issue facing our society. In this class it seems we will enter a debaters paradise and be arguing about ed tech in the classroom. Since the last class my teaching style has changed. My students are on technology much more often. Whether that is typing their written assignments on google doc and sharing them, learning how to send and receive and email, participating in a Kahoot or beginning to research different questions they have. But am I using technology in the best way? Am I really enhancing my students learning?  Lucky me I volunteered to be part of the first debate. So I figured I would pose a question to you. Do you feel the way technology is being used in classrooms right now is enhancing student learning? I get to argue no.

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billy3001 via Compfight cc

But we will save that for Tuesday. I have never taken part in a formal debate, but I’m sure it will go over just as well as the ones I see on TV.

As for the rest of the class I am very excited. I cannot wait discuss technology in the classroom. After all many people say that technology is the future. According to this future timeline it is very much true. But are we preparing students in the best way for this tech future? I cannot wait to argue and debate over many edtech issues.

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Refinishing Finished :D

So after three months of learning how to refinish furniture. I was able to get some help from many Youtube videos (I found the ehow channel very helpful)  and multiple websites like this one with Kevin Southwick. After lots of research and a few struggles, I was very happy with the way my last piece of furniture turned out. I put together a short slideshow so you can see the transformation.

What do you think?

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An Extra Nawmal Experience

Throughout ECI 831 class we had the opportunity to discuss many topics related to social media and open education. Each week I was able to video conference with colleagues on the topics covered that week. I really loved this part of class. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s different opinions and stories on the subject matter. I felt this helped me come to a deeper understanding of each topic.

For my summary of learning Chalyn, Dallas and I decided to play around with a NAWMAL video. I downloaded the trial version and began playing around with scenes and characters. As a team we decided each of us would write about something that resinated with us. I choose to write about social media in general. I have completely changed my social media habits since taking this class. I have really become more of a professional online. (You can see more in the video below)

After each of us wrote about our chosen topic Chalyn took the time to put it into a talk show video with four characters to allow for a host. She did an awesome job adding motions and voices to each character. After she had added all the script I asked if I could see the video. We waited 5 minutes for it to load and it still had not. So Chalyn decided why don’t we just export the video so we don’t have to download it every time. We could then watch it, go back and make the changes necessary in the program.  Unfortunately, it told us we had to upgrade. We tried going back to the video in the program but the only screen that came up was this one.

Upgrade

So I pulled out my credit card and paid the $9.99 to have a one month trial. I thought I did not want to loose this video Chalyn just spend hours doing. Unfortunately even after we upgraded the same screen continued to pop up. I thought lets try emailing support. They were so helpful and explained that I had downloaded the nawmalMAKE  and then subscribed to the nawmalEDU. Which are two different things!! Anyway the support was so helpful, especially for a friday afternoon at 4. They were able to convert our video so we could access it by Saturday!! I was so relieved. Unfortunately, we were unable to go back and do any edits to the video. So here we have the final unedited version.

So not only has this project allowed Chalyn, Dallas and I to reflect on what we have learned throughout the course, we now have the confidence to try new things online and know that everything will work out okay. This goes to show that learning is never complete, it is ongoing. But now I have the confidence to experiment online in a safe way.

I want to thank all my colleagues and my instructors Alec and Katia for this incredible experience!!

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Slacktavism..it has got to start somewhere

In our world today we are faced with many social justice issues, whether this be #blacklivesmatter or #mmiw, there are many things in this world that need to be discussed and changed. I personally believe that the first step in change in awareness and education. If people do not know there is something wrong how can they do anything to change it. I think this is where Slacktavism comes into play. Slacktavists (people who like, share or sign petitions online with little personal effort) are great at spreading the word. Spreading awareness of the issues around the world is only the first step to change.  So I do see where Scott Gilmore in The problem with #slacktivism is coming from when he argue they need more people to do more than hit a like button or share a story. Step two to making a change is doing something about it. Whether it be going to a rally or donating funds there needs to be some action taken. (This would move a person from a slacktavist to an activist). This is ideal but unfortunately people do not all have the time or resources to be activist on every social cause they like or share.

In saying this how do we choose what social cause to rally for? How does one go from a slacktavist to and activist? After I had these questions I immediately went to youtube to find my answer. I found this video that did not give me an answer just another question but, it was valid so I wanted to share it with you

“It’s not ‘this is online, this is offline’ it’s what do I need to solve the problem?” Ramaya Raghavan

This really stuck with me. I think this is the question we should be focusing on. Not whether slackavism is good or not. What do we need to solve to problem? and how are we going to get those things.  MsHDales mentions in her blog gives great insight into Slacktivsim vs. Activsim. Check it out.

What do you think?

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Learning Project will continue

So for the last week and a half I have finished staining my first trial piece and varnished it. It is officially done!! YAY!!

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Except I have now started my new project. I was hoping this would go nice and smooth the same as the last one. Unfortunately it has not. I have applied paint stripper multiple times and it still looks like there is some stain remaining. I’m not sure if this is because it is older stain/wood or if it is because it is darker.

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So I went searching online. I found this website about removing stain from wood and it is using a scratch pad instead of a scraper like I am using. Maybe this will work better. I plan on purchasing this and giving it a try.

My hope was to be done my learning project by this week. Unfortunately that is not the case. This project will continue until it is completed. I am hopeful that will be before April is over.

Looking back on this project it has been interesting. I have had  many feelings along the journey.

Excited- Refinishing furniture is something I have always wanted to do, but never taken the time to sit down and learn how.

Encouraged- With people online and in person bring up my project I felt like I was actually doing something interesting. It gave my project more value.

Frustration- like recently when the paint stripper does not come off, or when I had difficulties finding the time to work on the project

Accomplishment when I finally finished my first trial piece 🙂

Connected- Being able to use the youtube, twitter, and others blogs to help me learn and connect with people made this project much more meaningful and I would go as far as possible. Without the use of these resources I would not have know where to start. I am very grateful for the help and appreciate all the people I have learned from along the way.

I will post my final pieces when they are finished 🙂

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