Is Social Media Ruining Childhood?

Hello everyone!

This week I was able to participate in the EDTC 400 debate. This week’s debate topic created a lot of conversation during the debate. This week’s topic was “Social media is ruining childhood”. The two debaters for this week were Kylie and Lauren. Lauren was on the agree side of the debate and Kylie was on the disagree side of the debate.

Pre-Debate VOte

In the similar fashion to the rest of the debates that the class has participated in, the class completed the pre-debate vote. This week’s pre-debate vote was split pretty much down the middle. In the pre-vote, I disagreed with the statement that social media is ruining childhood. I am part of the weird generation that experienced playing outside and minimal technology as a child. I had internet access and access to a television that had limited channels, but I did not really get exposed to social media until I was in late elementary school. I based my vote in the pre-debate on my own experience with social media as a child. I do not think that social media ruined my childhood, and thus I disagreed with this statement.

EDTC 400 Debate 6 Pre-Vote

Lauren’s Side

To begin the debate, the class viewed Lauren’s video that agreed with the statement that social media is ruining childhood. Lauren made very strong points in her introduction video. Her four main points are:

  1. Social media is negatively affecting children’s mental health
  2. Social media is addictive and making children less social
  3. Digital footprints and privacy concerns
  4. Social media can cause cyberbullying

Many of the points that Lauren made are some of the points that I have heard from multiple sources about the negative side to social media. I really agreed with Lauren’s statement that social media can be very addictive. In Lauren’s opening statement, she related the addictiveness of social media to a cigarette addiction. If people smoked a cigarette each time they checked social media, they would be smoking a lot of cigarettes. This comment really got me thinking about my own social media usage. I would not be happy with myself if I was smoking a cigarette every time that I went on social media. If I, as an adult, have a hard time with my own addiction to social media, how can I expect students and children to have more self-control than I do with social media?

Kylie’s SIde

After Lauren’s video, the class watched Kylie’s video that disagreed with the statement that social media is ruining childhood. Like Lauren, Kylie also made some strong points in her introduction video. Her four points are:

  1. Social Media open’s doors
  2. Children are able to take a stand on social media
  3. Social Media promotes mental health initiatives
  4. Social Media is unavoidable

Kylie connected a lot of her points to real life experiences. One of the connections that I made to Kylie’s video was when she discussed a presentation that Dr. Alec Couros gave to her EDTC 300 class. Even though I was not in Kylie’s EDTC 300 class, Dr. Alec Couros gave a presentation to my EDTC 300 class about the influence that social media has had on his children’s lives. In Alec Couros’ presentation, he discusses how his children have learnt how to play the drums and do make up from watching videos on social media. People of all ages, including children, can learn new hobbies and skills from social media. I have learnt how to crochet, which is one of my favourite hobbies, from watching videos on YouTube and posts from Pinterest. Social media has a lot of benefits, but there are also many drawbacks.

One of the crochet projects I completed over Christmas break

The Debate

After watching both the introduction videos, I was more on the fence than what I initially thought I would be entering the debate. This week’s debate topic peaked interest from most of the class into the discussion. Since social media is extremely ingrained into the lives of most of my classmates, everyone knows what social media is and how to use it. Most of the EDTC 400 class is also part of the weird generation that did not have social media when they were really young, but at some point during their childhood, towards their teens, they got social media all at once.

Photo Credit: nodstrum Flickr via Compfight cc

The Drawbacks of Social Media

To start off the debate, the class discussed the issue of cyberbullying that can occur on social media. Cyberbullying is quite prevalent among young people, with 33% of middle school and high school students stated that they have been cyberbullied, according to Mary Sauer’s article. Unlike physical and verbal bullying, students cannot escape cyberbullying when they go home. Cyberbullying happens online, and with most students having a cellphone on them 24/7, it is near impossible to escape cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is not as easy to spot because students are bullying one another behind screens. Cyberbullying is not something that should be taken lightly either. As Liz mentioned, cyberbullying and the inability to escape the taunting caused someone that she knew in high school to commit suicide. Cyberbullying is dangerous and it has real consequences that students, teachers, and parents must be aware of.

Along with discussing social media, the class talked about the issue of the addiction of cellphones. As adults, many of my classmates, including myself, have an addiction to our cellphones and social media. This addiction to cellphones and social media is not only an issue that adults struggle with. Students can also be addicted to their cellphones and social media. This addiction to social media can cause mental and physical health problems. In Melissa Riddle Chalos’ article, she discusses many of the health concerns that come with teens using social media. One of the points that is made in the article is that many students are not getting enough sleep at night due to using their phones, which emits a blue light and it is proven to make it more difficult to fall asleep. Social media addiction does not only cause students to have lack of sleep, but it can also cause students to develop feelings of FOMO (a fear of missing out) or feeling that they must be perfect online. Social media can contribute to feeling lonely, unhappy, pressured, and amplify the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Benefits of Social Media

After discussing some of the negative sides to social media, the class began discussing some of the positives that can come with social media. The class discussed some of the connection benefits that social media offers to students. Social media platforms that enable communication, such as Snapchat, give students the opportunity to stay in contact with friends or family that they are unable to see face to face. Students can also use social media or video chatting platforms, such as FaceTime or Skype, to stay connected with their peers and even complete homework as stated in Angela Barnes’ and Christine Laird’s article and Michael Sheehan’s article. Social media, despite some of the dangers of it, can be a great platform for students to use to engage in collaborative learning. During the debate, I mentioned that my brother uses social media to stay connected to his friends by playing video games online. My brother also will use his social media to work with a peer to complete a group assignment when it is too late to meet face to face to work on an assignment.

The final thing that I will briefly touch on about the debate is the comment that Katia made about people having an unrealistic idea of what childhood should look like. I think this was an important point to make because every generation will say “back in my day we had it so good because we did not have (insert piece of technology, whether it be television, cellphones, or social media) and my childhood was way better than yours” to the younger generation. This made me wonder a bit about my childhood. I did not have the influence of social media in my life until the end of elementary school and I do not think my childhood was any better or worse than the childhood kids are experiencing today. Many of the arguments against social media is that it makes kids less social and children do not go outside as much. Even with social media, I see children outside all the time in my neighbourhood. The idea that social media is making children less social is also something that I cannot get 100% on board with. As Shaleen mentioned, children are playing video games together online and also inviting friends over to play the video games together. I think that having social media allows children to be social in a much different way from when my parents were growing up. Instead of having to walk to a friend’s house to hang out or bike past their house to see if they are home, children can now send text messages to stay connected with their friends.

Post-Debate Vote

At the end of the debate, I was still leaning towards the disagree side of the debate. The whole class voted after the debate and it seems that I was on the majority side of the final vote. About 78% of the class disagreed with the statement that social media is ruining childhood and 22% agreed with the statement. A picture of the debate results are below.

EDTC 400 Debate 6 post-debate vote

Final THoughts

Even though I do not think social media is ruining childhood, I think that it has the potential to if it is not used properly. There are a lot of dangers that can be associated with children using social media as listed in Melissa Riddle Chalos’ article. Things such as cyberbullying, mental health concerns, and lack of sleep are just a few reasons why social media can be dangerous for young people to use. Even though there are many potential drawbacks of using social media, there are a lot of benefits of allowing children to have access to it as Michael Sheehan explains in his article. Children are able to stay connected, find new hobbies, and be creative online are just a few benefits of social media.

Photo Credit: scootergenius02 Flickr via Compfight cc

The decision of allowing children to have social media is ultimately up to their parents to decide, but even if children have social media they should still be monitored while they are online. Ensuring that children know how to be safe online and what they should and should not post is extremely important when allowing children to use social media. Whatever a child posts on social media can follow them for the rest of their lives. Parents and educators must teach children how to be safe and respectful online. Students must learn that cyberbullying is just as, if not more, dangerous and hurtful than physical and verbal bullying. Students must be taught how to be respectful to everyone online and ensure that they do not participate in cyberbullying. Students must also know that they should reach out to a parent, a friend, or educator to let someone know when they are being cyberbullied. Children should not be left alone to try to navigate social media. Having teacher and parental support online and offline is very important in ensuring the benefits of social media outweigh the negatives.

Thanks for reading my blog post! What do you think is the biggest drawback and benefit of social media? Leave a comment below!

Ashley Osachoff

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Is Technology Equitable – EDTC 400 Debate 5

Hello everyone!

Due to an unexpected family situation, I was unable to attend EDTC 400 last week. Thankfully, I did not miss out on the fifth debate since Katia records all the classes and posts them to the Slack community board. The fifth debate topic was “Technology is a force for equity in society” and the two debaters for this week were Kaytlyn and Ryan.

Pre-Debate

Prior to entering into the debate, the class did the pre-vote. The class had to choose if they agreed or disagreed with the statement that “Technology is a force for equity in society”. If I was in class and voting, I would have chosen to agree with this statement because I have witnessed technology being used as a force for equity with students with exceptionalities integrated into mainstream classrooms. I was not on the majority side of this pre-vote; about 60% of the class disagreed with the statement and about 40% of the class agreed with the statement. With this divide, it seemed that Ryan, who was on the agree side of the debate, would have a bit of a difficult time trying to sway the class to the agree side of the debate.

Ryan’s Side of the Debate

To begin the debate, the class listened to Ryan’s video, which is below. Ryan had three main points in his video that argued that technology is a force for equity. They are:

  1. Technology assists students and people with disabilities
  2. Technology enhances education in the World
  3. Technology gives young people a voice

Ryan made a very strong argument that compelled me to agree with his side of the debate. I really agreed with the first statement that Ryan made. He stated that technology can benefit those with disabilities and used Stephan Hawking (who used his eyes to use technology that would enable him to communicate through spoken words) as an example of how technology can create equity for students that have exceptionalities. I work with students with exceptionalities and I have seen first-hand the benefits that technology can have with students with disabilities. Students with exceptionalities can use technology, such as applications on tablets to communicate or complete assignments.

Kaytlyn’s Side of the Debate

After the class watched Ryan’s video, they watched Kaytlyn’s video, which is below. Kaytlyn had four main topics that she discussed in her video. They are:

  1. The Digital Divide
  2. Access to Technology
  3. Digital Equity
  4. Digital Inclusion

Like Ryan, Kaytlyn made a very compelling argument for her side of the debate. Her side of the debate heavily focused on the issue of students having limited access to technology at home. This limited access to technology can create a gap between student achievement and student participation in homework and assignments. Kaytlyn made a very true statement that not every student will have access to cellphones and other technology in classrooms. It is a teacher’s responsibility to know what technology students have access to both at home and at school. Teachers can then use this information to plan activities and assignments that do not create an even wider gap between students that have technology and those that do not.

The Debate

I think Kaytlyn made some very compelling points in her video and her discussion in the debate as much of the debate was focused on the issues of access and cost of technology. The class focused heavily on the issue that as technology is changing and improving rapidly, the costs of technology are still very high. The class went into depth on the issue that not every family will have the extra money to spend on technology. Students that do not have access to technology at home cannot always continue their learning at home if it requires them to use technology. As Liz mentioned in the debate, not every student has time or the ability to go to the library to complete an assignment on a public computer. The class discussed the issue that some students might have other commitments such as a job that prevents a student from accessing the library.

Throughout the discussion, the class also discussed access to technology as well as the cost of technology. As in many of our other debates, the issue of technology in rural communities came up. Rural communities often do not have great internet access and not every student living in rural communities will have reliable high speed internet. With limited access to reliable internet and technology, students living in rural areas are put at a disadvantage when it comes to using technology in the classroom.

As the debate went on, I was beginning to see the lines of equity and equality begin to be blurred. Tiana mentioned the image that I have in my head when I am thinking about the difference between equality and equity. The image is likely an image many people have already seen. There are three boys standing behind a fence and they are all trying to see the game. One boy is short, the middle boy is medium height and the final boy is tall. The tall boy can see over the fence, but the other two cannot. Equality is described as giving all three boys a box to stand on. With these boxes, the tallest boy and the middle boy can see over the fence, but the shortest boy cannot. In this case, everyone got the same thing, but one person got something they did not need and one person did not get enough. Equity is different from equality. Equity is giving each person the tools that they need to meet the expectations. In the case of the fence scenario, the shortest boy is given two boxes, the middle boy is given one and the tallest boy is given no boxes. In the equity situation, all three boys got something different, but all three boys are now able to see over the fence.

Photo Credit: House Buy Fast Flickr via Compfight cc

My thoughts on Debate TOpic

With this image in mind, I had a lot of thoughts after watching the debate. When I first began the debate, I really thought that technology can make things equitable in society, but then towards the end I began to think that technology is NOT a force for equity in society.

Prior to watching this debate, I did not really think about Kaytlyn’s side of the debate. I had only thought about the pros of technology in society and how much it benefits the students that I work with. I did not think about the issues of access to technology and the cost of technology being forces that make technology inequitable in society. I will admit this was fairly ignorant of me. I grew up with a lot of blessings. I had access to updated technology throughout my childhood and years going to school. I never had to go to the library to work on an assignment on a computer because I had access to a computer at home. I did not think deeply about the influence that access to technology had on students’ abilities to complete assignments or fully participate at the same level as their peers in an activity that uses technology.

Photo Credit: Tuesday Digital Flickr via Compfight cc

Access to technology is a huge barrier to an equitable society, because as mentioned in Annie Kelly’s article, technology is a huge influence on today’s society and students must have technology knowledge in order to enter the work field in today’s society. Not every student will have access to technology at home. Teachers are putting the students that do not have access to technology at home at a disadvantage when they are requiring students to complete assignments online at home. As mentioned in Justin Reich’s video, technology innovation will benefit affluent (high income) students more than students that come from low income families. Technology innovation creates a larger gap between students that come from affluent and low income families.

Now even though technology can be expensive and not every student will have access to technology at home, schools in the United States are not allowing lack of internet access at home become a barrier to student learning. As described in Chris Bedrick’s article, schools are starting to create towers that distribute internet to school issued computers in student’s homes.  Another point that this article made was that families are allowed to check out wifi routers with limited data plans from the library during the school year to ensure that the students that are going to school will have internet access at home.

Not every student has access to wifi at home

Photo Credit: m.gifford Flickr via Compfight cc

Now, there are many barriers that technology creates for creating an equitable society. As mentioned in the Dell article that Ryan asked us to read, technology and access to technology can open the doors for students around the world to new opportunities. Technology can be very equitable because regardless of a where a person lives, with the internet, a person will have access to the same information as everyone else. Technology enables many students to learn new skills, such as coding, that will open the door for job opportunities in the future. Giving to students that do not come from affluent neighbourhoods can be very equitable, because they not have access to the same resources and tools that students from affluent neighbourhoods already have.

Along with technology being a great resource that can open the doors for students, it also can be equitable for students with exceptionalities. I witness in my ECS 100 placement the powerful effect that technology can have on equity between students with and without exceptionalities. I viewed a student that did not have the ability to write out their own complex sentences actually create sentences using the Google extension Google Read and Write to create complete their work that matched the level of their peers. In this sense, I have seen technology as a force for equity.

Conclusion

Overall, this debate pulled me from side to side and I do not think that I have come to a conclusion that I agree one hundred percent with either side. I am stuck in the middle with this debate. On one hand, I have seen and think that technology can offer so many options for students that have exceptionalities or that do not come from affluent neighbourhoods. On the other hand, the issues of the cost and limited access to technology can be extremely inequitable. How can teachers expect students to benefit from technology and the resources it provides when students do not have access to technology at home? In conclusion, I think that creating more access to updated technology will make technology an equitable force in society. I think that technology is an equitable force in society, but the access to technology is not equitable. Improving access to technology will create a more equitable society that benefits from the tools that technology gives people.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Cellphones in the Classroom?

Hello everyone!

So unfortunately due to some unforeseen family circumstances, this blog post is a little late. This blog post is about the EDTC 400 debate that took place two Tuesdays ago about using cellphones in the classroom. Now, this topic is heavily debated in schools as it is since cellphones are extremely integrated into the lives of adults and students.

Since this topic is so heavily debated, there were three positions we could choose from; cell phones should always be banned, cellphones should never be banned, and cellphones should be banned in elementary school and allowed in high school. Due to having three options to choose from for this debate, we had three debaters; Kendall, Cody and Tiana. Kendall was on the side that cellphones should always be banned in classrooms. Cody was on the side that cellphones should never be banned in classrooms. Tiana was in the middle of Cody and Kendall and was on the side that cellphones should be banned in elementary classrooms, but should be allowed in high school classrooms.

Pre-Debate Vote

Before we began the debate, as we usually do, we started with the beginning poll. The image of the pre-debate poll is below. At the beginning almost everyone was either on the side that cellphones should never be banned in classrooms or that cellphones should be only allowed in high school classrooms. There was only a vote of two for Kendall’s side that cell phones should be banned in classroom’s everywhere.

Beginning the Debate

Kendall stated the debate off with her introductory video, which you can watch below if you would like. Kendall had four main points to back up her side of the debate. Kendall stated that cellphones were:

  1. Distracting
  2. Disrespectful
  3. Disruptive
  4. Dangerous

Kendall made some very good points in her video and the articles that she asked us to read really backed up her points. One of the statements that really stuck out to me at the beginning of her video was “that on average, students check their cellphones 11 times per day, which equates to 20% of class time”. I found it crazy that this much class time can be lost through cellphone usage.

After Kendall’s video, the class watched Cody’s video, which is also below. Cody’s stance is a stark contrast from Kendall’s stance. Cody is on the side that cellphones should always be allowed in the classroom. Cody had three main points:

  1. Cellphones are huge parts of society and should not be forgotten in schools
  2. They are useful tools that are instantly available
  3. There are inquiry benefits that cellphones offer.

These three major points really supported Cody’s stance that cellphones should be allowed in schools and should not be banned. Along with the video, Cody gave the class a few short readings that also backed up his stance that cellphones should never be banned. One of the biggest points that stood out to me from Cody’s argument and from reading the article “A Blanket Ban on Cellphones Would Not Be Smart” was that cellphones allow students easy internet access that enables students to easily find information, collaborate with peers online and communicate with the teacher.

After Cody’s video, the class watched the third and final video made by Tiana. Tiana was in the middle of Cody and Kendall. Her side to the debate was that cellphones should only be allowed in high schools and should be banned in elementary schools. Tiana made a video explaining both sides of her stance, which is below. On one hand, Tiana had three reasons for why cellphones should be banned in elementary school. They are:

  1. Physical health risks
  2. Mental health risks
  3. Cyberbullying

On the other hand, Tiana had three reasons why cellphones should be allowed in high schools. The three reasons are:

  1. They prepare students for adulthood
  2. Bans would be difficult to regulate
  3. They provide diverse learning strategies and opportunities.

Tiana’s video was very compelling to me and I agreed with a lot of her statements. I think there is a time and place for cellphone usage in classrooms and I am not sure that I think elementary schools should be having cellphones. I also really enjoyed reading the article “Adventures with Cell Phones” that Tiana asked the class to read. I did not think cellphones could actually be integrated into a classroom up until I read the example at the beginning of the article with students texting in their responses to the teacher.

The Debate      

I won’t get into much of the details of the debate because I know many of the people reading this blog are my fellow EDTC 400 classmates, but I will give a quick recap of some of the things that I remember and that really stood out to me.

At the beginning of the actual debate, I brought up a comment that my brother made after watching some of the beginning of the EDTC 400 debate. I know some of the people in the debate mentioned using cellphone parking garages as a way to manage student cell phone usage. My younger brother is currently in high school and some of his teachers use cellphone parking garages as a way to ensure that students are not on their phone in class. My brother stated that even though they have the parking garages, most students do not use them and still go on their cellphones in class. This sparked a bit of a debate with the class about other effective ways to manage student cellphone usage. Tiana and Cody have more classroom experience with students than I do and they mentioned that they did not always call out a student that was on their phone if they were not distracting other students.

In the debate, the class also discussed the issue of having differing cellphone policies throughout schools. Many of the students in EDTC 400, including myself, had a cellphone at some point in their high school career and they remembered the frustration of having different rules with different teachers. As a class, we discussed this issue of having different cellphone rules in classrooms causes confusion for students and can lead to conversations such as “well Mr. or Mrs. So and So lets us have cellphones in class, why don’t you?”, etc. As a group we stressed the importance of having a school wide policy that is consistent so these conversations do not happen.

One other topic that really stood out to me during the debate was a topic that has come up many times in other debates. Not every student will have access to technology. Kiera brought up this comment. She stated that she did not have a cellphone in elementary school and if the teacher would have asked the class to pull out their cellphones to do something, she would be out of luck or left out. Not every student will have access to technology at a young age, or in high school, due to various reasons. Teachers must be mindful of what technology their students have and determine if asking students to use their cellphones in the classroom would leave some students out.

Post-Debate Vote

After having a really good debate on a very controversial topic, the class participated in the final vote. In the end the votes changed slightly. More people voted for having cellphones only being allowed in high school and being banned all together. A picture of the vote is below.

My Thoughts

Going into the debate, I thought that cellphones should only be allowed in high schools. After the debate, my position stayed the same, but I left the debate with a lot more knowledge about cellphone usage in classrooms. Prior to this debate, I have only had the conversation about cellphones in the classroom with my friends and family. I think it was extremely interesting to have this debate with other educators, especially those with experience teaching in the classroom, rather than just being students.

I think that there is a time and place for cellphones. I, like probably many other people, find my cellphone extremely distracting. I know when my phone buzzes that I want to check it right away, regardless of what I am doing. I think it is difficult for me to ask my students to not be distracted by their cellphones, if I am distracted easily by mine. As discussed in many articles, including “Should schools welcome cell phones in class?”, “Cell Phones In The Classroom: Learning Tool or Distraction”, and “The Disadvantages of Mobile Phones in Schools”, cellphones can be extremely distracting and can take up a lot of a student’s attention; attention that should be spent on school related topics.

Even though cellphones can be extremely distracting, they also have many benefits. As discussed in “Cell Phones In The Classroom: Learning Tool or Distraction”, cellphones offer the option of having educational apps, easy access to information and access to digital information. Cellphones can be great tools for students in schools with limited laptop and computer access. Many students, especially those in high school, have a cellphone that they can easily pull out to search needed information faster than opening up a laptop and researching it on the computer. Cellphones also offer completely new ways for students to present information to teachers as described in the article “Adventures with Cell Phones”.

I think there are many pros and cons of having cellphones in classrooms, as discussed in the debate. I do not think it is fair to students to have cellphones stay in their back pack forever. I think elementary students are still too young to have cellphones in the classroom and I do not think cellphones should be regularly incorporated into elementary classrooms. I think laptops and using computers is a better technology for elementary students to use. I think allowing high school students to use cellphones in the classroom for educational purposes is a good use of class time. Most high school students have a cellphone on them and using them for quick internet searches is a much better use of class time, rather than finding the laptop carts and using laptops (which would take probably double the class time to find the same information).

I do not think there should be a free for all with cellphones in classrooms. I like the idea of having a cellphone parking garage. It is a great way to ensure students leave their phones away from them during class time, while still letting students be confident their cellphone is safe. Having parking garages also ensures that students can quickly come up and use their phone when they need to find information or if they want to listen to music during class time.

Allowing cellphones into the classroom is and will continue to be a highly debated topic. I think cellphones offer many benefits for high school students, including quick access to information, music capabilities, and collaboration opportunities. I do not think cellphones should be consistently integrated into elementary classrooms and teachers should use laptops or computers instead for technology purposes. Cellphones in the classroom were around when I was in school and they will continue to be in classrooms when I am teaching. Following the school guidelines and ensuring that my students are not distracted by their cellphones during valuable instructional time is an important step that I must take as a teacher.

Thanks for reading my blog post! (I apologize for the length) What are your thoughts on cellphones in the classroom? Leave a comment below.

Ashley Osachoff

Is Openness and Sharing Unfair to Students?

Hello everyone!

This week in EDTC 400, we had a debate and I was one of the people leading it!

For this week’s EDTC 400 debate, the topic was “openness and sharing in schools is unfair to students”. I was on the agree side and Dryden was on the disagree side. At the beginning of the debate, it looked like I was in for an uphill battle; 89% of the class disagreed with the topic and only 11% were on my side of the debate. By the end of the debate, it was a 50/50 tie between both sides.

Before the Debate

Prior to doing my research for this debate, I was very much on the disagree side of this debate (I accidentally signed up for the agree side), but the more that I researched I began to sway between both sides and was more convinced that I was in agreement with the statement “openness and sharing in schools is unfair to students”. There are a lot of risks that come with openness and sharing online in schools and teachers must be careful of what they are sharing about their students online.

Before I researched this topic, I based my opinion on my work experience. Many of the children that I work with have a difficult time communicating their thoughts and often do not talk about their day at school. Some of the teachers of the children that I work with use Seesaw, or other technology as a way to share information with the parents. The parents can see what their child is doing at school and then can use this information to spark some conversation with their child. These teachers are using technology to share what students are doing and giving parents insight on their child’s day that they would not have gotten otherwise. From this knowledge, I thought that openness and sharing in schools was fair to students, but from my research, I realized that there is a lot more at stake than parents being able to know what is going on in a student’s life.

My Side

From my research, I noticed that there was four major concerns with sharing student work or images online. The four concerns are:

  1. Student consent is not always considered
  2. Teachers are creating a digital footprint for students instead of students creating it themselves.
  3. Posting pictures and work online may create situations that can cause student embarrassment or cyberbullying.
  4. Privacy settings do not always ensure privacy.

These four concerns were the basis of my side of the argument and you can watch my video below. Along with creating my video, I made a quick blog post to explain my side of the debate as well as the research that I did. You can find that post here.

Dryden’s Side

Dryden made a very good counter argument; he created a YouTube video that is below. The major points of Dryden’s side of the argument was that teachers should be sharing their knowledge with students, teachers should be open to change and that by sharing, teachers can build trust and gain feedback from their students and their families.

Openness in schools and in education is crucial. As discussed in the “Openness to Ideas, Perspectives and Change Yields Trust in the Classroom” article, openness can encourage trust in the classroom. Openness with families and students will encourage more communication and trust. Sharing is also part of education, as discussed in the “Chapter 6: Why Openness in Education?” article. Teachers must share their knowledge with students, but also they must share resources with other educators. Sharing resources with fellow educators opens teachers up to different information that they can use in their classrooms.

Overall, the debate went very well. I heard a lot of different opinions on the topic of openness and sharing in schools. I learnt a lot from my fellow classmates and there was a lot of good discussion that I was able to participate in.

Student Consent

One of the major things that I was arguing for was that openness and sharing in schools is that schools are contributing to a student’s digital identity, sometimes without a student’s consent. Many of the online templates that can be used to get parental permission to share student work or images online did not include a space for students to give THEIR consent for a teacher to share their image or work online. I think it is very important for teachers to get student permission before they share student work or images online because at the end of the day, it is a student’s digital identity that is being altered, not their parents. In order to build trust between students and families, teachers must respect student’s wishes when it comes to sharing work or images online. If teachers wish to post student work online, they must ensure they have student and parental consent in order to respect a student’s wishes.

Parental Curiosity

Along with the concern of student consent, there was discussion about parents being able to learn more about what their child is doing at school. Many parents are curious about what their child is doing at school and blogging and posting student work or images online is a way for parents to stay connected with their student’s school life. There is a concern that some parents may use the blog or website as a way to keep tabs on their student, but this should not be the main goal of the blog. This blog should be a way to showcase what the class is doing and some of the good work that students are doing at school. This blog or website can also be a way for parents to get an idea of what their child is doing at school and use this information as a starting point to have a conversation with their child. When parents use the blog or website as a way to start conversations with their child, students can share as much as they want to with their parents.

Sharing Online

The final major topic that I found the class discussed a lot about was that sharing online is okay, but it must be done properly. This was one of my major takeaways from this debate. I do not think that teachers and students should never share anything online about students, but there are precautions that teachers must make if they are going to be sharing student work or images online. This article is a great article that gives recommendations about sharing student work online. I think it is important for teachers to understand that when they are sharing student work or images online, they are putting it on the internet, and the internet is forever. It can be very difficult, almost impossible, to completely delete things from the internet.

Along with some dangers of sharing student work online, there are some benefits of sharing student work online. When teachers share good examples of student work online, it encourages other students to strive to do their best and have pride in the work that they have done. Sharing student work online with student permission is a great way for teachers to share resources with other educators. Other educators can use the good examples as a way to create their own similar assignment and will have an idea of what the end product should look like.

Conclusion

Overall, I do not think that sharing student work or images online is completely bad. I think there are many risks that can come with sharing student images and work online, but with the right precautions, teachers should be able to minimize this risk. Teachers should not be sharing identifiable work or images online without a student’s consent. When teachers post student images and work online, they are contributing to the student’s emerging digital identity and this is something that students should be creating themselves when they have learnt about digital citizenship. When students are included in the discussion and being asked if they approve of an image or work being posted online, they are included in the process of contributing to their digital identity. Teachers must be cautious about what they are posting because the internet is forever and a student’s digital identity will be with them forever as well. Teachers must ensure that student safety and well-being are the top priorities when they are sharing student work online. Sharing student images and work online is something teachers can do when student and parental consent is given, and student safety and well-being are considered.

Thank you for reading my blog post! Leave your thoughts on this debate in the comments below.

Ashley Osachoff

Before My Great EDTC 400 Debate

Hello everyone!

So it is the week before the break and I am crazy busy. This week in EDTC 400 I will be hosting my very first debate. I am pretty nervous, but excited to see how it goes.

For my EDTC 400 debate, I chose the topic “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to students”. I chose to agree with this statement and I will be arguing my case tonight in EDTC 400.

For this debate I did quite a lot of research on both sides of this topic (mainly because I thought I was on the ‘disagree’ side at first). With all the research I did I came across a lot of great websites and articles that helped me back up my claim that sharing in schools is unfair to students. I came across three very important articles that I think all of my fellow EDTC 400 classmates should take a look at.

The first article that everyone should read is “Teens speak: Should students publish their school work online?” This article discusses the reasoning that teens have against publically sharing their work online and instead keeping their assignments private. This article also gives the reasons why some students chose to publically post their assignments on their blogs. The important take away from this article is that teens had the choice to how they wished to share their work online.

The second article that everyone should read is “Should You Use Student Photos Online?” This article discusses some of the dangers of posting student images online. It gives recommendations for how to post photos of students online while keep student identity private if teachers decide to post images online. Overall this article shows the “Do’s and Don’ts” of posting student images online.

The third article that I suggest everyone should take a look at it geared more towards parents, but many of the concerns transfer to schools as well. This article is “The pros and cons of sharing your kids photos online”. It discusses some of the risks that are associated with sharing images of children online. It gives five reasons why parents (and teachers) should think twice before they decide to post an image of a child (or student) online.

These are just three of the important articles that I would like my fellow classmates to look at, but I used eight other articles to get my information to create my opening debate video that is below.

Here is also a link to the script that I used for my video if you are having a difficult time hearing me.

Here is a list of the websites or blogs that I used to help inform my debate.

Study: Cyberbullying and cyberstalking among Internet users aged 15 to 29 in Canada

Understanding Teens, Privacy, and Online Identity

Does sharing photos of your children on Facebook put them at risk?

Posting Pictures to a School Website

Sharing Student Work – Online Network of Educators

Obtaining Permission to Blog With Students

Change Student blog privacy

Do Parents Invade Children’s Privacy When They Post Photos Online?

I am looking forward to having my debate tonight. I will be posting soon to share how it all went!

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Should we just “Google” it?

Hello everyone!

This week in EDTC 400 we had our second debate! The topic for this week was “schools should not focus on teaching things that can be Googled”.  So this week’s debate was hosted by Sydney and Aurora. Sydney was on the side that agreed that schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled. Aurora was on the side that disagreed with the statement. Both Aurora and Sydney did an amazing job on their preparation for the debates and both created amazing Powtoon videos (which I am currently trying to figure out for my debate on Tuesday), which I have below.

Sydney’s Video
Aurora’s Video
Initial Thoughts

To start out the debate, we had to cast our votes on our initial stance on the topic. Prior to the debate, I was leaning quite heavily to the disagree side. Here is a picture of the votes.

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And the Debate Begins

Once the debate started, we watched both Sydney’s and Aurora’s videos. I was starting to get swayed more to Sydney’s side (the agree side), when she discussed using class time to have students practice the skills or topics that can be Googled instead of spending time teaching the topic that can be easily Googled. Sydney argued that students should not spend time memorizing things that can be googled and should instead spend more time using the topics or skills that can be Googled.

Sydney’s point was eye opening to me and I found lots of connections in other classes and the articles we were asked to read that supported her argument. In EMTH 200, we have discussed a lot about encouraging students to learn how to understand a concept and use it instead of students memorizing formulas and facts. It is important for students to understand a topic and have the time to practice to understand. By saving time from not teaching students facts, such as the Pythagorean Theorem, students will be able to have more time to practice using the information and getting a deeper understanding of the topic. In the article by Jeremey Gunter, he discussed how he used Google in his job all the time to help him come up with solutions to issues with programming. Jeremey Gunter advocates that using Google helps him in his daily job to find the right name for a function or code that he does not typically use. He states that “you should never be afraid to admit you don’t know something, and seek to correct it using whatever means necessary” in his article. Jeremey Gunter uses Google to find the answer when he does not know something so the question arises, if this is happening in the workplace should it happen in schools?

Well, Aurora’s side of the debate explained exactly why schools should still be teaching students the information that can be Googled. One of the biggest points that stood out to me from Aurora’s side of the debate is that students often cannot weed out the misinformation on the internet. Even with teaching students how to search websites to discover if the information is accurate or not, some websites can seem completely accurate, but have incorrect information. One of the videos that Aurora wanted us to watch is a Ted Talk by Andreas Ekstrӧm which linked to Aurora’s argument and opened my eyes to the background of the internet. From watching this video, I learnt that Google can go in and manually get rid of content that they deem should not be on the internet as in the case with Michelle Obama. I did not ever think about the person sitting behind the internet that can control what is appropriate to be viewed by the world and what is not. The internet is a very powerful tool in the world today and the people that control that content that is displayed on google are very powerful.

In another article that Aurora asked us to read, it questioned if technology will make teachers obsolete. Using Google in the classroom can be beneficial, but I do not think technology will ever be able to replace the important role that teachers play in students’ lives. If teachers are only relying on Google to teach student things, I do not think students will actually be engaged and learning the information, but instead learning how to become better internet searchers.

Final Thoughts

Overall throughout this debate, I was being swayed to both sides of the argument. I think teaching students the topics that can easily be looked up is not always a good use of class time, but in some cases it is necessary. I know it is easy for students to look up what the answer to 3+3 is on Google or on a calculator, but not teaching students why 3+3=6 is something that I do not think is right. I think it is important to allow students to search for easily accessible information that they will not need to use every day, but I think students should still learn skills and information that they will use in their everyday life.

The turning point in the debate for me was when the comment was made about accessibility to the internet in many communities. We discussed that if curriculum changes, or schools stop teaching students the information that can be Googled, some students will be placed at a disadvantage. Many students do not have good internet access at home, especially in rural areas and it is not fair to those students to not learn things that can be Googled simply because of lack of access. Along with not every student having good internet access at home, not every school or community has reliable internet that will allow students to Google topics. This issue really pushed me to disagree with the argument that schools should not be teaching topics that can be Googled in school.

I think it is important to allow students to use Google in the classroom, but I think teachers should still continue to teach students the information that can be easily Googled because in University and on the job (such as working construction or as an electrician), students still need to have basic skills that can be Googled, such as simple math, writing, and grammar. Schools cannot stop teaching students information that can be Googled because students and communities with limited internet access will be put at a disadvantage. Schools must continue to teach students information that can be Googled because even though we have Google in our pockets, sometimes Google must stay in our pockets. Universities and workplaces do not always allow Google to be used, especially not in a test. Google is a wonderful tool that can be used to enhance learning, but it should not replace the valuable teaching from a teacher.

What are your thoughts on teaching students information that can be easily Googled? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Does Technology Enhance Learning – EDTC 400 Debate 1

Hello everyone!

On Tuesday, in EDTC 400 I participated in the first debate with the rest of the class. The topic for this debate was that technology in the classroom enhances learning and we debated whether or not we agreed with this statement or not. Each week, two people chose to be the main debaters in this topic and present the class with their side and the information to back it up. On the “agree” side was Ashlee Sandiford. On the “disagree” side was Raeann.

Prior to starting the debate, the class was asked to vote on what their initial position was on the topic that technology enhances learning in the classroom. Most of the class, including myself were on the “agree” side. After the class voted, we listened to the opening arguments from Ashlee and Raeann and then the debate started. After the debate was over, we listened to the closing arguments from Ashlee and Raeann and then the class took another poll to state our position on the topic. I will not spoil what that final poll was now, but I will state it in the end.

In the beginning of the debate, I was all for technology in the classroom. I have seen technology be implemented into many classrooms while I was in my ECS 100 placement. While I was in my ECS 100 placement, I saw technology be used in ways that I never had the opportunity to experience. I witnessed students using their Chrome Books to write assignments, pause and restart videos at their own pace, and play games that implemented the knowledge just learnt in class. There were multiple carts of Chrome Books at the school I was placed in and many of the teachers used the Chrome Books and Google Classroom in their daily lessons.

While I was in my ECS 100 placement, I also witnessed technology enhancing student’s way of learning and completing assignments. Some of the students in the school have exceptionalities that makes it difficult for them to properly type out words or read long articles. Many of the students in these classrooms used Google Read and Write which enabled them to write their own essays or assignments without the need of extra assistance. Technology in these student’s hands with the guidance of teachers that understood the technology enhanced their learning and their ability to be independent in a classroom.

At the beginning of the debate, Ashlee made some really great points in her introduction video and gave us some articles and videos to watch after the debate. One of the biggest things that stuck out to me from the debate and Ashlee’s video was that technology can be a way to connect students with peers, teachers, and others around the world.

I watched both of the videos that Ashlee suggested for us to watch; the CNN video about the students in Brazil and the video about a teacher using Google Forms in the classroom. Both of the videos demonstrated ways that technology can be integrated into a classroom to create more opportunities for students to make connections and learn better.

The Google Forms video (the video below) really caught my attention. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to share with my teachers what was going on in my personal life outside of school that was sometimes hindering my ability to do my best in school. Often there is a lot going on in student’s lives when they are in high school, including sports, relationships, jobs, and family situations that will affect their ability to learn and be present in school. I think it is important that teachers recognize that there are other things going on in student’s lives and that google forms can give students a chance to communicate these situations with their teacher in a form they feel comfortable with.

As much as I think technology is great in classrooms and can really enhance learning, I found myself starting the get swayed by Raeann’s argument. Some of Raeann’s big arguments stating that technology does not enhance learning, but in fact hinders it, is that access to technology is not the same for every school or student, and there can be a loss of learning time when integrating technology into the classroom.

Raeann gave us two articles to read. The article that I was able to connect with most was The Dark Side of Educational Technology. Some of the points made in this article, as well as some of the points that Raeann made really stuck to me. The two biggest points that stuck out to me were the cost of technology and the access to good technology are two things that hinder learning.

Technology is not cheap. It is often quite expensive to get laptop carts for every classroom or even one cart for the school. Depending on the area of the school and its funding, some schools do not have the funding to pay for the technology that would enhance student learning.

Along with technology being expensive, technology and the internet are not always reliable. Raeann discussed the issue of having a large enough bandwidth to use the internet in her own home. I talked with her after the debate and she said that her family was not allowed to use the internet for a half an hour before she participated in EDTC 400 because the internet is not great in rural Saskatchewan. I really connected with this. On my grandparent’s farm, they have no internet and pretty bad service. Most of the time if I want to send a text message or use my data, I must stand in certain areas of the house in hopes for a signal that is more than one bar.

Access to reliable internet service is a luxury that not every student will have access to at home. Requiring students to use technology for assignments and homework will hinder the students that do not have access to it at home. Internet access in schools are not always reliable either, so teachers that want to integrate technology into their classrooms might not be able to if the internet it down or slow in their school. Teachers that attempt to integrate technology into a classroom where they know the internet is slow will likely waste class time trying to get a video to load or fix the technology.

Overall, when I think about technology in the classrooms and its ability to enhance learning, I still cannot make up my mind whether or not it does. I think in certain classrooms with teachers that have a good knowledge of how to use technology in meaningful ways, technology can enhance learning. I think technology can be a great way to enhance the learning of students with exceptionalities as there are so many apps and extensions that can enable independence and learning. Using technology in a classroom with students that do not have access to internet at home or the schools that have poor internet will not enhance learning. Technology when used in the right place and at the right time by a teacher with a good knowledge about technology can enhance learning. When not used in this way, technology can hinder the learning in a classroom.

Oh and before I forget, the results of the poll after the debate were close to 50/50 for agree and disagree, but disagree was about 60% while agree was close to 40%.

Thanks for reading my blog post! What are your thoughts about how technology enhances learning in the classroom?

Ashley