Technology and Education

In class on Thursday, February 5th we had a discussion and debate about the impacts technology has in education today. Technology is continuing to evolve and progress, and there are so many great tools that can be used to create a richer learning environment. However, teachers, schools, and even school divisions seem to be stuck in a more traditional way of teaching and learning. While technology continues to improve our jobs as teachers need to evolve so that we are giving our students the tools they need to navigate the online world.

Our debate was about whether we should go back to times without internet, or continue as we are today. A few highlights include the danger it can be to young children with access to endless information that may be not age appropriate or untrue. On the other hand, internet can provide students instant access to their classroom materials, notes and assignments. It can also provide endless opportunities of new and creative ways to engage students in learning. 

In my internship I taught a variety of high school math classes, all in which the teachers at my school took a very traditional approach. I often found myself taking a traditional approach of lectures followed by practice questions, quizzes and unit tests. Throughout my educational experience, all of my EMTH classes talk about problem solving and creating an environment for students to explore the math rather than directing them towards a specific series of steps and a right answer. These classes have challenged me to think about math differently and to explore new ideas and new ways of teaching so that students will be engaged and enjoy high school math classes. Technology is a great place to start when creating a more inquiry based classroom and there are many online resources with examples of quality math tasks that can be introduced in the mathematics classroom.

While technology advances we need to continue to advance out teaching and create opportunities for students to gain digital literacy and understand their digital identity. 

Twitter Chats

It has been some time since I have been active on Twitter and participated in a Twitter chat. We were required to participate in a Twitter chat in ECMP 355, and being new to twitter I found that fairly overwhelming. This time, having a little more Twitter experience and educational experience, I found it much more enjoyable. The topic of the #saskedchat this week was centered around mental health as it was Bell Let’s Talk Day. While there were many stories being shared and many reaching out online January 28th, it is as important to continue to show support every other day of the year as well. It is easy to be performative, reposting videos and using the hashtag, but what matters most is your actions and conversations that follow. Mental health needs to be as important as physical health. The first step is making it a priority and showing your students that you do care by providing students with strategies and supports they can lean on when they need it most. 

I think that participating in Twitter chats can provide you with opportunities to gain different perspectives on the presented topic and gain new ideas. Being online, it is also a great way to network with other educators across the province, country and perhaps the continent. I think it is important now more than ever to collaborate with other professionals as we are all experiencing a very new way of teaching (online, hybrid models, extended class hours, etc.), and there are many great resources to gain online. 

My Digital Identity

After taking ECMP 355 in my first year of university I became very conscious of my online identity.  

Pieces of my digital identity available to the public include my twitter account and my blog. These are both platforms that I started in ECMP 355 and therefore only have posts related to education and my experiences at the U of R. I would be okay with people such as students, parents, colleagues, and administration viewing them. My Instagram account is locked and I am always careful of what I post on there and why I may be posting the images I am, as it is the account that has the most followers. Facebook is a platform that I only got as it was needed for a previous job I held and I do not use it for any other purpose. The account is private and has very limited information and very few post are on my page.

I do not have a strong presence on any of my social media accounts and do not make posts or comment on others posts very frequently. I took some time to reflect about the information I have on these platforms, Instagram in particular, and what kind of message it sends viewers.  I think one message my social media conveys is my passion for inclusion. Many of my posts include pictures of my friends who are experiencing disability. Other posts include family, friends, or athletic accomplishments.  These posts document important people and events in my life. 

Lastly, I took a few minutes to google myself and I was surprised by the amount of information there was. Most of the links that appeared were about my involvement or results as a track and field athlete, while others included articles promoting different work experience I have had. 

One thing I would like to work on is creating a more consistent presence on my blog page as I begin my teaching career. 

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Introduction- EDTC 400

Hello! My name is Molly Yungmann and I am in my final semester of my B. Ed. (Yay!). I am in the Secondary Program with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Inclusive Education. Throughout my undergraduate degree I have also started taking classes to work towards my Certificate of Extended Studies in Inclusive Education! 

I love being active and while at the U of R I spent four years competing for the Cougar Track and Field team. I also really enjoy spending time with friends, baking, and spending time at the lake!

3 Goals for Learning in EDTC 400:

  1. I am excited to reconnect with my twitter account and blog as I have not used either much since ECMP 355. I hope to work on networking through these platforms and find resources and tools that I can take with me as I begin my career.
  2. My next learning goal is to take a closer look at how I can begin applying my knowledge of educational technology. Having the opportunity to participate in and deliver a mini-lesson about digital citizenship, digital identity, or digital literacy is something I look forward to. 
  3. Lastly, I hope to learn from my classmates. I value that everyone has had different life experiences and I always enjoy the perspectives and ideas my colleagues share through discussion and class assignments.  

I look forward to connecting with all the EDTC 300 and EDTC 400 students on twitter!

Week 12- Constructions of School Leaders

Three Things I Learned:

  1. One thing I learned this week about being a principle or authority figure is that there is a lot of different and sometime unexpected situations that you may come across. We talked in the seminar about hoe issues that are legal are often the easier issues to deal with because they are more black and white then some of the moral issues you may deal with like the different in-basket cases we explored.
  2. Another thing I learned is that there is a model for principals to follow when making their vision for their school and setting their school up for the most success possible.
  3. Another thing I learned is that principals have so many different factors to look at when making decisions for their school. They have to satisfy the teachers, students, and parents to help create and maintain a healthy community within and amongst there school and this is hard to do because there are very few situations in which everyone will be happy. This will cause the principals to have to make certain decision and deal with some of the troubles it may bring up and have good reasoning and solutions to these problems.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. One connection I made was with the cases we talked about in the seminar because a lot some of those were things I saw happen in my own school growing up. One situation specifically was with the issue of teachers smoking in sight of the students. It was brought up in seminar that the teachers often received trouble from the students telling them how bad it was for them so that could be considered to be enough punishment for them and the principle may not have to necessarily step in and say anything to them.
  2. Another connection I made was in lecture and the discussion I had with my peers about what we considered a “good” principal to be. Our perceptions were very similar for the most part. One of my peers however grew up in another country and had a principal that did not fit the feature we had been discussing. I connected with this because I have realized that I have been privilege to have had good experiences with the principals in my school growing up.

One Question I Have:

When does a principle have to look to high authority when making decisions for their schools and are there any situations they may encounter that require higher authority to step in and help solve?

Week 10- Constructions of Teacher Identity

Three Things I Learned:

  1. One thing I learned this week is that even though you collect different skills and experiences while studying in university there is always going to be situations in your future classroom that you have never had the chance to experience. No matter how prepared you feel after university you will always be learning new things once in the classroom after your degree.
  2. I also learned that there is a stereo type towards all teachers and teaching itself. When everyone things of a classroom they see a teacher a the front of the room with students sitting in rows of desk listen and behaving and being able to learn in a traditional classroom.
  3. Another thing I learned is what a discourse is. Discourse is the growth and constant change you will make as a teacher year to year. It is also the message that the students receive from you as you are teaching.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. One connection I made to this week’s lecture was that everyone’s definition of what a teacher is and what it means to teach is different. I think that this is closely connected to the values and beliefs each person has and how they are going to present themselves in their classroom. Often when I think about what makes up a teacher I instantly think about who my favourite teacher was growing up and the traits they had.
  2. Another connection I have made to this week’s lecture is that your identity plays a role in who you are as a teacher. I think that each individual’s identity is what creates bias in the classroom and has an effect on the hidden curriculum that they choose to teach and include in their lessons.

One Question I Still Have:

After this lecture, I still wonder if there is a way that our bias and identity can be a benefit within the classroom rather than potentially causing students to be missing out on different views or learning experiences.

Week 9-Constructions of Teacher Professionalism

Three Things I Learned:

  1. One thing I learned this week while exploring the STF website was about teacher salaries. After each year you teach you get an increase in pay. I also never knew that the number of credit hours and years of school you have can increase your salary as well. Different things like Inclusive Education certificates and masters’ degrees all play a part in your salary increase.
  2. Another thing I found interesting was when exploring the Code of Ethics that if you complain about your job or other employees to someone in line at the grocery store, for example, and get caught doing so you could get charged because it isn’t in the best interest for teachers as a collective.
  3. Lastly I learned about the McDowell Foundation for Research Into Teaching. This provides support for research that would have a direct impact on teaching. It funds research to be done within the classroom.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. One connection I made was with the concern that was brought up about students not getting a job due to high qualification they may have. I am currently working on my Inclusive Education certificate throughout my degree and this was a concern that I had. It was nice to hear that not all schools will hire someone who they may have to pay less even if you fit the job description and have to be paid more.
  2. Another connection I made to the content this week is to how substitute teachers when in that classroom that day are they teachers and take part and follow the guidelines of any other teacher. I think that the students need to see this side of things too, because often the day the substitute comes through the door they immediately think it is a day to goof off and get no work done.

One Question I Still Have:

A question I still have is that is something like and Inclusive Education certificate enough to bump you up to a new pay class or do you need more credit hours than the certificate requires?

Week 8- Social Identity and School Systems

Three Things I Learned:

  1. One thing I learned was through Anyon’s reading is that each school prepared their students differently depending on whether they are in a wealthier or poor community. The schools hold their students to different standard and the depth they go into content of the curriculum will depend on their socioeconomic status. This way of teaching has an effect on the students future because the wealthier schools prepares students well for university while the poorer school prepare students for the work force.
  2. Another thing I learned is that universal education is what is accessible and free to everyone. Growing up I never realized that some people may not have access to this because I grew up going to school for free with easy access.
  3. Lastly one of the things I learned was that Reproduction Theory, with the idea that everyone has equal opportunities within school. I don’t think that all students have equal opportunity because there will be differences that affect students within schools such as race, gender, socioeconomic class, etc.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. One connection I made was with the European culture that has been embedded into our schools. It is dominant in the holidays we celebrate, and even in the content that is learned. Looking back at my education I now see how this was reflected. Now with the large amount of immigration and different race and culture within our schools and communities, I think it is important to look at and created places within our teaching that everyone can connect to and relate to so that they can have an educational experience that they feel welcome in and can relate to.
  2. I can also connection with Anyon’s reading because when I was going through it the things and examples that were given and described under middle class sounded much like those that I experienced in both elementary and high school growing up.

One Question I Still Have:

What can we do as a society to provide equal educational opportunities within our communities and schools?

Week 7- Constructions of School Systems

Three Things I Learned:

  1. Something I learned more about this week was the hidden curriculum and its importance. This is the views and cultural aspects that are included in the curriculum and help shape the views and beliefs that teachers may wish for their students.
  2. Another thing I learned was that our school system has a Factory Model. Teachers are very focused on teaching rules and getting the subject content to the students. With this it looks like we have an aim of producing a certain type of student that knows similar information and can impact society in a certain way.
  3. Last thing I learned is that there are four different philosophies of teaching. They are perennialism (very conservative), essentialism (traditional), progressivism (teacher as facilitator), and reconstructionism (teacher as facilitator).

Two Connections I Made:

  1. One connection I made with this week’s content was with the Educational Philosophy. I have started to develop my philosophy and as I continue my journey through each of the different classes, especially education classes, I have learned that education is always changing depending on your community, school, and students, as well as society as a whole.
  2. Another connection I made was with the discussion we had in lecture about the number of women who know who have influenced Canadian history, as well as the number of indigenous individuals we know have influenced Canadian history. When I began to think about the individuals I learned about in grade 1 through 12 there was a very small list of names that came to mind. This made me think about what we are actually teaching and being taught, and made me realise that we need to look more critically at the information we are and aren’t giving our students.

One Question I Still Have:

What role do each of the four educational philosophies play in our curriculum and school systems today?

Week 6- Diverse Perspectives on Development and Learning

Three Things I Learned:

  1. One l thing I have learned is that there are a lot of new scholars that are looking at older theories and beginning to question the assumptions they have made about different groups of students. They are not saying that these theories are wrong, instead just taking a deeper look at them and making new considerations such as race and gender.
  2. Another thing I have learned is the importance Indigenous Knowledge can have on a child’s development. This perspective talks about the learning spirit and the importance the land has on it.
  3. Another thing I have learned is that report cards are often testing skills or knowledge that the school wants the children to know or demonstrate. These the results shown on the report card may not be an accurate representation of the skills and knowledge the child possessed due to the way they are tested and how and when these skills are measured.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. One connection I made was with the “good student”. I have learned about this is ECS 210 and talking about it again just expresses the importance of it. I don’t believe that we should have a definition of what a good student is. Each student can be a good student in different ways depending on where they come from and where they are in there learning! I think what would be considered “good” for one student can be complete different from what may be “good” for another student.
  2. Another connection I made was with the conversation we had about how sciences and math typical take precedence over subjects such as art, physical education, or social studies. Although I agree that these subjects are more content heavy I do not necessarily agree that other subjects should be put behind them because I think that in all subject areas you learn different skills and values that you may not get in your bigger subjects such as math and science.

One Question I Still Have:

After this week, I still wonder how we can work toward moving away from the grand narrative and the understanding we have that children are expected to develop different functions and skills at particular ages.