Mentoring!

Wow, I cannot believe that I am writing my last blog post of the semester and that this is the last assignment I need to complete before I am finished my undergrad degree (well besides writing finals). 

Mentoring the EDTC 300 students this semester has been a lot of fun! At the start of the semester I reached out to each student on slack and introduced myself, then the rest of the semester I primarily engaged with my mentees through their blogs.  The students I got to work with had some stellar learning projects which made me excited to come back each week and check out what they have been up to. It ranged from learning a to play a new instrument, to mastering how to use a circuit, to drawing skills, to perfecting a sugar cookie and icing recipe! Amazing! They were all so engaging that it added a few new skills to my forever growing bucket list of things I would like to accomplish. 

However, with mentoring one of the challenges was that my mentees never reached out with any questions (I guess that is a good thing and means they were are already EDTC rock stars!). But this sometimes made me wonder if I was doing a good enough job supporting them and engaging with them throughout the semester!

By having the opportunity to mentor other students it showed me just how complex teaching online can be. I have had the opportunity to instruct courses for mature learners via an online platform, as well as teach lessons in a sport setting online, but I have yet to teach a class to students online. I think the hardest part is making sure that everyone’s needs are taken care of. This experience taught me that communication can be a lot more challenging when you don’t have the luxury of seeing the student in class to remind them of things they need to get in or simply just check in to see how they are doing. This makes having a relationship with your students that much more important so that you are able to recognize when they may be struggling or need some extra help. 

I would like to thank my mentees for sharing so many cool ideas and resources throughout the semester! It was a very rewarding experience. 

The Great Edtech Debate: Banning Cellphones AND Using Social Media to Promote Social Justice Issues

Debate Topic 1: Cellphones should be banned in the classroom.

This debate was unique because there were three different arguments. One side argued for cell phones to always be banned, one side was for cell phones to be banned in K-8, and the final side was to never have cell phones banned. 

All sides brought good arguments. Arguments for banning cellphones in all classrooms included that there would be less of a distraction giving students the opportunity to engage more in learning, there would be a decrease in cyberbullying throughout the school day, and it would allow students to create a better connection with each other in a face to face situation. 

Arguments for banning cellphones in K-8 classrooms include similar arguments to banning cell phones in all grades with the addition that there will be a greater number of students in elementary school who do not have their own device. This can create a lot of pressure and stress on students as they may stand out amongst their peers if they need to use technology provided by the school in order to participate in classroom activities. Finally, never banning cell phones argued that cell phones can be a great tool within the classroom and help create a more positive classroom environment. Another key point was that cell phones can provide easy access to information as well as a digital platform to incorporate into lessons or supplement learning. 

Initially I was on the side of never banning cellphones in classrooms. In my internship I allowed students to use cell phones for a variety of different reasons such as quick formative assessment or for them to listen to music so that they could be more focused on their school work. But as the debate progressed I saw some benefit in banning them in K-8 classrooms. Elementary school is an important time for students to learning how to interact with others and how to self-regulate in different situations and environments. During the debate it was mentioned that a school had done this but with a more gradual approach beginning with the younger grades and progressing to higher grades as this became accepted and supported by both staff and administration. This does not mean that technology can’t be used, but it can create a more inclusive environment if everyone uses a school computer and screen time usage can be more closely monitored. This was an idea that I liked and ending up switching my voted to banning cell phones in K-8 classrooms!

Debate Topic 2:  Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression.

This is a bit of a touchy subject and I initially disagreed with this statement because I personally am not an active user of any social media platform. Yes, I do have an account on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but I rarely post. However, as the debate progressed I can see different situations where it would be important for educators to use social media to promote social justice and fight oppression. 

The agree side argued that social media and instant access to information can help teachers prepare students to understand and accept people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds as well as those experiencing disability. By using social media as a platform to advocate for different social justice issues it also gives students the opportunity to see that you are a person they can trust and they may feel safer in your classroom especially if you are advocating for an issue that they connect with on a personal level.

While the disagree side argued that the use of a social media platform to promote social justice issues can quickly become performative and an individual may think that is all they need to do and still avoid having conversations and educating students in their classrooms. 

After the debate I am still unsure of where I stand. I think that if I was a more active user of social media I would be more likely to feel responsible to promote social justice issues on my social media. Now I am not saying that I will not do my part to discuss and have conversations about social justice issues with my students, I definitely will, I just currently rarely post on social media so I do not see that as the best outlet for me to help educate others. 

The Great Edtech Debate: Resource Sharing

Debate Topic: Educators should share lessons, resources, and other materials that they have created openly online.

This weeks debate was a lot of fun to engage in, and both debaters brought really good points to discuss. Before the debate began I disagreed with the statement, but my mindset shifted as the debate progressed.

The agree side of the debate argued that with open shared resources teachers would have copyrights so that they could use, adapt, and adjust lessons and materials they find online to suit the needs of their classroom. As a new teacher who just completed my internship it was always a relief when teachers shared ideas and lessons they have done in the past, it gave me an idea of something that worked and a place to start when planning my own lessons. It also often provided a difference perspective or approach to take the topic. Without these shared ideas and resources, the experience would have been a lot more intimidating.

The disagree side argued that if teachers spent and lot of time and put a lot of effort into creating a really good lesson or resource they should be able to determine how much that may be worth. It can also save someone else time in creating a resource and this time could be used to do something greater to benefit students. 

Overall as teachers we are there to do our job and help kids or provide kids with an authentic learning experience. By selling our resources online it does benefit the seller, but the money is also coming from another teacher. By having open resources that anyone can access there is the opportunity for collaboration and sharing of ideas so that everyone can create a rich learning environment for their students. 

The Great Edtech Debate: Impacts of Social Media on Childhood AND Surveillance of Students Online Data

Debate 1:

Week two of the great edtech debate brought some heat. The first debate was between the one and only Caleb Lueck and myself. After the pre-vote I had an uphill battle, but I was able to sway some of my classmates to my side in the post-vote!

We debated the topic “Social media is ruining childhood” and I disagreed. You can check out the YouTube video of my opening statement here. I argued three main points to support that social media isn’t ruining childhood, rather enhancing it and they were the increase in communication, collaboration, and creativity. I also argue that through social media children are able to gain many 21st century skills that will be crucial in preparing them for the world around them. While Caleb argued that social media is exposing children to a lot of inappropriate content at a very early age. Caleb also argues that social media is one of the reasons for increase mental health concerns in children including both anxiety and depressing, with the increased stress it can create.  

Technology and social media is something that is not going away. Social media has made childhood look a lot different than it did when we were kids. I think that it is our jobs as teachers to support students in learning about how to be safe and responsible and how to go through information and determine what is fact and what many be untrue or fake news.

Debate 2: Surveillance of student data and online activities by school systems is necessary to ensure student safety.

In the agree side of this debate student safety was a huge factor, such as limiting the access to websites that may have inappropriate data on school computers or even school Wi-Fi. By tracking student’s online presence in school it can be easier to trace cyberbullying or potentially harmful situations for students. While a highlight from the disagree side of the debate is that it could be invading a student’s privacy especially if their only access to technology or a wireless connection is at school, and could damage students trust in teachers or schools in general. Another key point was that the tracked data can often be biased to culture, race and abilities. 

In this debate I had a difficult time picking sides as there are many pro’s and con’s with each case. I can see situations were tracking data is beneficial, while on the other hand we need to teach students responsibility and give them freedom to access different kinds if information. 

The Great Ed Tech Debate: Technology and Googleable Facts

This week in EDTC 400 we got started on the great edtech debates! 

Debate 1: Technology in the classroom enhances learning.

Technology is continuing to grow and become a huge part of our everyday lives. The “agree” side of the debate argued that technology provides more opportunity for students and enhances their learning environment. Some of the benefits of technology in the classroom is that is promotes individual learning, collaboration, and improves engagement. While the “disagree” side of the debate argued that technology can be a huge distraction. Decreased participation and student interest were other concerns of using technology in the classroom. 

I am leaning towards agreeing with this statement. I think that technology provides opportunity for a more inclusive environment. There are endless apps and programs that can be great tools for students who have varying needs within the classroom. For example, if a student has difficulty with writing, whether that is fine motor development or spelling, they can use speech to text functions so that they are able to engage in writing tasks. Another example is the choice boards or picture boards that can help students who may be nonverbal communicate their needs and wants. Overall, if teachers work together with students to outline expectations around technology and it is implemented appropriately I think that it can be an excellent tool to enhance both teaching and learning.

Debate 2: Schools should stop teaching “googleable” facts and information.

With the increase in technology we as future educators may begin to question whether or not we should be teaching googleable facts to our students. The “agree” side of the debate argued that we should be teaching our students how to be critical thinkers and encouraging them to be creative rather than teaching and testing them on googleable facts. While the “disagree” side of the debate focused on using googleable facts as foundation and building blocks that were necessary for students in order to become critical thinkers. When teaching googleable facts it was noted that students build more connections by memorizing and that this will support their learning. 

This topic is something that I cannot settle on one side or the other. I think googleable facts can be unavoidable at times, but we as educators need to take time to show kids why or give them tools and strategies to gain a deeper understanding of the topic. In order for us to help kids gain new skills and make connections they need to have a base of knowledge to build from, so I think that creating a balance of both teaching googleable facts and teaching students to be critical thinkers and how to apply their knowledge to new situations is essential.

EDTC Mini-Lesson

This week Jesse and I tackled our mini-lesson in EDTC 400. We choose to take a deeper look at advertisements. We see and hear advertisements everywhere. Jesse and I decided that it would be a good idea to spend some time viewing different types of advisements and thinking critically about what types of messages they were sending. We also shared information about how ads can have an impact on what teens think of as the “ideal body” and how this then can impact mental health. We planned our lesson for grade 9 students and tied in art, physical education, and English language arts outcomes.

Overall I think that our lesson went well. I have delivered many lessons online so I was very familiar with screen sharing and breakout rooms. However, we did have trouble trying to fit our lesson in just 40 minutes. I think it would work well in a classroom where you have more time to unpack the important issues, but if I were to do this lesson again with this time restriction I may have chosen fewer adds to view. This would give us more time to share some of the information we had after the activity. Our class of grade 9 students (well actually our colleagues) shared really good ideas and I gained new ideas from their input!

I really enjoyed stepping outside my comfort zone and planning a lesson that isn’t math related!

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. 

Photo by MockupEditor.com on Pexels.com

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!