Battling the Cons of Technology

My focus this week was on how to effectively find solutions for the Cons that I found last week.  My major frustration was around the disparity of access when it comes to technology within my room.  Many of the sources I read talked about the variety of students not having technology for mostly socioeconomic factors, but in my experience when dealing with 12-14 year olds there is often a set family values around technology.  Whether it is due to responsibility, protection, desire, or a litany of other reasons for a child to have or not have their own device.

What I have found this week revolves around the importance of utilizing technologies within the classroom and the benefits behind them.  I am hoping that with this type of knowledge the parents/caregivers of the students will be more open to sending a their children to school with a device.

When reading a paper on a 1 to 1 initiative that took place in Michigan the authors found that:

In looking at student benefits, the FTL students reported that the laptops helped them learn more and made them more interested in learning.  Most students were confident that use of the laptops would increase their future work opportunities. (Lowther, 2012, p. 27)

When looking at the engagement of students as an educator that is one of the most important pieces for me.  If a student is engaged and interested in what they are doing they will get more out of that particular assignment or reading.  What becomes difficult for the educator is how we assess the learning of each student.

Another reason for incorporating technology within the classroom is to help our students prepare for their future.  With the every changing landscape of education and the fast paced nature of our society now we need to give our students every opportunity to be working with the potential tools they will be required to master within their careers.

“Learning is complex work and like other forms of skilled and technical work it requires that the person performing the job understand and be comfortable with his or her tool set.” Alberta Teacher 2011

The document this quote is from is the BYOD Guide from Alberta.  They go on to share some constructive points as to why BYOD is valuable and important.

Alberta BYOD Guide pg. 4, 2012

Continuing with the idea that technology is the way of the future… (sorry it that was cliche). We need to be teaching differently.  I’ve talked about collaboration in some of my previous posts from prior classes, and I am trying to teach students how to work collaboratively, but it is a process.  Dre, one of my colleagues/peers, shared an article around how effectively students are utilizing the technology within their studies.  A majority of the evidence showed that students were not very proficient with the tools that they are supposed to be using.   Although the authors did share this sentiment:

Photo Credit: ImgFlip

“High levels of smartphone use by teens often have a detrimental effect on achievement, because teen phone use is dominated by entertainment, not learning, applications.” (Barnwell 2016). But perhaps this is a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” dilemma. Teens were never asked or charged with using smart phones for learning so their lived experience and reality command a different use. Well-orchestrated and deliberate learning applications for smartphone use in classrooms could change this.

Photo Credit: Teachers With a Sense of Humor

Within my post last week I also focused on the idea that BYOD can cause unwanted distractions within the classroom.  Now if you are an educator in this day in age you can be certain that there is always something that will be the next big thing in you classroom.  I personally do not believe that technology is the only thing that is going to “distract” our students from getting their work done.

I believe Liz posted this article on dealing with digital distraction within the classroom.  This is a great way to teach moderation and when technology is appropriate or not.  Just because we plan on using technology to help our students learn does not mean that it will always be the most effective mode of transportation for the information we are attempting to share with the kids.  Take this article on the spinners as an example.  While the concept behind the spinners is meant to aid certain students, but when they are being used improperly they have become a major distraction for many if not the majority of classrooms in every building.  I have seen the same thing within my classroom when I use technology.  If I am not using the tech in a meaningful, productive, and engaging manner, the students are very quick to using the “tool” improperly.

Finally I leave you with this idea.

Today’s path–a breakneck pace through a required curriculum aimed at enabling students to pass cheap bubble tests—is antithetical to the effective use of technology. Instead, students in East Palo Alto, Greenwich, Mumbai, Shanghai and London should be connected, working together on projects to, for example, analyze acidity in rainfall or traffic patterns or election results.  (Technology in Schools: Problems and Possibilities)

If we are going to be using the technology, lets make it beneficial, for the students, while creating and developing the skills that we are attempting to develop for their futures.

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Why NOT to Integrate Techonlogy

*Sorry this is a week late…. I thought I hit publish when I closed out my window and apparently I did not.*

So my premise for this week and mostly for this study is to take a pessimistic viewpoint of technology within the classroom.  I want to find as many reasons not to integrate technology as I can in hopes of finding the best methods for smooth integration beginning in the fall.

There were a variety of peer reviewed articles that I worked through this week.

1. Cell Phones in the Classroom: Teachers’ Perspectives
2. In-class multitasking and academic performance
3. Examining the impact of off-task multi-tasking with technology on real-time classroom learning

I also found some blogs that I found as useful in terms of integration into the actual classroom.  One of my favorites was The Pros and Cons of Technology.

Ultimately between most of the readings I found that the distraction factor is huge when we look at how the tools are being used during class time.

This is probably the number one worry of teachers who consider implementing classroom technology: the concern that students will be too busy tweeting and Snapchatting to pay attention to the lesson. Students’ innate curiosity, coupled with their tech savvy could lead to more online socializing in environments where devices are easily accessible.         Blog

When students were polled in a study it was found that

Photo Credit: MediaBistro

While texting was the most popular activity during class, students reported using other technologies as well. They reported using Facebook, email, and searching for content not related to class, with 28% stating that they use Facebook and email in class and 21% stating that they search for content not related to class at least some of the time they are in class.       (In-class multitasking and academic performance)

Now this study was focused mainly on senior students or 1st year post secondary students I feel the numbers could be extrapolated to represent very similar stats within a younger demographic.  Within the study around off-task multi-tasking they found that

the correlational and self-report studies above suggest that off-task multi-tasking in the classroom is most likely detrimental to learning.       (Examining the impact of off-task multi-tasking with technology on real-time classroom learning)

With these facts on the table I found it interesting that there are so many teachers that are blindly pushing forward to incoprorating technology within their classrooms.  I myself have seen a large portion of my students demonstrating all of these “off-task” behaviours within my classes every week.  The majority of my experience would be students using Snapchat or Youtubing songs.  
I believe that many of my students could benefit from using the technology but I am not teaching the students how to properly use the tools within the classroom.  
One of the next major barriers I found was the Disparity of Access among each of the students and teachers within a school.  

Many of the teachers reported that access and cost—traditional first order barriers—were the major barriers to integrating cell phones into the classroom not only for themselves but also for students.  (Cell Phones in the Classroom: Teachers’ Perspectives )

This is a huge factor that concerns me when looking into integrating technology to the point of going paperless within my classroom.  How can I effectively run a paperless classroom if all of my students can not access the digital content consistently.  Even though I am fortunate enough to work within a higher socio-economic area, there are still families that for either financial or family value situations (where the parents feel their 12/13 year olds do not need a personal device), that every student may not have access to a device.  Our board policy only allows a ratio of 1 laptop per 5 students in grades 5-8 and 1 iPad to every 3 students for the primary grades.  I am concerned with how to demonstrate the efficacy of technology within a classroom to convince the families that their students need to learn how to use these devices.

I feel that my journey is going to be surrounded by these what if scenarios and one of my biggest hurdles will be communicating to the families that technology can be a benefit if used properly. 

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Con’s To Technology In A Physical Education Classroom

  Pro’s and Con’s of technology are something to be considered when deciding to use technology in our classrooms and in our lessons.  Today’s blog will focus on the con’s of technology in a physical education setting and at a later date we will take a look at the pro’s.  Huffington Post published an article … Continue reading “Con’s To Technology In A Physical Education Classroom”

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Our class began a new project last week! For the past four weeks we have been learning about a community called Garden Hill First Nations.  A month ago we became Pen pals with a Grade 4 class at the elementary school there.  Each student in our classroom got the name of another student and wrote them a letter.

During this time we began a study of their community.  We have learned that this is a remote fly-in community located on Island Lake in Northern Manitoba, approximately 600 km northeast of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  It is accessible only by plane, winter ice roads or by boat.

There are approximately 2,776 people in this community. Most people speak Ojibway-Cree or English.  Their population is growing rapidly and has increased by almost 50% since 2006.   

As we continued researching this First Nations community we learned their language, customs and traditions remain strong there. Hunting and fishing is important part of their culture. Trap lines that were assigned by families centuries ago are still being used today. 

We also read that they have a shortage of housing, a lack of infrastructure and only one store – a food store.  They do not have a community centre, or a library.  This led to some interesting discussion about how people in this community get food, clothing, shelter, books, etc.

We talked about what it would be like to grow up in a community where you would not have the same amenities or level of access to these things that students who live here do.  This generated a great discussion.  We stopped for a bit when a student asked how do you think they get books to read? 
I tried to capture parts of the conversation after this.  Here is how it went. 
“Maybe they could buy them at the store, but if there is only one store then they probably don’t have very many books to choose from. (Nohva)   
Maybe we could send them books.”  Annelle
Maybe we could bring books from home that we don’t need or read anymore and we could send them to them. (Jenna)
We could put them in the mail. (Johnathon)
We could ask them what their favorite book is?  (Johannah)

I would like to bring books to help with this. (Keaton)

We can send them things to put their books in.  (Jenna)

I think we should try to give them 200 books and give them a library like ours. (Alex)

I think I have some books that I don’t read anymore that I could donate. (Braedy)

I have some books too. (Easton)

We could make this our project. (Lily)

I think we should give them books that are in good shape. (David)  

We probably all have some books that we don’t need anymore. (Ibrahim)

Maybe we could send them some books from our classroom library (Henry)

I have some Robert Munsch books and some others that they might like. (Micah)

Maybe we could send them some Fancy Nancy books. (Ella)

I think they would love the books, if we sent some to them. (Jax) 

They might even love reading if they had new books! (Nolan)

How can we afford to send them? It might be expensive? (Caden)

Maybe someone might be going to Manitoba and we could send them with them. (Mason) If everyone brought five books and Mrs. Gilroy gave them 80 we would have enough. (Mason)

We could write letters to Canada Post to see if they could help us mail them. (Brynlee.)

Maybe we could send the books by airplane. (Kevin)

We could write a letter to other people to ask for help to mail them. (Hannah)

So far, this is where we are at in our discussions.  Annelle brought several books in this morning to kick our project off.  Please feel free to chat with your child about this. I will keep you posted as our project progresses.  If your family is able to donate some books that would be wonderful. 

Thank you for your continued support!


Jorie Gilroy

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EC&I 834 – Summary of Learning

I want to start off by saying “You’re welcome!”… WHY? Because, I didn’t create a music video for my Summary of Learning. You would all be crying, your ears would be bleeding you would never be able to look at me again if I sang in my video. Haha. But, in all seriousness, seeing some […]

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