As this class wraps up for the semester, my thoughts & feelings are all a cluster.
I begin to work through & break down each class, I realize how quickly each week seemed to pass.
I’ve enjoyed every moment of learning something new, it has made me eager to continue exploring & learning too.
It all began in January on week one, I knew what was in store for me was going to be a lot of fun.
I always get nervous introducing myself on the first day of class, getting to know everyone sure helped the time to pass.
I then logged into my old blog website from previous years, looking through it released some old & new fears.
In week 2 Katia shared some great information regarding blogs, it was exactly what I needed as my brain felt like a fog.
Blogging tends to push me out of my comfort zone, something that really used to make me moan & groan.
Now blogging is something I’ve learned to embrace, my old posts helped me to learn and something I would not erase.
Week 3 I learned all about ChatGPT and AI, this was the first I was hearing about it and it felt like a lie.
This is where my mixed emotions really started to brew, I saw the benefits, but I definitely saw the harm too.
I think we need to learn how to embrace & work with it, it isn’t going anywhere so why throw a fit?
We then learned about digital citizenship in week 4, and I somehow became more torn than before.
I explored the book Digital Citizenship in Action for some further learning, the extra guidance & tips was something I was yearning.
I was left feeling like it was not just the responsibility of the teacher, children need lots of guidance and this felt like a parent’s feature.
In week 5 we were given a break, this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t continuously learning each day I wake.
This class has already impacted so much of how I teach, I plan to use technology in each student I want to reach.
This week off made me eager to continue learning more, the debates were up next & I felt ready to soar.
Week 6 brought out first debate, their points & presentations were a 10/10 rate.
The topic questioned if technology enhances learning, I flopped back & forth and my thoughts were burning.
Maybe perhaps technology has brought lots of benefits, however I think it has enhanced learning only a little bit.
Week 7 debate questioned if childhood is being ruined by technology, I feel like it is and that these kids deserve an apology.
They seem to enjoy it and it shows in their confidence, however, are they even aware of all the consequences?
I want their childhood to feel simple and easy, in this day and age I get that might sound unrealistic and cheesy.
Week 8 was my debate with Ummey, this topic covered a lot of ground, some might say.
We focused on technology beyond just the classroom, it is important to know that technology has helped lots to bloom.
Technology has brought our world so far in many ways, I understand that it might only help if people can pay.
We took a closer look at digital footprints in week 9, the responsibility of this did not feel like it should be mine.
I feel like this incorporates too much of the outside world, the thought of this being added to my plate made my head swirl.
Educators should definitely help to pave the way, I just don’t think the expectations should be the teachers say.
The week 10 debate made me uncomfortable, during tough discussions I always try to stay neutral so that I am not labeled.
Teaching can feel like a tough spot to be in, I want to have a voice, but staying quiet seems like the win.
The classroom should be a safe place for my students, however, I want them to be aware that their voice can leave a dent.
Week 11 wrapped up our course, it quickly came to an end in full force.
The final debate talked about AI impacting education, this topic had lots of inputs and created quite the discussion.
I was again left torn between both sides of the debate, worrying about it leaving a negative impact was something I could relate.
With that being said I do see the good, from this I know students will be given more opportunities, as they should.
This class has left such a positive impact on me, I cannot wait to incorporate my learning, oh the teacher I will be!
In ways I appreciated how much I’ve learned through those courses, but also how much I have grown & learned through natural forces.
I like to think every single day I am learning something new, from my students, to my colleagues, and even myself too.
The debate question for this week was, “Will AI technologies revolutionize education for the better?”. This was a question that I think had many factors playing a part in my response to this. It feels like a loaded question and all I can think to say is, “It’s not that simple!”. It really isn’t. I don’t think it can be an “agree” or “disagree” response. My decision feels like it needs to have justification & reasoning to further elaborate on my decision, and even then I’m not sure if I can lean to one direction of either agree or disagree.
On one hand, I do think AI can create excellent teaching opportunities and learning experiences for our students. I think some of the fear or worry that educators are experiencing is that this is going to take some exploring & adjusting on the educators end. This won’t just be something that will simply be there, it will take strategically planning & placing it into our lessons and daily practice in a way that will advance our students. Just like other areas of technology, proper boundaries and expectations need to be put into place.
The article, Should Robots Replace Teachers? Mobilisation of AI and Learning Analytics in Education, draws attention to the many benefits AI has brought into the classroom. Looking at the qualitative data and reading through the information provided me with proof that there absolutely are advantages when AI is incorporated properly. The incorporation of AI had increased the quality of teacher instruction, while also improving the way students interact with the material & therefore the evaluation of their work. Now this sounds like something we can get on board with, right?
On the other hand I feel like incorporating AI into the classroom can harm some of the personal connections & conversations among the class. Bart made a good point during the debate, sharing that he tried to get ChatGPT to type up student comments during report card season. This is something that just simply would not work. I guess it could work if you were looking for more of a general comment & okay with showing little to no connection or emotion towards the students, but that isn’t what teaching is all about. Teaching is about making those one-on-one connections and building the relationships, so I definitely see this as a potential setback.
Bart’s comment during the debate made me think about the 6 C’s of education. These areas are what our school focuses on each year, especially when planning out our professional teacher goals for the school year. These include collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, communication, citizenship, character. If you think about it, AI happens to take away all of those aspects from education. If using AI, it minimizes collaboration with others, using critical thinking, creativity in many areas, proper communication, citizenship within communities, and overall who you are as a person.
Further Support & Input
Now that we know I’m hopping back and forth between both sides of the line, going back and forth between the good, the bad, and the ugly; what now? Well I once again think we need to find balance. Balance of letting AI become a part of our education system, while also ensuring it doesn’t hinder the creative side of who our students are. It should be used to enhance their learning, not change who they are in order to get answers or make life easier. I hope teachers can embrace this possibility with an open mind, but approach it with care and awareness of the harm that can be done if we not done properly.
As I continued doing some of my own research on this topic, I came across an article titled, “Technology Isn’t a Tool, It’s an Instrument”. I began reading, but stopped myself. My mom was just telling me to watch the Steve Jobs movie and this movie is mentioned through-out this article. In fact, it includes a few spoilers that I skipped over altogether. I am giving myself homework to watch the movie & finish reading the article. I am also giving myself homework to try & incorporate AI into my classroom in a positive & professional manner. In a way that advances the way I teach & the way my students learn. So even though this class is wrapping up, I know there is still lots I want to learn & better myself with as an educator, continuously wanting to better myself for my students, heck that is why I am here in this class, taking my masters! We are in the future & it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so we might as well learn to work alongside it!
This was a very interesting topic and both debate groups did an excellent job of sharing their viewpoints & trying to persuade the audience. I once again was pulled in two different directions and I think this was the first time since week 1 where my vote switched. Initially I felt that as educators we do have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice, however that belief shifted through out the presentation.
I am Uncomfortable.
About half way through the discussion period, Alec asked if we felt more uncomfortable with this topic than previous topics. Lots spoke up saying no, but for me, I absolutely felt uneasy. I usually have no problem sharing my thoughts, views, beliefs, or opinion; however this topic has a lot more depth to it. I feel as of recently a lot of topics have become a touchy subject and I would hate to say something that could make anyone else feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
I recently found myself in a situation where a lot of my close friends & some family disagreed with a belief I held. A belief that I feel quite strongly about, but don’t push on those around me. This belief doesn’t at all discriminate or negatively impact other people, yet here I am still scared to voice this belief because I don’t want to feel judged or attacked for something I believe. I feel like the world still needs to continue growing in the way that we need to respect & appreciate that people will have diverse beliefs, just like we are trying to teach within our classrooms.
Should Educators Stay Neutral?
I feel like I constantly feel pressure to remain neutral in many areas of my life. I do feel like part of it is because I am a teacher, and especially a Catholic teacher. I feel like I’m not allowed to have beliefs or opinions beyond our religion, but for me personally I think it is important to question things, to wonder & be curious. I believe that is how we learn and grow and push ourselves past points of comfort. I believe it helps us to be open minded to other people & their beliefs, while respecting the diversity that we all hold.
I had a Grade 6 student come up to me the other day during library. He was holding the newspaper and had just read one of the comics. He found it funny, so wanted to show me. The first picture was of a dad sitting in a lounger chair and the son was standing beside him. It looked like the son was getting in trouble about something. The dad had a speaking bubble saying “We do not lie, scam, or cheat…” and then in the next bubble it said, “We leave that to the government.” I laughed out loud. To me it was hilarious & honestly a good representation of how I personally feel about the government. However, that might not be how everyone else feels. I felt guilty for laughing. I felt guilty for showing through my laughter that I agreed with the joke. I felt bad that I showed I wasn’t remaining neutral and that I did actually have an opinion on this topic.
As much as I feel I know where my decision is headed, the article, Teaching Social Justice in Theory and Practice did an excellent job sharing a point of view in which there is importance in teaching social justice within the classroom. It discusses the goals of social justice, explains how to foster a classroom community of conscience, elaborates on helping students see each other as co-learners rather than adversaries, touches on the importance of including diverse experiences and backgrounds in classroom materials, and reflects how learning social justice can be turned into community service and action.
After reading through this article & reading through the tips of how we can properly bring social justice into the classroom, I’ve realized that I already incorporate most of these things. I am always trying to incorporate the diverse backgrounds and all the unique ways in which my students learn best, while also bringing awareness to all the other social justices that exist in our world beyond our own personal classroom & community. Creating an environment where students feel safe to share their opinions, along with feeling valued & respected by their peers is very important. I think the trickiness of it comes into play when there are diverse opinions or beliefs that tend to impact or offend others.
Between the debates, the articles, and honestly my own blog post this week, my thoughts & beliefs feel all over the place. I feel like this blog post felt more personal than it did actually getting somewhere, but maybe by getting all my thoughts & feelings out there it has helped me to reach my own conclusion. Moving forward I want to create the balance between a safe environment where students can share their opinions & feelings, while also remaining neutral & keeping certain topics out of the classroom. I think this will change from person to person and classroom to classroom, but for me personally I think finding that balance is key. It may take time, I might make mistakes, and it might be ongoing, but I hope to get there. To push perspectives, yet respect the boundaries.
I think the biggest thing we need to be sure of when discussing this topic, is ensuring we are all using the same definition of a ‘digital footprint’. When I think of a digital footprint, it is similar to the definition found online,
The information about a particular person that exists on the internet as a result of their online activity. “There are several ways to ensure your digital footprint doesn’t damage your reputation”
To me, this means monitoring what your students are posting online and ensuring that they are being appropriate & careful. If we are going by this definition then I believe this runs into a whole world of problems. For starters, no two parents will have the same ways of regulating their child online & making rules for them. Do all parents want their child to be respectful over the internet? I think I can confidently say yes. Do all parents monitor that respectfulness and put rules in place to ensure it is happening? Absolutely not, so how can teachers be expected to find that bridge and ensure no lines or boundaries of these expectations are being crossed?
The article Digital Natives: Citizens of a Changing World Fostering Digital Citizenship in the Classroom shares a quote,
“Students must understand how to use personal technology in ways that enhance their learning experience and lead to self-empowerment and awareness…”
I think if this is the definition people are using to explain digital footprints, then that may be where the problem lies. To me the quote above is just basic expectations for myself as a teacher for incorporating technology into the classroom. Anything good comes with responsibility and if I choose to incorporate technology into the classroom as a learning tool, then I am also taking on that responsibility of making sure my students know that it is there to enhance our learning experiences and it is to be respected. Is it my responsibility to ensure students are using technology in a positive, respectable, non-damaging way? Within my classroom absolutely, but that could fall flat the second they walk out my classroom door.
Both sides of the debate for this week did an excellent job! It definitely made me think critically and was once again I was left flip flopping between sides, view points, and comments made during the discussion. I love when a class really stumps me on my own beliefs of something & can deepen my understanding. That is what a good debate should do! I did come out of it with a clear understanding that I do not think teachers should have a responsibility to help their students develop a digital footprint. However, this debate also made me think of my own classroom and how I could maybe have some more discussions and/or teaching points to help my students become AWARE of their digital footprint. Maybe educating our students on the fact that they will always have a digital footprint is helpful enough.
Just like Jerred addresses in the video, “Reasons Teachers are Quitting Their Jobs in 2022”, along with Jessica from the debate, some very crucial points were made with already worrying about our own digital footprint. We are encouraged to constantly monitor and watch what WE as educators are posting and I honestly struggled to keep up with it. Between commenting on posts that might not be “approved”, to getting tagged in photos I didn’t know were going to be posted, it was all too much to monitor. How are we supposed to help students create their own digital footprint if we can barely keep up with our own. I truly feel like this responsibility needs to be on the shoulders of their parents.
I believe that my expectations as a teacher should not include something that involves so much of the outside world. In regards to the photo below, ensuring a child is always thinking long-term before posting, using privacy settings on social networking pages, keeping personal information private, protecting your privacy and the privacy of your friends, and applying the Golden Rule when online seems like a big task. A task I did not sign up for & that should not be in my job description. If it eventually works its way into the curriculum then I guess that is the future we are at. However, for now, I’m going to remind my students to be decent, kind, respectable, mature, appropriate human beings online & leave the rest up to their parents!
When I read the the title, I feel guilty for thinking that we could possibly live in a society that could never become equitable. Then I think about the realistic aspects of this question and how if we haven’t become equitable or ever came close to being equitable, what makes me think it will happen? It is a doubt for sure. I hope & wish for it to become a reality, but the past hasn’t quite shown us it is capable. And even though I was on the agreeing side of the debate last week, I definitely don’t think technology will be the thing that gets us there.
Last week there were some very good points and beliefs shared during our debate discussion. I appreciated hearing everyone’s thoughts on this topic, as I am still finding myself torn on this topic. In one moment I am finding myself believing that technology has helped to advance so many things, which in return I do believe has led to a more equitable society. This includes some of our topics from last night, such as assistive technology, educational opportunities, medical services, fundraising & awareness, and much more. However, in another moment, I am returned to the factor of not being able to afford technology, which can create an even larger gap in our society,
Initially I struggled to see how to many of my classmates it wasn’t immediately clear how far we’ve come as a society with options for so many people, but of course the answer is because not everyone has access to technology and/or can afford it. All of these topics truly keep coming back to that same answer of money. Laura mentioned during our debate that it truly doesn’t have anything to do with technology, it has to do with money. Who has access to it & who does not. Unfortunately that is for many things in society, which again will continue to drive us away from creating an equitable society.
I think this debate topic is one I will continue to flip flop on, especially depending on the details we are choosing to look at it. I think there are so many factors that go into this topic & so many different statements to consider. The other group shared an incredible article, Digital equity: focusing on every Canadian’s digital future. It went into great detail regarding many of these topics & I really enjoyed reading through their perspective. It states how “We know that the internet is the greatest equalizer. Once you have access to the internet, you have access to so many different things”. This statements supports the argument they made and the points that were discussed. It is a statement that holds so much depth and truth.
I guess this was the point I really needed to remember, all of these amazing advancements & opportunities from technology are great, IF you have access to it. In the picture below, I used to think of it as the fish not being able to climb the tree because of the way it was created, for example a disability. Now I see it as the fish not having proper access to help them climb that tree. I’m aware that there are options & opportunities, but if you can’t access or afford it, then it actually isn’t providing an equitable opportunity for them.
This debate topic was one that I was pretty certain I wouldn’t flop view points on. As much as both groups had excellent presentations & made very good points, I remained the same through-out majority of the debate. Unfortunately I do think social media is ruining childhood for many children & it is something I feel quite passionate about. I do not yet have my own children, but I am already nervous for the day that they are of age to get devices and use social media. I have a lot of fear of what social media is doing for our future generations. There is so much that they do that relies on technology.
In the “Social Media is Destroying An Entire Generation of Kids” article, there is a quote that is quite disturbing to me. It states that, “Heavy social media usage for young girls is correlated more strongly with anxiety and depression than heroin use”. The fact that this is a statement to even exist, makes my stomach hurt. What are we doing to our children & our future generations? Children need to be protected & often times don’t realize the harm or danger that something is causing. Children needs to be given their innocence back, I want them to enjoy the freedom of thinking everything is easy & simple.
I mentioned earlier that I just recently deleted all my social media. This is honestly because I believe there is more harm than good when it comes to social media, especially at the young age of children. It gives such a false representation of lives and expectations. I would see friends post about how perfect and incredible their lives are and then hear the stories of frustration or struggles in person. I’m not judging anyone for how they choose to post, but can you imagine if children only see the good & ‘bragging’ moments from social media, but struggle with understanding why their lives don’t feel ‘perfect’. Children shouldn’t be comparing, childhood should be simple!
Prior to our first debate I had voted that technology does in fact help to advance learning in the classroom. However, my post vote had changed and I think Catrina & Janeen did an excellent job of influencing me to the other side. I have always been a little skeptical with technology, but have done by best to appreciate all that it is capable of while trying to incorporate it into my classroom. I have come to the conclusion (at this point in my life/career) that as much as I still appreciate technology, I truthfully don’t think it helps to ‘advance learning’. Sure it is helpful & handy in many diverse ways, but is it in fact advancing student learning?
In the article, “Class, Take Out Your Tablets: The Impact of Technology on Learning and Teaching in Canada” that was shared by Will & Michael, it mentions how technology has positively impacted the workload of the teacher. The article shares how it gives us educators more of an opportunity to focus on building relationships & inspiring students, because technology has helped to ease some of our late night marking and lesson plan preparation. This feels like something I have taken for granted, because it’s all I know as an educator. It is so nice to log onto my Planbook when I am sick & unable to go into work. Technology has provided me with a way to prepare my day from the comfort of my bed.
Even though this article made some valid points, I think I’m still convinced that technology is not yet advancing our student’s learning. As Catrina stated in the presentation, “Technology doesn’t necessarily mean engagement”, along with Janeen stating that, “Technology doesn’t necessarily mean collaboration”. These statements really opened my eyes to the reality of it. Are my students anymore engaged when they are working online or incorporating technology? Are they using collaboration in a creative way to engage in new conversation? I don’t think so. I think technology is just a helpful tool that both the student & the teacher can gain benefits from, but not necessarily advancing the learning.
I will still continue to embrace & incorporate technology, because there are still many incredible benefits of it despite disagreeing that it advances learning within the classroom. I hope one day I can find a way for it to become an advancement of learning & not just a tool of something that makes our lives “easier”.
This week I decided to draw a bit of attention to each of the prompts we were given. To begin, I wanted to fully understand and define ‘digital citizenship’. MediaSmarts define it as the,
“ability to navigate our digital environments in a way that’s safe and responsible and to actively and respectfully engage in these spaces.”
I feel that since children nowadays are exposed to technology at such a young age and don’t really know a world without it, they aren’t fully aware of all the negative aspects and danger that can come with it. Technology has provided us with incredible opportunities and advanced ways of interaction and learning, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. Responsibility that has to be learned at a young age in order for students to not take advantage of it or use it in a negative way.
In Kristen Mattson’s book, Digital Citizenship in Action, she does an excellent job of bringing awareness to how students can learn how to positively and appropriately interact in online communities. Her book guides educators through the process of supporting students to creating a safe space, acknowledging their online voices, becoming aware of their roles in these online communities, participate in a responsible and respectful manner, how to make connections and engagement, along with using the internet in a meaningful way. Helping our students to better understand their role within a digital community holds great value, especially for educators who are new to implementing this into their classroom.
Although I think this book has great resources and there are many things I will put into my own teaching practice. I do think digital citizenship should be having a stronger influence from the parenting side of things, rather than the classroom setting. Reminders of how to interact online and what is acceptable and appropriate should come from the parents. In a way, it is like reminding your child to be respectful and kind citizens in the real world. Of course it is good to be discussed and addressed in the classroom, especially when technology is being used as a tool in our education. However, I personally believe the way your child behaves on the internet is a direct reflection on what the parent has educated them on, including their own approach of how they interact on these online communities. All of us adults are influencing our younger generations, so let’s all make sure we are being the best examples for them & their learning!
To put it simply, I was absolutely speechless & mind blown. I honestly hadn’t heard about ChatGPT or AI before last class and it definitely came as a shock. After I was finally able to process what I was being told, I was quite intrigued. I wanted to know more! I definitely enjoyed the class and all that Alec shared with us, it was more than I had imagined.
That was my initial reaction, but now I’m trying to sort through my reaction and decide how I feel about it. I’m happy to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t completely terrified for our future. Technology seems to have that impact on me, especially when it is something new & exciting and I can’t keep up with learning all the ins and outs. I was still intimidated by it and a little scared of the negative impact it could potentially leave on our society and all our future learners.
On that note, I was relieved to feel something more than just fear. A side of excitement, wonder, and curiosity. A side I rarely experience when it comes to technology. I was intrigued by everything being shared with us and the way this could also have positive impacts on our classroom and our student’s learning. I honestly believe it can help to push us to new levels of learning and understanding. I think this can help our students to learn and explore on their own and has potential to be helpful in areas of inquiry based learning as well .
This excitement is not something I thought I would feel this quickly in the course. I imagined it being a struggle of pushing away my fears and doubts. Yet here I am, being told there is this new, fancy aspect of technology that can create anything you could possibly think of (and more) and here I am excited for its potential. I hope I’m not jumping the gun and it ends up back firing. I hope this excitement sticks around and I’m able to properly and professionally implement this into the classroom; and as quoted from Star Wars, “You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting”, isn’t that the truth!