Is technology an Equitable Force?

 

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With this weeks topic of “Technology is a force for equity in society” we listened to two fantastic debated by Robbi and Doug. Both debates were done very well and really made me think. This week I again thought I had my mind made up and I think I left without a true answer to which side I’m on. I of course voted for one but the more I think about it I again go back to the thoughts of whether it is technology they is creating equity in society or if its how its used.

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Beginning with the agree side of the debate Robbi had provided very helpful resources. The first one “How technology can boost equity in education”  provided one example pf how technology is starting tp deliver more classes through video conferencing. This one is pretty obvious to me as how technology is creating equity in society. Just thinking about this class and how it allows students who don’t live in Regina or who work during the day to be able to take classes without having to travel or leave their home. Robbi mentioned her own experience with working in a small town and small school and her own experience with her students and online classes. Not having certain classed offered allows her students to take online classes to be given the same opportunity as students from bigger schools and cities.

Now with Doug’s side of the debate and disagreeing that technology is a force for equity

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in society this was initially the side where I believed that I was going to agree with. Now of course this side of the deabte can go back to our initial conversations of whether it is truly the technology or if it is how the technology is used. The first article I looked at was Educational technology isn’t leveling the playing field. One thing that stood out to me in this article was the statement “While technology has often been hailed as the great equalizer of educational opportunity, a growing body of evidence indicates that in many cases, tech is actually having the opposite effect.” We have often talked about the fact that not every student has the same opportunity and resources. It comes back to what we were talking about when there were many laptops that were dropped off to countries the kids who didnt know how to use them but it was thought it would better their lives. The other article that was posted was Lack of Rural Broadband Access Creating Divide Among Canadians. This article disscueed that many communities may not be abke to support the technoloy. One statement that stood out to me was, “Many of the province’s tiny fishing villages don’t have access to broadband internet, stuck with the dial-up internet most Canadians left in the last millennium.” By not having the ability to support the technology it is hard to think that technology is helping to make force for equity.

 

Overall this debate was really well done and really got me thinking! Great work to both Robbi and Doug!

 

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The Big Mix-up

For this weeks debate we could have had a big disaster but luckily both Brian and Emily were great at improvising under pressure. We had what seemed like two very different topics turn out to connect it each other very well

Lets begin with Emily’s debate about the Faustian bargain. Now I had no idea about what the Faustian bargain but as Emily explained it as basically selling out and selling your soul. We discussed the idea of standardized tests. One of the articles that Emily shared was Why standardized tests are worthless. This article provided insight as to why standardized tests can actually create more problems than it solves. This article provided many examples of why standardized tests can be more detrimental to students then helping them. Some of the examples that stood out to me are that students and teachers may be more likely to cheat because they know the importance on getting high marks on these tests. As well as teachers teaching to the test. Now this is an interesting debate and it is one that I think requires a lot more time and research but I ultimately think that this is a topic that I agree with.

 

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Now discussing Brian’s side of the debate. This debate was about “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.” Now this is a topic that I heavily disagreed and continued to throughout and after the debate. The information provided in the debate just continued to reinforce what I already thought. The first article provided was The benefits of sharing student work in online spaces mentioned having students share their work through blogs. One thing that stood out to me in this article is the comment made, “It’s exciting to see learners seek out feedback and place value on receiving comments from diverse settings.” I think this is similar to all of us when we are writing our own blogs for classes and receiving feedback. It mentioned how it can help students go back and look back on their work. I often think of things like Class Dojo where teachers are able to share students work for their parents to see.

 

The second article Teachers, Take Care Of Your Digital Footprint makes me think of what we are trying to with this class with creating a positive digital identity. Having students share their work can help students start to create the own digital identity.

Both Brian and Noah mentioned that it may push students to create better work which I also thought was a good point. I also think back to something that Jordyn posted on twitter about how students can put a note on their work that they want to share and the teacher will make a post about it.

Overall we had two very string debates today and turned out to have a very strong conversation even though we had two different topics.

 

CJ #5: Outdoor Education as a Way of Thanks

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This week with looking at the Canoe Pedagogy for this week’s blog prompt a has made me think back to my own experience with outdoor education. I have mentioned before that I took an outdoor education class in high school. In this class we took a bike trip to Kananaskis and a canoeing trip to Northern Saskatchewan. We were able to experience the mountains and riding our biked down the paths through the trees as well as the lakes in Northern Saskatchewan that were so clear we were able to drink straight from the lake.

“Because wilderness and nature are called into being by the meanings given
them, are constituted by their own representations, they are human creations
and thus subject to the whims and politics of human activity” (NewBerry, 2012).

This quote made me reflect on how these place should that I visited where we are lucky that we have these places because they are taken care of but because of human activity they could be taken away from us.

Being in these places made me think about how I am thankful I am to have had these opportunities. These are places that haven’t been destroyed and are meant for people to enjoy and be with nature. People may not realize what is in Northern Saskatchewan so many may not go there which may be why it has stayed safe. I think that in Northern Saskatchewan we were able to see stone paintings which made us think of the historical roots and how long people had been living there. We may not think that people have lived and been there before us and we may try to take it as our own. Being able to go to Northern Saskatchewan made me think of all the First Nation people that would have been there for many years and lived off the land and truly gave back to it instead of just taking away from the land.

“It was when the earth starts to wake up from her well-deserved rest and renews her gifts to the people” (Kimmerer, 168).

Again looking at this quote as a way of giving thanks, we need to realize the Earth has so much to give that we need to give back instead of just taking away.

Looking at disrupting the common sense idea of Canadian Wilderness, we always think of as being outside in the mountains. We instead need to start thinking about Wilderness being everything.

 

Is Technology Healthy or Not Healthy?

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This weeks debate topic of “Technology is making our kids unhealthy” was the debate topic that I participated in. I was on the disagree side of this topic. This debate was one that I thought would be close and while more people voted for the agree side it was close. During our discussion, a lot of good points were brought up. A lot of questions were brought up about whether the technology was actually making kids unhealthy or if it was just an excuse. In the one article, Digital technology can be harmful to your health that Jordyn posted it mentioned how kids are becoming sedentary and are developing bad sleep patterns from using technology, you can see how it can promote an unhealthy lifestyle. While I do think that technology can promote unhealthy lifestyles I don’t think that it is the root cause and I do think that it can help to promote a healthy lifestyle. One of the articles, Fighting Childhood Obesity With Technology: 5 Interactive Tools To Help Children Stay Healthy provided many options for tools and apps that can help kids become healthy. The tools that this article provides are:

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“Kids Wearables” – These are a lot like Fitbits but are designed for kids from LeapFrog as a health tracker that has specific activities and challenges. It mentions in the article how this is good for students who attend schools who no longer have recess
“TinyBop’s anatomy app” – This app is designed to help teach kids about the “different functions of the human body”
“Super Stretch Yoga” – a yoga app for young children to develop healthy habits
“Smash Your Food” – Encourages families to “smash” unhealthy foods to learn about nutrition”

 

Another article I found, Wiring your future: How technology can impact long-term health actually mentioned how if technology is used wisely and properly it can actually be a benefit to your health. While I ultimately don’t think that technology can, either way, make kids unhealthy or healthy, I think that it contributes to both ways. Depending on how technology is used it can either be a benefit or detriment to your health. It is up to us to as educators to help to provide our students with the knowledge and tools to use technology is a beneficial way.

Check out the other article that I found for this debate:

Strategies for using digital technology in healthy ways

 

CJ #4: All About Water

This week my thoughts were all around water. Going to the water treatment plant really opened my eyes in terms of how much work goes into making the water clean for us to drink. We often take having clean water for granted but we know that some people don’t have clean water and can get sick from the water they are drinking.  Going to the water treatment plant made me realize that we should be cautious of the water at our disposal and how to take care of it. We often don’t think about what were doing can impact our water and we can actually be destroying it by our actions. This again goes back to taking the leap to be better with what we are doing to our environment.

I think that I can connect to the Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History reading with my visual and blog post. With this reading being about Outdoor Environmental Education I can relate back to my own experience with Outdoor Ed. In high school I was in an Outdoor Ed class and we went on a canoe trip in Northern Saskatchewan. One thing that really stood out to me was how clean the water was. It was so clean that you were able to drink right from the lake. By not having many people around there wasn’t as much opportunity to pollute the lake.  On page 34 of the reading Newberry wrote, “Wilderness and nature are often represented in dominant discourse as spaces of leisure, as places to unwind or, alternatively wind up for expedition.” What I like about the statement is that taking this class, I was able to unwind and relax on this class and just enjoy my surroundings. On page 35 of the reading Newberry wrote, “Because wilderness and nature are called into being by the meanings given them, are constituted by their own representations, they are human creations and thus subject to the whims and politics of human activity.” I think that this is a perfect way to express my thoughts this week. Many lakes have been created and destroyed by us polluting and destroying them and they are no longer safe to just drink out of.

My choice of an Ed-tech topic is…

This week we were able to do our blog post on any Ed-tech topic that we wanted to read about. This week I wanted to look at the topic of Virtual Reality. When I first heard about the concept of VR it was my brother who told me about it. I didn’t really understand the whole point of it because I thought it was just for video games. I soon learned that it was not the case. My dad, kept telling me about the VR room they have in the school he works at. I finally got to experience it for myself last semester and I really understood the benefit. One article that I found called Virtual reality in the classroom it gives the example of a history teacher who could let their students see ancient buildings in Greece. When I used the VR room for myself I used a solar system one and I couldn’t stop thinking how it would be awesome for students for students to learn about the solar system by actually seeing the planets and feeling like you could touch them.

 

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In another article that I found called Cultivating New Levels of Student Engagement through Virtual Reality it mentioned how VR may help students to be more become more engaged in their learning. This article mentioned how a teacher who had students that didn’t often participate in class were more apt to participate while using the VR technology.

In a Computer Science Class Boy Wearing Virtual Reality Headset Works on a Programing Project.
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Another article that I found called How our school is using Virtual Reality to prepare pupils for a future dominated by technology  did talk about how VR technology is expensive and that it is better having multiple devices to be effective. This article also mentioned how students are able to have first hand experience with what they are learning as well. One last article that I found called Virtual Reality is Hitting the Books: VR in Education discussed that VR caters to many different learning styles and how it can help students better work together.

CJ #3: What does embodiment mean to me?

0CDD308B-192B-41AC-A0AD-4056E024D0BATo me, in the context of climate change and ecoliteracy embodiment means to physically attempt to make a difference. Much like our embodying ecoliteracy projects embodiment is what we are doing with our bodies. My visual represents what embodiment means to me in terms of climate change. In my visual I took a picture of myself holding a world on fire. To me if we don’t take control and really embody saving our planet we won’t have one. By “holding” the world in our hands we can help to make the world a better place. Embodiment to me also means physically taking a stand and advocating for what you think is right. Much like in The Lorax how the Lorax basically become an advocate for the trees that are being cut down and affecting the “ecosystems” where everyone is living.

I think embodiment in context of climate change also has a lot to do with what we have been doing in ESCI 302 which is going and being outside and practicing stillness. In Robin Wall Kimmerer, on page 224-225 it is said, “The woods are full of their bright voices. When the last pair of saplings is tied, quiet falls as they see what they have made. It looks like an upside-down bird’s nest, a basket of thick saplings domed like a turtles back. You want to be inside.” By going outside and realizing what is around you, you might be more inclined to make a change and improve your day to day life and be able to help save the environment. Much like in Robin Kimmerer’s first reading we read we found out how important it is to not just read about these topics but to also experience them. Being outside and experiencing the outdoors can make us realize what we have and how we should protect it.