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.
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.
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.
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:
“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:
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.
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.
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.
To 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.
“Schools should not be teaching anything that can be googled: Agree or disagree?”
Another debate and another topic I thought I had my opinion on but now I have my doubts. The debate this week of whether or not schools should be teaching anything that can be googled is an interesting one. Before the debate I had a strong opinion that I was on the disagree side but I started to change my mind with this debate. While I haven’t fully changed my mind and am still mainly on the disagree side McKayla’s debate made me question my thoughts a little bit more.
McKayla was tasked with the difficult side of agreeing and she did a very good job and posed a lot of good points. She mainly discussed the use of google within a math classroom. The idea she brought up a lot was memorization how that is what we may be teaching our students. The article she provided Memorizing the times tables is damaging to your child’s mind discussed the aspect that it may be better to allow students to learn ways of how to now the multiplication tables their own way. In my own learning while learning the multiplication tables through songs but that might not have worked for other students so allowing them to google other way may be beneficial to some students. It mentioned how using math worksheets that basically require memorization aren’t beneficial. I remember doing mad minutes and I basically just memorized certain questions without learning how to do them. You of course can also look at math formulas and of course a lot of us being math majors the mention of the quadratic formula and how it can just be googled. The argument that McKayla made definitely made me think that maybe some things that can be googled shouldn’t take up time in the classroom to teach. I always think back to history class and dates. The dates to me were always memorization and I haven’t used them outside of my grade 11 and 12 history classes. Would it just be easier is students could just google the dates and teachers could teach more about the details instead of the dates? That’s a good question that there are many different aspects and opinions about and even for myself it is an interesting debate.
Now the disagreeing side of the debate. Brooklynn was tasked with the side that I thought she’d easily have most of the votes, give or take a few. Ultimately I am on the disagree side and many good points were made. Again we can use the example of the quadratic formula. Of course we can just google this formula but how are we going to know if it is correct and how to use it. If I was to google the quadratic formula I would be able to know and memorize the formula but you wouldn’t know how to properly use the formula. Like Cassidy mentioned students wouldn’t know what a, b, and c represent in the formula. Jordyn mentioned when she googled the formula more than one came up and she was more confused than she was to begin with. While students are able to google these things how can we assure they are finding the right information and know how to use it. That is a huge reason why we should still teach things even though they can be googled. “In the Age of Google, Should School Teach Memorization Skills?” This article actually explained that sometimes memorization may be beneficial. Of course we can think of tests and how you don’t have access to google and sometimes need to know the formulas. While I don’t think that it is necessary to have students memorize a lot of information it is sometimes necessary for different situations. We mentioned how in jobs when their are sales you don’t always have a calculator and may need to be able to know how to calculate a percentage of an item. Then we have the article Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth. We of course know the power of fake news and by just having our students use google they may not be getting correct information. Take the article North Korea Lands First Ever Man On The Sun, Confirms Central News Agency. We of course know this isn’t true but some people may believe it.
While students may still use google I still believe that it is important for teachers to be teaching the students so they are getting the right information and to be able to know how to properly use it. Our two debaters did a fantastic job of this topic and really got people thinking!