So what’s my story? What did I learn? ECI 830 has provided many thought provoking opportunities for reflection on the Ed Tech world. Here’s my attempt to try and sum up my learning journey. Because Alec & Katia classes are different than my Blackboard based U of S Educational Technology and Design (ETAD) classes, I’ve included a short section at the start of the video that highlights how we learn in this class. It will be added to my ETAD Portfolio because after I’m brave enough to post my summary of learning and share my last debate reflection this will conclude class 9 of 10 on my ETAD journey. Next up is an independent study on Leadership – Is there a difference between our face to face and online worlds?
So here’s my video….
—The first part is more my style and then, like a fellow ECI 830 student mentioned, I stepped way outside my comfort zone and attempted to rewrite a song. (I should mention my husband plays in a band (guitar and vocals)… I don’t sing…in public…or very loud… so this is way outside my comfort zone – hopefully your ears are okay after;) It’s hiding at the end of the video.
–I’ve attempted to rewrite & perform the Johnny Cash version of I won’t Back Down – It’s now called, “I Will Step In.” Special thanks to my husband, David, for recording the guitar & background vocals and not laughing at me while I attempted to sing it:) He helped edit the musical track together for the song. (It was quite the process, first he recorded the guitar track, then I had to sing, then he added the harmonies… glad he’s a DJ, rockstar, shop teacher. And did I mention… he always sings the Johnny Cash songs that the band plays – he said it was important for me to sing my story.)
All images included in the video are sourced from Pixabay Creative Commons CC0 & Screenshots by Stephanie
Our debates reminded me of the Story of Two Wolves shared by a Grandfather to his Grandson.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It’s a terrible fight and it’s between two wolves.”
“One is evil, he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego.
“The other is good, he is joy, peace, love, hope, serentiy, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
“This is the same fight going inside you – and inside every other person, too”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?
He replied simply, “The one you feed.”
There’s always two sides to the story, to the issue – careful which one you feed.
Thank-you for watching! I truly appreciated learning with everyone!! Truly one of the highlights of my Masters class journey. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your stories and different perspectives. It’s truly added to the richness of the class.
Wishing everyone a restful and re-energizing summer and smooth sailing your Masters’ journey.
No need to keep reading – this is just my reflection on how I came to learn what I did in ECI 830:) It’s a more detailed description of what I tried to put into video with a top 10 things I learned.
What’s my story?
The non-video version
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King Jr.
It started with a decision to apply to the ETAD program in April of 2014, a letter welcoming me to the program and the fun of trying to register and figure out classes. Class #1 started in September of 2014, the same day my daughter started Kindergarten. Coincidentally, the same summer the Color By Amber came to Canada and I started a home based business all while I worked as a Learning Consultant. Because when opportunity comes along you just have to go for it.
Change is an ever present force in our lives and you can either fight it or learn and grow . So why not step out of your comfort zone and see just want you can do.
Fast forward to the count down to my two remaining classes. I reached out to Alec Couros to see what might be available at the U of R and he suggested ECI 830 – Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology – one SUGA agreement and a “hey, so we just found out your are in our class from Katia and her I am. Working on finishing class #9. (Okay this post means the class is almost finished 🙂
The more learning I do the more I find we are all connected by the stories we tell and those that we share. ECI 830 enabled me to step out of my ETAD comfort zone and meet a whole new network of amazingly talented, reflective and creative teachers. So here’s the story of ECI 830….Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology… which is really a fancy way of saying in the world around us;)
Having just finished a full year of amazing Kitchen Parties with the legendary Rick Schwier, I was excited to join my fellow colleagues each Tuesday night at 7 for our Great Ed Tech Debates.
I use zoom with my business team so it was great to see it in action live with an entire class.
Instead of textbook we shared articles each week and instead of lectures we debated ed tech topics.
We shared evidence of our learning through blogs, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do but have just never had the time to do consistently.
We used WordPress to share our ideas and interact with each other.
In ETAD, we typically posted behind the blackboard walls in discussion forums so this provided a public forum for us to share our ideas.
I’ve never met these educators before but they are shaping my stories by choosing to share theirs.
Twitter gave us another chance to connect and share our ideas and grow our personal learning network.
Finding that online community that energizes and encourages you to grow is like finding a treasure. Together we shared not only our stories but our articles, blogs, podcasts and TED Talks all intended to help us better understand the Ed Tech issues all around us.
While the class talked about focusing on Ed Tech trends and issues, it’s really a course that any citizen would benefit from. Our topics don’t just affect our schools and our students, they affect our lives and our children….that’s who our students are. These issues affect all of us.
Alec and Katia carefully crafted the debate statements to get us to dig deeper and think more reflectively about how the issue affect us and our teaching.
Let’s break that down who’s affected….
You – students, parents, teachers, admin, division, community members…
- your kids, your family, your friends
- your social media connections…
The conversations that you have matter and whether you choose to step in or just listen impacts the ripple effect of your legacy.
Does technology enhance learning in the classroom?
Technology is all around us. It comes in many forms from the pencil with an eraser, scissors, to mobile devices, to the cell phone in your hand, to 3D printers. There will always be technology. It’s not inherently bad or good, it’s what you do with the technology you have that has the ability to enhance learning.
Should you teach anything that can be Googled?
Google is an integral part of our lives, if I said just Google it – you’d know what to do. Does our 24/7 access to information replace what we need to teach? It all depends how you teach; moreover, how you assess? If your students can just google the answer, what is it we are teaching them? Let’s remember that for information to become knowledge we have to think about it – Google doesn’t think about it it’s programmed to find connections – it’s up to us to use our brain to make sense of the world we encounter and as educators it is up to us to reflect on how we authentically assess students in a information based world.
What we choose to value in the learning process is going to echo forward for years to come.
Our class challenged the notion that memorization is bad, just think of all of the processes you’ve learned that have become automatic. It’s about what we choose to memorize and the purpose of investing in it. I’m more of a connectivist – yes there’s knowledge I need to hold in my own brain but there’s also an immense of amount of knowledge that I can connect to in my learning network (Google or the human kind).
Is technology making our kids unhealthy?
Is it making all of us unhealthy? Again it’s developing an awareness. Each week I find myself stepping back and looking at my world through a more reflective lens. Is my love of technology making me unhealthy? Or rather do I need to be more aware of the lifestyle choices that I am making? Tech is just a tool – before mobile devices, TVs were bad influences and before that books contained information that might just make us want to stay in one place until we finished the story.
As Audrey Watters pointed out, we always seem to have amnesia when it comes to new technology – as if we are the first ones to struggle with the challenges of tech. Are our problems must be more significant than those before us.
Isn’t it really about how we choose to use the tech? It’s how I choose to shape my life? You have to find the balance.
Is openness and sharing unfair to our kids?
Again it’s about the choices you make…. although I may be a bit biased. In a social media, knowledge based world where your life, as Alec pointed out, seems to be public by default and private by effort. I think we (educators and parents) have to teach our children how to become thoughtful, digital citizens that are aware of how their actions will impact their future. Every generation has things to learn and learning what and how to share may be one of the top five things to understand. Like the agree side explained, you are essentially creating a digital tattoo that will live years beyond you.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Is technology is a force for equity in society?
Let’s step back from technology – how do you create equity in your classroom?
Tech has the potential to be a force for equity, but it depends on how you use the tools you choose to use, how you choose to use them and the prior knowledge that your students bring to the table.
Equity doesn’t just happen, people consistently choose to look, listen and reflect on the environment they are creating in their class. In a diverse world, it’s important for us to recognize that culture shapes the way our brains make sense of the world. So you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone and choose to value equity.
This is the week I learned about Storientation = sharing your story builds connections, listening to the stories of others develops trust and being aware of your organization’s story shapes the path you are on.
Like Malcom Gladwell shared in the “Tipping Point” and Chip and Dan Heath explained in “The Switch” – it’s the small consistent choices that we make that truly shape the path and move us toward our goals. Tech is only one piece of the puzzle.
Is Social Media ruining childhood?
Social media has changed childhood.
As educators and parents, we need to be aware of what we choose to share and the medium we choose to share it in. If you are choosing what you post on social media, you are branding yourself. Changing the identity of a brand isn’t easy so learning strategies to think through things before you post is an important strategy in continuing to build a digital footprint. You wouldn’t send your child to the park unsupervised to spend the day with strangers, so use your not so common, common sense.
Make the effort to be aware of the world you live in and make the best choices you can to help build resilient children that have a well developed tool box of strategies to not just cope but thrive in today’s social world.
Has public education sold it’s soul to corporate interests?
Of all the debates this this one opened my eyes… not that I was oblivious to education’s connections to business. It’s part of life. Schools will always need supplies, tools and tech from the non educational world, what tugged at my heart was …it’s not something I actively reflect on very often. I love google, office, windows, android, apple, share point…. I use the tech I have access to – to create the best learning opportunities I can for my students and staff. If it’s free, all the better… but how do my choices ripple out? When I choose to use Google Apps because it’s free for education do I ever stop to have the conversation with my students about why I chose this tool?
I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my Coordinator or Student Support Services. Attribution theory – as we reviewed IIPs she reminded me it’s great to explicitly teach students the strategies they need but we also need students to learn to think about why choosing that strategy in that context works. It’s important for them to attribute their success to choosing the tool or strategy appropriately.
After all if I tried to use one thing for everything, it just wouldn’t work, but if I step back and choose the tool or strategy that best fits the situational need, then I’m more likely to find success.
What have I learned on this journey?
- If you are too comfortable with what you know maybe you haven’t thought about it enough
- Learning is messy and that’s good.
- It’s all about perspective. We each come to the table with different ideas and strengths and that’s the best part – it’s how we learn by sharing ideas and challenging each other to think outside our comfort zone
- If you walk into a room and you think you are the smartest person you are in the wrong room! You become like those you interact with, so choose to surround yourself with people that are going to challenge you to grow outside your comfort zone in positive ways.
- The more I learn the less I know & there’s always more to learn
- There’s always two sides to every issue, every story has at least two sides. It’s important to respect and listen to the challenges and questions raised by those that lie outside your initial zone of comfort…. you always have to listen first.
- Dean Benko explained that you have to find the balance – when you do you will find a state of flow.
- It’s not about the technology its about what you do with what you have… then again in our last debate … does it matter the kind of tech you have?
- Data and information are just that – knowledge is created by individual minds drawing on individual experience.. making value judgements based on their experiences….tech makes info and data easier to access, more visual and what seems at first easier to interpret… but that of course depends on who created the parameters of what to graph out? Just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s any more valid – you have to think critically and look deeper.
- Our ultimate goal is to encourage our students (our children) and those around us to become an engaged, multi-literate learners that care enough to think critically about the information, the environment and it’s sources that they encounter and choose to make a decisions based on their experiences. As Toffler says, the future belongs to the those who can learn, unlearn and relearn.
To reach the end is really to begin again and write the next chapter.
So here’s to the next chapter.