An Argument for Job Security

The lesson that really resonated with me this week is the notion that the “egocentric and selfish” label that is currently being placed on Gen Y’ers has been a common theme throughout history, and it’s likely not the generation that is responsible, but rather the age and time of life that Gen Y’ers currently find themselves.  Ultimately, it’s a twenty-something issue, not a generational issue.

This leads me to my second query, how is technology currently being utilized in education, and what can be done to encourage and support future growth? Too often, in my experience, I have seen technology being used as a “time-saver” for teachers.  A chance for them to catch up on marking, or plan for another lesson, while student learning is being guided by apps.  However, we’ve come to realize, this seemingly innate ability of our “Digital Natives” is not as proficient as once believed.  Therefore, just as twenty-somethings have struggled with selflessness, and accepting responsibility throughout history, elementary level students will continue to require the guidance and support from their teachers in their learning endeavours, and this includes the acquirement of technological skills.  As indicated in Kyla’s article this week, “This [poster] makes it useful not just as a visual for teacher understanding, but for students to discuss, internalize, and apply themselves.”  It is imperative that teacher’s teach their students how to properly and responsibly utilize technology beyond social media and communication apps, and instead foster the development of their student’s academic and professional technological needs.  Just as Brooke had mentioned in her blog, “The students in my classroom will need these skills in the future which means that we need to be teaching them now. Are we ready for it?”

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Several reflections arose throughout my reading of 9 Things That Will Shape the Future of Education.  Many of these highlighted the importance of the teaching profession within the continued evolution of the technological age. The first is the idea of Personalized Learning.  If the development of tech tools that meet the unique capabilities of each learner does come to fruition, it would vastly enhance the educational field, especially considering the current budgetary cuts that are affecting the programming and supports that many of our learners desperately need.  However, the students will need to learn how to utilize the technology and the programs, they will need someone to facilitate this learning, and they will continue to require the face-to-face opportunities that encourages and enhances their social development.

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Secondly, I was intrigued by the idea of Project Based learning outlined in the article.  While I absolutely see the validity and potential of inquiry based learning, in my experience I’ve come to realize that it’s not something that comes without guidance and practice.  Students today continue to have most of their education delivered through more traditional methods.  For many, without being given specific criteria, expectations, and guidelines, they are left feeling unsure of what direction to go.  However, through the guidance and support of the teacher, and the more times they are exposed to inquiry-based learning, the more comfortable and self-directed they will become in the future.

Finally, I really enjoyed the idea of Field Experience.  This is a step in the right direction, however caution needs to be exercised when considering some students will still require guidance and monitoring, and some will venture into several areas before finding their right fit.  We’ve already seen an emergence of career-pathways programs, and we’ll hopefully continue to see them thrive and become more prevalent.

I believe the concern of teachers eventually becoming replaced by technology is an unfounded one.  Children will always need guidance and support, and teachers need to continue to evolve their practices and engage in professional development opportunities that will allow them to meet the continuously emerging needs of their students.  Teachers need to shift their thinking from technology as a privilege or reward for good behaviour, to instead being an essential educational tool for the development of their students.

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An Identity Conundrum- Me, a Digital Native?

I have often found myself feeling bad for the millennial generation, because they will never know a time before the “Big Brother” world of social media.  These poor kids will never know what it’s like to unplug, to have a fully engaged conversation with those around them, to not have practically every living moment documented by them (or for them), or to never know what it’s like to not be available at any given second.  It got me to thinking, is this what our parents thought about us with the introduction of colour television and VHS into our lives?  Is what the older generation experienced in their youth always going to be considered the “good ol’ days”?  I’m beginning to think this may be the case.  I believe a shift needs to occur from viewing technology, specifically social media, as a drain on our younger generations’ intellect and ability to engage, and instead direct our focus onto how many of the social media apps are currently, or may potentially, serve as platforms for social change and intellectual development.  After all, it is through this technology and the “digital natives” who engage with it that tomorrow’s “next thing” will emerge.  Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be looking back to a much simpler time when we could connect with all those around us by posting pictures of special memories and simply comment at the push of a button to let those we love know that we “liked”?

I very much appreciated that the speaker in the “Do Digital Natives Exist? video highlighted that simply being born after 1980 does not bestow upon you the title of “Digital Native”.  I, for one, have been very stubborn in coming around to the digital age into which I was born.

Seriously, my grandmother possesses much more “Digital Wisdom” than I do!

A big reason that I’ve been resistant to the adoption of the digital era in my life, is the same reason I’ve always been terrible at taking pictures… I don’t want to miss the real thing!  It always blows my mind when I see concert-goers videoing large portions of the show.  Why would you watch through a 3×2 lens when you can have the real experience right in front of you?  Then again, perhaps my confidence in my own memory is greatly over-estimated! Thus, the idea of IRL has always seemed a little foreign to me.  The mere fact that the tech-speak “IRL” is well known and commonly used is a bit frightening to me.  Should there be such a prominent dichotomy between real and make-believe within our society that we need to identify when we’re referring to our reality? YIKES!  Then again these are the opinions of someone who held many a conversations with her imaginary friend “Jelna”… girl was always getting me in trouble.  As a new mom and teacher, I am very much aware that technology, social media, and the ever-evolving “next new gadget” is here to stay, and it’s time I get on board.  While I’d very much like to earn my “Digital Immigrant” status, I want to maintain that it will not be to an extent that it will interfere with MRL (My Real Life).

Proposed Major Project

Due to the increasingly prevalent presence of the technological age, and specifically social media, in my middle years classroom, I have decided to focus on digital citizenship and awareness for my major project.  I would like to create an inquiry based unit that really encourages the participation and engagement of my students.  As indicated in the The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers article, “[A favorable] option is to help young social media users realize that their online and real-life experiences are more intertwined than they may think”.  Parents, or in my case teachers, need to shift focus from censorship to instead encouraging students to develop their own standards around appropriate online behaviour.  I would like to design lessons that illustrate real-world, relate-able situations, and encourage the students to generate the solutions through collaborative research and discourse, so that they will be better-able to incorporate their learning into their own digital citizenship practices.

An Introduction

Class 10!!  It honestly seems as though the time has flown by, but when I look back on my educational journey, so many things have transpired over these last 3 years.  When I began in the EADM Masters program, I was in my third year of teaching, had recently purchased my first house with my boyfriend, and thought that 10 p.m. was a perfectly acceptable time to “hit the town”.  Fast forward past an engagement, a wedding, the birth of our first child, and the purchase of our second home, and I consider blogging on a Friday night a nice, relaxing night in.  Fingers crossed I make it past 9:00… How times have indeed changed!!

Having a very hectic schedule is the story of my life.  I thrive on it.  However, over this past year I have begun to expect this type of look from my son when I walk in the door:

Sully confused

Almost as if he’s implying “Who are you again, and what are you doing in my house”.

While I’ve honestly enjoyed every class discussion I’ve taken part in, every colleague that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, and the diverse professional development opportunities that I’ve had the privilege of engaging in (notice I did not mention writing papers… I will not miss those… never again), I know that it’s time to return to my family.

Beginning this journey, I would have never fathomed taking a Saturday morning class, as it would completely interfere with my sleep-in schedule.  This semester I’m not only taking a Saturday class, but doubling up on classes, in order to be as available to my little family as I can be, and still accomplish the professional goals I have set for myself- and let’s be honest, I don’t even remember what a sleep-in is.

Needless to say I’m beginning to feel a little giddy that the end is near.  Cue this little diddy from Simon and Garfunkel…

I’m thrilled to be taking this course with Alec, because I’ve not only heard great things about the content and structure of his classes, but who better to learn about digital citizenship from than a guy with 122K Twitter followers!  Trying to gain a better understanding of technology, how it can be beneficially incorporated into classroom lessons, and how it effects our students is one of my most recent professional goals.  This year I joined the staff at one our city’s new P3 schools, which is very well equipped with technology and opportune for innovation, however I’m a tech rookie at best.  I’m very much looking forward to learning more about how to better use technology in my classroom and lesson development, as well as how I can assist my students in becoming more aware and responsible digital citizens (in addition to hopefully instilling in them the value of regular deodorant application following Phys. Ed. periods).