The Abyss of Education Technology

Technology is a tricky term that I tend to correlate directly with something that has to be turned on, plugged in or fully charged. This, however, is not the case and most of the things around us are different types of technology. Take a pencil, for instance, a piece of technology that may have been one of the first tools that we learned how to use early on in our educational journey’s. With this technology we learned a new skill that was important in a day when e-mail scarcely existed, we could write a letter to family and friends, communicate through notes at home letting our parents know where we were, we could even document our daily soap opera in a diary with this great new skill with a piece of technology that would be very important to our education and our future.

The pencil is just one of many different pieces of technology that were important parts of my educational experience, and it is still used to this day. We had things like chalkboards, big clunky computers that we got to play Number Munchers and Oregon Trail on, televisions that were strapped down onto a large trolly (also a piece of technology utilized today.) among many other examples. One of my favorites was when teachers used overhead projectors, I hated seeing them because that meant my left arm was going to ache from taking way to many notes while a teacher lectured and I still had to retain that information whilst writing diligently in my notebook all the while remembering everything so they would not have to repeat themselves. The aspect I loved about these dinosaurs of the classroom was that no matter how many times educators used them they always struggled to place the sheet of notes properly, they ended up upside down or backwards. This is a piece of technology I was happy I did not get the opportunity to utilize because I dreaded the misplacement of the notes!

Obviously there have been many new different tools that we as educators are able to take advantage of to help to amplify the learning that happens within our buildings. Smart Boards, different styles of desks, fidgets, and computer programs that help prepare students for the ever increasing tech savvy world that we are living in.

Did I forget to mention iPhones, the same technology that seems to have a new model hitting the shelves near you every two to three weeks? This is quite possibly the greatest technological advancement for education that we have seen to date. Students are continually experts on this technology and are learning how to utilize these devices that they can personalize to their liking with different apps that are used for social media and education. The trick is helping them become responsible users of said devices. As facilitators of learning it is our responsibility to help students become aware of the dangers involved with social media apps and positive self image when using these apps.

There have been many great applications that have been created to harbor learning with a smart device. Apps such as Pearson e-text, where students can access their textbooks without having to lug one home with them every night. YouTube where there are a number of educational “do it yourself” videos, lectures, and Ted Talks among other educational content. Kahoot has become a fun way to assess student learning within the class. Remind as a communication tool for students, parents and teachers. Google docs, classroom and  drive for creating works and enhancing computer literacy.

I know that I am just scratching the surface when it comes to educational technology that is out there, and I am by no means an expert, but the technology that we can utilize within education today is incredible.

This video touches on some of the great ways technology is being used in classrooms.

All of these different advancements are amazing for the future generations of students but we have a responsibility to help them utilize these advancements to the best of their abilities and to use them for a purpose in our classrooms. Without that type of care and planning educators are just using these great tools without a purpose.

These advancements in education technology are exciting, but at the same time scary…hologram teachers…whatever happened to job security!!  

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Final Summary of Learning

It feels as though we just started this class yesterday, time flies! EC&I 831 has opened my eyes to the vast amount of different ways we can utilize social media and how our students utilize it. I have learned about different social movements that I did not know about previous to taking this class and it has made me become hyper-aware about the implications that come with having an online identity and presence.

This class has given me the opportunity to positively engage in an online community with my classmates that I hope to continue utilizing throughout my career. Blogging is something I was a bit skeptical about but have come to really enjoy. I am excited that I now have a tool belt filled with tech tools that I can now add to and use through out the duration of my teaching career.

I have also had a great time collaborating with classmate Lance Pollard on our learning project in which we learned how to create meaningful dialogue with each other and other educators. Expanding our knowledge base about how technology can be utilized in the classroom and school was a lot of fun to chat about and reflect on.

Learning how to properly use different recording tools such as Garage Band and iMovie and successfully posting them utilizing YouTube and SoundCloud has been incredibly rewarding.

Below is the summary of learning that I did with Lance Pollard, enjoy!

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Irritated and Frustrated

Last week Lance and I recorded a vlog that you were, unfortunately, unable to see…

We recorded our latest episode on a newer Mac, the episode was 27 mins long and we were both very happy with the outcome. When it cam time to save the file it was going to take 8 hours to process it….A bit of a pain but I kept the computer on that night so it could complete the download. Morning came and there was 4 hours remaining and it didnt look like anything was happening. The computer crashed…it is currently being looked at….and I am hoping to god that our footage is still on it.

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Photo Credit: gshaun12

This is the first really big set back that Lance and I have experienced with our project. It is incredibly disheartening though because we put a lot of time and effort into planning and shooting the episode.

What did we talk about in the “Lost episode”?

We started off talking about what the process of blogging has been like throughout this class, struggles finding an audience, posting of childrens photos by parents on the web, and there was also a stellar Trump impression done by yours truly!

When blogging, what we found the most challenging was finding a unique voice. Because we are all reading and writing about the same 4-5 article each week we found that sometimes it was hard to come up with a new voice that had not already been heard. My solution was that I read the articles and watched the videos on Wednesday and try to have my reflective blogs posted by Thursday. With this plan, that did work for me, in place I was given a fair more amount of time to research relating articles and work with Lance on our learning project.

This was my recipe for success until the technology difficulties. So I had to step away from the project for a small time and try to figure out a solution to this speed bump.

The computer with the footage, hopefully, still on it is in a computer shop being fixed. Once we get it back I am hoping that the episode is still on it and can be posted.

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Photo Credit: braunkarljr2002

Until that happens Lance and I are currently planning our Summary of Learning which will be recorded on his, reliable, Mac.

Cross your fingers and wish us some better luck!!

 

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Sharing the Slack

Before doing any research on the topic I had no idea what the term slacktivism was.

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Photo Credit: colourourcity

As I read the different articles that helped me define what slacktivism was I definitely understand what it means now. I have to admit I am not a fan of the name though. When someone is behind a screen liking, sharing and commenting on different forms of activism online they become a slacktivist.

“Slacking off” is a term that is used when someone was not pulling their weight or doing anything, for that matter. When someone goes onto a social media page and “shares” or “likes” a post it becomes visible to all of their friends who in turn may do the same…or not. What this does is created a train of awareness on the internet. Sharing happens to bring awareness to a broader audience who may not be aware of a cause. For instance the ice bucket challenge for ALS was a huge source of slacktivism that seemed to bring in an enormous amount of money from donation. There did not seem to be any amount of slacking off when it came to participants posting and sharing their videos then donating to the cause.

I know your thinking what about the others that did not donate but shared what did they do?

They helped to raise awareness in a completely different but effective way. Not everyone is from a socioeconomic background that is conducive to donating money to different causes, but they are able to share and like the cause helping to spread the “good word”.

People utilizing the share option on Facebook gets the good majority of our community’s attention. The word spreads faster on social media than on nightly news, newspaper and the radio because people are on it frequently.

I own a lot of 10 Tree clothing, with each purchase 10 trees are planted. I purchased and wore a yellow Livestrong bracelet and wore it until it broke off.  I did the Ice Bucket Challenge. I shared the photo and news story of a missing child on Facebook. I changed my profile picture to have the tint of the flag of France when bombing went on. Do these things make me a Slacktivist?

I certainly do not feel as though I am slacking off when I am doing these things…perhaps there is a better name for people who are raising awareness in unique ways than constantly being on the frontlines…Support is a great thing!

Supportivism might be a better fit! What do you think??

 

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Starting Up An Online Pa’Troll’ing Unit!

Remember when the term “Troll” meant that you were getting a cool little toy with bulging beautiful eyes, gnarly, unkempt hair with a gem bellybutton? Those were the days… You could see them on dashboards in cars, in your friend’s bedrooms, and at times lined up at a Bingo Hall for “good luck”!

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Photo Credit: KalinAyn Photo

“Troll” has turned into a term for people who hide behind their computer screens verbally abusing others on social media outlets.

After reading different articles about trolls, I was shocked at how women are pretty much the sole target. This makes the internet a dark place for females who are trying to network through connectivity, a prime example is found in Katia’s blog post about her experience with a number of trolls on twitter. Threats and constant hatred in comments to blogs, posts, and tweets becomes a matter of personal safety. We need to find ways to cope with this type of bigotry, the best that I have found is by just ignoring the troll…do not respond! It is a difficult thing to do though sometimes, and Matt Rozsa outlines this well in his article.

Jon Oliver shows just how bad it can be for some females that utilize the internet that are targeted by trolls in his video found here.

When I think about some of the hate that is posted by trolls I wonder if it would be a god idea to have an online Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Should there not be some sort of punishment for degrading slanderous posts? The internet can be a great universe filled with unlimited tools and we should not have to deal with this kind of abuse. If we have laws against acting this way in person, why are there minor consequences for the same actions online?

Some questions to think about, that still baffle my mind!

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The Vlog Driver’s Waltz

The title for this blog post is a tribute to The Log Driver’s Waltz which is a Canadian treasure when it comes to commercials. If you have not seen it check it out NOW below!

Now that our free time has virtually run out on SoundCloud, Lance and I have decided to try a change in format and website host.

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YouTube has been a major video sharing outlet for years. Lance and I have never really dabbled in posting videos before so we thought that this would be a great opportunity to expand out learning and try a new format….Vlogging. We want it to be much like what our podcast has been in the past the only real difference, you can see us.

In our first vlog attempt we used iMovie on Mac to record. First we had to figure out how to use this program so I found a couple of videos that helped quite a bit.

After watching the first video I still felt fairly overwhelmed because, although it was thorough, it covered too much too quickly. We just needed to know the basics so I found another that was much more helpful.

This one covered the basics, it was easy to follow, not overwhelming and showed the simple process of creating a new project, recording utilizing the webcam, how to take footage and insert it into your movie, and finally how to export the final product.

When we went to post the final product to YouTube we were notified that we could only submit 10 minutes at a time….ugh, we had almost 30 minutes worth of footage. So we found another helpful Youtube video that took us through how to verify our accounts therefore giving us the freedom to post longer videos.

Finally, without further ado, our very first, rough, vlog!!! Please enjoy!!!

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Free Internet and Children’s Identity Rights

Free the Internet

When I think about the amount of people who do not have the access to the internet I am a little bit bothered. Here is the ultimate source filled with almost and endless amount of knowledge and fun. I have had access to the internet probably since I was around twelve years old. I have access at work, home and in my pocket.

To think that there is a vast population of people in this world who do not have access is not all that mind numbing at all. Poverty is an issue in many cities and countries throughout the world and unfortunately this socioeconomic group will have a difficult time coming up with the extra funds to pay for a basic internet package, data plan or smart phone for that matter. This makes the internet difficult for this population of people to reach and take advantage of.

Internet.org is the start of something good for the previously stated population of people who do not have the cash to pay for the perks of the internet. Although there is a small amount of data that can be used and a limited amount of programs that can be taken advantage of, they can get a taste of what the internet has to offer.

This is an important step in the right direction especially when we talk about open education. If there was a way in which everyone could access the internet then they would be able to take advantage of all of the great educational tools that are available for free online.

Your Child’s Identity on the Internet Published by…..You?!

I am a father of two beautifully healthy and fun boys. My oldest is five and the youngest one. My wife and I are constantly taking photo’s documenting the time we have with these little dudes until they become too cool and we are set on their back burner to their social lives. I love posting some of these photos to my Facebook and Instagram pages. I am very selective in this process because I do not want to make my future 17 year old and future 13 year old resent the choices I made to post said pictures on my accounts.

Below are a couple examples of pictures I have posted to my social media outlets that have included my boys. The only thing my five year old might be irritated by is the fact that he is twinning Art Garfunkel…

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I also think it is important to be careful about what you are sharing in you Facebook status updates when talking about your children. KJ Dell’antonia’s article, Don’t Post About Me on Social Media, Children Say, tells about how children feel about their parents posting about them online. I found this article very intriguing because I am a parent. The bottom line for me though is we as parents need to treat our children as humans and protect their identities and dignity from being plagued by us on social media. They are humans not pets. The best possible thing to think of when posting about your kids is, will they want to see this when they are 10, 13, 16, or 19? Especially since those are some pretty fragile years in their life and everything is magnified in their eyes. We as Parents just need to be careful and considerate of our children and their future selves.

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