Unit 5: The Provincial Ed. Tech Climate

With the growing need of technology within our society and the skill involved in utilizing the vast array of programs available to educators, students and the community, it is of the utmost importance that skills are gained and grown with the use of different technologies throughout education. Digital literacy has become an important aspect of education that has yet to be included in the curriculum. Education climate changes and so too, do the tools in which are utilized within the different realms of the professional world.

Technology has been a tool that has assisted many professionals in enhancing the work that they are doing. Whether that looks like powerpoint, a CGI program, or a social networking position that a number of jobs have created for their brands. Education has begun to tap into the utilization of such tools within the classroom which is huge. Each document that we had to look through for this unit stressed the importance of technology within education in the Government of Saskatchewan: Technology in Education Framework Document  it is stated:

“The acquisition of skills and dispositions related to technology is fundamental in an information age and knowledge-based society; technology use is no longer just an option for our students and teachers, but a fundamental literacy.” (pg. 1)

So why is this not a part of our curriculum if it is a “fundamental literacy”?

Source

I completely agree with their sentiment. Many of the people I know or have come across in this lifetime rely on technology within their profession in many different ways. This says something about the ever-evolving state of the Saskatchewan curriculum. In the eight years since I have been out of the Education program, teaching, the curriculum has stayed the same… This is an issue especially in when we are in the business that is centred on the minds and growth of the next generation. There should be additions, subtractions and alterations that need to happen within the current curriculum to include the use of technology. If the use of technology is a fundamental literacy it needs to be implemented within the curriculum.

This sentiment is echoed in the Government of Saskatchewan: Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools guide. One particular quote that I found interesting was:

“If digital citizenship requires participation, then schools must provide a safe space for students guided participation in online spaces. Just as we would not teach a teenager to drive without ever getting into a car, we cannot teach digital citizenship without allowing students to go online.” (pg. 6)

What a great idea! My issue is with the disconnect between this message and what is really happening within schools. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of schools that have educators that provide digital citizenship lessons for their students, which is great and a step in the right direction. There are however educators that do not incorporate digital citizenship into their year or simply graze over it. I then am led to wonder why this is not part of the curriculum? This is such an important skill that needs to be discussed and taught early. What students put online will follow them and that could be the difference between being hired for a job or passed over.

In order to implement digital literacy and technology within our classrooms, there need to be equitable opportunities of each student within the division. I found that the STF outlines this nicely in their STF: Social Justice Document stating:

(3) Equitable treatment is a foundational characteristic of a fully inclusive educational system and, more generally, a democratic society . Achieving equity requires a shared commitment to the removal of systemic barriers that prevent students, teachers and others from achieving their full potential in all educational and societal settings

This is going to be a difficult task for school boards. Although there are computers within each school, they are shared among classrooms. There is then the issue of booking them out, last week, for instance, I went onto our staff computer cart document and was unable to book out the carts for the week because they had been booked out by other classes for the periods that I needed them. In a perfect world, students would have 1:1 with tech, heck I’d be happy with 2:1, but this is not the case and what is standing in the way of equity of these devices? Funding. Until the Province has the realization that the future is moulded through the education system, this sector is always going to struggle to afford the tools needed to harbour student engagement and success. After all, what is at the heart of education? Student learning, engagement and success!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in EDL 820, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Unit 5: The Provincial Ed. Tech Climate

  1. kdg728 says:

    I fully agree with your statement “… it is of the utmost importance that skills are gained and grown with the use of different technologies throughout education.” The question I have is “Which skills are to be deemed important?” I understand teachers are to help students understand the use of general applications (but students already know that very early in their life), the concept of digital footprint (which parents should also have an active role in) and the use of technology for individual learning. This is great, but like you mention…funding is an issue. If teachers are to have a pedagogical approach to technology, this will take time and in-servicing. I also think the provincial government uses generic comments and fields that are to be focused on as “digital citizenship” is a huge concept. Attainable…yes, but with financial cutbacks in education, how is this to be obtained?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stephenwihak says:

    Hey Adam,

    I completely agree – the Ministry documents provide good overall direction, but where is the commitment to support? Nowhere to be found….
    So it’s on the backs of caring busy people, like you and your classmates.
    I hope your project helps to fill a need in your school!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Krista Gates says:

    Hi Adam!
    I could not agree with you more!!!
    More and more we are relying on education technology in our teaching profession.The curriculum is old and of course needs to be renewed to meet the needs of our students and the growth of our kiddos…. the next generation in Saskatchewan. I was on the Curriculum writing team for the renewal of the French Curriculum. We added the use of technology literacy to support our new french immersion curriculum. I am very much hoping that there is support for this once it becomes officially renewed by our Ministry.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. scottgardiner12 says:

    Hey Adam,
    You raise an excellent point (and one that I also mentioned in my Unit 5 post) – “In the eight years since I have been out of the Education program, teaching, the curriculum has stayed the same”. This is troubling for many reasons but since we’re focusing on educational technology, I’d like to take this opportunity to once again point out that the senior Social Studies/History curriculums haven’t been “renewed” since prior to the internet becoming mainstream (1994). That’s absurd, especially in the Social Sciences where digital citizenship/literacy has a huge part to play yet there is no formal mention of these terms in the curriculum because it hasn’t been updated since I was obsessed with my sweet new Super Nintendo in the 4th grade.

    I know that it seems a tad simplistic and I know that harping on the government/ministry is an easy thing for teachers to do these days but it’s hard to take these documents seriously when it seems like they’re highlighting the importance of digital literacy simply because they’re supposed to. Like Stephen asked, where is the commitment to support?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mrdavis9 says:

    Great Post Adam,
    I completely agree with you that more needs to be done in the teaching of digital citizenship. Often students are unaware of what they do online will follow them for the rest of their lives. As you stated if the ministry believes that this is such an important aspect of literacy why is it not placed into the curriculum. I am of the mindset that digital citizenship and proper etiquette needs to be taught all year. Once again great post

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Troy says:

    Great points Adam. I find it interesting that you also experience frustration with booking out computer carts at your school. Our school has a 2:1 student to technology ratio and we still run into the same overbooking and booked solid for weeks problems. My major project focuses on implementing a 1:1 student to technology ratio at my school over a two year plan to help eliminate those exact frustrations teachers and students may experience.

    As easy as it is to blame the Ministry I do believe my fellow classmates have a point. The ministry can’t expect us to do things without any support or funding. You wouldn’t see a teacher tell their students to do something without helping them along the way so why is the Ministry getting away with this? I agree Scott, it is hard to take these documents seriously as they keep getting pushed on us year after year adding to our already overfilling teacher plates without any compensation or additional support. Teachers continue to do what is asked of them because they are nice people and they only want the best for their students and for the future but even nice people have their breaking points. Hopefully this funding issue can be addressed sooner than later to address teacher frustration. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s