My Journey from Student to Mentor

My Mentor interactions log: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17miNLsqnGN-oVJdzm2mT0px3q_BjRbifbU9_dfLlfig/edit?usp=sharing

At the start of the year, we were each tasked with mentoring a few students from the EDTC 300 class. Here is my story (Insert law and oder DUN DUN here)

Before I begin, I would like to just say that creating interactions with Maya, Janelle, Van, Kassia, and Tina did not come naturally to me, and on top of that, preparing for my pre-internship did not make that any easier. However, once my pre-internship ended, I was able to start finding more opportunities and time to connect and the process just became a lot easier and I had a lot of fun. They are all amazing, funny, creative, talented and knowledgable people and they are going to make great teachers in the future.

Now, getting into it, I was honestly a little nervous about the task but at the same time excited for the opportunity to connect with new people. A challenge for me, was making sure that I was interacting with everyone and not focusing on one person. This was especially harder to do with those who chose learning projects that I had no knowledge of and I found myself wanting to gravitate towards those who I found more of a common interest with. I think that is just a common thing to do as a person, but it was a great learning opportunity for me as a further teacher. I am not going to have knowledge about all my students interests, but it is important that I still look to make connections with them and build that relationship and when that happens, I am also able to learn a few things from them!

Further, one of my biggest concerns was that it had already been a while since I had taken EDTC 300, and was still trying to re-learn a lot of stuff myself, so I didn’t know how much I was going to be able to help.

With that being said, I was still able to extend my hand and offer to help out whenever needed. Honestly, I did not have too many group interactions past my first introduction, and I think that was mainly due to the fact that if anyone had a question or comment, they would just post it to the Slack community first. However, I was able to have a lot of great interactions through Twitter and their blogs which was an extremely rewarding experience. Being able to provide feedback or resources that was able to help them in their learning journeys (such as for Kassia) was really great. It got me thinking about my role as a teacher, and how our job is to guide students and help them in any way we can and this was a great opportunity to practice.

One of the other great things that I got from the experience, and one that I alluded to earlier, was just how much I was able to learn from them! By the end of the semester, most of my mentees knew more than I did about WordPress and Slack and one of my favourite parts about this project was learning from them and gaining their perspectives. This is also one of the great things about being a teacher. We are always learning as teachers and just as much as students learn from us, we also learn from our students and that is such a valuable and rewarding part about the profession.

To close, I would just like to thank my mentees for this experience and I would like to acknowledge and appreciate their hard work throughout this semester. I wish you all the best going forward and I look forward to connecting with you in the future!

-Caleb

Debates Round 4 – The Final Showdowns

Welcome everyone to the final week of the EDTC Debates as well as the final week of this class. It has been a great journey and thank you all for following with me. With that being said, lets get right into the first debate this week!

This first debate was a very interesting one, as it involved three different arguments. The topic: Cellphones should be banned in the classroom. Here are the notes I collected from the three debaters.

In all grades (Stevie)

  • We model good behaviour, so we should show students not to rely on their phones
  • Some students spend 11-12 hours a day on their phones and need a break.
  • Being off their phones creates a sense of relief. No pressure. Less anxious
  • Less distracted, less cheating, less addiction
  • Health concerns arise from too much phone use.

In K-8 only (Sarah W.)

  • Being on phones too early effects social learning
  • “Away for the day” or “phoneless classrooms”
    • Students asked to engage with each other not their devices
    • Builds relationships within their classrooms not their phones
  • In high school, they are able to make their own choices
  • Helps with bullying. Interactions should be face-to-face
  • Disclosure and consent should be considered
  • Many phones are damaged in school
  • Empathy is an issue due to technology use

Never (Kelsey)

  • The aim was to refocus students on learning
  • More engagement
    • Participation is encouraged through hashtags, message boards, etc.
    • Encourages group discussions
  • New and Relevant teachings
    • Easier and more relevant access to info
    • Opportunity to teach digital citizenship and literacy
  • Helpful for students and teachers
    • Tech is already in the classroom
    • There are lots of great apps
    • Good for time management
    • Takes away choice
    • Students will still find ways to sneak them in.

This was a really great debate and brought up A LOT of points for all sides.

While it was overall agreed that cellphones should not be banned in all grades, Stevie did bring up a lot of real concerns that cell phones create in a classroom and in peoples everyday lives. Addiction is probably the biggest of these issues and we see this in the study she found where many kids spend upwards of 11-12 hours on their devices, and maybe it is not great to be fuelling that addiction in our classes. There is a lot to be said about creating a classroom environment where students can take a break from their phones and not solely rely on them.

Moving to the K-8 side led by Sarah W. this was the position that many held by the end of the debate. Some of the biggest discussions around this was idea of building classroom connection rather than connections through their phones through projects like “Away for the day“. As well, there was the idea that in the earlier grades, not everyone has a phone anyways, so it becomes more difficult to decide who gets to use their phone and who doesn’t. When it comes to that first point, I really enjoyed the CTV article she linked about the initiative to remove cell-phones in K-8 schools in Saskatchewan. A quote from one of the teachers mentioned how “everybody’s talking to each other and it’s more social. It’s better at lunch time and going on buses” which again related to this crucial idea about developing social skills and friendships in the classrooms, which creates a better overall school environment. With that being said as students progress into high school, I think we need to release the reins a little bit, and give students the opportunity to make their own choices as they progress towards adulthood.

Finally, moving to the last side, which is the one I initially agreed with, Kelsey fought for the side that we should never ban cell phones in any grade. She brought up a lot of really great points about developing digital literacy early as well as all the benefits technology and cell-phones add to a classroom. In the article she linked, “Using Technology to Promote Mobile Learning: Engaging Students With Cell Phones in the Classroom” it talks about how when proper cell phone policies are implemented, then you are able to start exploring the benefits that cell phones can bring. The fact is, students are getting younger when they get their first device, so why not use that to our advantage whenever possible? 

Our next debate was between Paige and Richelle, who focused on the topic: Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression. Here are the notes I compiled from both sides.

(Paige) Agree

  • Equity and diversity in education is important
  • Tech has the potential to make a huge impact
  • We should show how to create a positive change.
  • Give students the opportunity to share their voice (empower students)
  • Students should feel safe and should know we are standing up for diversity.
  • It fuels every academic subject

(Richelle) Disagree

  • It’s not that we shouldn’t fight for it, its just that we should not do it as an educator online
  • Tech makes it hard to get your points across clearly
  • Doesn’t have the same effect as doing it in person
  • Can get out of hand (trolls)
  • Can become a “performance”
  • Can cause conflict within the school community
  • It’s not our responsibility to stand up for every issue

Paige had some really great arguments for the agree side and how technology has the potential to create change and as teachers, we are not just educating our students, we are educators all the time and should look to educate everyone we can. One quote that stuck out to me from her article was that “Learning about social justice at a young age prepares children to be informed, young adults”. Technology creates a new way to share our voices and stand up for others and as teachers we should model that for our students whenever we can. 

On the other side, Richelle also brought up some great points in her video. Technology can actually hinder our stances on social justice if we do not use it properly or if used insincerely. As her article points out, there are a lot of other negatives that come from using technology to promote social justice and especially looking at it from the perspective of an educator, while it may create better relationships with some, it can also damage many relationships from people who have different views. As well, one of the biggest issues with the topic was the word responsibility. Jesse brought up how he is someone who rarely uses social media in the first place. In that case, he should not have to feel the responsibility to now use social media as a teacher, right? 

To conclude, I have really enjoyed every single debate. They have each had me think about these topics from all sides which has helped me form my own opinions on the matter, which is extremely important as I look to become an educator.

Once again, I want to thank you for tuning in and if you have any thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments! If you would like to connect with me on Twitter as well, feel free to do so 🙂

-Caleb

Debates Round 3 – Resource Sharing

This week we only had one debate to focus on, but it was packed with a lot of great discussions as we focused on the statement:

Educators should share lessons, resources, and other materials that they have created openly online.

Here are the notes that I collected from both sides.

(Kara) Agree:

  • Creators have given us access and permission to use/ adapdt their content. (Fair use)
  • Sharing & Collaboration (OER , open educational resources)
  • Equity (students given best possible access to education)
  • Online resources are updated much quicker
  • Cost – OERs are free. Less money on resources. More money for other things
  • Empower students and teachers. Access to meaningful teaching

(Brandon) Disagree:

  • Teachers not paid as well as they should be. Why is it wrong to make extra money selling their lessons that they spent time making?
  • THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
  • The time it saves you is worth the few extra dollars. Convenience
  • People are paying for it, so obviously there is a market.
  • It should be give take, but not everyone makes their resources available.

The discussion was mainly directed around websites such as Teachers Pay Teachers where you can sell lessons or units you make to other teachers.

A few of the other big topics raised were that teachers have a genuine care to help others, and we should be looking to help teachers provide the best possible education to students by sharing their resources openly. Like Kara’s article also points out, if we have access to open resources, they provide a better education than traditional textbooks do. As well in the TED talk she shares, it makes a great point about how technology is meant to share resources and make things more accessible. He gives the example of books, and how if a book gets checked out, you have to wait for it to come back before you can access it. With technology though, you could instead access it online for anyone at any time.

On the other side of this argument, while caring for others is a great thing it is also something that gets taken advantage of as teachers and they should not feel forced to share the resources they took the time and energy to make. Like Brandon’s article points out “Do doctors who work with children give their medical advice away for free?” of course not, so why should teachers be expected to give away their resources for free?

I still sit on the fence of this argument. While I do wish we could live in a perfect world where every shares their resources openly, I also see the argument that teachers should have the opportunity to be compensated for their time, effort, and work. A teacher could have a side business where they make and sell t-shirts, so why can’t they make and sell lessons online the same way?

Let me know your thoughts about this topic in the comments!

EDTC Debates Round 2 – My Turn in the Ring

DEBATE 1

For the first debate, it was my turn to take a stand on the topic: “Social Media ruining childhood”, which I was on the agreeing end against Molly Yungmann which, overall, was a great battle (even though I think I won). Here is a list of some of my main takeaways from the debate.

(Me) Social Media IS ruining childhood:

  • “Influencers” on Social Media are exposing things to children that they should never have to at such a young age
  • Parents are exploiting their children for fame through social media
  • Mental, emotional, and even physical health are all at risk on social media, from children who place their value on likes, as well as the ease of bullying that social media has allowed

(Molly) Social Media is NOT ruining Childhood:

  • Social Media allows for community, collaboration, and creativity like never before.
  • Technology
  • is not going anywhere. Students should learn digital literacies from a young age.
  • Kids (who struggle with making friends, or just in general) are able to build relationships, even through Covid.

While our debate did go down a bit of a rabbit whole as to what constitutes as Social Media, I think the main question to discuss would be, “is childhood worse off than it was before social media, or just different?”. Many argued that it was just different, but I would say that it is a bit of both.

Looking at Molly’s Articles (Article 1, Article 2) that look at technology is the context of education, I would agree that childhood is very different as teachers are finding new ways to use social media as a tool for learning, and as the one article points out, “these tools present many educational advantages for both students and instructors, hence, contribute in providing opportunities for further learning”.

On the other hand, social media has created a whole new set of pressures for kids who now need constant gratification and place their value in all the wrong things, which can take a huge hit to their mental health. We see this in the video I shared, where the most important thing to kids is fame because it is all they see around them all the time and that is not healthy for anyone, especially for kids who are still developing.

My stance on this issue is that we need to be careful with when and how children are using social media. I believe that they can be great tools that build communication, collaboration, and creativity, I also know that there are restrictions saying that you need to be 13 to create an account for a reason. Even the social media platforms themselves see the dangers of having kids being exposed to social media at such a young age. But I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

DEBATE 2

For the second debate it was Jordan vs Jessie on the topic of: “Surveillance of student data and online activities by school systems is necessary to ensure student safety. Here are the notes I have from both sides:

(Jordan) Surveillance of student’s data IS necessary

  • Form of protection for students and school
  • Form of early protection against bullying, threats to school, suicide prevention, etc.
  • Protection from hackers
  • Contact tracing

(Jesse) Surveillance of student’s data is NOT necessary

  • Privacy is necessary
  • People should be responsible for their own actions
  • If we are teaching students to be safe, they are less likely to make mistakes in the first place
  • Students are learning much faster, they can know more than the adults in certain cases
  • Is someone going to feel safe searching about their sexuality in a school district that has strong views against that?
  • “If we need to watch over everything students do, we have failed them”

Honestly, I would say that this was one of the closest debates yet and there were great arguments made going both ways.

Looking at Jesse’s points and articles, the fact is, surveying students data can get out of control and turn into a breach of privacy. As well, like his article point out, “if you push too hard [monitoring what students do], teens will go underground which will make it even more difficult to keep up”. Kids are smart when it comes to technology, and if they really want to, they can find ways around tracking, but that is besides the point. Jessie points out that there are better ways to make sure students are safe online than tracking their data, such as blocking certain sites, or better yet, teaching kids the proper ways to be safe.

When it comes to Jordan’s side, she argues that tracking data is necessary to make sure the wellbeing and safety of the school is upheld. This would be my main stance on the issue as well. My belief is that, even looking past the safety of the students, it is also necessary for the school to protect themselves in the chance that something does happen, such as a student breaking the law, or planing to harm themselves or others. If something like that were to happen on a school network or device and there was not surveillance, the school would be held responsible.

Once again, this is a very good discussion and one that could go either way and I would love to hear your thoughts on either one of these debates.

Until next round!

Great EDTC Debates – Round 1

This debate on whether or not technology enhances learning is a very interesting one. I do think that Jocelyn, unfortunately, was fighting a losing battle because I do not think anyone could disagree with the fact that technology does help us improve teaching and learning (she did a great job though). I did like the point Logan made about technology being things such as whiteboards or pencils, and it doesn’t necessarily mean digital technology. I think the main issue is making sure we are using the RIGHT technologies and at the right time. We also need to make sure they are not becoming more of a distraction than an actual tool for enhancing learning. Just like Jocelyns article point out “technologies are without a doubt appropriate for certain cases, but a “reliance on these technologies may actually result in decreased student interest and participation, increased distraction, decreased classroom participation, and increased complexity of knowledge dissemination”. With that being said, when reading Logans article on the benefits of technology in schools, the one that really stood out to me was that it is engaging. As teachers we always want our students to be engaged and the fact is, almost every student is familiar with using technology, and so using it for learning is a great tool for engagement.

man people woman office

Photo by Werner Pfennig on Pexels.com

On the topic of teaching Google-able facts, I think both presenters made a lot of really great points, but I do believe that it still is important to do that. I liked the point that Sarah M made about what kinds of things we would need to ditch such as History, and just because students CAN Google something, doesn’t mean they will. Her article also points out the benefits an importance of memorization. As they put it “Knowing facts helps us to place other problems into context and access higher order thinking skills”. However, I do believe that learning WHY things the way they are in certain situations is more beneficial than just teaching students facts to memorize. As well, I do agree that IQ is not always the most important thing in life and that we do not spend enough time thinking about emotional intelligence EQ. In the end though, I just confused myself because technically everything is Google-able so I was not able to see where the line was or what we should or shouldn’t teach (and as I was typing this Jesse brought up the exact same argument). My brain hurts.

Mini-Lesson Reflection

This week I, along with Jocelyn and Logan taught our mini-lesson on digital citizenship. Overall, I must say that I was really happy with the result. Of course, teaching about this topic was something that was out of my comfort zone, but I ended up learning a lot throughout the experience and I gained a lot of valuable knowledge from it. Even throughout the lesson, I felt like I was learning a lot from my classmates who were participating in it and I feel like that is one of the biggest positives of the activity.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On another note, I also really enjoyed getting the opportunity to explore new educational technologies, specifically with NearPod. I am not sure how I stumbled upon it to begin with, but it is something that I will definitely be using in the future. It had a lot of great functions and the more I explored, the more I found I was able to do with it, and it can definitely be adapted to fit all subject areas.

Being that there were three of us teaching the lesson, there are definitely adaptations that need to be put in place should I want to teach this in the future, but I believe that will not be too difficult to do, as the main bulk of the lesson in very student-led.

In the end, I was happy with the outcome of our lesson, and I gained a lot from the experience. Now I get to sit back and let everyone else teach their lessons!

The Schools Role in the Age of the Internet

This weeks class was extremely interesting as we looked at the impacts technology has had on our lives and in our world. The debate we had on “should we move back to a time before the internet” was really the highlight. Although I do not think anyone would genuinely be willing to admit that they would want to give up on the internet, it did raise a lot of really important topics and issues that our technological and “connected” world has created, and they are especially important to consider as teachers.

One of the big questions we have to consider is how much school should be responsible for teaching and preparing students for this new world we live in. While of course, we are not our students parents, and we should not decide for them how they should use their technology, I do think we should be responsible for teaching students how to navigate the internet and teaching them about digital literacy.

Photo by Canva Studio on Pexels.com

It honestly is crazy to think how fast technology has grown on the planet, and especially in schools, I think it really took people by surprise, and forced them to adapt quickly. Near the beginning I think the main focus for teachers and schools was to do everything they could to take cell-phones out of the hands of students and we still do see this today. On the other hand, many schools have learned to embrace these devices over the years, and we even see them being used as a tool to enhance teaching and learning.

As we discussed in class, students are only getting younger and younger when they get their first device. What this means is that not only is it becoming harder to keep under control, but it also means that it is becoming so much more important that we begin teaching students about the dangers on the internet, especially because for many students, no one else is going to do it for them.

Reflecting on Social Media and #SaskEdChat

As you may recall from one of my previous posts, Social Media has never been a big part of my life and in fact, I made the decision over a year ago to cut it out of my daily life. With that being said, I did also talk about in my introductory post that one of my goals though this course is to start looking at social media not as a “time-waster”, but instead through the lens of a teacher, who is able to utilize Social Media to build a community and gain knowledge from others.

apps blur button close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Of course, one of the ways I can do both of those things is through the SaskEdChat. This was my second time being able to participate in these discussions and what I must say, is that I forgot just how much knowledge I was able to gain from just spending an hour in the chat. I think one of the most amazing things was seeing the diversity and unique perspectives that each person was able to bring to the discussion. From my fellow classmates, to teachers who have been in the profession for many years, each person added so much insight into the questions that were asked.

Another aspect that stuck out to me, was just being able to talk about such an important topic, that being around mental health. I believe that bringing these topics out in the open and not being afraid to discuss them is crucial, especially as educators who are going to deal with many students, each with their own unique situations. Being able to talk about these topics I think is one of Social Medias biggest benefits, especially in our current situation with Covid. However, I think it is important to point out that the we need to be careful not to leave these conversations on Social Media, and that there needs to be action that goes with our words.

Overall, I had a great time participating in the SaskEdChat and it has shown me once again, just how Social Media can be used to benefit us as teachers, through collaboration and discussion. Once again, if you would like to connect on Twitter you can follow the link here.

How Do You See Me Online?

Looking at the topic of having a professional online identity is crucial. Social media in particular has become a massive part of our world and I have heard it been said many times that it is one of the first places employers will look when considering you for a job. Obviously, this makes complete sense due to the fact that our social media accounts are a way of revealing how we want others to see us. It also reveals our values, beliefs and attitudes towards other people and the world.

I must say that this topic about being aware of what we do on social media is not a new one to me. I was involved in soccer for over 10 years of my life, and as I began to get older and the potential for universities and scouts to gain interest increased, I had coaches and other professional speakers who would talk to me and my teammates about this exact thing. I would say that I have always been cautious about the things I do on social media and making sure that what I wanted to be seen was seen and that my more personal accounts stayed private (even though I am still cautious about what I post on both).

With all that being said, social media has never been a large part of my life, and for the last year or two, I have, for the most part, stayed completely off of it. I would however still like to be aware of how others view me online, and I am reminded of my EDTC 300 experience where we were asked to google ourselves and see what things showed up and I would once again like to make this a reminder to myself to do that often. I would also like to challenge myself going forward to look at social media as a place for building my professional identity as a teacher. This will not only be helpful when future employers want to look me up, but it will also be a useful tool for me as a teacher to provide me with resources and a community of other professionals that I can lean on.

My EDTC 400 Introduction

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first blog post of EDTC 400. To start out I would like to tell you a bit about myself.

My name is Caleb Lueck. As of writing this, I am in my third year of Secondary Education with a major in Math and a minor in Phys Ed. I currently live in Regina Saskatchewan.

Now that you know a bit about me I would like to talk about my three goals throughout my time in EDTC 400.

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

First I am excited to get back into learning about the various educational technologies again. For the last year or two, I have almost completely removed myself from social media, because for the most part, it was just becoming a time waster. With that being said, I know that social media can have a much greater purpose especially as an educator, and I want to focus on relearning how technology can assist me rather than waste all my time.

My next goal is to understand the pros and cons of technology in the classroom, and I specifically am referring to the Great EDTC Debate assignment. I feel like this assignment can really benefit me as an educator, and will help me gain a better understanding and form my own opinions about many topics that I probably never would have even considered in the past so I want to use it as an opportunity to grow as a teacher and shape my pedagogy.

My final goal this semester, not just in this class, would be to start shifting my focus and looking at my classes through the lens of a teacher. Not that I wanted to, but I feel like, in my first couple years of Education, I have had the tendency to be stuck in a student’s mindset and think it’s really important that I start shifting my focus. I want to use my opportunity to mentor the EDTC 300 students as a way to do that.

That is all I have for now. I would like to use this first post as an opportunity to help me towards one of my goals, and so if you would like to, feel free to follow the link to my Twitter here. I look forward to connecting with you!