Hello everyone! Welcome to my first blog entry for EC&I 830; enjoy!
What does a typical day accompanied by technology look like? I certainly have not taken the time to consider this question, nor have I taken the time to document my interactions with technology daily. When I sat to ponder this question, it was clear that technology largely present in my home and work life.
From the moment I wake up, the first thing I do is put on my Apple Watch to record my walk with our dog, Bayley. Furthermore, I rely on my phone to listen to the news during the walk. I then look to Twitter as I enjoy breakfast and a cup of coffee to catch up on anything that I’ve missed on the news. I even complete the daily Wordle and Canuckle (Canadian-themed Wordle) to connect with a colleague to keep our daily challenge going (I haven’t kept score… but I hope I’m leading!). The morning is also dedicated to answering any e-mails I’ve missed over the evening hours. All of this and more all before I leave the house for work!
Upon arriving at work, the laptop is fired up, and I’m back to reading, responding, and crafting e-mails. Students are greeted with a morning message and instructions created through PowerPoint projected onto the classroom whiteboard. Additionally, I prepare Microsoft Translator (Shout-out to Jennifer Owens!) to interact with some of my EAL learners. Bell rings, and I’m out to meet the class at the door for another day of learning in grade 7/8!!
This is my fifth year as a Connected Educator with the Regina Catholic School Division. Our classroom has been granted access to a classroom set of laptops, which will be used to assist in our educational journey. There is a heavy focus on technology integration and positive digital citizenship. Students engage with technology through Microsoft 365 (Teams, OneNote, etc.) to complete tasks and assignments. Students use these platforms to collaborate and connect with one another and me. Creativity is at their fingertips (literally)! Students also use technology to access textbooks and other web-based platforms (i.e., Flipgrid, SeeSaw, Sora, etc.) to further their educational experience.
One of the many ways we use technology to connect with others is through our digital inter-school book clubs. Traditionally, we’ve used kidblog.org as a platform for students to create and comment on their partner’s blogs. The digital book clubs reinforce and promote creativity and positive digital citizenship. Students interact with other students and teachers from grade 7/8 classrooms in our school division, discussing their assigned novels. At the end of the unit, we would do a face-to-face meet-up. The gathering makes things real for the students. The individuals they’ve been talking to through the computer for a five-week unit are now in front of them. The reactions and reflections that followed are invaluable.
Technology is engrained in our everyday lives. How much is too much? What is the perfect balance? I recall proposing a break from technology last year and getting “back to basics”. There was a noticeable decline in the quality of my students’ work. Students depended on technology to answer questions. It seemed that the novelty of technology wore off and it was just “another thing” we had to use in our daily practice. There were frustrating moments that we had to overcome as a group. There is no doubt that technology is important and educating students to use it as a tool in a positive and productive way is crucial today.