Week 3 – Education and Technology Unite

Hello EC&I 833! Welcome to week 3!

There is no doubt that Education has evolved through the years, and so too has technology. According to Jackie Gerstein (2014),

The Internet of today has become a huge picture window and portal into human perceptions, thinking, and behavior. Logically, then, we would expect that schools would follow suit in matching what is happening via the Internet to assist children and youth to function, learn, work, and play in a healthy, interactive, and pro-social manner in their societies-at-large. More often than not, sadly, this is not the case. (p. 83)

Gerstein suggests that Education and emerging and evolving technologies lend themselves to perfectly align, emerge, and evolve together. As I reflect on Jackie Gerstein’s education and technology metaphor, I consider colleagues who have refused to refine or grow in their practice. In other words, they are ‘set in their ways’! ‘What isn’t broken, should not be fixed’!! On the other end of the spectrum, we see the young and up-and-coming educator, full of hope and ready to implement ‘the new’. Change can be scary and worrisome at times! Especially when educators are expected to incorporate these new technologies in their classroom while:

  • Maintaining routine and procedures (in-class and school-wide);
  • Covering curricular outcomes;
  • Assessments (formative and summative);
  • Social-emotional state of our students;
  • Supervision…. The list goes on and on…

Oftentimes these new technologies are great and practical within the classroom, but are they necessary? Does technology align with personal teaching philosophies? As educators, how can we filter and implement technology logically and appropriately? Although Web 1.0, 2.0 and, the emerging, 3.0 have opened the doors to new possibilities in education, they have also brought on privacy and safety issues that educators must be aware of when including said technologies. Digital citizenship seems like common sense, however, I feel that we do not spend enough time learning about it or reflecting upon it. It seems like a beginning of the school year lesson, a permission form, and it’s laid to rest until something concerning arises. Technology is a privilege! I believe that proper Digital Citizenship is crucial and should be referred to throughout the use of technology in the classroom. Technology is not slowing down; altering our mindset, embracing technology, and implementing it in a safe productive way should be reflected in our teaching philosophies and practice. Jackie Gerstein further explains, “A mental shift occurs when a fixed mindset, which often leads to learned helplessness, is changed to a growth and positive mindset, where one believes that there are options: that one can grow, change, and be significant” (p. 95). Moving from a negative mindset to one that is positive and open to new opportunities is essential for learner-centered education.

As I reflect on my group’s presentation on Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 and reference the impacts of Web 3.0 on education, it is clear that it is a journey and a process. The ultimate goal of Web 3.0 concerning Education 3.0 is empowering our students to become twenty-first-century learners by taking hold or accountability for their education. Students go from having a voice to now USING that voice as they critically reason and question. Teachers act as a guide and propose inquiry-based learning opportunities to provide awareness and support student learning. In theory, this seems amazing, but how can we achieve this level of education? One of the tools I use in my classroom to promote twenty-first-century learning is Genius Hour or Passion Project. This is a starting point to engage our students and encourage them to become connectors, creators, and constructivists. Of course, this will look different for each student.

Our colleague, Rae, shared the advantages and disadvantages of Web 1.0 to 3.0. As she mentioned the web is certainly directed to the western world. Katia’s question also provided food for thought and had me wondering who truly is responsible for proper representation for all? Is the web truly fair for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.? As I direct my attention to the classroom, students who already perform well in the classroom will likely succeed regardless of how education is presented to them. This is due to the environment that they are fostered in. However, I also see Education and Web 3.0 as very open and fluid. Where does a teacher limit their student’s access? How do we narrow the focus? I also feel that Education and Web 3.0 potentially stretching students thin. Last week, we discussed productivity and multi-tasking. How do we facilitate focus and avoid burnout? What does Education and Web 3.0 look like for the student who has responsibilities at home and only seeks out the bare necessities of education? In a digital age, we aim to incorporate technology as a tool to enhance and make life easier and develop students as they transition to the workforce as effective problem solvers with innovative ideas to contribute to a brighter future.

5 thoughts on “Week 3 – Education and Technology Unite

  1. You have posed quite the question of how do we avoid burnout? After this past school year, I think it’s safe to safe that the majority of teachers felt some kind of pressure and were ready for a break (more than a usual school year anyways). Although I felt like I was keeping up quite well online, there were always so many other feelings that were burning me out. From how are my students doing at home, to are they getting their work done, how can I help more, etc. as well as the demands of parenting at home on days without daycare, and teaching at the same time with a 1-year-old was hard. I don’t think the idea of teachings getting burnt out is new, but with all of the demands of online, assessment and integrating new things all of the time definitely starts to get to a person. So I guess one way to avoid burnout is to stop expecting perfection, take time to rest, choose your battles, take care of your mental, physical and emotional health, and do what works for you. Will this ultimately avoid burnout 100%? No, but it’s a start!

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    1. Kelly, thank you for your comments and suggestions! Your suggestions are certainly a start. Colleagues and friends also remind me that this year I wasn’t involved in any extra-curricular activities with my students (i.e coaching, outdoor education, etc.). My mindset has definitely changed and I am more aware of work/life balance and its importance to avoiding burnout, especially with the challenges that the pandemic brought on. I hope to continue a proper and healthy balance and to also promote it in my classroom as well.

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  2. “What does Education and Web 3.0 look like for the student who has responsibilities at home and only seeks out the bare necessities of education?”

    Remote and hybrid learning really highlighted the struggles that some students have when having to balance work and home responsibilities with more self-directed learning. I wonder how some of these students would be motivated in a more Web 3.0 classroom.

    The burnout point is a valid one. Trying to balance various aspects of f2f was challenging enough for many. Now we’re talking ourselves with integrating web 3.0 ideas into our classrooms with no more time in the day or government funding to assist. In reading these blogs I get the sense that while teachers are hopeful and excited by some of these tools and possibilities, they’re also spread incredibly thin already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mike, thanks for your comments. Yes, I agree that educators are feeling spread thin. Not only due to the pandemic and day-to-day operations, there are several external factors that contribute to this feeling. As I mentioned to Kelly, I had to adjust to live a more balanced life during the pandemic and not feel guilty about it. I feel for those students who had additional responsibilities brought on by the pandemic. This year has brought on a broader perspective that I hope to carry forward in my career in terms of balance and attempting new strategies. They certainly don’t need to be tackled all at once, but I believe it is important to set goals (short and long term) for implementing ‘the new’ to hold yourself accountable while ensuring your not overwhelmed.

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