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Blog #1 – Welcome to Another Day With… Technology!

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.

7 thoughts on “Blog #1 – Welcome to Another Day With… Technology!

  1. As I read these blogs I find it interesting how many of us have similar behaviours with technology. It’s the first thing we reach for in the day and often the last thing we interact with before we sleep.

    I have also noticed that some of my students that typically use technology to complete their assignments suffer when they have to work without it. Although I do find this limited to just a few students. Some of those students struggle with spelling and grammar, and when they have technology to support them they seem to be freed. There is that fear that it is too much of a crutch, however I think of how those students may have been thought of a few decades ago. Students that only flourished aurally could be delegated with a label of low.

    I am curious if your continuous access to laptops is normal or an exception at your school. We are lucky to have one or two classes a week as we share a cart with six other classes (which in all honesty is a luxury compared to many schools). That does ensure that students are capable of working with and without technology, in most cases. I do find that some students are so dependent that they delay working in class so they can just complete their work at home. It does raise a fear of plagiarism as well, something that technology makes easier (albeit easier to uncover as well).

    Also I apologize if this re-posts. It keeps asking me to sign in, then my comment disappears.

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    1. Hello Mike,

      Thank you for your reply. To answer your question about laptop access. The answer is, yes. In Regina Catholic Schools, we have a Connected Educator Program that can be applied for by both elementary and high school teachers. As a middle years teacher, I was granted one-to-one access (laptop for each student). My first year at my current site saw the majority of classroom teachers as Connected Educators. This is not the case at all sites with RCSD. Currently, we have a few classrooms that are sharing one cart amongst the groups. Which does prove to be challenging at times.

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  2. Arkin, I really like your proposal of “taking a break from technology”. In some respects it can be like candy; some can be great, but with too much, it becomes detrimental to our health. After reading many reflections (including my own), it is clear that there is a practical side to many of these technologies as well as the distracting side that takes away from our quality of life (at least for me).

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    1. Hey Chris!

      Thanks for your reply. I completely agree. The technology used as a tool to enhance learning is great, but when it becomes a distraction (i.e., games), it becomes a problem and a hindrance. I’m still trying to find that balance and a way to monitor appropriate usage within my classroom.

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  3. Thank you so much Arkin for your insightful blog. Reading your blog I too feel like we are so dependent on technology that we need technology even for performing a simple task and with the passage of time, this dependence is growing and growing. We as a teacher should promote balance in using technology in our classroom. So that our students get a positive attitude toward balancing the use of technology.

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  4. Hi Arkin- these are great points! I really agree with Chris regarding your points about taking a break from technology. As much as I truly enjoy exploring and interacting with technology, I find myself yearning for times where I can ‘allow’ myself to disconnect. It’s almost become such a necessity in my life that time needs to be ‘scheduled’ away from it.

    Also thanks for Canuckle- one more version for me to attempt and beat my friends in!

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  5. How much is too much? What a great question. I don’t really think I have the answer for it, but I definitely think it depends on the situation. If kiddos are gaming for 12+ hours a day, probably means too much gaming time. But if someone is working on their computer at work, answering phone calls, etc. at work for 8 hours a day, maybe that is more acceptable? To be completely honest, I don’t know the answer. I wonder what people think of this. How much is too much technology for you? I think that this is probably a very individualized answer.

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