Optional Article response #2

I chose to respond to an article on cell phone policies in the classroom.



When it comes to classroom policy, I always go back to putting myself in the place of the student. What policies would I like as a student? As an adult, and recognizing that we all have other responsibilities outside of our classroom, I feel that I wouldn’t want a specific policy around cell phone use. If I needed to wait for a quick text from someone during class, I want to be able to glance at my phone without feeling like I’m breaking a rule. However, I would never think it’s appropriate to have a texting conversation during a class. Having said that, I recognize that not everyone in the class thinks like me. Also, texting can be distracting to others around you and just plain disrespectful to the Instructor or speaker.

I like the following quote from the article:

“Are we failing to see that in some ways this isn’t about the devices, but rather about power? When there’s a policy against using phones in class and students use them anyway, that says something about how powerful we are, or in this case, aren’t. It feels like we should be doing something, but we’re justifiably reluctant to make the big power moves that fix the problem when there’s such a high risk of collateral damage.”

Power is one of our basic human needs (along with love, freedom, fun and safety). Knowing this, it’s important that we, as humans, allow other humans their right to power. Imposing too many (needless) classroom rules and policies just increases the power the Instructor has over their students. Is this necessary for learning?  I am a huge believer of equalizing power among humans. I fully believe that the more autonomy you can give your students, the more enjoyable and effective your classroom will be.

However, what do you do when students are distracting others with their cell phone use or are using it inappropriately?

I think the key to this issue is teaching students how to self regulate.

“Self-regulation is when a person or group governs or polices itself without outside assistance or influence.”( http://www.yourdictionary.com/self-regulation#bm8CBPyhAoY170M3.99 )

I do realize that self regulation comes easier for some then it does for others. For example, people that have ADHD may be terrible self regulators. Teaching students how to self regulate should be part of the instructors “hidden curriculum”. At times, it may require classroom discussion and conversations where the class discusses appropriate vs. not appropriate cell phones use in class, or the class members may decide rules for themselves. 

At the end of the day, we will not be with our students as they go out into the workforce… and many workplaces do not have cell phone policies. People have to learn to use them appropriately, so why not start teaching that skill in the classroom?


Final reflection on ed366

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this course… I knew it would be about technology and that’s about it. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I strongly disliked using technology! The main reason I strongly disliked technology was because I find it is so temperamental- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I learn about something, and then it changes or updates, or there’s something new to learn. 

So, after spending a little over a week in this course, completely immersed in technology, blogging for the first time, tweeting till my fingers got cramped, getting dizzy from creating prezi slides, and learning how I can put my whole world in Google docs,  I can say now that I (kind of) like technology! I definitely see the benefits more than I did prior to last week.

I liked the exposure to different tools. I think part of my problem was that I was completely unaware of what was out there. I’ll use the expression “I didn’t know, what I didn’t know”. Now, I have a toolbox full of technology tools that I can draw from, if needed.

I appreciated the relaxed atmosphere of the classroom and I liked how Dave facilitated and structured the course to let us determine what direction we wanted the course to go in. I also loved the conversations and discussions that we had around digital citizenship, contract learning, etc. As others have mentioned, the class seemed to gel well together and we were able to have some fun laughs while learning. 

It’s been 11 years since I’ve been in a classroom (as a student) and I forgot about the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from being immersed in learning and working hard. This was a great way to  begin my CAE journey.

Thank you all for a great 7 days. See you all around.


Article response (optional assignment)

The article I chose to respond to was titled: Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online.

Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online

I only just learned about the term Digital Citizenship through this course. Our discussion  in class totally caught my interest. By nature, I am an advocate for those who are disadvantaged in our society. I naturally tend to cheer for the “underdog”, and have compassion for those less privileged.  So when I learned about digital citizenship, I was intrigued.  Previously, I tended to only see the negative side to social media. I would read comments under news articles and get angry over the  harassment and bullying that some people would receive online. I viewed social media as a toxic space that tended to breed narcissism and make it easier for bullies to bully the vulnerable. However, after reading this article, I started to reflect at the positives of social media.

“social media creates opportunities for connecting as global citizens on a day-to-day and even moment-to-moment and public basis that were not present beforehand.”

One huge advantage to social media is that it can become a platform to raise awareness on global issues that would rarely be talked about in the traditional media. As the quote above says, it “creates opportunities for connecting as global citizens” It allows for the opportunity to actually get to know people that we wouldn’t normally get to know living in our small space in this world. It allows us to take a glimpse into other cultures and spaces in this world that may be different then our own. But most of all, it allows us to see that although we may have different cultures, religion, etc. We are all much more alike then we are different. Social media allows us to be more connected on a human level, and for that reason, it can make us a better, more compassionate people.

The author of the article, raised an interesting question:

“Can digital spaces such as social media help promote empathy and social justice instead of sensationalism, hatred and extremism?”

As I reflected on that, I thought about how social media has changed me over the past couple of years. I have found myself sincerely grieving over the horrific terrorist attacks that have happened in France recently, or the devastating war in Syria that’s displaced millions of people. Through digital world, I have recently learned about #blacklivesmatter and my eyes have been opened to the inequalities that are STILL happening among us humans. I thought about the blogs that I’ve read about recognizing privilege, and how that’s helped me to identify and be aware of my own privileges that I enjoy that I have previously taken for granted. I thought about how social media has helped to raise awareness to the rape culture that is still so prevalent in our world.

It wasn’t until I read this article, that I realized that for me- social media HAS helped to expand my empathy and promote justice. Now the question is, what can I do to contribute to that and help fight against the hatred and bullying that also exists online?



Blog 6- Digital Organization

“Organization is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”
A.A. Milne
I think organization takes work initially, but if you are effective at it, it will save you more time in long run.
I definitely see the huge benefit of google docs and how it can help me with digital organization.

Since this is my first CAE course, I was trying to figure out a way to organize my stuff for CAE. When Dave gave us our notebook assignment, I found my answer. I plan to use a different Google docs file for each course in my CAE. Hopefully that will work.

I’ve never tried any digital bookmarking tools, so I don’t really have any comments on what works and what doesn’t.  If I needed to remember a link I usually just use my bookmark/favorite feature on my browser. I’m not sure I would have a need for something more advanced then that at this point in time, but it’s nice to know that those tools exist if I need them.
When I first started this course, I had no intention of using twitter. I saw twitter assignments in the course contract and thought I would just skip them and do other optional assignments instead. Boy, I had to scrap that plan after Day 1! I will admit that as the week progressed, I am definitely seeing the networking benefits of Twitter. However, it takes work to build that network online.
The part about that importance of  file naming…. That is so true. Or the worst is when you save something and forget where you saved it. That sucks.
Well, I’m kind of having a mental block and can’t think of any more to say on this topic. So I guess I’ll say good night! 🙂

Self assessment and self remediation Blog 5

So I’m not sure if it’s because it’s Friday night and my brain is fried after a long week, but I found it difficult to stay focused on this article.

Nevertheless, here are my thoughts right now:
“In terms of strategies the discussion focuses on planning self-assessement questions and encouraging uptake. I think i would say, rather, encourage the writing of self-assessment strategies by the students. I’m thinking that this should be included in the syllabus as a structuring piece around student reflection… both reflections in the blog and reflection in their own learning plan. ”

Well, now we know why Dave feels so strongly about blogs and reflection in our contract learning! 🙂
The paragraph about isolation: I think that’s very true. Sometimes when students are not confident or have insecurities with their learning (usually from negative learning experiences in the past) get into a situation where they are not fully understanding course work, they can sometimes feel as if it never happens to anyone else. In reality, I think that we all (at one point or another) have felt that way in our lives. I think it’s vital that it’s acknowledged and then followed up with offering solutions to that individual to encourage them to make a plan to self remediate. Self assessing allows the student to be in control  of their own learning, as opposed to expecting the teacher to be responsible for it all.

As I reflect about my learning this week, I was able to identify several occasions where I didn’t know terminology, but took the time to research to “fill in the gaps” so I could better understand. For example, I had no idea what rhizomatic learning was when it was referenced in a previous article, so I had to research that to help me better understand the article. Another example was when I read an article earlier in the week on digital citizenship. I found myself needing to do further research and read the author’s previous article to fully interpret and understand her points. To me, that was just an obvious part of learning that I’ve picked up somewhere along the way…. I didn’t really think about it as self assessment and self remediation.

Blog#4 (I think) Contract grading

Well, I kind of had mixed feelings about today. I really appreciated the first half of the morning where we were able to clarify assignment details. I am actually one of those people that would have preferred it to be done on the first or second day of class, so it was nice to get to it today.

However, the last half of the morning was a bit torturous, especially near the end of our contract negotiations. I did appreciate that Dave wanted our input, but by the end, it got so confusing and overwhelming that I would have preferred that Dave just tell us all what he wanted and we were able to go on our merry way and do it.
That being said,  I do love the concept of contract grading and was quite intrigued with it when I read about it in the course contract before we started this course. It allows a way to get students to buy into their learning and pick and choose the things that appeal to them. Coming from my profession, where I support learners that may struggle in certain academic areas, I think having the ability to pick and choose certain assignments would benefit them greatly. For example, if they struggle with writing assignments, perhaps there are other options to choose from that may still allow them to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.

I like the idea of either getting a “satisfactory” or “not satisfactory” grade, instead of % marks. I think it takes away the competitive edge that’s sometimes exists in classrooms and allows for a more supportive environment for all learners.

Although I found the negotiations somewhat confusing, I did appreciate the end result of being able to change the weight of assignments based on the direction our class took this week. For example, because Twitter has been such an integral part of our class this week, we were able to see it worth more.

In the end, I think it’s definitely beneficial, but I think there is a skill involved in doing it. If I were up there in Dave’s position, I probably would have agreed to anything just to get it over with 🙂
This is me as I was trying to figure out the notes with the fading red marker on the board.

Blog 3: Lots of new stuff

Today I found the class fun and interactive. Leona and I learned a lot about screen casting, even though we ran into a lot of problems and general confusion in our presentation. 🙂 Darn Mac computers….. why do they have to do things so differently from PC’s??

I am considering using jing for one of our optional assignments (simple/complex assignment), so I plan to play around with the software more on my own computer over the next couple of days.

I also loved the powtoons presentation software. It seemed easy to use and I was impressed that Christine and Brent made that video in the short time that we had.

I already knew about Khan Academy… a valuable tool for students that may be missing foundational concepts in math- which is something we see quite often in our department. We spend a great deal of time supporting students that may not necessarily have a diagnosed disability, but for one reason or another, are lacking in basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Slack seemed like a neat idea, but I could see how students could loose their focus easily. I loved the neat little robot in the software that’s designed to teach you how to use it!

And google forms was neat too. I have started using features in google drive over the last several months and I find them so easy to use! I’m still trying to figure out how I can use features of google drive in my presentation at the end of this course, so I’ll continue to play around with it to look for practical applications in the classroom.

Overall, it was a great class, but my brain is fried from learning about all the technology. Although technology definitely has its place in the classroom, I still prefer an old fashioned face to face conversation.




Eryn’s response to Dave’s article

I liked Dave’s post and agree with it. I’m interested to hear what others thought of it.

Because information is so easily available, is it necessary to continue to focus on ensuring learners “jam all the information in their brains”? I don’t think it is. If we are looking at education and learning in a general sense, I think the more important skills that need to be taught are 1. How to gain critical thinking skills and 2. Being able to communicate our thoughts with each other. And when I say communicate, I mean both being able to articulate what we are thinking and also listening and actually hearing other perspectives on a given topic. We don’t have to agree, but to be able to actually “hear” one’s perspective and give it consideration, will bring us much more valuable learning than summative assessments (tests, exams, etc.) would. I liked how we discussed the difference between simple, complicated and complex scenarios in our first day of this course. We discussed how most (if not all) scenarios that involve humans are complex. As humans we may find ourselves in similar situations, but we all experience those situations differently and as a result may have different outcomes. Now take that thought to the classroom; Classrooms are made up of humans- so the action of learning is very complex and as such should not always have to be tested in summative ways.

Having said that, if we look at teachin,g specifically at Holland College, we do have to consider that many programs at HC teach to a very specific trade or industry. Because of this, I think there may be a reasonable amount of knowledge that one does have to gain to be able to do that specific job. In those situations, I think developing curriculum and ensuring outcomes and competencies are met are extremely important.
But in the realm of technology, especially considering that it’s always changing, I think collaborative learning totally fits this course.

Here’s a reference to Dave’s post:

Why we work together – cheating as learning

See you all on twitter tonight.


Eryn’s post

So we had our first day of class, which happens to be my first CAE course. I have to say, I thought I was totally behind in the whole technology thing and after reading the course contract I was even more nervous about this course. After todays class, I was super relieved to see that there are others in the same situation as me! Phew! 🙂

Today we talked alot about what success looks like to individuals. Putting aside the fact that we all have that common goal of passing the course, I love the idea of success meaning different things to different people. After todays class, I’m hopeful to gain more of an insight into how technology can be useful to me.

Although I had a twitter account, I rarely used it in the past because I saw it as another distraction or time waster since I already had Facebook. I didn’t see a need to have another type of social media. However, after today my perspective changed on that. I learned that even though social media can be a distraction or time waster (if I let it be! ;)), it can also be used as a helpful networking tool for my profession. One of my goals this week is to learn more about Twitter and begin to use it in a professional way.

I’m also looking forward to learning about new technology that I may not know anything about.

See you all tomorrow,