Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Issue in Ethics

The presentation by John Finch on Tuesday (Jan.25/11) was both useful and intriguing. He made some very interesting points about the semantics used in the resource document such as "Literacy w/ ICT" rather than "ICT Literacy," and "computer literacy" vs. "21st Century Technology." I agree that "computer literacy" has become an inadequate term as so much of how we use technology is going beyond the use of computers. It's hard to believe in the five years since I've graduated from high school that technology has evolved so rapidly and that the curriculum has changed with it. I was never required to take a keyboarding class (rather it was implemented into my grade 4 class I believe), but some of my colleagues who are only two or three years older than myself took it as a requirement to pass high school. Although, I'm sure there are students out there who would benefit from such a class being offered. I feel as educators, we too often assume that all children have access to technology which can sometimes get us into trouble.
In some ways I am glad the resource document Mr. Finch gave us exists while at the same time have concerns about it. I like that it is a continuum rather than a curriculum as Mr. Finch pointed out, teachers already have too much pressure on them to implement the curriculum and reach those outcomes. On the other hand, I have concerns with the involuntary implementation. There are simply some content areas where technology may be harder to implement (I don't think impossible but the challenges are certainly steeper), and I don't like feeling pressured into using something I am not 100% comfortable with and may not benefit my students.
Technology is certainly an ethical issue and I'm glad to see this resource document addresses these issues. I had never really thought about how I analyze information before until Mr. Finch mentioned "reliability," "validity," and "currency." I most certainly evaluate information using this criteria but I realized not all students have this ability. It's a challenge to teach as well, especially if students have not been taught strong morals outside of school. Technology has given children a means to behave inappropriately that is both sickening and frightening. The instances of "sexting" are mind-blowing and the quote that teenagers are going to need to change their name to escape their digital past, while an exaggeration, certainly holds some truth. The attached video is extremely sad but so much of the blame is placed on the school rather than the parents. Interesting stuff.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Technology and Multi-tasking

I was intrigued by the videos that we watched last class (Jan.11/11) in that I've never really contemplated the affects media has on children's everyday lives. During my last practicum slot I was somewhat appalled at that types of music my students enjoyed (Ke$ha anyone?) and I did discuss with my CT how some material was inappropriate for middle years students to be viewing (Jersey shore comes to mind) but I suppose that I feel it's inevitable. We can't possibly monitor what children are viewing (I personally believe that is the responsibility of the parents) but I can see how it can affect our teaching practices. And is viewing this type of material impacting the development of children or skewing their perspective on the world? Obviously no one really has the answers but it's interesting to think about.
I also related to those videos more than I would initially like to admit. It's easy for me to dismiss the behaviour of the children on the video who were texting 200 times a day or using their computer while watching tv, as I'm probably worse than most of them (I sent over 4000 texts last month and it's very rare that I am not multi-tasking in some way or another). But I like to feel as though I'm a little better behaved than those kids on the video as I still have "real" relationships. I am able to hold a conversation on the phone or in person and I don't depend on technology as my only means of communicating. Technology is more of a tool to keep in contact with people I may have otherwise lost contact with.
I'm also very particular about the types of technology that I choose to adopt. I love my iphone and could never go back to a "normal" cell phone. I love video games and am usually an early adopter of new consoles. But I have a nearly 6 year old laptop (ibook G4), which sadly performs worse than my iphone, and I'm using a 20" tv. So in some ways I'm technologically savvy whereas I fail miserably in other regards.