The Price of Technology

Technology, typically, to me means to be “plugged in, turned on or fully charged”. This however is not always the case as we look around the world of education. Take the pencil for example. It is a powerful yet simple tool that can be used to solve equations, write letters, stories, and draw to your hearts content. Take crayons, where you can add colour, texture detail and make that art come to life with colour.

In my education, the pencil was a major part of my technology, as well as the blackboard, overhead projector, sometimes we were treated to the the odd filmstrip. I actually enjoyed taking notes. I found it therapeutic to copy notes from the chaldboard. It was quiet and focused. In university, I had a great old typewriter. I even got to take typing class in high school. I loved it and found the repetition and clunky noise soothing. I didn’t actually have a computer until after I was finished my degree.

From computers, we moved on to flip phones and now to an iphone which can do so many things. However, with the readings this week there was one that stuck out. It was Neil Postman’s statement in his article, Five things we need to know about technological change … “we always pay a price for technology. The greater the technology, the greater the price.” This seemed profound to me. If we take a look at cars (or modern transportation in general) what have they done? Reaked a lot of havoc on the climate, helped to create an obese society,… but have made it very simple to get to point A to point B in a short amount of time, allowed the world to grow smaller, and have given us easier access to goods from far away. It seems like there is no fair trade.

If we look at technological advancements in medicine, there are amazing things being done in the world that allow people to live much better lives than they ever would have years past. But in the same regard it is almost like we want to live forever instead of enjoying what we have while we have it. It seems like people want quantity of life vs. quality. One profound statement that changed my outlook on life was made from an Indonesian man, when I found out he lost his two sisters because they were both born premature. I was saddened when he told me that they died because the hospital was too far away. But he consoled me and said, “we all have a moment we are born, a moment we are married, a moment we die. But in between, we need to smile, laugh and converse with our brothers of Lombok (which just means to shoot the shit)”. So in the end, shouldn’t we all learn to accept death as a part of life and enjoy the time we do have?

Technology brought about Social Media. Which has made an enormous impact in the world, probably the largest. Social media sites such as Google, facebook, instagram, are all some of the richest companies in the world and have many benefits. But in watching the netflix documentary, the social dilemma social media is creating so many more problems – spreading manipulative narratives, mental health problems, fake news, and a huge increase in suicides and hospitalizations, especially in preteen girls. This show actually prompted me to delete my social media because it scared me so much. Escpecially after hearing younger colleaugues telling me that when they were in high school, they would take down a post if they did not receive more than 100 likes. That made me feel sick.

In this regards I worry about what the state of the world will be in in the next decade and beyond and is the largest example of “paying the price for technology”.

In the mean time, I also look at how we have to pull back and teach kids ways to “unplug”- with things like, zentangles, art therapy, yoga, mindfulness, and happiness. So in a way, the pencil is still a powerful tool- a tool of therapy where you can write or draw which is therapeutic. So I hope our world finds a healthy balance between “plugged in, turned on, charged up” technology and good ol’ paper technology.

Summary of Learning

Who would have thought that Ed Tech would stretch my thinking in so many different ways other than Tech? Coming into this class I thought I would just expand my knowledge about Technology and find some really engaging tools to use with my students in the classroom. BUT… this class was soooo much more than that.

It made me so much more aware of the importance of the fact that I am a compass to navigate my students success. Not only is it my responsiblity to provide a high quality learning environment in which technology plays a role, but I have to be diligent in teaching and modelling online social etiquette and digital citizenship. I have to educate my students to be INFORMED posters, to use technology and Social Media safely, purposefully and enjoyably.

I was blown away with the fact that an Ed Tech class taught me so much about inequalities in the world and how Technology and Social Justice NEEDS to play a huge part in today’s classrooms. After all schools need to be larger than the walls that make it up.

It made me aware that we have a very powerul role in shaping our children. Technology and Social Media gives them a voice. Let’s make that voice one that we can be proud of.

Thank you to my classmates. Good luck to those who are finishing!

Here it is! My very first Summary of Learning!

The Great Debates…Finale (and ohhhh, what a finale it was)


Educators have a responsibility to use tech and social media to promote social justice.

This debate took the cake for the most powerful, courageous, thought-provoking conversation to date. I feel honoured to have been a part of it. This is a group of powerful, positive, inpirational humans.

The Agree Side:

Mike and Jacquie started us off with an extremely moving video.

They stated the definition for social justice was fair and equitable rights, opportunities and access to resources for all. We teach students with all different backgrounds and lived experience that are bound by historical contexts. Social Justice allows for Problem Solving, Criticial Thinking, Collaboration, Perseverance, Historical context and allows the school to be bigger than its walls. Students are telling us that Social Justice matters to them and researchers are telling us that this valuable work helps students learn.

I found their article by  Teaching as Political Work: Learning from Courageous and Caring Teachers: Sonia Nieto very intriguing. It made me question who I was as a teacher and what was I doing to better prepare myself for the diversity in my classroom? What does Social Justice look like in my classroom? What does it look like in yours?

Teaching is always about power so it must be about Social Justice. I believe all of this whole heartedly and have seen how powerful students can be.

The Disagree Side

Brad and Michala came out strong with a video that wowed us, called The Randomizer.

They also agreed that Social Justice NEEDS to be a part of the classroom. However they stated that it didn’t need to be promoted by Tech or Social Media. Some reasons are that it can be overwhelming for students to filter through all the things on Social Media which can cause mental health issues. It also depends on the age and maturity level of your students. They argued that tech has its strategic place in the classroom but they pointed out that face to face conversation is the most beneficial and has the most power.

I have to agree with both sides. Social Justice IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY to teach in the classroom. However, I feel that it is up to the teacher as to whether or not they are ready or not to promote it via Tech and Social Media because of all the variables they may have to consider in their role. For myself personally, I have to agree with Brad and Michala, just for the sake that I don’t feel my students, who are aged 11 and 12, are mature enough to deal with all the content on Social Media and I don’t want to overwhelm them with the extra stress of it. However, I do want to engage them in that critical thinking and learning and empower them by being supportive of their physical work.

As a teacher you have to listen to what the students are asking/saying and support them in whatever capacity you can. When Social Justice issues matter to them, students are a powerful force that will change the world. One of the best teaching experiences of my career came from a Social Justice Issue. It was the students’ asking to do something and I was just their support. I had read them the story of Iqbal Masih and how Craig Keilburger started Free the Children because of this story. We had also discussed the power of a group. People have power when they come together for a cause (whether good or bad). The concern started out with just a few students asking questions saying they wanted to help. They formed a group called The Saving Sevens. We met with parents (I was just the liason- they did all the planning and work). They had very supportive parents. They had rubber wristbands made with their Saving Sevens on it to identify themselves. It was popular to be in this group. They organized a dance with chinese auction prizes and a canteen for other classes. They went to the classes telling the story of Iqbal and Craig Keilburger. They made posters. They held bake sales and Sundae Sales. The whole school got behind them and in a matter of a couple of weeks they raised over $2800.00. At this time, there was no Social Media yet. But it was an empowering, inspirational, emotional experience that shaped who these young indiduals were. The movers, shakers and leaders of today. They are all very successful adults now who do stand for justice and equality in the world.

I would like to thank both Altan and Melinda for sharing your courageous stories.

Schools can neither create nor save democracy–they can only support societies in which action and subjectivity are real possibilities. -Gert Biesta

The Great Debate… Take 6

Openness and sharing is unfair to our kids.

This was a really tough debate. Probably the toughest yet. However, I started with disagree and will end with disagree. And mainly just for the fact that this is new unchartered territory that has never been navigated before. Yet if we bury our heads in the sand, I feel we are losing much more than we are gaining.

The Agree Side

Altan and Melinda brought up some very valid, thought provoking points in an amazing video. The first being the language barrier. But as soon as they stated that, my thoughts went to the SWIS workers. In my experience, the SWIS comes every Monday. I am able to give her every single note/form that goes home to parents and she explains each one to the families. I can email her with any thing I may need discussed as well. I also had to agree with Sherri in the fact that parents just sign the forms without thinking so how many others are in the exact same boat… I was guilty of this too. The second one was the respect of the child’s online privacy in regards to how they wanted to identify. It is the parents who have started their child’s digital footprint. Then, there was Online Grooming which could potentially put a child at risk for sexual exploitation. They also discussed how openness can result in plagarism. And the fact that it can contribute to the Digital Divide which leads to opportunity gaps. Unsupervised sharing was also a concern. All of these issues are very alarming so it is no wonder we are debating this.

The Disagree Side

Although we need to proceed with caution this is the stance I think has more value to the future of our students. Dean and Sheri also had an amazing video with guest speaker Verena Roberts.

Dean argued that “Sharing is Caring” …

and that opening up learning can provide more meaningful, relevant learning. Sheri ranted about how we need to teach student positive online behaviours so instead of resisting openness and sharing, we need to embrace it. It encourages the 4 C’s. We need to educate students to be INFORMED posters. We need to not be afraid, but to embrace it. Use it safely, enjoyably and purposefully. Teachers need to be aware of the consent and even though the parent signed the consent form ALWAYS ask the student.

Even though all of the points brought up by Altan and Melinda are huge concerns my thoughts kept going back to the fact that if we don’t teach this at school, when will they learn it? I think that is a scarier option. All of these concerns will never go away if we don’t ensure that we are now, more than ever modelling, teaching and setting expectations of digital citizenship and online etiquette. Kids will be sharing anyway so we need to be that facilitator to teach them how to share appropriately. It allows students to collaborate with others globally considering new perspectives which may break down barriers of cultural divide. Dean stated, “Isn’t it unfair to not adequately provide this knowledge?” and that is what I have to agree with.

Sheri stated that every debate comes back to digital citizenship and I couldn’t agree more. What are your thoughts?

The Great Debate… Take 5

Should cellphones be banned in the classroom?

I admit I stressed over this. Typically, I am all in for cellphone use as a tool. I never had a problem with it in the classroom. My students use their phones to listen to music, podcasts, search QR codes, Google, Calculator, Google Translate, Kahoot… IF there is a reason they need to text their mom for something they just have to be honest. Life is life and things happen. Sometimes a quick text is easier than heading to the office to use the phone. BUT… then after the debate about Social Media and all the screen time kids get I thought well… maybe I should have them use only school devices so we can limit the screen time.

Then, when I looked at the references… I read the article Twenty Fun Apps to Use in the Classroom and I was like Oh man,… these are sooooo awesome I can’t wait to use them… especialy BookWidgets , Explain Everything and Photomath.

And THEN I watched the medica clip… of Stephen Lecce explaining the ban in Ontario and he mentioned exceptions. There was flexibility for phones to be used as an educational tool.

So needless to say I was very perplexed. I still voted at the start for banning cellphones in the classroom because of that video as it still left room for educational purposes (even though I was somewhat confused).

UNTIL….dun… dun..dun… I heard the catch phrase…


And instantly I was a believer. For one that it is ok to have cell phones in the classroom as long as there was purpose behind it. And with all the information I am taking away from this class I am definitely going to now have an official PLAN to include them in my classroom.

First and foremost, I will need to get parents on board so I plan on sharing with them the tools that I will be using, how I will be using them and actually showing them the contract Alec shared. I will also create my own for the classroom. I am also going to teach the Digital Citizenship lessons Curtis shared on Seesaw.

I have a shoe rack that I use for attendance but beside it I will also have the visual traffic light that Alec shared as well.

This debate just brought me to a realization that I need to do a better job in ensuring that I am teaching Digital Citizenship on a daily basis and making my parents much more aware of it as well. And maybe come up with a positive plan for all of us to ensure the best for all our students. After all, we are in this together.

The Great Debate Take 4…

Is social media ruining childhood?

Again, another great debate.

Laurie and Christina were on the agree side while Dean and Amy were on the disagree.

I was on the disagree side right off the get-go as I felt every generation has some mode of technology that adults think is ruining childhood. Mine was the telephone. But I believe we need to trust our kids, be open, have conversations with them, and just be there for them because they WILL learn to navigate life with whatever vehicle they are given as long as they have good role models to follow.

Laurie and Christina had great points on the agree side, stating how Social Media is ruining childhood:

  1. Mental Health Issues- FOMO (fear of missing out), not being able to focus on the NOW, lack of attention span and the art of conversation is dying.
  2. Cyberbullying
  3. SadPhishing

I agree that social media is NOT ruining childhood. In watching the video, Being Thirteen: Inside the Life of a Thirteen Year Old, I reminisced on some of those same insecurities that were mentioned. I believe a lot of the things mentioned here will happen regardless during these years because that is just their age. Kids are trying to fit in, have a sense of belonging and find who they really are. I faced all of those same problems at 13 WITHOUT Social Media.

The fear of trying to fit in, not missing out on what everyone else was doing. (I am dating myself, but I even went to Beverley Hills Cop all by myself because it was such a hit movie and I didn’t want to miss out of the conversation… I had to go to my Grandmas house the weekend my friends went so I went the Sunday night before school, by MYSELF– Of course, I didn’t tell my friends I went alone because god forbid, I thought I would be a loser). That ultimately was FOMO even though it wasn’t even a term in the 80’s.

Even though we didn’t have selfies, we still wanted to look good and resemble movies stars or people from Magazines. I actually even remember stir up pants being all the rage. We didn’t have likes or comments on Social Media, but I remember specific examples of people saying really flippant comments but I hung onto those words because I WAS THIRTEEN and that stuff matters at thirteen.

I spent countless hours on the telephone (which I am sure my parents thought the phone was ruining me). I was on the phone for the same reason they were on Social Media. Because if that person was talking to me, they couldn’t be talking about me. AND… I didn’t want to miss out on anything.

As for the attention span, or lack there of, I think most thirteen year olds are lacking any type of attention span because they are THIRTEEN. They are focused on other things that only revolve around themselves because that is age appropriate.

Bullying has always been around. A bully is a bully is a bully. It doesn’t matter if they have Social Media or not. This is just another platform for them. Kids are hanging out on their phones, not on the playground. So bullying just found a new place to happen. And really, parents didn’t know the things that happened on the playground either.

Kids will always have problems, worries and insecurities at this age. However, we need to trust that with the right support they will learn to navigate these waters and overcome these insecurities. This is how kids learn resilience, social skills and figure out who they are.

I see the benefits of Social Media out weigh the negatives. Dan and Amy brought up some very valid points for the disagree side.

  1. Social Media as a force for positive comments (positivity/upliftment)
  2. Connection/Communication/Creativity
  3. Sense of belonging- students state they are less lonely
  4. Kids sharing digital literacy
  5. It also offers resources such as TheKidsHelpPhone

I see examples of upliftment all the time with kids both in Social Media and in real life. Dean gave an example of this from a boy that gave positive encouragement to his fellow grads from an Instagram account. Right now, I am seeing kids I watch grow up graduate and I get to see their grad pictures, posts and activities all through Social Media and it has brought a few tears to my eyes because I got to see these kids grow up before my eyes in real life and this year, being different, I won’t get to see them walk across the stage. So needless to say, I think they all are appreciating the connection that Social Media has brought about during this strange time.

The platform Social Media allows for kids to be creative is endless. Kids always amaze me at the things they can come up with. The latest chuckle I had lately was one of my students sent me a TOP TEN BEST MEME REVIEW (school appropriate of course). I am actually going to use this as a real assignment next year.

Someone once told me to use Instagram as a vision board and this stuck with me. My feed contains a collection of things I value, interests, hobbies, health, fitness, travel, book clubs and talks, shopping, as well as people I admire or emulate. I liked this description because it is an easy way for me to organize and visualize the things you value. What I value at my age will be a lot different than a teenager but what they have on their feed is what is important to them as teens. Mine may have looked a lot like theirs at that age too. And I suspect as they grow older, their feed will look much different than it does now. Adults tend to worry I think because that is just human nature.

Snapchat is a quick tool for day to day connection. I also appreciate the fact that I can have a casual conversation with someone on another continent instantly. I am sure this is no so different for teens as well. Instant messaging to people from other towns, provinces and countries.

For students on the fringe, or feeling left out, they can see on Social Media people that have the same interests/similarities to them bringing that sense of belonging that they might not have without social media, especially in our rural places. That sense of belonging is crucial in these years.

I have also seen so many teachers use it for book talks etc so others can get great recommendations on great reads which is a great connection tool in the classroom.

As well, Jacquie brought up the power of social media in the things that are happening in the world today. Kids have a powerful voice this day and age with the use of social media for social justice issues such as #blacklivesmatter.

Overall, I think that even though childhood looks so much different than it did decades ago. The problems are still generally the same but like Skyler stated, Social Media has just altered the way childhood looks. I think as Nataly stated “moderation” is key.

Even though, Laurie and Christina brought up so many valid points as to the negative effects Social Media has on childhood, I still feel the good points outweigh the bad, as long as we are cognizant of them and educate our children on how to use it wisely. It is not going away, so I for one, want to ensure they have all the tools to be successful, well-rounded, informed individuals both in a real world and in a Social Media world.

The Great Debate: Take 3

This post was co-written with Curtis Bourassa and also appears on his blog.


Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be easily googled.

Our debate was on Thursday, and due to the double negative we both argued the same side of the debate (the best side).  We based our argument around the Levels of Teaching Innovation (LoTi) model as we feel strongly that this is the type of classroom that is needed in the 21st century in order for students to become the best lifelong learners they can be.  

Daina and Jocelyn brought up some key points as well. Some fit in with our argument. The first being that Google does not expose students to the learning process which is what we based our whole argument on.  They also added that students would not be motivated to remember information as easily because they have such quick, easy access to it with google.  They then went on to state that students needed to get “Back to the Basics” but then brought up a very valid point, “What are the Basics”? 

They stated one very specific key point that we feel should be the key assessment piece in learning— “If you can explain it, you understand it”. This led to a discussion on what assessment should look like. We feel that authentic assessment should be based around a conversation piece with a student in a conference style manner or small group where students can explain their learning in a multiple of ways. Traditional teaching models do not necessarily fit this mold as students tend to just regurgitate information without really understanding. Therefore, they are not involved in the learning process.

Our research also found that 21st century skills favor student-centered work, such as problem-based learning, project-based learning, and hands-on learning.  The LoTi model places great importance on ensuring that learning is student centered and therefore students are exposed to the learning process. 

We read the book Why Do I Need a Teacher When I’ve Got Google by Ian Gilbert.  This book highlights the need for students to inadvertently learn the 6 skills (Positivity, Bravery, Determination, Self-Belief, Creativity and Sheer Energy) that will enable them to be well-rounded individuals. Google cannot teach any of these skills. These skills can be taught in a 21st century classroom using a model such as LoTi (Levels of Teaching Innovation) where technology is only APART of the learning. 

The LoTi Framework focuses on the balance of assessment, instruction and effective use of digital as well as other essential resources to promote the essential skills of higher order thinking, engaged student learning, and authentic assessment practices.  The framework allows educators to ensure the learning process automatically flows. Teachers can reflect on their teaching practice to promote student-directed learning as opposed to teacher-directed learning.  

It is crucial that students be involved in the learning process and dig into their learning using the 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity). 

  • Critical Thinking – empowers students to discover the truth, and separating fact from opinion.
  • Creativity – thinking outside the box. Means looking at a problem from multiple perspectives, including those that others might not see.
  • Collaboration – virtually every job requires you to work with people, this skill is something that you cannot find from the internet. 
  • Communication – In the age of text-based communication it is so important for students to learn how to convey their thoughts in a way that others understand them. 

We argue the importance of the teacher as a facilitator of learning.  A 21st century teacher is now becoming a facilitator or the guide to help the students in their learning. This means shifting roles from a lecturer to a facilitator who provides resources, monitors progress and encourages students to solve a problem. They help the student in the learning process to guide students to be able to apply the learning in real-life situations, making the learning meaningful and relevant. If the learning is meaningful, they will remember it, know when to apply it, how to put it together and once practiced students can get creative with it.

We also argue the point that learning should be multi-sensory. We have 5 senses in which we can learn and each person learns a different way or a multitude of ways. Learning becomes much more tactile when you can see it, touch it, manipulate it in a multitude of ways. Real-life applications such as hands on learning or land based learning where students take ownership of their learning by doing things such as planting a garden is much more relevant and beneficial way to learn. Students develop so many more skills through this type of process rather than to just learn about the plants themselves through googling it.

We stated the importance of deepening the learning process by utilizing experts such as elders, knowledge keepers, support experts, professionals, community members in the classroom. This process enables mastery of subjects while also providing students relevance to their own learning. It is also beneficial to students as they are exposed to positive role models in their community.

In Conclusion:

The Great Debate …Take 2

This is what I feel like after these debates…

Another great debate that definitely raised a lot of valid points I had never thought of, or gave a lot of thought to before. I will say that before the debate I was definitely on the agree side for the fact that I have seen how technology can assist struggling students, EAL students and students with disabilities. I have seen such great examples of this in my teaching career such as Google Read & Write , Google Translate, Speech to text apps just to name a few.

They certainly have provided many opportunities for learning, communicating and connection. This year I used Google Translate so many times in a day to get to know a new student and make her feel welcome and included in class. The smile on her face made my heart melt. It also helped me in learning a bit of her language. It was fun asking her questions when it came time for new experiences such as skating. I enjoyed watching her learn new phrases and experience new things and this app was very much appreciated. It provided a bridge of trust because we had a tool to communicate and once we got to know each other we felt comfortable “speaking” and learning about each other. Plus she found it pretty funny when I tried to speak her native tongue.

I have also experienced seeing students’ self-esteem rise when they are able to use Google Read & Write to help with tasks. Their reading levels don’t hinder the learning. I have also had some of these students do a “Show What You Know” to teach their peers about it which made them feel pretty darned smart. And I have let them communicate things from school to home via voice to text which ended up being great communication strategies with parents. These elements of technology definitely have helped my in my teaching but as supports or tools within the classroom.

One new tool I learned was from Matt, called SIOP which I am definitely going to be looking into more.

The disagree side had many valid points as well. They discussed the “digital divide” such as the lack of accessibility, affordability and varying ability. They also discussed techno-colonialism, in which first world countries give access to technology to developing countries. This is where they give a device to underdeveloped countries. This sounds really wonderful because you would think how generous this is but… These are countries without basic necessities. There was an image in the video of this and this image was what won me over to the disagree side. The fact is that, in the end, this is just technology. It is not food, nor clothing, nor shelter. It is not clean drinking water, nor is it access to basic human rights or services. Technology is a tool used to help make life easier, not make life equal.

The Great Debate… Take 1

What a great beginning of the Ed Tech Debates… So much talent from both sides which made it extremely hard as I heard and saw so many great points from both sides. Both of the opening statement videos were so informative, engaging and brought to light many good points that we struggle with daily.

To start, Nancy and Amanda, used Amanda’s own personal story of how she connected with her students and loved ones after she tore her Achilles tendon. This was an effective strategy to me because I am very much a people person. I love to interact with people so I connected to this story and definitely saw the benefits of technology at a time like that. I strongly feel connection and relationships are a key part in any classroom and life in general. Curtis even used the quote from Jody Carrington in the chat that “schools these days need more meat trays and less chrome books”.

Technology can never replace a great teacher who has taken time to build meaningful relationships and connections with kids. However, usually those teachers want what is best for all students and use technology to engage all their students in a high quality learning environment where technology is a PIECE of the learning, not the end all, be all. This is the difference.

Nancy and Amanda pointed out the 4 C’s ( critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity/connection). Those cannot be accomplished with technology alone. You need a dynamic teacher to light the fire of engagement to make learning meaningful and purposeful.

HOWEVER….Matt and Trevor ALSO hit home with their video bringing up many valid points as well. The first being the distraction from cellphones in the classroom with all the social media our students are into these days (snapchat, instagram, tiktok, etc.) Plus, the drama that it may cause when not used appropriately.

They also brought up the issue that technology does NOT mean good pedagogy. I have seen this many times in classrooms when technology is just used as a time filler with no purpose or meaningful learning. This is super frustrating as this is where people feel teachers can be replaced by technology which is soooo NOT TRUE! A good teacher can never be replaced.

The third issue was too much screen time. And I can actually agree with this. I feel kids are lacking so many other personal qualities and attributes that are attributed with things that come from real life experiences. Being able to communicate well, being personable, creative, how to get a long with others, their energy, drive and work ethic. When they referred to the people in Silicon Valley not wanting their kids to be in schools with screen time, I believe this is why. We are seeing people lacking these kind of qualities that actually create good leaders, and citizens.

I will end saying I am still on the fence. I feel technology has a part in the classroom to enhance and engage student learning if used in a purposeful way but we cannot forget that ultimately our students our humans who are in need of social interaction and connection. We need to ensure need that there is a balance to create well-rounded, caring, compassionate life-long learners and problem solvers.

A Day in the Life of Online Teaching

A day in the life… it feels like I have had a lifetime of the same day. There are pros and cons of this new Covid life. The pros are time to explore what’s out there in the digital world, no behaviour problems, and……. that is about it. I love school. I love being around my kids- the interaction, jokes, just the typical every day vibe and energy that the kids bring makes me smile. My favourite part of the day is the morning when you can sip your coffee and greet them with the typical morning banter. I am a people person and love the interaction and hum of school.

Now, in Covid mode, I sip my coffee in front of the computer, checking emails, and checking out work on Google Classroom. I may throw up a video or give a shout out to a particular student for a job well done. I have been so grateful for Google Classroom. It is so easy to manage. One of the best features for my students has been Google Meet Here, we meet a few times a week just to go over any particular assignments and what not. At the start the students wondered if they could just stay after we were finished just to hang out, so that has been an ongoing event, like when the teacher leaves the classroom.

Through Google Classroom, I have also connected Khan Academy and newsela. Newsela actually has a whole section dedicated to Distance Learning and is very cross curricular. You are able to change reading levels and the teacher dashboards on each are very easy to navigate.

Students have also been working on presentations on Adobe Spark. They use my log in so I can manage their presentations in my account, then I just give them feedback via an email. This works really well as well as the students put their names on their project titles and email me when their particular presentation is ready. They have rubrics attached in their Google Classroom but are very familiar with Adobe Spark as we used it lots in the classroom.

It is also easy to put videos up in Google Classroom for instructions, add links to different sites and easy to put up my own assignments created on Google Docs.

My main contact with students is through Google Classroom, Google Meet and email. To keep in touch with parents I text, email, and phone. We definitely live in a connected world.

To stay connected with staff we use our emails, text messages and face book messenger. Staff Meetings are all through zoom. I have to admit, we all miss each other so we have even had a few Friday night choir practices via Zoom too which has been great to stay connected that way. Some of my colleagues and I will face time all throughout the day as we miss being around the banter of the staff room and we find it keeps us more focused. Technology is great, but human connection and interaction is second to none.

My plan for next week involves trying out I appreciated all the new learning tools your brought in to class last night. It was pretty amazing. I will be sharing this with my staff as well.

I am curious about what the future holds for education and what it might look like in the future. One thing I know for sure is that we will always persevere and make things work.

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