MY JOURNEY IN ECI830

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Hello ECI830!

I just can’t believe that our time together is almost over and how fast this semester was and now, I am actually summarizing it and sharing my journey in ECI830 on Contemporary Issues in Educational Technology. This course was very different from the other courses I have taken with Alec. I found the debate format very engaging and an exciting way to learn. I wanted to take this course because I love technology and I think it is very important in education. As educators, I think It is very important for us to understand the issues influencing and affecting educational technology and this course would help me to dig deep into the various questions. Every week in our great Ed Tech debate we discussed different issues pertaining around educational technology.  Each topic was thought-provoking. and the whole course of the debate took me deep into the topic and the issue. Listening to the agree and disagree team’s arguments gave me an insight of issues on both sides which aided my learning process

It was a great learning experience and collaborating with everyone made it more interesting and I gained an enormous amount of information. I would like to thank each and every one of you as you have all contributed to this great learning experience. Every week I was very excited to learn alongside everyone, reading your views gave me a different perspective on each topic and your comments inspired me, I look forward to working with everyone again. Thank ’s to Dr. Alec Couros and my fellow classmates for this extraordinary semester of insight encouragement and growth. Now, let me take you through my journey while I summarize my learning, I hope you like my video.

 

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TECHNOLOGY: CREATING A EQUITABLE SOCIETY

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Hello ECI830,

The words equity and equality are often used when it comes to education or technology. Some might argue that equity is that everyone gets the same and another could say that it is making sure individuals get what they ‘need’ so as to level the playing field. Of course, there are also conflicting opinions in the field of technology. So here we were Me, Jen and Dawn arguing that Technology is a force of equity in the society. Going into the debate I was enthusiastic and slightly a bit anxious because it was my first open debate and the disagree team had some very convincing and great points.  The debate was a lot of fun and I learned so much from listening to the disagree team’s perspectives but it didn’t change my perspective and I fully agree to our stand that technology is a force of equity in the society.

As a team, we focused on how technology has removed many of the barriers people face in the past. What was unimaginable in the past is practical and common today, how connected the world today is and how it has revolutionized communication and bridged the digital divide. Technology has contributed a lot to promote equity in the society and yet sometimes it is blamed and made a scapegoat. Why blame the technology when we as a user and people who are responsible to deliver it in an appropriate was have failed? We don’t have the will to deliver it in a right way which in return creates conflicting opinions about the technology. The article 6 Ways Technology Is Breaking Barriers To Social Change narrates how technology is changing the world from artificial intelligence to big data to the ubiquity of smartphones, but many working to change society are just starting to understand how to harness tech forces for good. When we are at the phase of understanding to harness these tech forces in the right way, we should not jump to the conclusion that technology is creating inequality in the society.

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The disagree team did a great job and came up with some thought-provoking statements and facts. They stated that technology is designed in ways to promote gender inequality, racial inequality, digital colonialism and economic inequality but it was hard for me to agree to this and to be honest as Esther says in her blog post even I never took the time to really think about how technology can actually promote inequality! Their perspective kept me thinking on how can something(technology) so radical and innovative be so narrow? And as Daniel states in his post, even I think that no issue related to technology or its application in society is black or white. There are always nuances related to how technology influences people and society.

However, Technology has done wonders in the field of education. It has been a medium to reach even the unreachable students.  Web-based platforms have allowed us to remotely replace or facilitate many interactive processes such as purchases, booking appointments, and banking activities, buying flight tickets etc. Getting an education online is the next frontier for web-based convenience, and there are a number of reasons why this is an effective and attractive platform. In her ted talk video Daphne Koller a professor of computer science at Stanford University and a co-founder of Coursera explains how College education has traditionally been a privilege reserved for society’s elite, she narrates the advent of the Internet which has torn down barriers to education, allowing the world’s citizens to access higher education online for free. She explains how online classes can provide a “real class experience.” Students receive grades on homework assignments and earn a certificate upon successful completion of a course. The structure of online courses guarantees student engagement and

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interaction. Finally, she states how free online courses elevate education to a human right. Education for all would unleash boundless creativity for innovation and support lifelong learning. The article How OER Is Boosting School Performance and Equity From the Suburbs to the Arctic is another example and speaks of how Open educational resources bringing Equity in education. The article narrates a story of Kotzebue, a village in Northern Alaska, which knows the meaning of “challenge” when it comes to education. With the help of OER, school districts adapted content to meet their local needs, maximize education budgets and ensured access to resources and educational rigor. By being able to serve all student whatever their race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, family background, or family income OER supported the goal of educational equity

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Open Education and Open educational resources, Virtual classrooms and many such technological benefits are leveling the educational playground. There was a time where one was supposed to get this education and knowledge by enrolling to the expensive educational institutions, it was reachable for only privileged class, but today the whole educational arena has changed, the concept of open education and open educational resources has revolutionized the field of education, it has replaced the traditional classroom and made education free, affordable, Flexible and accessible to all.

Accessibility: Open Education allows students to take courses at their own convenience, on their own time and place. Open learning systems are very effective and importantly Accessible when compared to its traditional counterparts. The rich resources in online communities help students to overcome hurdles. Open education has attracted many students who were very unlikely to gain higher education.

Affordability: The word free attracts everyone and in my view, the concept of free education is best served by open education. There are hundreds of lecture hours

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which are available for free at reputed universities websites such as MIT, these are free and open to anyone and there are many online learning platforms which are also cheap and affordable for students.

Flexibility: Open education offers students the flexibility to choose what to learn and when to learn and how much to learn, in return putting them in control.

UNESCO also believes and states that universal access to high-quality education is key to the building of peace, sustainable social and economic development, and intercultural dialogue. Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of education as well as facilitate policy dialogue, knowledge sharing, and capacity building. Technology and Internet are constantly expanding and it can accommodate everyone irrespective of race, culture, socioeconomic status and break barriers. Equity means giving each student access to the resources they need to learn and flourish and technology serves that purpose and acts as a force of equity in the society.

Finally, we have to understand that the power of education is to bring equity in the society and technology aid’s that belief. Technology surely has the potential to enable solutions to some of the most pressing problems the world is facing today and now it is up to us to decide how to embrace it.

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IS SOCIAL MEDIA REALLY RUINING CHILDHOOD????

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Hello ECI830,

This week we had another great ed tech debate which has led me to ask a lot of questions to myself and reflect on my childhood.  My mind has been going in different directions. Initially even before the debate started I thought it would be a one-sided debate but that was definitely not the case. I had been waiting from the first week of this course for this debate and it proved to be very successful, honestly, this was one of my favorites. The topic focused on whether or not social media is ruining the childhood. I found this topic to be very interesting where Melinda, Alyssa, and Lori (the agree side) shared with our class how social media is affecting children in a negative way and is ruining the childhood. While Erin, Brooke, and Daniel  (the disagree side) presented to our class how social media is not ruining childhood and how it can have a positive impact on children’s lives.  Both sides put forth very strong arguments and did an outstanding job!.

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While both the Agree and Disagree Teams presented valuable information which made the debate process stimulating yet challenging for me to pick a side. Personally, I found myself struggling. The agree team arguments was very interesting and thought-provoking. They shed light on many harmful ways social media is affecting children today. Many children have been suffered online abuse and are victims of cyberbullying,  the article Teen Cyberbullying and Social Media Use on the Rise provided by the agree team explores interesting facts and stats surrounding cyberbullying. Their explanation of social media contributing to depression in children, inappropriate online behaviors like sexting kept me thinking. The inclusion of prefrontal cortex argument was something new which I didn’t expect in the debate.

There is also an increase in psychological health issues in children because of stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep caused by social media use. The article How Social Media And Texting Change The Way Children Communicate suggests social media is changing the way our kids communicate and I agree with this fact. We have all seen and heard the negative effects on children because of social media and is it fair to blame the technology itself as the root cause of the problem? I think the negative perception of social media(which might be true to some extent) will continue down this damaging path If we as teachers and parents don’t step in.

However, the disagree team pointed out, the online world can also be a great place for the younger generation. They argued how the benefits of social media outweigh the risks. I couldn’t agree more when they claimed that social media has the potential to strengthen relationships and I truly believe that it has the ability to benefit and enhance personal interactions. The world today is so well connected which was unimaginable decades ago. Their further arguments on social media providing support to mental health and marginalized groups caught my attention. As I further researched on the topic I found many articles supporting the claim. The article 7 WAYS SOCIAL

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MEDIA CAN BENEFIT MENTAL HEALTH narrates how Social media offers the chance to connect with others, and offers enough anonymity to allow people with mental illness to express themselves without revealing their identities. In other words, it allows self-expression without the danger of stigma. Inspire healthy lifestyle changes, Make social support and interventions possible, Build community and strengthen the relationship. I fully agree with the disagree team when they state that social media helps students to develop autonomy, digital identity, and aid learning. There are many examples and articles such as The Effect of Social Media on Identity Construction and Digital Identity and Performance where social media has proved this claim.

While the advantages of social media tools are bountiful yet it had its own negative outcomes. While social media tools can be a great source of knowledge sharing, interaction it can also be distracting to children since they can easily lose hours together browsing through irrelevant photos, videos, and tweets which can reduce their time spent on educational tasks and other activities, there is a high probability of students developing poor writing skills and the use of text speak in their assignments. The biggest concern of children using social media is Student safety and privacy. As our fellow classmate, Esther talks in her Vlog I agree to most of the things she states and I feel that young children may not be fully equipped in protecting their personal information while posting on social sites and they need guidance and supervision without that it could leave them to open judgments. As an educator we cannot simply introduce them to social media without educating them how to be safe and protect their personal information, it is our primary duty that we educate them about online safety by providing them proper resources that will enable them to educate themselves about online safety. As an educator, we are not responsible for what our children do out of the classroom wall in their social lives but I feel that it is our duty to tailor our students in becoming positive and efficient digital citizens so that they will be safe and successful in the future.

So finally, where do I stand now, I do agree that social media has substantially impacted the children but I do not agree that social media is ruining the childhood and having said that I do believe that Social media and internet is a big scary world for children to explore without the right skills and guidance. So I leave it with this popular Quote “We need to realize young people are on social media and that’s here to stay, now it’s about giving them skills to manage their online lives.” Thoughts?

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OPENNESS AND SHARING: A MORAL IMPERATIVE

 

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Hello ECI830,

The saga of Great Debate continues, this week under the contentious topic “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to kids”. The great debate in which Amy R, Dani, and Joe argued for the agree with stance and Kari, Esther and Shelly argued the disagree stance. Although by the Initially results one would think it was a one-sided debate, that was definitely not the case. Going into this debate I was already leaning towards disagreeing because of my previous experiences but both sides argued their positions well and gave much upon to reflect this week as I was examining through the recommended readings from both teams.

One of the key reasons why we think that openness and sharing in schools are unfair to children is the question of privacy and having so much information about children online. As the article Dangers of Posting Pictures Online and Rethink Sharing Back to School Photos also narrates the fear about the potential risks of exposure to a world of danger. Online activity leaves a mark, a digital footprint; irrespective whether it is good or bad, everything which we share online can always be traced and it is permanent. These activities can have a significant impact on the one’s future and will either nourish or tarnish their future. The greater the proportion of our identity we give online the more data there is circulating about our behavior. As argued by the agree side there are many potential risks but having said that we cannot sideline the benefits of openness and sharing work online.

Now that being said, there is always concern about Openness and sharing, is not this the reason why we teach digital citizenship and the importance of digital footprints in schools? Is not this the reason why we use social media, various digital tools in education, to educate our children the appropriate use of internet and shape a proper online behavior? Agree with it or not I believe that a good digital presence and a positive digital footprint is very important and essential for the future of our students. As teachers, it is our responsibility that we help them to construct one and that can

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only happen if we start from a young age. I comprehend the potential risks of over-sharing or a misuse of social media and open sharing sites but that must not stop us promoting the responsible ways of using the technology and this must become a learning opportunity for our students. The fact is that we live in a world of exchange and technology. We must ensure our students face this world with the right skills, be prepared and well adapted for the future. The digital literacy and citizenship skills are so essential for future development of our students and I believe most of us agree to this fact.

Openness and sharing are very important and essential for the growth of today’s digital citizen. sharing the work of our students gives them good motivation to improve their work. Seeing their work published online can inspire a sense of self-esteem and confidence in students, it helps them develop their self-esteem because they have the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and commitment. Students will be encouraged by the fact that their work is online for everyone to see, which can give them the confidence boost they need to give the best of themselves.

Sharing the student’s work online also works for the benefit of other students by offering a valuable experience. If students can see a good example, they are more likely to improve their skills and knowledge base. In addition, students can better understand how to perform a well-qualified task and what mistakes to avoid seeing the work of others and use this knowledge for their future projects. I totally agree when Esther states in her blog post that, as parents and teachers, we are responsible for shaping a positive digital footprint for younger generations. Today’s children are online and are already publishing, so it is our responsibility to set forth a proper guideline and pave the road for them, in order to protect them we need to educate them ways to promote their positive digital identity. The article Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity shared by the disagree team is excellent resources and guidelines for Educators, Students, and Parents to build a positive digital identity.

Finally, Technology, sharing, digital tools, and social media have become an integral part of our youth and schools should not be an exception. This medium offers an ocean of resources for students in learning and interactivity, there is no doubt that student benefit using them but as an educator, I feel that it is our duty to tailor our students in becoming positive and efficient digital citizens. It is often claimed that openness and sharing and using various digital tools is a distraction and potential risk but when it is carefully used it can be a useful tool and a medium rather than distraction or a disaster and that is where we educators come in, if we are properly equipped with the right knowledge of the technology which we are using and promoting in our classrooms and exploiting the concept up to the fullest that is when we can deliver it to our students and make them a positive contributors and excel in this digital world.

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MY JOURNEY IN MAJOR LEARNING PROJECT- ECI832

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Hello ECI832,

This blog post marks the completion of my major learning project.  It was a great experience while exploring the social media applications such as Snap Chat, Instagram, and educational apps such as My Script calculator and  Wolfram Algebra Course AssistantAs educators, I feel that it is important that we have a solid understanding of the digital world and of the apps and programs that our students are using regularly.

In my first blog post, I reflected on how our major project connects to Mike Ribble’s nine elements of Digital Citizenship which I think are most important need to stay on the path to document my journey and reflect my personal project. In my second blog post, I review the features of snap chat, and what the app has to offer in the educational sector. I realized that Snapchat had so much to offer and also posed many concerns, so in my third blog post, I dived in deep by reviewing the important documents of snap chat i.e.  Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. My fourth blog post concentrated on how snap chat can be used in education, and how educators can make use of snap chat to post short videos and photos to give a highlight of the day’s content, summarize the content covered in the days and so much more. In my fifth blog post, I documented my journey by reviewing the features of Instagram and my sixth blog post focused on reviewing its terms of services and its privacy policy.In my seventh blog post, I learned how Instagram can be used in education, and how educators can make use of Instagram to reach students beyond the school walls.

In my eighth and ninth blog post, I reviewed the features of My Script Calculator, Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.  and how this app can do wonders for math class. In my tenth and eleventh blog post, I review the features of Wolfram algebra course assistant, Terms of service and Privacy Policy.

Overall my journey in this course was so interactive and informative and I just can’t believe that how fast the course ended. I gained an enormous amount of information and I treasure these memories for the rest of my life. Thank you Dr. Alec Couros and my fellow classmates for the support and some outstanding discussions.

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ANALYZING WOLFRAM ALGEBRA COURSE ASSISTANT FEATURES AND TOS

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Hello ECI832!

The feeling of reviewing a math app for a mathematics teacher is nothing but a treat and if such app has a potential to transform the old boring perception of a math class into an exciting experience is just like a cherry on the top. Wolfram algebra course assistant is a wonderful app which is devoted to helping students master the art of solving algebra problems, integration of such technology into the classroom helps math teachers to deliver the subject more efficiently where students can find n number of ways to solve a particular problem. I don’t think to define what this application does using words, does it justice. My video review below might give you a clear idea of what this application has to offer.

Terms of Services and Privacy Policy

Wolfram service specifies in their terms of services that if the user is under age 18 they may use Wolfram applications only if they have permission from a parent, legal guardian, or teacher. By using their service, the user acknowledges that they are over the age of 18 and legally able to form contracts or that an adult with authority to act on their behalf has agreed to these terms and to be accountable for ensuring your compliance with them in your use of the service. By putting input into Wolfram application in the form of a query, the users are not giving up any of the ownership or rights to the content. The Privacy policy further assures that as a service provider they comprehend the user’s apprehensions about how your information is used and shared, and they endeavor to use such information cautiously and sensibly.

The application or the website collects both personally identifiable data about the user and non-personally-identifiable data about the user’s experience when they access the Wolfram services. The personal data that they collect on their website or through their service consists of data that the user submits such as name, email address, and other personal information that the user willingly deliver. Since involvement in these actions is voluntary, the user has a choice whether or not to disclose such data. In addition to that, the application or the website collects non-personally recognizable data whenever the user interacts with the websites, including Internet Protocol (IP) address, browser type and version, geographical region, referral URLs, and other data automatically supplied by common web browsers. The service provider acknowledges that they may release personally identifying information only in the circumstances where they have to comply with lawful court orders. Overall, I believe that their privacy policy is straightforward and safe for young users.

 Wolfram algebra course assistant is a great educational application to integrate technology into the math classroom and make it fun and interesting experience. For now, I would love to hear your thoughts and concerns in the comments about using Wolfram algebra in the classroom and would you think about using it in your school?

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REVIEWING ALGEBRA COURSE ASSISTANT

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Hello ECI832!

There is a heated debate about the effects of using technology in teaching mathematics. In traditional math classrooms, the educator leads a great demonstration of skills on the black or whiteboards followed by an individual practice. Students sit in line looking at the educator as they demonstrate the procedure to learn. Fortunately, this image of a traditional math lesson is changing. Integration of technology in the math classroom has increased and thanks to technology and few wonderful math educational apps the whole perception learning and teaching of mathematics has changed. Many believe that an algebra class can be a boring and stressful experience, and for whatsoever reason, students think that only a teacher can help them to calculate the algebraic problems with appropriate steps. Wolfram algebra course assistant can be an excellent aid for students which has the potential to make algebra class easy and interesting.

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The Wolfram Algebra Course Assistant answers students precise algebra problems instantly, showing them how to solve the problems step by step.The applications cover the below topics applicable to Algebra.

This math application is devoted to helping students master the art of solving algebra problems, integration of such technology into the classroom helps math teachers to deliver the subject more efficiently where students can find n number of ways to solve a particular problem. Instead of solving few problems in one session of a math class the application aids teachers to hand out numerous problems to students where they can try it on their own after a detailed explanation of the topic by the teacher. One of the finest features of this application is its ability to solve complex and simple equations in a precise and rapid manner. It also has the ability to track polar paths from any function of your choice. This will absolutely be a boon to students who are struggling from understanding algebra and application is compatible for both iOS and Android devices and allows the user to do mathematical operations by just entering the equations on a touch screen of smart devices such as tablets, smartphones. The application is available for download in play store and apple store for a just 2.59 $. Given its multiple abilities to calculate a range of algebraic equations, from simple to complex problems, the application can be used in math classes. Obviously, the idea is not to teach children how to solve equations, but to integrate technology into the classroom and make them practice more problems than one can do in a regular class.

Wolfram algebra course assistant is a great educational application that helps integrate technology into the math classroom and make the concepts of algebra fun and interesting experience. In my next blog post, I will dig deep into the application by analyzing its various features hands-on, its terms of services, privacy policy and try few algebraic equations. For now, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments about Wolfram algebra course assistant in education and would you think about using it in your classroom and do you think that can the application ease the process of understanding the complex subject for students?

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