A MAGIC TURTLE CALLED LOGO……

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Hello ECI833!

This week class was one of the most memorable class for me and thanks to the magic turtle which took me back to my primary and secondary schooling, undergraduate days and refreshed my old memories of coding. Before taking up mathematics as a major in my masters, I was a computer science student in my undergraduate days and coding was all I used to do for those three years of study and thanks to the magic turtle which laid a strong foundation for me. For those who are not familiar with the magic turtle called Logo, its simple and I bet you would learn this in maybe 30 minutes. It is all about giving a command to the turtle who incidentally carries a pen to move around and draw whatever you wish to draw. You can make the turtle move forward, backward and turn left or right. This adorable turtle is so obedient that it traces out all the moves you want it to make and there you go by the end of the steps you have your desired image or shapes on the computer screen.

I still can remember my school days when I was 10 or 11 years old and that was when I was introduced to Logo and boy! I was so excited. I was not excited because I was about to learn to code but I was excited just to see a turtle on my computer screen and the fact that it could move according to my wish was a mind-blowing experience and maybe I can’t express those feelings in words. I could make it move up and down, to right and left and trace line along its movement. Once I was quite comfortable with making the turtle move according to my wish, I started drawing objects, I learned various functions and procedures and by no time and without my knowledge I was introduced to the world of computer science and mathematics. The real meaning of discovery learning or constructivism was introduced to me by Logo and Today I hold a

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bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Mathematics and heading towards another master’s degree in Education. After my school days, I never used logo again but the value I learned out of it was the foundation for my further studies. I learned to model things to reality and developed problem-solving skills; eventually moved up to various mathematical concepts. I was introduced to the world of geometry and Arithmetic with a best possible way and maybe the theoretical ways of explaining the same concept would have turned out to be a disaster for me.

I couldn’t agree more with my classmate Daniel when he states in his blog post that Logo programming language is an excellent framework for learning “how to think” in the world of problem-solving. I believe that the Logo philosophy of education is best described as Constructivism and the best way for discovery learning. For a child, it’s the best tool where they learn by modeling reality which is both exciting and appealing. It enhances their mathematical skills and deepens understanding, creative thinking. Constructive play can be rightly introduced by the process of tracing lines, painting, creating blocks and objects. The best part is that the child does not have to think about creating things but as they learn to use it, they create and discover and Thus Constructive learning happens which directly relates to Papert’s theory of constructionism. The Constructionist learning says that it happens when learners construct mental models to understand the world around them and that was how I learned mathematics and was introduced to the world of numbers. My imagination grew and so did my interest towards participation in project-based learning. I learned to make connections and the best part was, for learning the basics of mathematics I never had to listen to lectures and the credit goes to Seymour Papert, Thank you.

 

 

 

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LEARNING THEORIES: MY CHANGING TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

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Hello ECI833,

I am a Mathematics teacher and have always been fascinated, proud of my profession and I must say that my teaching philosophy has changed significantly in many stages since I began teaching in 2010. For this week’s blog post we were given a task to analyze the knowledge and learning to underpin our own teaching philosophy and classroom practice; These theories are Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Connectivism, and Constructivism. According to academics, scholars and instructive experts, fruitful education takes place through a practice of investigation in the classroom because learning can take place in many ways. Even though academics or scholars may not always agree with each other’s methodology of how effective learning can take place, they all comprehend that explicit teaching needs to be considered and enabled in order for effective learning to take place.

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As stated above I was fascinated about a teaching profession and when I left the university to become a teacher, I was excited and fully energized with a goal to guide my students in the path of a new learning experience. I was in an assumption that students would be naturally motivated as I was, and they would be learning in different ways. I thought that Inquiry and equitability will be the base of my teaching practice where I will design an experiential learning strategy and my students will be benefitted with a new breeze of the learning experience. I believe that my teaching practice would reflect the theories of Cognitivism and Behaviorism. But my thoughts and dreams were short-lived, just like Haiming states in her blog post, I noticed that every student construct knowledge from both their experience and their interaction in the social environment. It didn’t take me long to realized that my students came to my class with different personalities and background, where I had to act more than a teacher. Teaching was not the only the task I had to perform and sometimes I had to act in multiple roles. The lack of real classroom experience affected me because I started

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teaching straight out of university and my approach to instruction was very organized. Every topic and chapter for the day involved a precise method which was encompassed with instruction, an activity, and an assignment. Even though I started my career with a thought if inquiry-based learning principle, I slowly realized that I was basically following a traditional practice and this did not prove to be effective. As I progressed gradually in my career, I adopted new and distinct teaching strategies which would fit the need of the individual student and I witnessed that my teaching had transitioned from Cognitivism and Behaviourism to constructivism and connectivism. I started to realize that my students were understanding the concept in a much clearer way. I used to plan every chapter and each topic in such a way where every student had multiple ways to learn each topic. Mathematics class is considered one of the boring and disliked session and the more I talk to my students about math, the more I used to hear these words: “I don’t like math, because math problems have only one answer. I’m really bad at math how can I get better but things turned around and the same math session became an interactive journey of a learning experience.

Finally, with everything that being said, I feel that I might change my teaching philosophy and classroom practice again and I also feel that for every educator instructional practice is never constant and we can’t help but change and teaching can never be constant. There is no one singular learning theory that outperforms the other; each theory has a place, and each theory has its advantages and disadvantages just like not every child learns in the same way, and not every class will be taught in the same way and what are your thoughts about this? and what learning theory do you think finds best for your classroom environment? And will it be constant for every year?

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MY THOUGHTS ON EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

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Hello ECI833!

Most of us would probably agree to the fact that technology has revolutionized almost every area of life and education sector is no exception. when I reflect on Educational technology my words change and the advantages it has to offer, possibilities are limitless or maybe the sky is the limit.  I believe that technology has so much to offer especially in education and for an educator to get closer to our students and deliver the knowledge effectively and efficiently. This week when we were posed with a question to define educational technology; I was paused and overwhelmed because, how can I define something which is ever changing? Even as I type there is something new. Well, here is my best shot. I think Educational technology is a tool used to facilitate learning and aid in an instruction which will improve, enrich, enhance teaching and student understanding and performance.

I think most of us can undeniable agree that the major drift in the education today has one or the other means of entanglement with technology integration. As schools explore different ways to embed technology into the classroom, educators are trying different methods for effective incorporation that promotes student success and knowledge gain. Technology has provided us and students with many vibrant

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learning tools and these tools are the most adaptable learning tools in the history of education; where our students have immediate access to enormous amount of information which is both informative and collaborative. Technology incorporated in education has many advantages and serves multiple purposes. One of the vital and notable benefits of educational technology is that it improves overall access to education and Assistive technology has gone a step ahead and has become a boon for students with special needs and I believe that it is one of the best forms of assistance in today’s times which is the gift of technology.

I think it is pretty safe to say that digital world has arrived and will continue to flood every part of our lives in the future and education is no exception and as educators, this is the world that we should be preparing students for. Educational technology which is facilitated by direct use of technology or digital tools will be a likely game changer for educators to boost student learning and teaching moments in the

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classroom. Students who will be entering the future workforce will need various skills such as collaboration, tech knowledge, critical thinking, ingenuity, problem-solving etc. and as educators, it is our responsibility in getting them ready for the digital community and digital future. As discussed above Assistive technology will not only be a boon to those special students but has also modernized their system of education. Pritha Paul in her article How Disabled Students Benefit From Assistive Technology In Classrooms explains how technology has modernized the system of education for students with various disabilities, making it easier for them to keep up with academic curriculums and even compete with their peers in classrooms.

Amy Cross blog post reflects my own experience that my understanding of educational technology has definitely been shaped through my own experiences with technology both in my personal and professional life and I couldn’t agree more with her definition for educational technology. I completely agree with Amy and also believe that most of us have definitely experienced both the negative and positive sides of technology and having said that I think that no digital tool is fundamentally evil and every one of us might have a different opinion depending upon the positive and negative experience from the past but the same platform can be used positively, productively and powerfully in many ways.

Finally, I am quite curious to know your personal experience of how educational technology or integration of technology into your classroom has enriched your teaching and learning experience?  If your school is not using technology, why not? That’s all, for now, folks and thanks for stopping by!

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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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