The reflective approach EDCI 515 and EDCI 568 has taken throughout this summer term, has encouraged me to synthesize and mesh together concepts and methodologies from the articles, guest speakers and have allowed me to think more critically about their connectedness. Inevitably it has been encouraging to reflect on how we view the relationships we have with research methodology and technology, as well as how they inform our teaching practice. I have found myself thinking more critically, through varied lenses and have come to recognize misconceptions I may have had about technologies place in education.
There were a lot of great research articles that we read, several resonated with me. I have selected a few articles as well as guest speakers to discuss.
We looked at the concept of digital scholarship and the effects of technology and social media. Our class discussed a paper by DeGroot & VanSlette entitled, Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility. Some of the points I took away from this article have led me to think differently about how social media can be used in the student/ teacher relationship. “Informal communication with instructors can positively influence student perceptions of trust and feelings of instructor immediacy, as well as student motivation.” (DeGroot & VanSlette, p.420). This informal communication can take place outside of lecture halls and classroom settings and creates more intimate conversations that lead to possibly more meaningful conversations. The article speaks a great deal to the notion of credibility and self-disclosure. Instructor credibility is based on three factors as the article points out, “competence (subject- matter expertise), trustworthiness (character and sincerity), and caring (showing concern for students’ welfare).” DeGroot & Vanslette, P. 421). This article and discussion, got me to thinking more about teacher/ student relations and their social interactions. Many of my previous students have not felt comfortable in many of the social aspects of school, yet they may feel comfortable in front a YouTube screen or with conversing over a game. The access and use of technology shapes our behavior and leads me to question how we might use technology to improve or bridge school/ home communication? Looking at some of the societal challenges, in particular from the indigenous perspective, we are often challenged to find new supportive ways to break down walls and create opportunities for our indigenous families to enter our schools. This has long been a challenge, and despite forward thinking and the move towards reconciliation, I still see this being a huge challenge. I have previously held parent- teacher interviews at Tim Hortons, so that I could offer parents with an alternate environment to meet and discuss their student’s successes. I found this to be very insightful, as my parent participation increased exponentially. Perhaps looking at how social media can be used in a meaningful way to create greater opportunities for dialogue between students, teachers and parents will be a good starting place. In addition this idea of using social media and technology fit nicely with Dale’s presentation yesterday that looked at ways to incorporate technology to improve student and school connection and develop a greater sense of belonging.
In addition, we read Thomas Flemings article entitled Effective Schools and Best Practices: What a Literature Review Tells Us, which describes what effective teaching characteristics found during a study of successful band and public schools look like. “An ability to create a warm, accepting, and supportive learning environment; a commitment to student success that includes the belief that each student can learn; a flexibility to adapt and experiment to find optimal educational programs and methods for each student; a commitment to performance-based education and willingness to use appropriate assessment tools; an attitude of solving problems; an understanding and respect for local culture; and the involvement of parents in learning partnerships.” (Flemings, p.67).The articles fit well together in looking at effective teaching practices, as well as how technology can improve communication with parent, student and teacher relations. I see this as a turning point in terms of breaking down barriers of communication.
An additional article and discussion I found very impactful was with Dr. George Veletsianos. His talk about harassment has made me think about how our students interact in the digital world and the level of vulnerability that exists, because we don’t typically incorporate this into our everyday practice. Navigating the internet is similar to sex health education, it is often a challenge to determine how much knowledge student have coming in. Educating our youth around navigating this knowledge and recognizing both the opportunities and limitations is definitely something I will take forth and incorporate into my teaching practice.
Specifically the research article, Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading, and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments by Veletsianos, Kimmons, Larsen, Dousay and Lowenthal brought up questions of student autonomy and credibility. “Researchers have explored how anonymity online increases participation while simultaneously providing an avenue for aggression and negativity.” (Veletsianos et al., p.3). Students may find comfort in communicating behind screens, which in turn allow them to feel more empowered in sharing their views, ideas and beliefs. This may create a gateway for students to share ideas without consequence or fear, which in turn creates further opportunity for more flexible learning. I currently teach grade 3 &4 and students have access to technology that is provided by the school (laptops and Ipads), but it still speaks to the potential implications of having students participate in an online platform. I can imagine this would be a challenge at a middle or high school. Having said this, the positive aspects seem to outweigh the negative ones.
The presentation with Shauneen Pete resonated with me as we explored the idea of reconciliation and the methodology of indigenous orality or oral histories (stories). She raised some very important points around engagement and the indigenous voice. In her article, Idle No More: Radical Indigeneity in Teacher Education, Shauneen speaks to decolonizing teaching practices. “Teaching work is framed on the tensions between “telling and growth” whereby the educator (researcher) strives to move away from transmission approaches which student’s want- “just teach us how to teach” toward a deeper and more meaningful engagement.” (Pete, p. 56). This speaks to the challenges and need for change in education, as the pendulum swings between information delivery, to free thinking, to problem based and inquiry based learning, to independent learning. Furthermore, Shauneen speaks to a culturally responsive pedagogy which, “works with the assumptions that much of mainstream education is framed on the cultural, historical, and social norms of the dominant group.” (Pete, p. 57). A shift needs to happen, when looking at incorporating indigenous knowledge more readily in our everyday teaching practice. This shift from the colonial perspective, to that of the indigenous perspective. I have definitely grown in my understanding of varied research methodologies and Shauneen presented her understanding in a way that I had not previously considered when she spoke to the burden of responsibility. This notion that it is not the responsibility of indigenous educators to teach everyone else about Canada’s history
Dr. Alex Darcy came and spoke to us from the UVIC Ethics Board. A lot of great questions were brought up during this discussion. What are the potentials for harm? And what can we put in place to mitigate such issues? This made me reflect on my project options. I am interested in exploring the barriers to implementing indigenous education across curricular subjects, especially when I look at how rich in resources my school district is. In looking at exploring Action Research vs. Reflective Teaching, the question around the potential for harm is brought to light. I was exploring the idea of a Self-Study rather than Action Research. Looking from within, identifying the challenges from within (in my own practice) opposed to looking outward. Looking at indigenous education can be a confronting place, rich with tension and the thought of looking through an outward lens feels like a western approach, routed in traditional research methods and reeking with colonialism. I am not entirely clear as to the direction that I will take, however these rich discussions provided me with lots to think about.
In addition, looking at Jesse Millers discussion on digital identity, his point made about not comparing our generation and the new generation born into technology, resonated with me. This discussion around digital identity had me think about what this looks like, at all levels of educations (elementary, middle and secondary school). The concepts of privacy and ownership and how this is ever changing. Many schools have their own Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, so I found this discussion very informative when thinking about posting pictures of students, especially when privacy is so important.
Dr. Christine Younghusband’s discussion around building our PLN was helpful as we look forward to making connections and learning how to better manage and curate our resources. Being able to network via Twitter and looking at other platforms, will support me with connecting to others and scaffold my own learning along the way.
I am left with lots of questions to sit with, in particular I look forward to further exploring how we can further enable the use of technology in our everyday practice, and how we will inevitably make it meaningful in our teaching rather than using it for the sake of.
While we have only just begun this two-year journey, I feel that we have been exposed to a lot of very informative artifacts (research articles, guest speakers, Ed Tech resources) that we will take with use over the next two years. It has informed my practice and has given me lots to think about and reflect on. There were lots of great connections and I felt that both courses complimented each other very well.
Inquiry- Community- Privacy- Collaboration- Equity- Methodology- Innovation- Reflection- Citizenship
The courses have provided me with lots to think about over the next month and beyond and have given me a new outlook on exploring educational technology through a multitude of lenses.
Jocelyn, M. DeGroot, Valerie J. Young & Sarah H. VanSlette (2015) Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility, Communication Education, 64:4, 419-437, DOI: 10.1080/03634523.2015.1014386
Veletsianos, G., Kimmons, R., Larsen, R., Dousay, T. A., & Lowenthal,P R. (2018) Public comment sentiment on educational videos: Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments.PLoS ONE 13(6):e0197331
Pete S. (2017) Idle No More: Radical Indigeneity in Teacher Education. In: Pirbhai-Illich F., Pete S., Martin F. (eds) Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham