Well I have begun researching for my Major Project for EDL 820, where I am developing a presentation for high school students to positively influence their personal device usage in school and at home. I chose the issue of digital citizenship, specifically handheld devices, because they are so prevalent in our classrooms, and with our students, that it seems very important to confront and educate around technology if we would like it to ultimately have positive “impacts [on] their [students] health and wellbeing.” ( Pg 17 - Status of Mind: Social media and young people’s mental health by RSPH). One of my largest tasks is going to be narrowing down such a large topic to present and have an impact in a 15 minute time span available for presenting to grade groups in advisory. I am hoping to model it somewhat after the shorter TedTalks that have become ever popular online, in fact it may even make sense to record the presentation and share it much like a TedTalk online!
The videos and audio recordings presented in the Unit 4 - Division Level section were a nice change from the traditional readings, as I really seem to engage with visual and auditory presentation of information. The information presented really offered me a much better view of where embracing technology in a school or division could ultimately lead, as I have been frustrated for years with technology’s increased use as a distraction and change for the sake of change without developing better learning outcomes in schools and in the classroom. I have found that much of what has been offered as technological advancement in the classroom or school has been at the substitution or augmentation level as discussed in the SAMR levels video of using technology. We have substituted hand-written worksheets and essays with power-points and google docs, replaced calendars and agendas with text messages and google classroom, but ultimately very little has actually changed in using the technology for deeper learning in the realm of the digital and real world. Our lives are a little bit easier and more organized in and out of the classroom but that has come at the cost having an infinite number of distractions with screens and no real deeper learning in many courses. This causes me to really reflect on my use of technology in my practice and how I can help students to modify or re-create learning opportunities. I have been as guilty as most teachers of just randomly inserting technology into assignments whether that was really necessary or not; using technology as a learning outcome instead of a tool. It does build technological literacy but that is generally a skill many students already have and so we are just “preaching to the converted.”