Writing a blog this week required some thoughtful reflection. James Hamblin’s video, “Single-tasking is the new multi-tasking”, made me realize that screen time becomes an issue when we are tasked with work that requires computer/internet. In my career, about fifty percent of my teacher workload requires the use of productivity suites and presentation tools. The other fifty percent is prep work, researching, correcting, extra curricular, and general organization of my classroom.
The professor posed the question, “Is the internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distraction?”. We can look to the Behaviorist theory of learning when we approach our tasks. The internet can be the stimuli that we interact with and being focused/mindful to the task will shape our actions. We are aware of the consequences associated with not finishing a task, say an assignment that is due the next day. The internet becomes a distraction when we allow it to invade our space. I think a good organizational plan focuses our time and attention to the task at hand. Being mindful of the process would be the reinforcement we seek, the stimuli that keeps us on track. Modelling productive interaction with technology can transfer to students. In the article, “Schools Leverage Apps and Easy-to-Manage Suits of Learning Tools”, J. Bengfort points out that “technology helps students learn and grow”. What better way to learn and grow with technology than to see it modelled in productive ways.
Productivity tools used to produce and present learning outcomes have helped to fill the gap of distance between classroom, teacher, and student, especially during the world wide pandemic. The use of technology to design and deliver learning became almost necessary to deliver instruction. J. Bengfort posed an inquiry to educators, to “focus on the why: Why will a suite of tools help us meet the goals we’ve set for out students?”. The decision to use productivity suites and presentation tools is with the educators, with the support of school administration.
During the pandemic, the time that I dedicated to using technology was limited to availability and professional development opportunities. Distant learning was supported with the distribution of Google Chromebooks to each student. Some homes did not have internet, so I delivered homework packages that corresponded with curricular outcomes. I used a blended approach of homework packages and online learning via Zoom class. The goals I set for my students were aligned with curriculum and instruction through distant learning. When we returned to 100% in class instruction for the last four months of the year, I once again used a blended approach with Google Chromebooks, the smartboard and traditional instruction. Our school set goals for school-wide Nehiyaw language instruction and Land Based learning. We had instructors on staff and learning was experiential, traditional based. We had access to a Nehiyaw language app and we learned to speak together. Connectivism theory applied as students interacted with technology, teachers and community members. I anticipate this blended approach to continue in the Fall and I am excited to get started!
Ekosi. Thank you for reading my blog.