Preparing students for a world they own

If we are aware that people are shaped by cultural events and the advances in our modern world, then why do we judge the next generation so harshly? We think that the way we lived is the right way, and it is the best way to experience life, but the fact is: those days are over.

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Change happens over time. We look back and are happy about how far we have come, but it is almost like we live through these changes without thinking about how it will affect the next generation. It isn’t until we see the effects that we begin to question our practices… should our societal changes matter in how we educate the youth? I think the answer is yes. 

Educators, bosses, and parents alike complain about the future generation. They say things were handed to them, they are entitled, they do not know how to work, but we teach in a system that promotes this. We allow students to hand in things without deadlines, push them along, and tell them it will be okay in the end, heck, we make it so it is okay in the end. But we need to stop complaining, and start teaching these students how to be more independent… but the answer is not going back in time and teaching students the way we were taught. We need to consider the world around them and make it a safe, and happy place for them to succeed.

Schools need to adapt to the world around them. I am fortunate enough to work in a school that allows me to teach interest based education. My students are interested, come almost everyday and tend to work harder on assignments because they enjoy what they are learning… but all education needs to be like this.


Photo Credit: Robin Hutton Flickr via Compfight cc

A large part of this change needs to include technology. As educators and parents we need to educate the youth to critically think. It is easy to Google an answer, but we need to be able to understand how to get there, and what do do after. In the article Digital Citizenship: The Critical Call to Educate and Prepare 21st- Century Learners they talk about using technology to improve the lives of our students. We need to learn how to “leverage technology for the best possible outcomes.” As the job markets change we need to prepare our students. The article goes on to explain that in the future”3 million jobs will be vacant due to lack of required skills and technological exposure.” Just because educators are not comfortable using technology, does not mean we do not have to change for the benefit of our students and prepare them for their futures.

When we teach our students the skills to use technology, we must not forget about their well being.  Educators need to teach students how to communicate properly within their online communities, and how to use the internet safely.  Digital Citizenship is such an important aspect for students to understand. It goes beyond just bullying. Students need to understand the Nine Themes to Digital Citizenship including Literacy and Etiquette, and as the article (Digital) identity in a World that No Longer Forgets points out, we need to ensure that students understand that their context/audience, authorship and their empathy matter while they are online.

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In my classroom alone I see a need to teach Digital Citizenship. My students use email addresses like buttmonkey69. I see their inappropriate Snapchat’s on our school’s geo-filters, hear about the videos they make and the comments they write under their friends posts. THEY CANNOT PROBLEM SOLVE. If we continue to ignore these problems and chalk them up to kids being kids, it will be too late. The internet is forever and their online identity could harm them in the future.

As educators, we need to recognize that students need to be taught these lessons in school. We need to prepare our students to get jobs, to be good people and most importantly, prepare them for their world. I like the idea of using  tools like the Nine Themes and Graphic Organizers like in The Definition of Digital Citizenship They allow learning to be fun and easy for our students instead of scolding them for their behaviors.

We need to take this to their level, and make sure they really understand the importance of Digital Citizenship. I think education is what you make it, and we need to make it beneficial for students.

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Does Technology Hurt or Help?

In the article Do “Digital Natives” Exist? The first thing that came to mind was my parents! In the video they explain that Digital Natives are pretty much anyone born after 1980, making those born before Digital Immigrants. Digital Natives grew up with technology, our brains adapted to the new information, and therefore it is easier for us to use new forms of technology. When Digital Immigrants use technology it is essentially like learning a new language, and this explanation pretty much blew my mind.

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I know that I am very impatient when it comes to teaching my parents about technology. I think that they have owned enough forms of it that they should be better at it, but that’s not true. They are going to take longer to learn how to use it properly, every time. I also think it is important to acknowledge that not everyone born before 1980 would label themselves a Digital Immigrant because the more you use technology the better you will be at using it. As the old saying goes: practice makes perfect.

Another interesting video was Visitors and Residents. In the video David White explains the visitor and resident continuum.

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Visitor                                                            Resident

The idea that everyone uses technology, but the capacity in which we use it determines whether we are a “visitor” someone who uses technology, but can also leave it, and a “Resident” a user whose identity is linked to technology. They posts, comment, and use technology constantly.  I like the fact that we can all place ourselves on the spectrum. I would say that I am somewhat in the middle. I use technology quite often, but I know when to turn it off… which leads right to an article I read The IRL Fetish  I am guilty of complaining that my friends and family are on their phones too much. That we need to be better listeners, and communicators.

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It is so important to remember to put down our phones, be with each other, and enjoy talking to our loved ones about their lives. I think we can all agree that it is very comforting to know that someone is paying attention to you and cares for you. I think we can also agree that is it nice when you can be in a social setting, have fun together, and laugh without having to worry about who is Snapping it.

I also have to admit that I am very guilty of many of the examples in this article. I have to check my phone if I am waiting in any kind of line, my friends play the game where we put our phones in the middle, and the first one to crack buys shots, I boast about not being on Facebook as much as others. And earlier this week I was out with my Grandma, and found myself looking at my phone more than I should have. The fact that I felt disconnected, bored and anxious, as the article points out, is somewhat embarrassing, and I feel bad.

I think I struggle between the idea that human connection is what life is about, and adapting to the world of technology. I know that technology is a new form of intelligence and that it is not necessarily bad, just different. More and more I am understanding that it is important to recognize who we are online, and how we integrate technology into our lives. Most importantly, we need to make sure our students are aware.

Major Project

Hi all,

As I mentioned in my previous post, my class is an Auto Themed ELA Class. I try my best to relate everything we do to my students interests, as well as the expectations of industry.

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Over the past few years, I have had many meetings with different staff from Capital Auto Mall. They continuously tell me that the industry is evolving. Technology is taking over cars and because of this, mechanics need to evolve. It is part of the reason why the job title doesn’t say Auto Mechanic anymore. They are now call Auto Service Technicians. Part of the job of an Auto Service Technician is to read and write Technician Reports. Back in the day, they would write this out on a paper, much like a poorly written prescription from your doctor. But now, everything is tracked on a computer.

Photo Credit: Alwyn Ladell Flickr via Compfight cc

Here comes the tricky part… For some reason, many of the students in my class, the same students who will spend two hours straight in my class on their cellphones, are also deathly afraid of computers. They insist they are hands on learners, and they hate everything involving computers. They hate typing, reading off the screen and researching.

The problem: the career they are choosing uses the computer to look up technician reports, research diagnostics, procedures, and after explain, via typing,  what they did to the customer’s vehicle.

This is where I come in.

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My idea for my final project is to jump into blogging. I have never blogged (except today) and I would like my class to start blogging as well. My hope is that the student blogs will allow the students to express who they are as an Auto Service Tech. Their blogs may include interesting car videos, articles, but also include our class assignments. Students will build online portfolios of customer jobs they have completed including pictures, and explanations. We will build resumes, how-to videos and talk about their growth as a technician throughout the semester.

I feel like my project will fall into a bit of option 1 and 2. What I would like to do is improve my students digital citizenship and literacy. I want them to be comfortable using technology, have fun using it, and meet the requirements of the ELA curriculum while doing it. For my own sanity, I would like to document our journey. Discuss what works and what does not on WordPress, and other modes of technology documented on each students blog. I would also like to use Google Classroom for my students to promote the use of the computer.

I am not exactly sure what this will look like as a final piece for Alec. But I do know what I want to integrate into my classroom to improve my students learning experience, and capabilities.

About Me!

Hello #eci832!

My name is Amy Ranford and I am 29 years old. I grew up in Regina and went to Winston Knoll Collegiate. Right after high school I started toward my degree in Education at the University of Regina. I finished my degree in December which was an awkward time to get hired.

Luckily, at a career fair at the U of R, I was offered a position in Rocanville. Now… if you have not heard of Rocanville, it is a small town south-east of Regina. It is about two and a half hours away, and although that might not seem far, it was quite the culture shock for this city girl. Let’s just say the students had to teach me what a Combine was!

After the semester, I moved back to the city and was hired at the Adult Campus. This is a place for 18-21 year old students to complete their high school education. I am very grateful for my time at the Adult Campus because it led me to my current position at Campus Regina Public. It is very important that I link the two schools because we are often confused with each other. It is also my hope to teach people about Campus Regina Public and what we do.

Campus Regina Public, or CRP as we call it, is a career focused high school. We pair a core class with an elective to make education relevant and interesting for our students.

Some of the courses we offer are: Early Childhood Education, Health Science, Video Game and Design, Advanced Construction Technology, Welding, Cosmetology, and Graphic Arts (which our very own EC&I 832 classmate Anne Wells teaches). Each class is paired with a core subject such as Math, Science or ELA.

We not only prepare our students for their chosen career, but also how to be employable. Most importantly, CRP has industry partners who help us train our students in real life situations which helps them gain employment.

A student who chooses to come to CRP will go to their home school in the morning for period one, homeroom, then travel to us for two hours for period 2 and 3. The students then travel back to their home schools for the afternoon and CRP gets a different set of students for period 4 and 5.

My course is Auto Mechanics and English. I teach the English side of things, and my teaching partner teaches the Auto Mechanics side. We have about 40 students in each class. The students will enroll in either Auto 10, 20 A or B, 30 A or B, and pair it with either ELA 20, 21, A30, A31, B30 or B31. We split the class in half and for one day the students will work on customer cars completing repairs (for real, we work on anyone’s car, so if you would like to inquire, our contact information can be found here!) and the other half will work on ELA.

I like to call my class an Auto Themed ELA class. My students still read and write, but we do it in different ways. For instance, my students will write essays, including citations, but our topics are different. In ELA 20 the students write a persuasive essay. My students choose a vehicle and convince me to buy it. Or in ELA B30, students compare and contrast two vehicles. My students read, write, represent and view, listen and speak, but it is all geared towards Auto Mechanics.

My class is also lucky enough to have our corporate partners Capital Auto Mall. They allow our students to complete a work term, as well as hire many of our students. They have hired over 25 students and interview our students every semester. Our partnership allows us to teach students how to be employable, which is a hard concept for many of my students.  Capital Auto Mall adds another element to my classroom, and drives the students who truly want to become mechanics to work hard and learn the necessary skills.

Coming from the high school I did, where academics were stressed, I never thought I would love teaching in a trades based classroom so much. But I do. I love that my students see meaning in what they are learning, that it is relevant for their future, but most importantly, they are interested in my class and the content we teach. I enjoy going to work everyday. And that’s all I can ask for!

That is a little bit about my school and my program. As you can tell I am pretty passionate about them both. I look forward to integrating technology, including blogging…which you can read about in my next post!