Author Archives: Andrew Gerrand

About Andrew Gerrand

Working on a evolving education blog for university/professional development

Summary of Learning

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ECMP 355 a helping profession?

I am not to sure how much I contributed to others in their learning.  I think that I provided a unique perspective to in some ways.  To some I was the annoying old guy in “digital” class that talked to much about “what life was like in his day”.  This was part of the reason why I needed to take this class because, regardless of my experiences, I am still light years away from being hip to the new technology that is available to me to use.

That said, I tried my best to help when I could and provided feedback for others on google+, as well as responding to people on my posts.  Here are the responses that I provided.  I am not sure if that is all of them or not, but hopefully is it some justification that I provided a little bit of love to others posts.

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One more…

I am going to make this quick because I have already wrapped up, in delicious bacon, my learning project but I felt like I should go one more round seeing as how I felt like I had lots of time.  I made bacon wrapped steak sliders, bacon wrapped chicken stuffed with feta wrapped in bacon sliders and pulled pork sliders.

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I also created a poll after taking my food into our last ECMP class.  Did not get much for voter turn out, but at least someone that did not even eat the food voted let me know that they did not like it.  Once I saw that this loser voted it prompted me to vote that I did not like my food either

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Thanks very much to anyone that followed my learning project.

Being Digitally Duped and Making Snowflakes… An Enlightening Class with Carol Todd

I was unfortunately working when I heard that Carol Todd was speaking to our ECMP 355 class this week.  As I followed the different tweets while at work, I knew that I was missing something important.  I had watched the fifth estate documentary on The “Sextortion of Amanda Todd” last year and new that this class was going to be very informative for future educators. I watched the recorded version of the class a couple days later and I had some interesting things happen as I watched the video:

  1. I got to feel digitally duped for the first time by believing false information that was posted in response to one of our assignments.  I did not know what had transpired from Gillian’s post until watching the video and feel like an idiot that I believed what Mr. Rose or Inspector,RCMP had said regarding information that the police had made about Amanda’s case.
    Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.19.06 PM this was my response.
  2. I was forced to fumble my way through explaining to my 7 year old daughter who Amanda and Carol Todd were, as she was over my shoulder while I was watching the recording.

Carol relayed a story during her talk about a Facebook message from a young adult, calling her names for no reason other than to spit hate at someone who had gone through a tragic incident.  Carol’s handling of the story says a lot about how we as teachers need to help students who use hurtful tactics in their lives.  The students who, as Carol describes, are using these tactics as  “verbs” and not nouns.  I do not even want to call it bullying at this point because, I am eye rolling at the over use of the term also.  She handled this harassment by asking questions.  The questions she asked evoked critical thinking in the young man that caused for a change in how he was operating, both online and off.

I mentioned how I felt digitally duped for the first time because I did not agree with a response to Gillian’s post.  Without thinking I just typed a response taking Mr. Rose’s comments as fact without reading the fine print.  My response to Raquel’s post were wrong because I did not analyze all the facts and where they were coming from.  This is important for a couple of reasons for me as a future teacher.  Firstly, if I want students to be critical thinkers I have to make sure that I am too.  I cannot skim through a response and take it as fact on important issues without being critical of where the information has come from.  Secondly, if you screw up, take ownership for those actions and roll model what an apology needs to look like.  I am sorry Raquel/Gillian/Carol for not taking the time to critically analyze the responses made by Mr. Rose.  My lack of analysis in this situation I hope was not offensive to any of you but either way I feel an apology is necessary.

I should have asked questions in my response rather than just make statements.  The fact that I did not left little room for further discussion.  If I would have used Carol’s method from her story of the Facebook troll and asked questions like, Do we know what the role of the RCMP or Police is suppose to be in online harassment? or what precedents have been set in other cases? At least that evokes discussion and research rather than blurting something out on a keyboard, dropping the mic and walking away from it.

My second point dealt with explaining who Carol was to my 7 year old.  I think it ties into what our guest speaker was talking about on multiple levels.  Maddy is already making cheesy fake Youtube videos, playing Minecraft and pushing for as much technology time as she can in a day, so it was perfect timing that she could hangout with me while I watched different segments of the recording.  I explained to her that Carol was a very special person that was sharing a story about her daughter to our class so that we could become better teachers.  I won’t bore you with the different levels of the conversation, but she was able to come away understanding that pictures on the internet last forever and that people can be jerks on the internet just as much as they can be in person.  I was stuck in one of those awkward parenting moments of not knowing how much or how little to share regarding Amanda, so I treaded lightly around the subject of her death and went back to the part in the recording where Carol was talking about Amanda being her snowflake.  I used the story to explain to Maddy that now that she knows about Amanda’s story and how important that it is to be safe on the internet that she can be a snowflake too.

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another snowflake.

My discussion with my daughter got me thinking of how important it is going to be to find that balance of communication between teachers, parents and students.  I was left wondering why in grade 2 she is not learning much about digital identity or safety.  Maybe she is and has forgotten. Maybe she will be learning about it later. It could be a lot of things.  But I am sitting here typing and thinking as a future teacher, should I be emailing her teacher and asking whether or not she is going to be talking about internet safety to the class.  Do I want to be that parent?  Is it a big deal?  Should I ignore it? Should I assume that she is going to or that she has?  With everything that Carol spoke about regarding what the legacy of Amanda needs to be, I think that I have to say something.  I know what I am teaching my kids, whether or not I am doing a good job is up for debate, but I have no idea what other parents are doing.  The gap needs to be filled by teachers because it is the only consistent place where all kids can receive the same message.  Not looking forward to the backlash of being that parent, but I’ve rocked the boat on far less significant things.

I consider myself very fortunate to have watched this and have been able to gain a deeper understanding from Carol about what we will need to do as teachers to keep the legacy of Amanda’s tragic story alive.  It has already transformed one young student into a snowflake.  If we as educators accurately convey the wisdom Carol has shared with us, many more snowflakes will crystallize.

 

 

 

Spinach Chicken minus the Spinach…

This is going to be the last learning project post outside of my finale, which still is being figured out.  I made some Spinach Chicken, but I did not have any spinach so I altered the recipe a bit.  It was extremely easy to make and pretty tasty it u like cream cheese.  I found out after a few bites that one of the critics did not like cream cheese… Oh well.

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Here are the videos.

This last video is the change of heart from the initial response.  Keep in mind that the sheer fact she is trying this without ketchup is a stretch.

Outside of the grand finale, I wanted to shout out to anyone who gave me feedback and watched the videos for this learning project.  Your will the cooking oil that kept this engine going…

Are anxious kids in the classroom the same as at home?

So I am starting to feel like I am that annoying person that is inundating everyone in class with the over exposure to the same issue.  So if you are sick of me talking or seeing stuff about my kids then I will not be hurt if you do not read this post or watch my videos of my kids critiquing my cooking.

My 7 year old in grade 2 is a bit of an emotional mess when it comes to school (or anything else for that matter) and I wanted to look into whether or not anxious behaviours at home manifest differently at school or if they look the same.  We (my wife and I) have done some inquiring about my daughters behaviour at school and her teacher says that she does not see any issues.  So I wanted to dig a little deeper.

What I found were some good tips from a parents standpoint of what to do and for teachers, what to look for.

I think that being aware of why students are acting a certain way is crucial to good teaching.  I have read some great articles based on tweets and posts from other ECMPers.  I think the best advice that I have heard but is often difficult to practise is being proactive to behavioural issues is more affective than being reactive.

In regards to the title question?  I think that its impossible to tell whether or not the two anxieties will look the same unless you are home schooled.  With the environments being so different anxious kids would act differently depending on where they are and who is around. Making it so important to have open dialogue between teachers and parents. Thoughts?

The Dua(e)l of a Teacher Parent after watching Sext Up Kids

I started, stopped, started again and then had to take another break before finishing the documentary” Sext up Kids“.  My aversion to watching it all at once has to do with parenting two young girls and how terrified I am that they are going to be exposed to a hyper sexualized world that a lot of parents are not prepared for.  But that is not the only reason why I had to stop and start.  I see some of the subtle behaviours that were discussed in the documentary with the kids I work with.  I see my sons obsession with his phone and curiously wonder how much time he is spending on explicit sites.  The documentary also got me thinking about my experiences during internship and wondering how much of the hyper sexualized behaviour was going on underneath the watchful eyes of teachers.

Rather than dissecting the documentary I think that I want to come at this from an angle of a teacher who is a parent.  I see that this is a problem and when you see a problem you want to find solutions.  The problem is that the solutions start with allowing people to have real conversations to kids about this hyper sexualized digital world that has filtered into the physical world.  I believe that one of the teachers comments was, “how do you get them (students) to think critically”, about what the media is throwing at them. He also refers to the influx of pornography as the “elephant in the room” in schools.  So if we know that this is happening and we know that it is a problem, who is going to take on the responsibility of talking to kids about it?

This is where I see the issue.  If I am going to teach grade 8 sexual education to students, I feel pretty confident and comfortable about delivering this curriculum.  However, to address this information from the documentary to students, I know as a parent that there will be some uneasiness about discussing these realities, if the information is coming from a teacher.  Personally I feel that if a teacher presents the material in a way that allows students to critically analyze this information and ensure that appropriate discussions are being had, then I want my daughters to be engaged in these classrooms.  But not all parents will agree with me and not all teachers will be comfortable or effective in delivering this content.  I think that because of this it will continue to be the “elephant in the room”.

From the teachers perspective, as important as it is to have these discussions, is it worth it to go out on  a limb and deal with the backlash from administrations and parents if you want to have real discussions about the content in the documentary?  Because some parents will not want teachers to go there with their kids, even though the documentary said that 20% of teenage females had performed anal sex within a 2 month period, why take the risk. The statistics suggests that there needs to be a dialogue, but I do not think any teacher would risk their job to address it.  In the US you might not even be able to have any type of conversation about it.

There needs to be ways around this, and sending a girl home because the principal thinks her skirt is too short is not it.  I can have these discussions with my daughters at home.  I can make them aware of what is out there both in the digital and physical world.  But not all parents know because not all parents will watch these documentaries.  This lack of knowledge prevents a dialogue at home and it needs to happen somewhere.  If that somewhere is not school than where else will young boys learn that porn is not real or that girls do not need to feel invisible if they do not feel comfortable dry humping an enormous wrecking ball while wearing a thong in the rain.  Teaching about body image, self esteem and sexEd is one component to this but I feel that this is where the conversation stops in most schools.  Parents, teachers and administrators need to get comfortable and literate about this phenomenon fast or we will be left in the digital dust.  Leaving our kids to learn about these issues from pornstars, disney, miley and the beebs… Now that is scary.