Productivity or Distraction?

This weeks topics were on Productivity Suites and Presentation Tools. The presenting group of Allison, Jocelyn, Shelby, and Daina did a great job of taking us on a historical tour and allowing us the opportunity to dive deeper into some of these programs. I remember using Lotus 123 and WordPerfect in university.

Lotus 1-2-3, Three Decades On | Mental Floss
Who still uses Corel WordPerfect? - Quora

In the article “The Best Productivity Apps for 2020” in PC Magazine the authors promote that “Productivity software is designed to make work and personal tasks easier and more efficient to complete”. They also say that “Being productive sometimes means becoming more focused and less distracted”. This directly ties into the video Single Tasking is the New Multi-Tasking.

This video hit home for me for many reasons. I totally can relate to being on the internet working on a project and getting distracted by other items on the internet. I get sent on a tangent (usually nothing to do with what I am working on) and lose hours of my life. It also happens when I am working on a presentation or video. I get distracted easily with the “visual” aspect of the project (does the colour of the font exactly match the guys shirt in the picture on the slide) and will spend endless hours making it look perfect-yet the assignment is really about the information-not the visual appearance. The gentleman in this video ends up with many tabs open on his computer after following many different tangents. He draws a connection between “life mimicking the internet”. I often feel as though I have many too many ‘tabs’ open in my head. I will start one thing…get distracted by something else I have to do…and never finishing anything! To try to offset this fury of activity in my head, I practice yoga. I work hard to be present for the time I am practicing. Some days are better than others. Working to be fully present in the moment is a goal of mine.

How to Meditate - Mindful

For myself, I would say the internet is more an endless series of distractions rather than a productivity tool. My focus has to be top notch to achieve anything on the internet.

Google vs Microsoft – Comparing TTM Revenues and Profits for past 25  Quarters - Revenues & Profits

When looking at productivity suites the battle continues between Microsoft Office 365 and GSuite. I sit on team Microsoft although my division is team Google. The presenting groups reading “G Suite vs. Office 365…” in the COMPUTERWORLD publication breaks down the suites by app. The apps that I use the most would be word processing and email. When looking at the word processors within each suite there are features that stand out with both. According to this article, Google Docs wins hands down on collaboration. I would agree with this. Microsoft Word has more built in templates so that you can get writing fast. Since most of my word processing is not a collaborative process, I prefer Word. The other app that I use often is the presentation software. Here again I prefer PowerPoint. In the article, the authors compare the presentation apps saying that “PowerPoint’s QuickStarter feature makes quick work of starting a presentation. Choose the topic of your presentation, and QuickStarter walks you through creating an outline, starter slides, templates, and themes. Google Slides has no equivalent”.

I often wonder whether I prefer the Microsoft products because I am more familiar with them? If the goal is productivity…using the programs that I am most familiar with leads to work getting done rather than trying to figure out the program before I can even start my work.

Sesame Street and Beyond

Sesame Street was a staple in my childhood. We watched it all the time. I am pretty sure the Count taught me my numbers.

It was many years ago that I first read about the ‘dark side’ of Sesame Street. I do not remember watching the show and thinking that some of the content was inappropriate for the intended audience. I do not remember Cookie Monster smoking a pipe (but apparently he did). Apparently, some episodes had children playing in construction sites and jumping on old box springs. There were enough inappropriate scenes that when the early episodes were released on DVD in 2007, they came with an “adults only” warning. The New York Times said the warning read “These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grownups and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child”. I am wondering what adults would want to watch Sesame Street…

Some interesting reading I found about Sesame Street talked about the characters of Roosevelt Franklin and Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus. Roosevelt Franklin was the first black muppet to appear on the show (1970-1975).

Edutopia - Often referred to as the first black Muppet, Roosevelt Franklin  joined a multiracial cast of human and puppet characters soon after the  assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the

He was apparently removed from the show after parents criticized that the character promoted a harmful stereotype that black children were “rowdy” and a “bad influence” to other children. He was a regular visitor to after-school detention.

In 1971, Big Bird began referring to an imaginary friend- Snuffleupagus.

Give your friend a hug! #Snuffleupagus #BigBird #SesameStreet | Sesame  street muppets, Sesame street characters, Sesame street

The other characters did not believe that Big Bird’s friend existed outside his imagination. Snuffleupagus was an imaginary character for 14 years until adult viewers drew a connection between this imaginary relationship and the possibility of adults not believing children when they told them something (childhood sexual assault). In 1985, Snuffleupagus appeared as a character for all to see. If you would like-check out the 11 of the most controversial moments in Sesame Street’s history.

Screen Shot 2019 11 07 at 8.08.28 PM

These issues are a stretch for me, but I remember other shows while my daughters were growing up that the media would question some of the content. Some of the shows I remember being smeared in the press were Teletubbies, Calliou, Dora the Explorer…among others. While most of these shows have educational content-they do not take the place of school. They may help to reinforce concepts already learned…but the actual learning from them is minimal. They are entertainment.

This week in class was the first presentation-and it was our turn! I learned so much about audio technology, visual technology, and audio visual technology. I also learned how to use Nearpod and Adobe Spark Video. I can see using both of these applications in my classroom with my students. As a society, we have come a long way from picture books being the technology (although picture books still have an important place in any classroom). I hope through our presentation our classmates got a good idea of the history, the connections to learning theories, and had the chance to learn something new.

I do believe that with each introduction to new technology or new applications-something is lost. I totally agree with Professor Couros and other classmates when they brought up issues they saw in our concluding video which showed the classroom of the future.

A glaring issue with this video is the lack of collaboration between students and between students and teacher. The only interaction is between the students and the technology.

I fear we are raising a generation of students who do not know how to interact with other live humans who are in the same room with them. We need to find a balance between technology use and still having meaningful human interaction in the classroom.

An age-by-age guide to kids and smartphones

The Old Becomes New Again


I really enjoyed the walk down memory lane this past week.   I remember playing around with Logo when I was in high school.   I can’t remember which class we experimented with it in, but I didn’t know it was originally designed to teach math skills!  I could definitely engage some reluctant learners with Logo.  They would see Logo as a precursor to computer coding.  

This fits in with he  constructionism view that learning can happen most effectively when people are active in making tangible objects in the real world.  Having students input values and seeing the path the Logo turtle takes in response to their inputted values would be motivating for most students.  I’m not sure I agree with Papert when he likened students’ learning with Logo “to living in a “mathland” where learning mathematical ideas is as natural as learning French while living in France.”


One of my favourite oldies is HyperStudio.  It was the first program I used to make presentations. I remember losing hours playing around on it.  Presentation programs are still one of my favourites to kill time.  

A first game for me is one that wasn’t mentioned in class “Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego?”. I don’t remember a lot about it just that I was trying to find/catch a thief.  The ‘only’ video game that I have wanted to play repeatedly is/was Lemmings on the Nintendo Entertainment System. There many all nighters in the 90’s spent saving these cute creatures. 

Looking through this weeks resources I realized that I don’t use many <a href="http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>Looking through this weeks resources I realized that I don’t use many Chrome <a href="; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> </a>extensions. I think I might be missing out!  I was introduced to Screencastify <a href="; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> </a>when we went to emergency remote learning in March. I found it easy to use and it had all the features I needed. I could see students using it to record presentations. The only other extension I use is Grammarly. <a href="; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> </a>I purchased this in my 7th masters course. I sure could have used it earlier but I didn’t know what it was all about. </p> Chrome extensions. I think I might be missing out!  I was introduced to Screencastify when we went to emergency remote learning in March. I found it easy to use and it had all the features I needed. I could see students using it to record presentations. The only other extension I use is Grammarly. I purchased this in my 7th masters course. I sure could have used it earlier but I didn’t know what it was all about. 

I’m interested to hear what other ‘old’ games are favourites to my classmates. 

A Theory for Everything

This weeks class and readings brought me back to my undergraduate degree (which was a long time ago).

TLM image

As I re-acquainted myself with the theories of Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, and Connectivism I found my mind twirling in circles.

Head Spinning GIFs | Tenor

Looking back over my career, my guiding philosophies and classroom practice has evolved. I remember back to my first position and I would say I followed a Behaviourism practice. I (a little embarrassing looking back) had a chart on the wall where students got a ‘+’ for good behaviour and a ‘-‘ for non-desirable behaviour. At the end of the week, I would total up the pluses and minuses and each student would choose rewards. If a student was +3, they would choose 3 rewards. If a students was in the negative, they wouldn’t receive any rewards. Totally extrinsic motivation! Thankfully, I’ve moved on from these practices. More recently I would say that I follow mainly a Constructivism ideology, but sometimes Cognitivism ideologies are present.

After reading the piece on Connectivism I see this is where I strive to be. Points in this article that really resonated with me were: “Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains” and “Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed). These ‘trends in learning’ are changing the ways we need to teach.

Connectivism: a network theory for teaching and learning in a connected  world

Educational Technology…My Limited Understanding.

The Impact of Technology on Education You Probably Never Realized -  Eduzenith

When I first began thinking about the topic of “educational technology” I started by thinking back over my teaching career (20 years) and how the technology we use changes. I think of educational technology as any tools or technologies that assist in the education of our students. Understanding new technology has always been a hobby of mine, but I have found as life has got busier with work and family, I am falling further and further behind when it comes to knowing about technology. I disagree with the above graphic that technology has made learning ‘easy’. It definitely engages some students who are otherwise unengaged.

After doing the readings for this week, I realized that I needed to go further back into my past to really think about what educational technology means to me and how it shapes my teaching practice.

In elementary school, you knew it was going to be a great day when you saw this:

Classroom movie projector--if you saw this when you walked into class, it was going to be a good day!

This machine meant we would be taking a break from the textbooks and exploring through pictures and sounds. The engagement factor from a simple machine was amazing. Unfortunately, the sound quality was horrible and more times than not…the tape bent or came loose. As the years went on the technology steadily (and quickly) became more useful for schools.

Vutec 54"H Wide Body TV Cart w/Elec VWBC54E B&H Photo

I am dating myself…but when I began teaching these fancy TV carts were all the rage. As with all technology, these were not without their own problems. I remember the frustration of having to sign out the TV cart and realizing that someone else had it signed out for when I needed it.

Educational technology is fluid and always changing. I feel this technology needs to be purposeful. Having the students use technology for the purpose of using technology is missing the point. All new technologies have benefits and drawbacks. As Neil Postman says in his talk Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change, “Technology giveth and technology taketh away. This means that for every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage”.

Postman's Claims - Synthesis of Amusing Ourselves to Death

The technology I implement in my classroom must have advantages that outweigh the disadvantages. A big idea I got from EC&I 830 in the spring was the idea of the importance of teaching students not only how to responsibly use technology, but also teaching them about the disadvantages. As users of technology we need to be well informed. Postman articulated it well when he said that “The best way to view technology is as a strange intruder…its capacity for good or evil rests entirely on human awareness of what it does for us and to us”. Audrey Waters also speaks to this fact in her blog when she states that “it’s a strange and necessary time to be a critic of education technology”.

All About Me

My Girls

My name is Tarina Kelln and I am currently a grade 6 teacher at Central School. Central School is a Pre-K to grade 8 school in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

I have been teaching for 20 years, with the first 5 years subbing in between having two beautiful daughters. My first teaching contract was at Ecole Oman School in Swift Current.

I am creating this blog as part of my Masters program through the University of Regina. My current class EC&I 833 will be an exciting journey learning about Educational Technology. My first degree was a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge, with a major in Management Information Systems. I used to feel I had a good grasp on changing technologies-but have felt ‘out of the technology loop’ for the last few years. I hope this class helps to bring me up to speed on current issues in technology and also expose me to some newer technology I can implement into my grade 6 classroom.

I hope you enjoy my blog and I look forward to reading any comments you may have.