Sunday, February 19, 2012

End of Course Reflection

Over the past several weeks, I have gained so many new ideas for how to incorporate new technologies into my classroom. I have always been on board with learning new technologies, but I often struggle with coming up with creative ways to utilize them in my classroom. Specifically, I have learned about ways I can use blogs, wikis and podcasts with my students. Though I was not concerned about a lack of skill, I do feel more confident now having used them all myself for academic purposed. 

The greatest insight I have gained into the teaching and learning process is knowing the difference between doing things differently and doing different things. Using technology to complete the same task or activity does not provide the same benefits as taking advantage of a new and different opportunity made accessible through technology. This requires a great deal of creativity for us as educators, but fortunately there are a number of resources out there to give us ideas. 

I have also learned that the way I like to use technology may be different from that of my students. Some of my students prefer to use computers, some do not. Every student has a different learning style. In this way, my perspective has become more student-focused in recognizing that students have different interests and skill levels in technology just as in everything else. 

One way I plan to expand my knowledge in this area is to continue following the resources I have discovered through my coursework. There are a number of blogs I am now following that share information about new resources and how to implement them into the classroom. Following these will keep me abreast of what is new out there and help me come up with ways to use it effectively with my students. 

I have set two long-term goals for transforming my classroom environment. The first is to have students create blogs and write blog posts. This will require a great deal of setup on my part as well as verification with my district as to what sites are allowed and what precautions we will need to take. However, I learned in this course that I enjoy writing much more when it is in blog format. I have a feeling many of my students will feel the same way. In addition, this format allows for interaction between students outside of the classroom. I will need to make sure I can monitor what students post. 

The second goal I have is to fully implement the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework into the standards I currently teach. Many of the pieces are there, but I want to formalize it and make sure I include all areas. I will start by determining which standards best align with each area of the framework. Then I can re-work or re-create lessons in order to accomplish both goals. This will take time and will need to be taken on one piece at a time. 

After completing my goals checklist in the beginning of the term I was made aware of several areas I had not considered when it comes to technology in the classroom. After completing this course, I have been able to most some "rarely" checks to the "sometimes" column and even some "sometimes" checks to the "often" column. Mainly I plan to use this checklist as I reach goals and set new ones for myself. 

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