Sunday, February 27, 2011
In this course I learned about MUVEs (like Second Life), online courses (like Moode), grant writing, and gaming. I know I need to learn more about Second Life and Moodle because they will play a huge role in shaping the future of integrating technology in the classroom. Second Life offers so many professional development opportunities for free. Online courses, such as Moodle allow schools to offer more courses, allow students to study anytime, and a chance to go paperless. I also learned how important grant writing will become in today’s cash strapped school districts that need money for more technology. At my school, the computers in our computer lab are ten years old, so grant writing is definitely welcomed. I also investigated gaming in the classroom; learning how to use it effectively in the classroom and how it engages learners in authentic learning.
Unfortunately at my school, there are a limited number of teachers who use technology, so gaming in the classroom might be looked down upon. In order to use gaming, I need to convince administration, colleagues, students, and parents of the benefits. I need to get all parties involved and through collaboration, implement and use simulation games. I would volunteer to provide professional development opportunities, and would be willing to help any of my colleagues. Using simulations to teach content helps my students who have different learning styles and many of which love playing video games. “Today’s learning generation is extremely game literate” (DeKanter, 2005). I think once other teachers see high-interest learning that can take place outside of the school and outside of the school day, they will jump aboard.
As this course and program comes to an end, I look back a year and a half ago and can see some tremendous growth as a technological leader in the classroom. I now incorporate wikis, blogs, podcasts, VoiceThreads, ScreanToasts, and other web 2.0 tools. I constantly search the site, “Free Tech for Teachers” for new technologies to use in my classroom. I am investigating Second Life, Moodle, and social networking because these educational tools will help me reach all my learners. I realize that as a technological leader, I need to constantly seek out emerging technologies and implement them, in order to help all my students prepare for the 21st century.
DeKanter, N. (2005). Gaming redefines interactivity for learning. TechTrends, 49(3),
Saturday, January 29, 2011
There are many arguments that I would anticipate from my colleagues who resist online learning. An argument that I would face at my school district would be the lack of technological resources and training. According to Gillard & Bailey (2007), “the level of support that educators receive as they are adopting and implementing new skills and knowledge significantly impacts the success rate”. Given the proper training online education could thrive in a rural setting, like Reedsville. “Teachers need support specific to the technology they are planning to implement, and they need it when they are preparing to use the technology with their students” (Gillard & Bailey, 2007). The Reedsville School District would benefit by giving students more class choices, via online courses created by technologically trained teachers.
Another way my colleagues would be to question the effectiveness of online education. Lemke and Coughlin explain that technology is changing the way people learn in the 21st century; with the unlimited amount of information on the internet, how people learn is vastly changing as well (2009). A poll of registered voters found that 80% said that public education is not working (Young, Birtolo, & McElman). Traditional education needs to change because our students are changing and the skills they need to succeed in the future are changing too.
Although there are many reasons why schools do not use online classes, they are missing many benefits. Teachers given the proper training can create online courses that supplements current educational programs. The ability to develop 21st century skills, accommodate different learning abilities, and collaborate with students worldwide makes online learning a small part of where education is now and gives a huge clue of where it is heading into the future.
Gillard, S., & Bailey, D. (2007). Technology in the classroom: Overcoming obstacles, reaping rewards. The International Journal of Learning, 14(1), 87–93.
Young, J., Birtolo, P., & McElman, R. (2009). Virtual success: Transforming education through online learning. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(5), 12–17. Retrieved from the Education Research Complete database.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
The best way to meet the needs of all my students is to get to know them as individuals. I need to learn the strengths and weaknesses of every student, hobbies, interests, learning preferences, multiple intelligences, and readiness levels. Luckily, there are countless inventories and surveys on the Internet available that make getting to know all my students possible. The information from the surveys and inventories allows for effective lesson planning. I can create lessons, assignment, activities, and projects that are geared to my students’ abilities and preferences. It also allows students choices to complete assignments. Students can work together in groups, pairs, or individuals. They are also given choices of how to create artifacts that demonstrate their learning. This year, my students have created podcasts, used IPod touches, wikis, essays, and digital comic strips. I also plan on using VoiceThreads, digital stories, Power Points, and many other web 2.0 tools that fit their abilities. UDL/DI does not mean a separate lesson for each student. Next year, I will begin my year with surveys and interest profiles and use my student’s choices to plan curriculum from the start. This principle will probably guide my lesson planning for many years to come.
This course has also shown me some ways to use incorporate technology into the classroom. We used SurveyMonkey, VoiceThreads, Google Chat, and Google Groups and they all could fit into my curriculum. In order to get to know my students, I could use SurveyMonkey. It is easy to customize and it would help me to differentiate instruction when lesson planning. VoiceThreads, Google Chat, and Google Groups could all be used for student collaboration. Students could easily work together on projects and even work outside of school. The social networking portion of the class also gave me many resources, ideas, and taught me how to use a group chat to collaborate with my colleague. Although I may never be able to use this feature because it is blocked by our filter at my school, it is a feature that could be very useful in education.
Finally, the resources and knowledge I have learned in this course has given me the opportunity to individualize instruction so all students can succeed. The application of this will allow me to become a better teacher and my students will be the beneficiaries.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The biggest influence the GAME Plan has had on my practice is goal setting. My goals have set the direction for incorporating more and more technology into my lesson planning and allowing students choices to complete their assignments. My first goal was to implement five new technologies into my curriculum. I currently am working on integrating digital storytelling and using flip cameras into language arts. In social studies, we are using timelines and virtual field trips. It takes more planning time when using technology, but the students will benefit from its use. The GAME Plan has also given me more confidence when using technology in the classroom and I am always thinking of ways to replace my textbook lesson with tech. I also have set a goal that when my five goals for this class run out that I will try to implement one new tech per month as long as I am a teacher. Hopefully my aspirations do not pass up the technology my district can provide!
With the GAME Plan now guiding my use of technology in my lessons, I have made many adjustments to my teaching. Now, my main focus is teaching 21st century skills in language arts and social studies without hesitation. My students will benefit from mastering web 2.0 tools and other technology and the experience that will prepare them for the rest of their lives. I also am more willing to allow students technological choices to complete assignments. I know that students, who create artifacts for learning, learn more than students who complete worksheets.
All in all, with the GAME Plan as my guide, my students will learn more, be more engaged in lessons, and prepare themselves for their futures. As a teacher, reflection after lesson completion has become a part of my growth as a teacher using technology. All the knowledge and experience I am gaining using technology in my classroom is making the use of technology the traditional way I present content.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I have also found that the more technology we use in my classroom, the more comfort, confidence, and eagerness is instilled into the students. They are becoming more proficient with the technology and almost want me to eliminate any “traditional” lessons. They want to learn using 21st century skills even though they are unaware that what we are doing is learning with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the future. After the completion of this course, it will be my goal to keep up with new technology and that means setting a goal of incorporating one new tech into my lessons per month. I think that learning with technology will be a great asset to my students and I want to give them the best chance at success.
Many comments I have received from my learning community have been mostly about creating hands-on lessons using the free technology of web 2.0 tools. Through websites like Free Tech For Teachers, http://www.freetech4teachers.com/
there should never be a shortage of the new tech ideas that can be used in the classroom.
In conclusion, ditch the text and worksheets and bring in the tech!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
As I continue to implement more technology into my lessons I am realizing more and more that is so beneficial for the students. I have just begun using some of the tech tools that I have set as goals with the students and the results are impressive. If I would compare learning the traditional way versus to incorporating technology, the technology side would be almost unanimously preferred. This week in social studies while studying Latin America I showed my classes using Google Earth, they were astounded. I would never have received any positive feedback when showing them a map from our text. Technology has a wonderful affect!
NETS-T #1 – Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity--engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.
NETS-T #2 – Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments--develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress
After reflecting back on the two goals I set for this class, I feel that I am still in the process of completing my goals and would not need to set new goals at this point but work on completing my existing goals of finding five new technologies and using them in my classroom, replacing traditional learning methods. If I master the five new technologies that I have chosen, I will set a goal of integrating one new technology into my curriculum per week. Currently, I feel that I need to continually work on becoming more comfortable and proficient using the new technology that I have chosen (VoiceThreads, using Flip Cameras, Digital Storytelling, using Google Earth, and Interactive Timelines). Sometimes it is a slow process but I need to keep in mind that I have to be flexible with the new technology.
To improve the chances that my goals with be successful, I have started to take notes on the new technology that was incorporated. I want to list the positives and negatives of the lesson so the next time I use it I will increase the chances of success and this will benefit my students.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
My final goal for implimenting technology into my classroom is creating a digital timeline. I looked on the Internet and have found countless number of web 2.0 tools that create timelines. Using timelines will be great in not only social studies but in language arts too. I hope to pick one timeline generator by next week and become more familiar with it. I am not to concerned how to use it but want to find one with the coolest options.
My first goal of finding five new technologies that I will incorporate into my teaching fits with my second goal of finding more ways for my students to meet objectives. If I can get comfortable with the new technology from my goals, I can give my students some new tools to complete their work. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to eliminate worksheets and replace it with technology in one form or another.