For my final blog post for Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology, I want to look back at week one and defining my personal theory of learning. In week one, I stated how all my students see lessons in different ways and to reach my I need to understand how they think during the learning process. I need to learn my students’ strengths and weaknesses so I can plan engaging lessons. It is my goal to create lessons that immerse the learner as described by Dr. Michael Orey (Laureate, 2009a). I try to plan most of my lessons based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory that we all have multiple intelligences but there is one or two of those intelligences that makes of learning unique (Lever-Duffy & Macdonald, 2008, p.24). I want to set my students up for success and by learning how they learn best and allowing them to use this in lessons, I feel that I am giving them a great opportunity to learn from each other. I have learned to modify my instruction so that my students are actively engaged and create artifacts to show there mastery of content. According to Dr. Michael Orey, "Social Learning is the act of being actively engaged in constructing artifacts and conversations with others. Conversations that help them understand and learn from others." (Laureate Inc., 2009b) I want my students to learn the content from each other and rely less on teacher led instruction.
This caused some adjustments to my instructional practice. Throughout my education at Walden University I learned about using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom and I am continually impressed by the amount and quality of content. Web 2.0 tools allow a small-town school to create podcasts, videos, manage photos, create slideshows, comics, animation, wikis, concept maps, musical and graphical tools, and many others for no cost. In an era of school budget restraints, Web 2.0 tools allow my students a chance to experience 21st skills in practice. In this course we learned about VoiceThreads and I will implement them into my curriculum. VoiceThreads allow students to collaborate and build knowledge together by using their voices (with a microphone) or by typing. This is great because it allows students who are reluctant to participate in discussion, a chance to become involved in discussion that they would normally would not. Another tools that I want to incorporate into my curriculum is virtual field trips. A Virtual Field Trip is a web based tool that "provides a student the opportunity to go where they physically cannot" (Laureate Education, Inc., 2007c). For example, virtual field trips instantly allow my students in Reedsville, WI to visit and learn about the tropical rainforests in Brazil and store that information into long-term memory. The trip would include many sights, sounds, and excellent information that would allow for my students to make connections with prior knowledge and enter their episodic memory. Using technology and experiencing a virtual fieldtrip is a much more effective way for my students to experience the Amazon Rainforest rather than looking in a boring textbook.
A long-term goal I would like to make to my instructional practice are giving my students different choices using technology to meet lesson objectives (a leap of faith for me). For example, if we are learning about Canadian provinces, in which I would normally have students create a poster, I would give them a chance to create an Imovie, slideshow, podcast, or the chance to use any Web 2.0 tools. As long a the students can satisfy the rubric for the assignment, they can use technology to learn in different ways, hopefully using their strengths. Another goal I will incorporate is using IPod touches in my classroom that I ordered last week. Students can surf the Internet, reinforce skills, use dictionaries and encyclopedias, or use any of the over 10,000 educational apps. My students are really excited for this opportunity and this will engage my students with even less teacher-led instruction. IPods, VoiceThreads, virtual field trips, and other Web 2.0 tools make being a teacher wanting to incorporate technology into the curriculum exciting and will definitely improve student achievement.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Program 8. Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Program 3. Instructional theory vs. learning theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009c). Program 5. Spotlight on technology – virtual field trips. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.