Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Final Thoughts

As this course commences we are asked to reflect on some things. The first being in what ways this course has helped to develop my own technology skills as a professional teacher. I have said it before in other classes, but this is the first class that has actually allowed me to learn more about technology and not just writing papers about very non-technological things. Had it not been for this course, I would not have learned how to set up a BLOG, or a WIKI and I definitely would not have made a PODCAST. I don’t know how much I will use the podcasts, but I feel very comfortable with blogs and wiki’s that I can not wait to use them in my classroom.

The next thing we are asked to reflect on is the way we have deepened our knowledge of the teaching and learning process and the ways I have changed my perspective from being teacher-centered to learner-centered. The one thing we had to do for this class was to survey our students on the kinds of technology they use on a daily basis. I knew my students used more technology than what I did at their age, however, this survey really showed me just how much and what types they liked to use the most. Having this information will hopefully allow me to incorporate the right kinds of technology to really reach my students. I am not to the comfort point of letting go completely of teacher-centered, but understanding the types of technology my students like to use will allow me to let go completely and make my classroom a learner-centered environment. The more technology I can incorporate, hopefully the more interest my students will take in learning the Math skills essential to moving effortlessly through school.

Another part of our reflection explores the ways in which we can continue to expand our knowledge of learning, teaching and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement. One way that I am expanding my knowledge of learning, teaching and leading with technology is by taking these master’s classes. This class has begun to help me gain the comfort needed to lead my students into the 21st century. Without the push to try new things technologically, I can not increase my student’s achievement. I will also expand my knowledge of learning, teaching and leading by using the 21st century skills myself. I can not expect my students to be experts if I myself am not comfortable using them in my everyday life.

The last part of our reflection is to set two long – term goals for transforming my classroom environment and overcoming obstacles in order to achieve these goals. My first goal is to create a working blog strictly for my classes to use. I want to make it as easy as possible for my students and their parents to keep up on what we are covering and from what I have seen, posting everything we do and use on the web is the best way to do it. My second goal is to convince my administration to trust us enough to use blogs in our classrooms. I am not sure how well this will work, but if I can show them just how much access during school helps student achievement, then maybe they will lift some of the bans they have on internet access and allow all of us as a district to move forward and really start using 21st century skills.

At first, when I started this program, I constantly asked myself if I made the right choice choosing this program. I really wanted to gain the skills necessary to bring technology into my classroom, but the first two classes dealt entirely with writing papers. I understand that this is graduate level work, and writing just comes with the territory, however, I thought for the money I was spending, I would actually get to learn about some different types of technology. It was not until this class that I actually got to do that. I am very excited to use what I have learned to advance my students into the 21st century technologically. I hope that in the seven classes I have left to take that I get to learn more and use more technology instead of writing so many papers. I am constantly being told that my students learn better by doing, and with technology, that is entirely the case. If this program is going to help me incorporate technology into education, I need to actually “do” instead of write about what I could be doing. The professor for this course has been one of the best professors I have had the pleasure of learning from; undergraduate or graduate level. It helps tremendously when the she understands that sometimes our knowledge level is not as high as hers and really does an excellent job of explaining and making resources available to help us. I am becoming more confident in using technology in my classroom and hope that this becomes more prominent the further I get into this program.

Friday, February 6, 2009