Friday, April 13, 2012

Final Reflection

As a computer teacher I would like to believe that I am a digital native. I grew up with technology and I use technology constantly on a daily basis. However, this course has introduced me to a variety of new technology tools that I can use in my classroom and my everyday life.  Throughout this course I have discovered new technology tools that I can use to enhance my instruction and will actively engage my students.  The knowledge I have gained in this course is not only making me a better teacher but it is positively affecting how my students learn.

During week one of this course I developed a personal theory of learning. In my theory I discussed how the brain functions and how information is processed. I also discussed my interest of the constructivism model and how technology is applied in the classroom and to this theory. Now that I am in week seven of this course I would make a few modifications to my personal theory of learning.  I now have a better understanding of all the different learning theories and how they apply to the classroom. This class has shown me that different learning theories are used in the classroom to meet the needs of diverse learners. Teachers choose a learning theory depending on what is being taught and what students should be able to do at the end of the lesson.  What I discovered through the course is that I often use a variety of different learning theories in one lesson so that I can reach all of my students. Regardless of which learning theory is being used, technology can be used to not only assist with how the information is processed but also to demonstrate what students know.

One adjustment I will make regarding technology integration is putting more thought into which technology tools I will use in my classroom and how this technology would be use.  This course taught me a very interesting distinction between technology as an instructional tool and a learning tool.  One technology tools I will use as an instructional tool is voice thread software. This technology tool is beneficial because it address the needs of auditory and visual learners. It is a new way to present information because it allows you to lecture or present information while looking at informational images. Another form of technology I would use as a learning tool is concept mapping. This tool is used to help students with summarizing and organizing their notes and information presented in class.  It also helps to retain information because it allows students to view information as text and graphics.

One goal I would like to accomplish with technology integration is creating more activities where technology is use as learning tool. In this course I was introduced to a concept called the jigsaw method. Under this instructional strategy the student is required to become knowledgeable about a particular topic or subject and teach this knowledge to their peers. Because of what I have learned in this course I have a variety of different technology tools that students can use to present their information such as concept maps, voice threads, prezi or PowerPoint presentations, or smart boards. If I start this assignment at the beginning of next year and maybe pair students up with a partner, hopefully by the end of the year every student will have the opportunity to change role from student to teacher.

A second goal I would like to accomplish is to incorporate web 2.0 tools not only in my classroom but help my colleagues incorporate these tools in their classroom as well.  In this course I have communicate with classmates all over the world that teach a variety of different subjects. Communicating with my classmates has given me ideas on how every subject can use technology to assist with learning. For example, a voice thread can be used as a replacement for a PowerPoint presentation or as a remediation tool for students who need read aloud modifications or testing.  Because of the course work I have completed in this course I have web sites, online resources, examples, and ideas I can share at staff and PLC meeting with my colleagues during the next school year.

Technology is changing the way we view information, the way we communicate, and it is even changing the way we teach. Technology is allowing teachers to step out of their comfort zones and teach the same information in new and innovate ways. Teachers should embrace the advantages of technology and take more of a facilitator approach to learning which allows students to heighten and elevate the concepts and skills taught by the teacher. This course has taught me so much valuable information that enriches my classroom. I am sure that over time, I will learn more and creative ways to change my teaching style through the use of technology, but at least this is a start

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