Sunday, August 14, 2011

Course Reflection

Over this past course, "Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society", we have learned a great deal about how technology has not only impacted society and the workplace, but also how it can impact our students education. So for our last assignment, we have been asked to answer the following question.

1)In what ways has this course helped you to develop your own technology skills as a professional teacher?
Well, before this class I didn't really know what Wikis, Blogs, or Podcasts were, let alone, how they could be used in the classroom. Being able to learn about these types of technologies and practice creating them, definitely helped me develop more technology skills. Also, just learning about and gaining knowledge of the many different websites, programs, and other technologies, I have become more aware of what is out there and what can be integrated into my classroom instruction and lessons. This class has opened a new door for me regarding my current teaching pedagogy and has given me the opportunity to learn about 21st Century classrooms and how to transform my classroom into one. All of these things have shifted my thinking and I truly feel that I have begun to evolve as an educator!

2)In what ways have you deepened your knowledge of the teaching and learning process?
We have been given many great articles to read and videos of experts to watch. This alone, has deepened my knowledge on how children today are learning and how they need to be taught. Also, we have been asked to evaluate our own teaching practices and sharet them with each other and decide whether they match what research suggests are the best ways to teach. Our class discussions have also given me the opportunity to interact with colleagues and gain valuable information from them. I am able to read how other teachers are doing things and use some of their ideas and suggestions. They have also given me enormous amounts of resources to use in my classroom. With all of these things I now have a much deeper understanding of the teaching and learning process.

3)In what ways have you changed your perspective from being teacher-centered to learner-centered?
Obviously, in this course we have been told that the educational world is changing to a more learner-centered environment. However, I have also had numerous inservices on how to create a more learner-centered classroom and project-based lessons. Last year, when I started teaching fourth grade Social Studies (I had taught the previous 7 years in third grade Language Arts), I made it a goal of mine to plan more project-based lessons, where I am more of a facilitator than a lecturer. I wanted the kids to do more discovering on their own. So my perspectives had started to change last summer, but with all of the great knowledge and support I have had through this class, I am even more determined to create that 21st Century, learner-centered, inquiry, project-based classroom. In fact, I have set a goal for myself so that I can strive everyday to prepare my students for the 21st Century.

4)In what ways can you continue to expand your knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement?
I will continue to expand my knowledge through a variety of ways. Since I started this program, I have joined various educational organizations that revolve around teaching today's students and 21st Century Skills. Also, I am sure that my knowledge will increase throughout my next six classes of this Masters program. I plan on subscribing to various educational magazines and reading as much as I can about  learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement. I also know that our school district is planning on scheduling many inservices related to technology and student achievement, not to mention, the Ohio Department of Education is restructuring their academic standards to include 21st Century skills. So as you can see, with all of these things, I will be able to expand my knowledge and hopefully become a more effective, 21st Century Educator!

5)What are two long term goals for transforming your classroom environment by which you may have to overcome institutional or systemic obstacles in order to achieve them?
Goal #1: I want to have a student-centered, inquiry, project-based classroom where the students are discovery things on their own and guiding their own learning. 

Goal #2: I want to be able to incorporate some sort of technology and 21st Century Skills into my weekly lessons (I would say daily, but right now, the technology part doesn't seem quite possible, due to lack of resources).

6)How do you plan on accomplishing these goals?
Goal #1: I will have my students working in groups where they can collaborate with one another, on different projects that I have assigned them or that they have chosen themselves. In order to do their research, I will either schedule time in the computer lab, check out the laptop cart, allow them to use the six computers in the back of my classroom in rotation, or assign them to do parts of the research at home or in the library.

Goal #2: I will put more time and effort into the planning of my lessons to ensure that at least one 21st Century skill and one technology skill is being incorporated into my weekly lessons. Therefore, I will also have to make accomodations if certain pieces of technology equipment are needed, in order to have them available for when they are needed

7)After referring to your checklist from Week 1, have any of your answers changed after completing this course?
Due to the fact that I have been on summer vacation since the beginning of this course, I don't feel that any of my answers have changed yet after completing this course. However, when school gets back underway, I plan on making some changes and hopefully will have all checkmarks in the "often" column, for "Practices to support 21st Century Skills" heading and at least all checkmarks in the "sometimes" column, for "Developing Technology Skills for the School and Workplace Environments" heading- working towards having all checkmarks in the "often" column. I seem to be a little hesitant to lead my colleagues when I don't feel 100% secure about something but hopefully by the end of this program I will be an expert and can step up and be a leader for my school!!

All in all, this class was GREAT and definitely opened my eyes to a lot of new things. I am excited to head back to school to implement some of the great things I have learned and I can't wait to see what else is in store throughout the rest of this Masters program.

Crystal Moyer  

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