During week one of this course, we were asked to describe our own personal learning theory. Now that we are at the end of this course, we have been asked to review our personal learning theory and decide if we feel that our learning theory needs modified or changed as a result of our learning through this course. After rereading my original personal learning theory, I don't feel that I have really changed my view about it, except for the fact that I would like to focus more of my attention on the constructivist/constructionist theory and try to incorporate more activities based on this theory, into my classroom. The reason being is that, as we have learned through these past seven weeks, and as Dr. Michael Orey would put it, "Students learn best when they are engaged and active in creating a product" (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011b). This theory also supports Paivio's Dual coding hypothesis, which is one of the four fundamental components of the Cognitive Learning Theory (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011a). Also, when students are able make or build things (artifacts) it is fun and exciting for them and provides a positive learning experience. Not to mention, it increases motivation and they are more engaged and willing to take more control over their own learning. When you add the use of educational technology, the interest level, motivation, and engagement of the students increase as well. It is for these reasons, that I have decided to focus my attention on the Constructivist/Constructionist theory, while continuing the use of pieces of the other three learning theories.
With the knowledge of the educational technologies that I have gained throughout this course, I feel that I am ready to implement some of them right away. I have used some technology in the classroom, but now, I can do so more often with the confidence that it will make a dramatic difference in my instructional practices. Two of the tools that we have talked about, that I am most excited about incorporating into my classroom is, Powerpoint and Voicethread. Both of these programs are user friendly and will provide the appropriate level of difficulty for my fourth grade students. With these two programs the students will be creating an artifact that they are proud of and can share with others and because they are creating something using text and visual imagery, they are both very powerful tools to use in the classroom. Having used and practiced with both of these programs myself, along with some of the other programs we have learned about, I have added these educational experiences to my own personal repertoire of instructional skills and broadened my knowledge level of the various types technological tools available, which I can share with my students and help to prepare them with the 21st Century Skills they will need to succeed in the world today.
I have decided to create a couple of long term goals, to create some changes in my instructional practice regarding technology integration. One of those goals is to make sure that I am incorporating some sort of technology into my lessons every week. This could be anything from a simple video clip, to an interactive whiteboard activity, to a Powerpoint presentation or the creation of a class wiki. It doesn't really matter what technology tool I am using as long as it is engaging and enriching experience. The other goal of mine is, to try a new technology tool that I haven't used, that I have learned about through this class, at least once this year with my students. Then, my hope is that next year, I can add a couple more tools that I have found or will learn about through the rest of this Masters program, until I have built a large collection of tools that I can use to meet the needs of all of my diverse learners.
In order to work on achieving these goals, I will need a strategy to help me achieve them. The first thing I will need to do is, make sure that the technology is available for us to use every week. I only have a few computers in my room, so I will need to set aside one day a week to schedule the computer lab. I prefer to have it be the same day everyweek, in order to develop a routine for the students and myself, however, this may not always be possible. The other thing that I need to do is be very strategic in planning my lessons for the week, to ensure that I have integrated some type of technology into them. Every week,the Intervention Specialist and my fourth grade team meet to share our plans and ideas for the upcoming week. So I will share with them, my ideas for implementing a technology tool or lesson for that next week and ask for feedback, comments, or suggestions. Doing this every week, helps keep me accountable for making sure that I am striving for achieving my goals. Meeting every week helps create a great support system for each other and helps us to encourage one another throughout the year, especially when times get tough!!
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1