Reflection

As I reflect back on my personal theory of learning that I created during week one, not much has changed. I was never set on one instructional theory; I always pulled from each and every one because I saw the importance of every theory. I don’t think that any one theory will lead to success in the classroom because it is a method of guessing and checking. We have to understand that every class is different and we must find what works for them to be successful. We must actively engage our students in stimulating activities to ensure greater retention and connections to prior knowledge they already have. The integration of technology in the classroom is as vital as the integration of any hands-on activity. We as educators must make sure that we are making the most meaningful real-life experiences for our students that we can and to do this we must integrate technology into our learning experiences to enhance our lessons.

We must use technology as a tool to guide our lessons. We must understand learning theories to ensure we are reaching our students in an effective way. Our job as an educator is to make real life connections to the material that we are teaching to our students in the classroom. When we begin to do this we will begin to see students who are actively engaged and want to learn more and more everyday because it means something to them. We must know and understand who our students are so we are able to make these long-lasting, meaningful experiences.

“Every learner builds their own knowledge in an idiosyncratic way, using past experience and existing knowledge to make sense of new information.” (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2002) With the help of this course I understand that we must provide feedback to our students, have them create artifacts that connect with the material, work together to create bonds and socialization, and use technology to enhance every lesson so it because more engaging for our learners. I have also learned about several different technology tools that I can use in my classroom easily. One that I liked, but had difficulty with was the VoiceThread. The concept of the VoiceThread is amazing and with more practice, I am excited to use it in my own classroom. The Voice Thread pulls on all learning theories and would be a great way for my students to create, question, discuss, and collaborate together.

The changes that I will make in my classroom immediately is to provide my students with more chance to express what they know using different avenues, whether it is technology or not. Lever-Duffy and McDonald (2008) state, “designing the components of the instructional event to be consistent with [students’ learning] styles will make instruction significantly more effective for those learners.” I want to make sure I know my students on a different level than I did before so I am able to pull from something personal that excites them and create a lesson that they are able to connect with on a more meaningful level. I have already seen great success with this in the past and I now understand how useful it is to connect new content with what a student already knows. I now understand that it is not important to have technology in every lesson unless it enhances it. Sometimes teachers add technology into a lesson and it is unnecessary. We must remember to create a learning experience with the technology and not just add it because it looks good.

Two goals that I want to make to enhance learning in my classroom is to begin finding ways to gather technology for my classroom, school, and district. I will begin to research different ways to obtain technology through grant writing and other foundations. I believe that our lack of technology is what holds us back as a district. The 2nd goal that I have to make parents aware of the benefits of technology when it is use correctly. If parents could see how useful technology is and how it will impact their child’s everyday life now and in the future they will be more open to voting to approve a school budge every year rather than to defeat it.

References:
Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Manchester Metropolitan Univ., (. (2002). How Students Learn: Ways of Thinking about “Good Learning” in HE. EDNER (Formative Evaluation of the Distributed National Electronic Resource) Project. Issues Paper. Retrieved from ERIC database.

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Social Learning Theory

During this weeks discussions and videos I learned about various activities that we can incorporate in the classroom to provide cooperative learning experiences for our students. One method that was presented and that I already use in my class is having students break into two different groups to learn information. First students break into a small group and discuss how they will construct a certain project. Then each group member travels to a different group to become an expert about a certain topic. During this time the students must learn everything they can about the certain topic so that they are able to come back to their original group and teach what they have learned to their group members. This has worked especially well in my math class because students really like to think of themselves as an expert on a topic. It boosts their confidence and also allows them to learn together with peers. Once they are able to teach the topic it really provides a great learning experience as well as social.

Orey (2007) stays that students are actively engaged in constructing artifacts and conversing with others during social learning. He also discusses the zone of proximal development. This states that there is information that students know and then information that they are not ready to learn yet without assistance. This means that they need and outsider’s assistance to help them achieve that level of knowledge and understanding. A teacher or a peer can either offer this. I often try to group my students so that there is a higher achieving student who can provide that assistance to the students who may be having a difficult time grasping the concept. Often times my higher student is able to guide the students have difficulty through the right path which leads to success in the small collaborative groups.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2007). Social learning theories. [Motion picture]. In Walden University: Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore: Author.

Voice Thread

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