Reflection of EDUC 6713

            It is no longer just a great idea to bring technology into the classroom, it is a necessity.  Times are changing faster than we can keep up with and to give our students the absolute best learning experience we, as educators, must move with the times. Whether it is researching something on your computer, finding a quick answer on your smart phone, or browsing through the news on your “too quickly out of date tablet”, the world is surrounded by technology.  Our job is to show our students how to utilize these wonderful gifts the right way.   To do that we must create learning experiences where our students can decide what it is they are about to learn and what direction they would like to take their learning to, at the same time we must remember that technology must enhance our lessons, and not be the basis of them. (2009, Laureate Education, Inc)

            At the start of this course I had very big ideas for my GAME plan, but with careful thought, planning, and the suggestions of my cohorts, it was easy to see that changes needed to be made.  To begin, I wanted to attack a problem in my school that I believe holds some of my students back, and that is the lack of technology.  Quickly I saw that this task for fifth grade students was just not appropriate.  With that same thought in mind I decided to modify the problem-based learning assignment to something that every fifth grade could complete with room for accommodations and extensions.  My new lesson gave the students the freedom to choose any issue that they saw in our school, create a survey, collect data, display their information using graphs, and then discuss their findings.  This was the same concept of the initial lesson, but must more accessible for all of my learners.  I think the experience of self-reflection and collaboration was vital in this process because it allowed me to see that something needed to be done in order for this assignment to complete expectations that I set for it.

            Next, we had to incorporate online collaboration into our GAME plan, which I believe was a very real-life step for this process because students need to see that learning doesn’t only happen within the classroom that they’re all so used to seeing, it can happen anywhere.  Exposing our students to the proper way to use technology to gain knowledge is so important because this will be a skill that they take with them throughout their lives.  I also believe this step was great for my students because it allowed them to not only work together in a different environment, but see what other students were doing, and although I haven’t worked with different classrooms throughout the country yet, I believe online collaboration will be a wonderful tool to expose my small-town students to different cultures and ideas.

            Finally, we had to incorporate digital storytelling into our GAME plan, which I used as my culminating activity. Digital storytelling is a way for students to apply knowledge about a curriculum topic, not learn it for the first time. (Tech4Learning, Inc., 2007)  Throughout this entire unit my students were building a background on data collection, graphs, and interpreting information, now it was their time to show what they know.  In the past, I have used digital storytelling in language arts class only and honestly never thought of integrating it into a math class, but now I see how digital storytelling could be used throughout an entire curriculum.  Digital storytelling gives every student the opportunity to show what he or she knows through the use of technology.  It can easily be adapted for every different type of learner. 

            I believe that throughout this course I have developed a unit that would grab the attention of every learner in the classroom because it gives everyone the opportunity to have a big part in what it is they want to learn and how they are going to do it.  With collaboration, self-reflection, and the passion to learn educators can keep growing and making their classroom a 21st century environment where students are finding their love of learning using real-life skills.  Technology is a tool we must use to ensure our students success in the future.

 

References:

 

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Enriching content area learning experiences, part 2. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

The process of digital storytelling in the classroom. (2007). Tech4Learning, Inc.. Retrieved April 11, 2012, from http://www.tech4learning.com/userfiles/file/pdfs/Frames/digital_storytelling/ds_process.pdf