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on your computer, finding a quick answer on your smart phone, or browsing through the news on your “too quickly out of date tablet”, the world is surrounded by technology.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

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Modifying My GAME Plan

Modifying My GAME Plan

 

 

So far I feel that the planning for my GAME plan is coming along very nicely.  Over the last week I have had a lot of really great suggestions from my classmates that I feel like I should integrate into my plan.  One great suggestion that I have added to my plan is having my students present their findings to the administration or the the board of education.  I feel that doing this will not only prove to my students that their research was real life and meaningful, but it will also show the board of education the desperate need for updated technology in the school district.  Another suggestion that I liked was having students research different methods besides just purchasing pre made computers.  Students could actually research purchasing parts of a computer to create their own computer at a cheaper rate.  I believe that an addition like this to the assignment would be something very good for students who need to have extension lessons. 

 

The difficult part so far has been finding the resources to actually purchase the school computers, I thought it would be easy to find listings for computers and other types of technology online that was geared towards school districts, but as it turns out that material is kept pretty private for bid purposes.  My plan is to go to the business administrator in the school and see if there are any catalogs or companies that the school deals with to see if we are able to compare bid prices to other prices that my students are able to find.

 

I really learned that collaboration is key in creating a plan like this.  Without sharing my ideas with others and reading and listening to what they have to say my plan would not be set into motion with such great components.  I think that being able to bounce and idea off of a group of people and hearing all of the different feedback really gets your own mind going and you are able to come up with different ideas then you would have on your own.  It makes me really yearn to have this type of community at school, unfortunately as much as we try sometimes that isn’t supported by the entire building.

 

The questions that I have now are will I have enough time to complete this assignment and is it appropriate for fifth grade students? I think doing a little research with the technology teacher will allow me to see the background of knowledge that my students have.  I already have a pretty good understanding of their mathematics abilities and I can see that budgeting may be a difficult task for them to manage, but one that they really need to work on because it is such a vital real life skill. 

Week 3 Post

My GAME Plan is to develop a lesson to reach my students using technology and a real life situation. I wanted to create a budgeting activity to show students how to save, spend, and budget accordingly to plan an event of their own choosing. What I am learning towards now is to have my students research a way to make our school a school with enough technology to support the students comfortably on an actual budget set by the school board, but I wasn’t sure if I would have the resources to do so. I know that my students would have to be able to research what items they would need to make a new computer lab, including computers, a SMART Board with a projector, a new color printer, and software that the school desperately needs. I would also like to see my students choose between a computer that is more cost effective, but not equipped with the proper software or hardware, or spending more money on more expensive computers that may last a longer time.

To do this I believe that my students will have to research the differences between different computers. At this time in the year most of my students have had a technology class (or at least has started a technology class) with the exception of students who are pulled for BSI. I think that for this project I would need to work together with the technology teacher. Luckily, starting April 20th, I will become In-Class Support with the 5th grade technology class so this works out well. I have already discussed this project with her and we are hoping to be able to begin once I arrive as In-Class Support.

I will ask the board secretary if it is possible to get a figure of how much money in the school budget was allotted towards technology. I have also obtained catalogs that my school uses to purchase their technology so that my students are able to see how their teachers and administrators order technology. They are then also able compare and contrast prices that they are able to gather on the Internet. Students will be discouraged from using eBay as a source because prices are not set. I believe a project like this is not only important because students are able to learn a real life skill, but this could possibly be something that could have a real impact on the school. I’m hoping that my students understand the importance of research before they buy something, how shopping around to find a better price could benefit them, and hopefully the importance of money.

Developing My Personal GAME Plan

Developing My Personal GAME Plan

 

            The National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers include five indicators that educators should follow in order to be successfully integrating technology into their own classroom. (ISTE, 2012) After reading the indicators I have chosen two to take a closer look at and create GAME plans to build my confidence in so I can better integrate technology into my classroom.  The first indicator that I have chosen to create a GAME plan for is to design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments.  I feel that although I do integrate technology in my classroom to enhance my instruction, I often do not bring it into my assessment as often as I could.  The second indicator that I have chosen to create a GAME plan for is to engage in professional growth and leadership, I chose this indicator because I feel that with my knowledge and background in technology I could help my school district by lending myself to other teachers to help inform them of the different uses of technology.

            First, my GAME plan to design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments is vital to successfully creating a 21st century learner because this area is what helps promotes independent and self-directed learners.  My goal is to create a unit in mathematics where students have a much more hands-on learning experience involving technology and a real world issue.  I believe that setting this goal will engage students in a digital-age learning experience and provide me with an opportunity to incorporate technology in my assessment tools.   I think an appropriate unit for this goal would be a budgetary unit where students are given a certain budget and then they must use the technology in order to complete their task.  Students will be able to research items, calculate costs, inquire about services, and then use the technology to then display their project in an easy to read way.  To make sure my students are engages and actively a part of this project, they will have the opportunity to decide what event they are planning for.  I believe that giving my students this part of the project as their own will really engage students because it will be something that they’re actually interested in.  Throughout the unit I will continue to assess my students in a formative assessment style.  I will check students’ progress and provide feedback and guidance so that they are able to better adapt their budget and research to be successful.  The way that I evaluate my goal is by assessing my students’ final project and seeing if they were able to successfully use technology to solve real-world issues in mathematics.

            My second GAME plan will be designed to engage in professional growth and leadership.  Throughout my time at Walden University I have gained a vast knowledge of technology and how to successfully incorporate it in a classroom.  I also believe that I have a good background knowledge of technology that some of my colleagues do not have.  I would like to set a goal to provide assistance to those that need help and also help develop workshops for my fellow teachers to see the benefits of integrating technology into their own classroom.  Another thing that I believe will be very beneficial as a goal would be to begin grant writing to acquire more technology in our school.  My school district is very behind in technology.  We have recently received a few SMART Boards, which were placed in some language arts classrooms without providing any training because they felt that that is the topic where students need the most work immediately.  Although I agree that language arts is a difficulty of our school district, I’m not sure that I agree with placing SMART Boards in those classrooms without any type of training is beneficial for the teachers or the students.   This useful tool is now not being utilized in a proper way because of the lack of training. I would like to go to SMART Board and other technology workshops so that we are better able to use this technology and actually show growth on our test scores.

I believe that these two goals will positively affect my teaching, classroom, and school.  My students will be able to see how real-life technology and mathematics are.  Hopefully with my goal of grant writing to acquire new technology will provide my school district with the technology that they desperately need to become a 21st century school.

 

Reference:

ISTE (2012, March 7). The ISTE NETS and performance indicators for teachers. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

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.

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

http://voicethread.com/#q.b1554120.i8201359

voicethread.com/share/1554120/

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