What have I learned?
There are three ideas that stick out to me when I reflect on my experiences with this class this semester. First, there are other ways to set up a classroom that would be fresh, innovative and conducive to learning besides the traditional desk and chair configuration. Second, a school’s AUP and/or the administration can be a huge obstacle in implementing social networking in education. Sometimes fear or misunderstanding inhibit 21st century learning from occurring. Third, I have been able to implement some tools in new ways that were already available to me but were being underused. I was very generic and unoriginal in my implementation. This course has helped me think about basic tools in new ways and come up with fresh ideas to utilize these tools differently in the classroom.
How does the course work demonstrate mastery of the AECT standards?
Standard 1: Content Knowledge
Candidates demonstrate the knowledge necessary to create, use, assess, and manage theoretical and practical applications of educational technologies and processes.
This standard is, in my opinion, the most connected to this course out of all the standards. Not only did we study theoretical applications, but much of our coursework involved creating materials to be used in our own classroom, or shared with other teachers. Our final project is a website containing lesson plans, projects and research for a specific grade level content area. We indeed applied our theories as we created and assessed educational technologies.
Standard 2: Content Pedagogy
Candidates develop as reflective practitioners and are able to demonstrate effective implementation of educational technologies and processes based on contemporary content and pedagogy.
Creating the content to be used with students is just the beginning. This course also gave us the opportunity to implement technology. Because the projects were focused on a specific content area within a chosen grade level, cohesive, coherent lessons were created, allowing pedagogical practice to take place. I found great satisfaction implementing the projects I developed in this course with students in my own computer lab. This course was designed to allow for practical application of educational technologies.
Standard 3: Learning Environments
Candidates facilitate learning by creating, using, evaluating, and managing effective learning environments.
Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills
Candidates design, develop, implement, and evaluate technology-rich learning environments within a supportive community of practice.
Standard 5: Research
Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize, and apply methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance.
I feel like we were given the opportunity to apply this standard at various points throughout our study as we read chapters in the textbook, online articles, videos and digital resources. The standard of research was especially applicable during our Assistive Technologies assignment. Many resources were available as we explored the technology available to help those in many categories including: physically or mentally impaired, at-risk, or gifted and talented. This project required us to discover and experiment with the assistive technologies available to our students who need them.
How I have grown professionally. How my own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching have been impacted by what I have learned or accomplished in this course. What will I do differently as an educator as a result of this course?
The exciting thing is, I have already changed my instruction based on the content of this course. As a result of the projects assigned to us, I have used social media and collaborative spreadsheets with my 4th grade students to gather information about the counties of Idaho. My 6th grade students began blogging as well as creating Interactive Presentations for the 2nd graders at our school (which were a huge hit among 6th graders, 2nd grade teachers and 2nd grade students!) My ideas have been expanded to include everything from classroom design, to taking down the walled garden to implementing fresh tech ideas in my computer lab. Because of my participation in this course, I will continue to use technology in new and exciting ways with my students.