This course has been the most challenging and most rewarding class of have taken thus far. I have managed to create a blog, participate and help set up a wiki, and create and edit a podcast! I would never have had the confidence to attempt any of these tasks without the support of my classmates and instructor. Since exploring the technology resources and researching the changes technology has set in motion, I have a greater understanding of how important it is that we as teachers make a change to our method of teaching in order to incorporate technology into our classrooms on a regular and permanent basis.
Now I can converse with my students about how they are using technology in their lives whether for academics or for socializing or both. I believe I can discuss what I have learned, find out what they know, and then together we can find a resource that suits our classroom. Our students appreciate that their teachers are open to finding new and innovated ways to teach rather than pass out worksheets or assign vocabulary from a textbook.
In my teaching practice, I have adjusted somewhat over the last several weeks. For example, I am working on two projects in two different classes where we are using new technology to make the lesson more meaningful and engaging. Creating a blog and experimenting with planning tools found on line, have peaked the interests of my students and they are excited to be trying something new. This is exciting for me, as well. Not only are my students using technology in the classroom but due to the way I have set up the projects, they will hone many important 21st century skills such as collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking, and creativity. The peer-to-peer interaction also helps to develop planning and leadership skills that may not have surfaced without this opportunity.
As a teacher leader, I find that my answers are about the same as seven weeks ago. However, this will not always be the case. I have spoken to two other professional teachers to get their input and expertise in using technology to enhance my classroom. Also, I have signed up for staff development classes this summer that I hope will expose me to various technology resources and how to use these resources for my classroom.
Regarding long-term goals for my classroom environment, I want to have an on-going blog for a class that will cover specific topics throughout the year. Students will work together to create the blog and set up the initial postings. Then individuals will evaluate and comment on each other’s blog in a professional manner that expresses an opinion, shows support for the discussion, and/or makes a suggestion. My intent is that the weblog flow in a manner similar to our weekly discussions during the course. Another goal would be to have a co-collaboration lesson monthly with another teacher (her specialty is technology) so that my students could pair up with her students to create a project using resources from her class with a topic from mine. I believe this would benefit not only the students but improve my technology skills as well.
I will continue to promote a learner-centered environment in my classroom. I am thrilled to be able to use technology in my classroom that will lend itself to that end. I realize that there are some obstacles that must be overcome, i.e. “access denied” websites and budgets, but with some creativity my students will be able to have the skills they need to help them keep up with the evolving world of technology.