End of Semester in Ed Tech

Describing any changes:

As expected, I learned a lot from this class. When I first started the semester, I was not thrilled with integrating technology into my classroom and looking back, I’m starting to believe it was because I didn’t know about most of the tools that we used. There are so many tools that can be utilized in the classroom that will freshen up the learning experience, keep kids engaged in the material, and still make sure the content is thoroughly understood. At this point, I’m convinced that these things need to be used in the classroom so that student keep up with technology as it advances and they become comfortable with tools that they can use in the real world.

It’s not just that the technology is exciting and fun for students, they learn life skills while they use these tools. For example, when I made my Dr. Pavlov animation, I had to gather the information for the story line, write out a script, then create and organize slides and add a voice to go along with each slide in 140 characters or less. I had to think about all aspects of the creative process and prioritize things when I couldn’t get the animation to do what I needed to. This was fun for me. I enjoyed this homework. That’s going to translate for high school students as well and keep them wanting to learn and be engaged in the classroom. In addition, this could be assigned as a group project. This would also build teamwork and leadership skills among students. And talk about creativity! Students are going to come up with tons of ideas and each project will be different. Who wants to read 50 papers on the same subject? Not me. I’d much prefer to watch 50 animations that are each unique.

Discussion of PBL Unit:

The more I learned about and planned a PBL, the more I’m convinced that this needs to be incorporated into the classroom. A lecture style is easy because you can just present information, but helping students research and create some form of presentation on a subject is going to be more rewarding both for the students and the teacher. There’s nothing personal about standing in front of a classroom and lecturing. Working with students on a PBL, you’re going to touch base with each of them and get to know them a little better. If they have a presentation that they must create themselves, you’re going to get to know their styles and ways of thinking much better than you would if you stood in front of them providing the same information that is in their textbooks. I think a PBL unit teaches more skills at one time than any other form of teaching would and since we only get so long with our students, cramming as much importation information and skills that we can into one semester is imperative.

Technology Framework Impact:

The scaffolding that occurs in Practical Technology Integration Framework does seem the way to go when introducing new technology. The steps make complete sense: being aware of the technology and learning about it, then being trained how to use it, then the actual use of the technology. This was utilized in our classroom and over our Wiki site. I particularly enjoyed being able to do this at home; it allowed for me to learn at my own pace and play with the tool as much as I wanted or needed before actually creating what I intended. Classrooms have limited time and when several people are learning something new all at once, things can get hectic. I liked being able to learn this new skill in my own time and in a quiet setting.

Implementation in my future classroom:

I do intend to utilize the scaffolding method to teach a new technology in my classroom. I also intend to use technology in my classroom more than I previously planned. I really do think that the creativity aspect of what we’ve learned this semester will truly make a difference in a student’s learning experience, especially when it’s linked with PBL. I also feel like we are falling behind in technology as a country, so whatever I can do to negate that would be positive. Creativity is fantastic and will keep my students engaged but the fact that the skills that come from learning to utilize these tools are just as important and have real world application. Students get frustrated and bored when they think that what they are being forced to learn is something that they will never use. It’s pretty easy to see that any integration of technology, as long as it is not distracting from the content and used appropriately, will only benefit the student.