Sunday, June 19, 2011
Reflection for Walden course, Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society
As I reflect back on the technologies introduced during my Walden course, I am both embarrassed and excited about the fact that all of the strategies were new to me. Up until now, students using technology in the classroom always meant getting on the computer to type an artist statement, put together a power point, look up images for reference, or perhaps a gallery of images from a particular artist or culture. As I learned from this course, I have been directing the students to use technology for traditional purposes just in a quicker, easier mode.
The technologies introduced (blogging, wikis, and podcasts) have not only given me new strategies for the students to learn, but they have also given me a chance to go back to my main goal in teaching; To have the students lead their own learning. This was a concept that was so attractive to me in methods classes but, somehow, through the need to calm the chaos my first years of teaching, tight routines began to emerge. I became the source of information for my students while they passively received it. I have known for ten years now that this is not the best way to learn but fell into the trap anyway. This course has reminded me that students are more engaged, more receptive when they are involved in creating their education, responsible for their own learning. These tools will help provide the foundation for that constructivist philosophy in a technology format, which is something they crave.
I am overwhelmed with the number of ideas I’d like to integrate into the routines and projects in the coming years. To begin, I’d like to convert my present bellwork of copying content vocabulary and viewing an artist into a wiki process instead. My end of the year surveys that ask for suggestions to help improve my classroom routine and teaching style came back with a resounding, “too much time on journals at the beginning of the hour”. I’d like to take the same concepts, artists, and genres, and have the students prepare their own information sites. I was intrigued by the video that spotlighted Randy Kolset, a fifth grade teacher, who uses podcasting and a wiki to assemble a ‘Vocabucasting’ model. This would allow my students to experience the content on their own time and pace and leave the beginning of the hour to create artistic bellwork like practicing techniques or design principles instead of a session of teacher directed instruction. Access to computers would not need to be restricted to the beginning of the hour as the students could use the student computer in the room, the media center computers, their own computers or other mobile devices throughout the week. This is something new that I feel I can format in the coming year.
I would also like to begin a class site where the students will post their ideas for projects and pictures of their work in a blogging fashion to promote discussion and collaboration for designs and aesthetic criticism. Usually I lead a brainstorming session with each group as we begin a new project, but I think the students would be more open to offering suggestions in a blogging fashion. This is also true when asking for comments regarding art criticism. This is another goal that will not constitute the entire class needing access to a class set of computers at one time as they can post anytime throughout the week with a mid week and week ending goal.
There are other goals that would build from technology-based media as well. I would like to introduce an illustrator project where the students record a podcasting of an image rich piece of literature to the classroom site. From there, the students would choose from our podcast library to listen to a story and create what would be the illustration example he or she would pitch to the author in hopes of winning rights to illustrate the book. I am also looking at creating a poster contest where the students would illustrate a social issue in our school. The ideas for social issues to choose from and design ideas would come from a blog site as well.
As I continue with this program, Integrating Technology K-12, I am anxious to build upon the tools and learning philosophies that have been touched upon in this first technology course. I am also more aware of professional development that is being offered within my own district that centers on 21st century learning and have registered to be a part of that learning community as well. As far as I am concerned, this initial course has become a springboard for the direction of the rest of my professional development.