Part One: Reflection
I have learned a great deal about how to integrate technology into the Grade 4 science unit, Waste and Our World. This was really insightful for me because this was a new course for me to teach this year. It was great to do some planning simultaneously with my coursework and made for a much better learning environment for my students. One of the most beneficial modules was on game-based learning. This was an area of deficiency for me. I often focus on how students can create using technology. This leads me down the path of doing a lot of work with video and presentations. Gaming is something unique for me and I look forward to implementing this in my planning and teaching going forward.
This coursework helped me to develop my overall awareness of the AECT standards through the lens of science. I often start with the program of studies, which is what teachers should do. But putting an extra filter for technology is excellent practice. I felt like in this course I spent a great deal of time on the Assessing standard. I was constantly questioning if the tools were the best and most appropriate for the task at hand and if they actually improved learning. I think this is especially true for teachers that are excited about technology. We sometimes get caught up in using technology because it is fun, but we should be constantly examining if the tools chosen are the best for the job. Technology should be consistently used but only when it adds value. If the technology chosen does not accomplish this, then another should be looked at or possibly something other than technology.
I have recently become a school administrator and one of my main objectives is to move technology forward in the school. The theory presented by Roblyer, as well as the practice element in the assignments, has caused me to look at technology more critically. Designing learning experiences that are based on curricular objectives is key. The coursework forced me to do this. As a result, I have a new wealth of resources to share with my staff, but I also have a process to share with them. That is the most important part. Sharing my coursework with them would be a great exemplar, but going through the process of designing meaningful learning activities will be where the “gold” is for me professionally.
The curating of resources has been one of the biggest impacts on my teaching practice. Not only did I obtain great resources for Grade Four Science, but it was also very beneficial to read the work of my classmates. There was some amazing work that was done throughout the semester and I look forward to tapping into it. Not all of it was grade specific to my grade level, but like all good ideas, it can be modified to meet my needs. Since I started my journey in EdTech, I often tell people that I have not had an original thought. I just borrow and remix others and try to make them better for me and my students. This course provided me with ample opportunities to do both.
A great deal of the projects and assignments that I created have their foundations in a constructivist approach. They require students to apply knowledge that they have obtained and applied it in different ways. Examples include identifying ways to manage waste and how to limit it. The learning experiences were not necessarily teacher driven, but teacher selected and technology allowed students to deepen their own learning. In a Behaviorist environment, the teacher would have transmitted the knowledge to the students. In the activities created during this course, the role of the teacher was to provide the best resources possible so that students could explore the outcomes on their own and make meaning of them.
Part Two: Blog Assessment
I found blogging to be one of the most challenging items in this course. Not because it was hard, but because I am not the greatest reflector. I am more task-oriented and I sometimes felt like, “oh yeah, I have to do the blog now”, when I was finished the “real work”. However, I have felt that blogging has developed a part of my brain that I do not normally focus on. Being self-reflective is a very important part of teaching and this was a good reminder of that. It also forced me to think about the “why” I chose to do certain things in my course and professional work. This makes me question if I am indeed getting the best bang for my buck when choosing learning activities for my students and staff. Here is my assessment of my work on the rubric scale:
I think my bogs show a good level of self-reflection. This was true from my successes and areas of growth. I tried to consistently make connections to my coursework and my professional work.
Readings & Resources 18/20
I consistently used readings from the coursework, as well as other online articles in my blogs. My citations were in APA, but if I am honest, I am always a little unsure of my formatting, particularly with in-text citations. I can see this being an area that I could lose a mark or two.
I always tried to have my blogs submitted by Sunday night and I was usually successful with that endeavor. It should have perhaps been a place that I started, instead of finished because it was sometimes the place where I struggled the most with motivation,
Responses to Other Student (25/30)
I am going to admit, I missed a couple of weeks throughout the semester. However, I did find that reading blogs was one of the more enlightening parts of the coursework. I learn a lot by reading others work and this was something that I looked forward to. I also enjoyed reading how others responded to my entries. The feedback was always insightful and pushed my thoughts forward as well.