Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reflective Essay

  Reflective Essay
                Prior to this school year I hadn’t really put into perspective just how closely technology and education are wound together. I hadn’t considered how technology would affect me as an instructor, and how it would be incorporated into my lessons. Although I do not always agree with the incorporation of technology in all aspects of our school, I now have a vast amount of new ideas that I will be using in my future.
                In my opinion EME 2040 did a great job of incorporating our learning objectives with new and engaging lessons and activities, and projects. The best example of enhancing communication was our online discussion board; it is definitely an approach that I plan on using with my students. I believe that many more students were involved in the online discussions compared to in class discussions because shy students do not have to worry about unwanted attention. The textbook also explained many effective communication tools that can be used to get all students involved in class discussions, and assignments without having to rely on the traditional forms of presentation. This was one of my favorite lessons because I am constantly trying to find ways to help shy students express themselves without having the fear of presenting in front of a classroom. I feel that by finding creative ways for these students to communicate their ideas it allows them to dedicate more time on creating work that will enhance their education rather than having them focus on “trying to get through” an embarrassing situation. In EME 2040 we experience a variety of different forms of communicating with each other such as through this blog, the discussion board, and a Power Point presentation. Of all of these assignments I felt that the most effective in enhancing our communication skills was definitely the discussion board.
                This course focused a lot on Technology/Information Management and we used many different outlets to demonstrate our abilities. The instructional wiki was a perfect demonstration of this; our group came together through solely online communication and created an entire wiki from our own individual components. This was an interesting assignment because we were given the freedom to select our favorite topic from a list provided, and asked to create our own page to translate the information. Each individual page came together to form a whole, and although we each did our own individual work the project flowed uniformly. On the other hand, I did not enjoy the collaborative lesson plan assignment. I like the idea of introducing how to create a lesson plan while using technology but the assignment was not one of the stronger ones. There are a vast amount of resources for lesson plans on the web, and it is difficult to create a lesson plan that is not very similar to lesson plans that have already been created. I feel that I dedicated more time trying to create original content rather than focusing on the main goal of the assignment. Throughout the textbook there were an abundance of different ideas on how students can manage information using technology. The most important lesson that I took from this course was that of internet safety and ensuring that students are aware of the dangers of the internet. These dangers are not only about ensuring that your personal information isn’t in the wrong hands, but also about browsing websites that provide accurate and reliable content. Because our schools are integrating technology at a rapid pace, it is imperative that we make sure our students are safe and that both teachers and parents are knowledgeable on how to protect them from all aspects of internet dangers.
                The power-point presentation was a fun assignment because it allowed us to get to know each other based on what each of us chose to discuss in our presentations, I also enjoyed learning about the Pecha Kucha method, and I do think it is a method that I will introduce to my students in the future. I was not against this project but I do not think that an entire assignment should be dedicated to this in the future; maybe the instructor can expose us to one or two examples of this method rather than having each student create one individually. Some interesting discussion topics that I encountered were both the Assistive/Adaptive technologies and Technology Assisting ELL students. There topics really helped me understand social-cultural responsibility because they caused me to reflect upon real life situations and I was asked to come up with solutions using technology based on methods we were learning about. The feedback and posts from my classmates also brought to light many interesting ideas and methods that I will be using in the future. Because of these topics I will be more aware of my students and I will incorporate different teaching methods into my lessons so that students of all abilities can succeed. One way of doing this is to hopefully have an interactive whiteboard in my classroom, before EME 2040 I had not experienced a lesson with an interactive whiteboard and I hope that I am able to use one with my students in the future. This is an excellent way of helping both visual and hands on learners at the same time, without having to make students feel out casted. Look how cool it is!

 One of the technologies that I will share with my students is khanacademy. After having used this site myself I am thoroughly pleased with their lessons. I would definitely use this outlet for students both in the classroom and also as a study recommendation for students that have some trouble understanding certain topics. Another great website that I have been keeping up with and will continue to keep up with comes from our Journal Post #8, Speed of Creativity. This is a blog by Wesley Fryer that presents current ideas and methods of using technology with students and helping keep them engaged.
                Overall I enjoyed this class and I was pleased with the variety of projects that were assigned throughout the semester. I enjoyed learning about new and innovative methods that will soon be affecting my career, and how I can use these technologies to my benefit. Unfortunately I am not a big fan of total technology incorporation, and in my ideal world I would still have students read from a textbook rather than e-books or hand held readers. I would also prefer to take students on physical fieldtrips rather than virtual ones, and I will always strive to “unplug” my students. I am happy that I attended this course because the main lesson I will take away from it is that instead of fighting technology I can use it to benefit both myself and my students.

1 comment:

  1. Great detail in this comprehensive reflection and appreciate your honest 'take' on projects and ideas for change. Your comment about finding ways for shy students to express themselves and their learning was a good one to demonstrate the need for diversity in setting up assignments and curriculum. I think that is why there are so many different kinds/types/ways technology tools can play a part - exploring what works best for individual students is time-consuming, but rewarding. Definitely, keep reading Wes Fryer's blog - he is a prolific blogger, so 'beware' but I love his thinking!