Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Class Reflection: A New Mind Set
The skills acquired from the class titled Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society has helped me to develop 21st century technology skills by learning several Web 2.0 digital tools and applications such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, podcastmachine, and Google reader. Before the class, I did not have any experience using this type of technology. While taking the course, I gained experience using and creating an education blog, a group wiki and a student podcast. Additionally, this class has also helped me to understand who "digital natives" (Prensky, 2005) are, and the skills these natives will need, in order to be successful when they enter the workforce. According to Dr. Thornburg, some of those 21st century skills are critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, creativity and innovative thinking. Dr. Thornburg also states that students learn and retain information better by actually doing hands on projects, or artifacts which he calls "constructionism." (Laureate, 2008) Thus, the resources and skills acquired through this class will enable me to add the usage of these Web 2.0 tools to my curriculum, so that it will be easier for students to create technology projects, and at the same time allow me to get one step closer to becoming a 21st century technology integration teacher.
"Students learn meaningfully when they learn with computers," (Keengwe et al, 2008, p85) and it is up to teachers to offer technology-rich lessons in order for students to come into the classrooms with their brains "powered on." (Prensky, 2008, p42) Therefore, educators need to be creative, comfortable, and flexible using technology to become technology literate. Students are using a digital language outside of the classroom, and teachers need to be prepared to teach using that language, or risk students powering off in class. Ways in which I can ensure student engagement and expand my knowledge of technology integration, is by applying the Web 2.0 tools mentioned above, staying abreast of new technology, taking training classes, pursuing professional development training in the use of new technology, applying best practices by collaborating with colleagues in my school district and globally, by making use of educational blogs and wikis to share lessons.
Two long term goals I have set for myself to apply the skills learned in the course, and to seamlessly integrate technology into the classroom, is to create a class web site and class wiki. The first goal is to create a class webiste. The class web site will be a tool I will use to upload daily lessons, assignments, frequently asked questions, post due dates, grading information, contact information, links to additional resources on the web, and class syllabus. This website will also help students to learn responsibility and resourcefulness skills, so when they miss a class, it will be up to them to refer to the class website for the material they missed. Having a website will afford students the luxury of having class information at their finger tips and have access to class materials anytime, anywhere, just as students have access to non-school related materials outside the classroom. The second goal will be to create a class wiki that will be used for project demonstration and posting, peer collaboration, and group work. Incorporating more collaborating technology into my classes is essential to prepare students for a place in a "knowledge-based" (Laureate, 2008) world.
This class has given me the opportunity to learn how to create artifacts using tools from the Read/Write Web, and ways in which to implement usage of them into a classroom. "To teach these technologies effectively, educators must learn to use them effectively." (Richardson, 2009, p136) For me, blogs, wikis and podcasts are no longer intimidating like they were 8 weeks ago.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. The Changing Role of the Classroom Teacher Part 1. [Motion picture]. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2008. The Changing Role of the Classroom Teacher Part 2. [Motion picture]. Baltimore: Author.
Prensky, M. (2005). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 8–13.
Prensky, M. (2008). Turning on the lights. Educational Leadership, 65(6), 40-45.
Keengwe, J., Onchwari, G., & Wachira, P. (2008). The use of computer tools to support meaningful learning. AACE Journal, 16(1), 77–92
Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press