I have been teaching at the University for six year now. I guess I have taught over 500 students some ways to integrate technology into the classroom. I really enjoy the time at the university. It is so different from the middle school world, but many of the same general issues: following directions, time on task, giving everyone a voice, etc.... This term, during the first class, I had them write their thoughts, ideas and feeling about taking this course. Then for a final I had them read that first reflection and write a final reflection blog on how their thoughts, ideas and feelings had changed. Read for yourself their words:
From Keri: http://mrsklr.weebly.com/blog.html
This course has been very educational for me. I have always struggled with technology and how to implement it correctly into the classroom. I remember on the first day of class, hearing that this class is hands on and used the constructionist approach to teaching. Throughout the semester, I felt frustrated and confused when it came to putting together an assignment for working on my blog. When I sat down to work on my final piece (Wiki lesson plan) I was amazed at all I had learned. Other times, with technology, I would learn a concept and after leaving class, it would be lost. It has been many weeks since I have learned how to complete some of these technological tasks (skype, google docs, voki, delicious, create links on a document) and as I worked to create my Wiki lesson plan, I remembered everything. This was quite a learning experience for me. I not only learned technology, but learned the strength of teaching using the constructionist approach. Technology is everywhere in our society. It is changing at a rate faster than anyone could imagine. I watch my two and four year old boys as they manipulate a mouse, search through my cell phone, and play video games on WII with ease. I am amazed to see how at such young age, kids are in full understanding of how technology works and how to manipulate it. Taking this class has shapes a future, for me, with the use of technology. I had some trouble with skype but feel with a bit of practice, I could gain an understanding of how it works. I really enjoyed creating a Wiki lesson plan and intend on incorporating this into my future teaching experiences. I learned a great deal.
I have created my final reflection is this format as a reference for myself and others if they forget or loose focus on how to use some of the things we have learned in class. I have also designed it this way so that I do not forget how I have planned to, or already use some of these technologies in the classroom. I have taken more from this class than any other I have taken at any university whether it be graduate school or undergraduate. I have learned that the uphill battle is not going to be understanding the technology but transferring it from understanding to implementing in the classroom. I have learned that technology is the future of our learners and if we do not teach it to them or provide them with the opportunity and the tools they are not getting what they deserve out of their free and appropriate education. I feel as though educators loose tract of that due to the overwhelming responsibility educators face today. That is why I set up this final blog in this format. I do not want to loose tract of what is really important. And if it does happen I have my own website to refer to as a reference to the possibilities of implementing amazing technologies in my classroom. Lindsay http://is.gd/8Ra0mrOr this:
This class was not nearly as bad as I had first thought it was going to be, and it actually turned out to be the most useful class I took this semester. This class changed the way I looked at how I will and should teach. I had my mind set that I was going to just plow through the books, teach a little grammar, have the kids write a couple papers, and then coach wrestling. I found that I can actually make class interesting to many different students with just a little more effort. The things that we learned how to utilize are so easy, free, and simple. It really would be a shame if after taking this class I didn't take something and incorporate it into my lessons....Or this:
I remember when I first registered for this class, I had no idea what to expect and was not looking forward to class on saturday morning. Who would have thought this class would turn out to be my favorite and that I would actually enjoy getting up saturday morning to go to class. I really think the constructivist teaching environment motivated me to learn and to apply what I learned. I now understand how children learn better when technology is used in the classroom. Instead of limiting children to a textbook, they now have the high tech world at their fingertips and that opens up a whole new dimension of thinking and new possibilities about their future....Or a total Jing Presentation: http://screencast.com/t/Qg9iESmqZLh9 Or the one I read several times, just says it all....
When I first start this course I thought, "Oh great another technology course, seriously, I know how to use Microsoft office, surf the net, use e-mail and I know copyright laws." (Not sure why copyright is always lumped into technology but Akron always does!) The only beacon of light for me seemed to be that we were in a computer lab so I could play my Cityville while listening to the same ole same ole. Than class started and I soon realized that this was not the traditional Akron boring tech for teachers course. When Mr. Holman went over what we would be learning for the year I actually only had heard/used about three of the many things he named. At that point I started to panic; I started to resist. I thought, "I'm a math teacher these don't apply. I don't want technology in my classroom, I want my students to use their brains. Real schools don't have these resources they cost too much!"
This may seem a bit ridiculous but, its nothing new to me. I am a creature of habit. I hate change and anything new. I order the same thing when I eat out, shop in the same pattern at stores (hey, there is a way to walk through stores so you don't miss any sale items!) I drive the same way to work every day. I make lists of everything to do, I even make lists of making lists....well you get the idea! I don't handle change very well; it makes me nervous, I sweat, I shake, I have difficulty breathing -I know I know I have issues but my point is I was not going to be able to handle this class with this crazy "new age" unrealistic teacher!
Than we started and man was I right! I didn't understand anything! I was so frustrated that I wanted to cry. It was about three lessons in when I though THAT"S IT! This guy is a jerk and I am going to drop the course. I let out a primal scream that made my son run into the office and ask what happened. When I explained that I couldn't do something on the computer he leaned over and said did you do this and clicked a few keys. It magically fixed it. (Hey to me it was like magic.) I started laughing, a crazy insane hysterical laugh. A laugh that came from frustration followed by an ironic realization. He was looking a bit worried at this reaction said, "Mom, you okay?"
I put my arm around him, reassured him and really looked at him. It was in this moment that I realized many things. 1. That my seven year old knew more about technology that I did at thirty-two years of age. 2. That his generation is always going to be ahead of mine in understanding technology so how are we going to teach it to them. 3. That I have become my parents (well sort of; at least now I know how they feel a lot of the time.) 4. That it is for the students that I have to give up my insane clutching to the past so I can give them the best future possible. It is what I want my son's teachers to do so how can I ask any less of myself. And, that's when it happened. I started learning and realizing how I could apply many of the different things from the class.....Powerful stuff...What can we learn from these reflections? Cheer, Garth