Hello! Please view my personal introduction video below. You may also view the video by clicking here. Thank you!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
As a student, I have always been motivated to excel in any assignment centered on technology. Now that I am also a first grade teacher, I have noticed the same desire for integrating technology from my students. From our course I have learned a great deal about effective teaching strategies in regards to integrating technology. As a teacher, it is important to address a variety of learning styles to be effective. I realize that it is extremely difficult to address all learning styles in every lesson. By incorporating technology, it is possible to reach the kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learners. In addition, I have learned that it is important to get to know each student’s individual learning style and adapt our teaching to the learners in our classrooms. I have also learned that although it is possible for the teacher to learn technology tools with the students, it is important that we have a basic understanding of the technologies before asking our students to begin using it. We cannot let the technology become the teacher, but instead, supplement our teaching with technology. By understanding the importance of teaching with technology and integrating across the curriculum, students may become more motivated as learners instead of confused and frustrated. We must teach the students the importance of using technology, as they are sure to use it as a basic form of communication in the future.
Integrating the internet helped me to think about and evaluate the different uses of technology. Before taking this course, I always considered the internet to be a tool available for gathering technology resources. I now better understand the importance of the internet for communication and learning purposes. For my students and colleagues, I am turning to cloud-based technologies. I am always looking for ways for my students to collaborate with one another and by using tools such as Google Docs, Storybird, Voicethread, and others, my students are able to work together from school or at home. I also am now using Google Docs for my substitute teaching plans as well as other documents, so that my information can be made public and shared at any time of day from any computer. I will be using the internet to communicate with parents and other teachers as well. I never before understood all the various uses for integrating social networking into education until taking CEP 810. If my students were a bit older, I would like to take advantage of the social networking site Twitter for classroom discussions. Not only are many students more comfortable using technology rather than speaking out publically, parents could also view the discussions from home. Our school also uses Facebook to keep in contact with parents and students, while updating them on important upcoming events. Integrating technology has expanded my view of technology in the classroom. I am so excited to use many of these internet-based tools in the upcoming school year, and I am confident that my students will benefit from them as well.
The assignment that I felt most exemplified good teaching with technology was our group SIG presentation. This assignment allowed our group to discover multiple web 2.0 tools, create a social bookmarking site, collaborate while focusing on personal skill levels, create a technology presentation, and discuss the ways in which it was beneficial to our own students. This project was personal and gave me the opportunity to learn multiple technologies centered on digital storytelling. Since I majored in Language Arts, I have a fascination with motivating students to become fluent readers and writers. This project allowed me to discover new ways to address the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, integrate technology, and promote collaboration among students. As a student I learned a great deal about technology from this project, and I am anxious to introduce many of these technologies to my students and colleagues in the upcoming 2011-2012 school year.
In my personal growth plan, I wrote that by the end of the school year I wanted each of my students to independently use two new technologies by the end of the school. I am thrilled to report I not only reached this goal, but I have more technologies to introduce them to next year. Each of my students can now use the digital storytelling site Storybird, as well as our classroom SMART board. Each student is also able to add a comment to our classroom website, although they may require assistance in typing. During the last two weeks of school, I set up a classroom blog which was linked to our website. Each student proved that he/she could post to the blog independently. Again, some students needed support with typing, however, they were all able to access the blog, type about a school event, something that they had learned, and one piece of advice for upcoming first graders, as well as post it successfully. The final goal that I had was for my students to use Skype to interact with students from another school. Since we will not be receiving the funding for this technology until next year, I was forced to put this goal on hold until the following year. Next year I will be purchasing a document camera which can also be used as a webcam. Using this tool, I will use Skype to introduce my class to a colleague’s class at a nearby school in Michigan. Although I considered using my own personal computer to achieve this goal, I felt that it would have been too rushed and the students would not have had the best experience. I am confident that holding off on this goal was the best decision for my class, but I will be using this technology during the 2011-2012 school year.
I have three new goals that I have set for myself in the future, and I first mentioned these goals in my Personal Technology Plan. First, I would like to begin using my SMART board clicker response system for student assessment and individual involvement. Our school is hosting a professional development meeting on utilizing this system in the classroom in October, 2011. My goal is to be effectively using this system by December, 2011, since I will have had two months to work with the technology and integrate it into my lessons. My second goal as an educator is to use podcasting across the curriculum to promote fluency and post student work to be viewed by parents. For the 2011-2012 school year I will be attending a professional development meeting at two different times to further my technology skills with podcasting. I do not have much experience with podcasting but I do recognize its importance in the classroom. By May 2012, I will have created a podcast centered on our school-wide competition of turning recyclable materials into art. I will use podcasting to demonstrate the process that the students go through, and to demonstrate what they have learned. My third goal is to create a classroom WIKI. To achieve this goal, I will need to view tutorials online and read about creating WIKIs so that I can make one myself. Using a WIKI is one tool that I would have liked to have learned more about in our course. I understand the need for a WIKI, however, and unsure as to how to go about creating one. For the 2011-2012 school year I will create a basic outline of a WIKI and introduce it to my students. I hope to work out any glitches at this time, and begin the 2012-2013 school year using a well organized WIKI that parents and students may access. Lastly, from this class I had hoped to have identified new resources for teaching with technology to promote collaboration. I not only have a vast knowledge of multiple resources, but I am confident that I can adapt these technologies to the needs of my students.
CEP 810 has motivated me to integrate technology across the curriculum. I now understand that age does not hinder this goal, and neither does limited knowledge. I hope to learn as much as possible about teaching with technology so that I can use it in my everyday lessons. I plan to use technology as a supplementary tool, and to address a wide-range of learners. I am grateful for all that I have learned from this course, and am eager to use these technologies in my future teaching.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
According to my learning style quiz, I am an intrapersonal, linguistic learner. I was amazed by my results because according to the quiz I have many different learning styles. I was a bit surprised by these results, as I have always considered myself to be a visual learner. I have always had difficulty absorbing information in a lecture format. If I am able to record the information on paper or my laptop and can read it later, the content is much more meaningful. The teaching strategies that were the most effective to me as a learner were those that involved videos, pictures, and charts. If I am asked to listen for an extended period of time without a visual to focus on, I quickly lose interest and start focusing on something else in the room. If information can be simplified into a graphic organizer, I will internalize it and remember the information without a problem. I was not always taught in this way, however, which is why I started creating my own visuals of information presented in lectures. In addition, I tend to learn more when I have time to process the information presented, and not simply memorize.
As mentioned, the strategy that was the least effective for me was learning through listening. I have trouble focusing when all information is auditory, and I must have visuals to accompany the information in order for me to remember it. I also have trouble with discussions because it is difficult for me to process the information that I hear and take a stance on the topic. Although I have always done well in my classes, I would argue that it is because I change all auditory information into a visual aid. Whether it is a diagram or written notes, I have a much stronger grasp on the material when I can view the information. I also enjoy learning when it is hands-on and active, and have been the most successful in classes that incorporate individual and group projects. Upon reflection, I feel that I enjoy learning in this way because I can think back to what I was doing and how it contributed to my learning. This, in turn, triggers a specific thought process which allows me to draw connections to the material.
As a teacher, I realize that all of my students do not learn the same way. I am also aware of the fact that I cannot teach every lesson focusing on each learning style. Instead, I focus specifically on the learning styles of my own students. For example, the majority of my students are visual learners, while a few are verbal and active. Therefore, I have found myself tailoring my lessons primarily to these types of learners and it has been extremely successful for my class. According to our course readings, it is important not to label our students as certain types of learners, but instead, understand that all students learn best using many different styles. Therefore, it is crucial that we as teachers try to bring in as many different learning styles into our teaching as possible without exhausting the lesson. In addition, it is important that we make the learning interesting, interactive, and relatable for all students. This way, all learning styles will benefit from our lessons. Students must understand how information is applicable to their own lives to become engaged, and we are responsible for getting to know our students’ strengths so that they, in turn, can learn effectively and make meaningful connections and our teaching can be planned accordingly.