What attitudes, skills, and concepts have you gained from participating in the course so far?
Well, here we are coming up on the end of this “boot camp” and it has been a wild ride so where does one begin to sum it all up? As I have mentioned several times, I have felt overwhelmed by the vast amount of digital tools, ideas, and information coming in via the course content, blogs, Twitter, and other classmates. I am beginning to adjust my way of looking at this and to find ways of sorting through the volume to read only the most relevant. I just started using iGoogle based on the presentation I watched for the third discussion and it really seems to help now that I have gotten it set up and organized. Of course, the next day Google sends out an announcement stating that they are dropping iGoogle and it will be gone November 2013, at least I will have time to research an new dashboard.
Skill wise, I finally got caught up enough to try out Camtasia for my final project (presentation?) and so far it seems super easy—of course I’ve been editing video for over a decade—I like what it can do in terms of trimming, uploading and placing the picture-in-picture (PIP). I am looking forward to using it and my new microphone to start recording some video lectures as early as next week. For quick recordings away from my laptop I found Screencast-o-matic very easy and Screenr seems to be similar. I will also be playing with a new app for my iPad called Explain Everything to help when I have a substitute in my classroom.
What have you learned in the course that you will not forget tomorrow?
New concepts I have gotten from the class center around the Flipped Classroom model. I have been looking into the idea since C&I 407 last summer and had decided to try it next year especially since we are getting laptops for all the students. Of course, I am interested in seeing the impact the laptops will have, and I hope staff will get training to use them in innovative ways so that they are not “domesticated” to old routines (Rowan & Bigum, 2012). As Cummings, Brown & Sayers (2007) note, “for technology to change education, “has much more to do with pedagogy than with the technology itself” (p. 91). Given the lack of input the had on the process, I hope there is buy-in from them and that the professional development we get will be of the type needed, content specific and long-term (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009, p. 395).
Of the things I have learned from the course that I will not be forgetting, perhaps the most important to me is to plan for options when it comes to technology based education. It will not be enough to record and post my videos, I will also need to have media based versions available for those without Internet access at home or for those who leave their laptop and/or charger at school and can’t access in the regular manner. I hope that by posting downloadable versions, students without access can download them before they leave school so that they have a copy on their laptop. When it comes to communication, I have learned that the generation of students I am teaching (and some of their young parents) want feedback immediately (Tapscott, 2008) so I hope be able to meet those needs through My Big Campus and a new site I found called Remind101. Of course, some will still want emails, phone calls, or even letters home, but being able to reach and involve more parents is the goal.
How will you apply what you have learned to your teaching and future learning?
I have plans to implement several technological and new education ideas in my classroom in the future. I will be adopting a flipped classroom model in my social studies classes and possibly my communications classes as well. The flipped classroom, and the 1:1 laptops we will have at our school, will allow me to expand upon the changes I have already made in my teaching through the use of my Universal Reading Questions (URQs). My URQs were already designed to assess students’ prior knowledge and interests, as well has discover misunderstandings and misconceptions. In the past I have provided my students with background and additional knowledge to help make connections not only between events but also to the world today. With the flipped model allowing for more classroom time to engage in higher order thinking and collaborative work, and laptops for the students to research and discovery content with guidance, more of the knowledge they gain will be knowledge that they construct themselves.
The online tools, blogs, and information networks that I set up during the class will be extraordinarily helpful in continuing to learn and improve my teaching in the future. I will continue to expand and refine the online learning networks that I have set up for the class and use my blogs to reflect upon and analyze the things I will be trying to implement in my classroom. I will also use these as assets when we set up our professional learning teams (PLTs) for professional development in our district next year.
Wish me luck future, and the same to everyone else.
Cummings, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Harris, J. B., Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393-416.
Rowan, L., & Bigum, C. (Eds.), (2012). Transformative approaches to new technology and
student diversity in futures oriented classrooms: Future proofing education. Dordrecht,
Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world. [Kindle
Version]. Available from http://www.amazon.com