Ahh, time to stop and smell the roses (so to speak). I love the idea of taking time to look back and reflect on what has impacted me so far in this course.
Key Takeaways so far:
- Technology is here to stay
Since technology is here to stay, let’s embrace it fully and maximize the learning potential for our students.
With this learning potential comes a great responsibility to adequately equip students to navigate through the technological world. I appreciated how Will Richardson phrased it in his book, “Why School?”. In my discussion post in week 1, I wrote “he [Richardson] suggests students need to be explicitly taught how to “make sense of all the people and information online” and how to be “savvy enough to connect and build relationships with others in safe, ethical and effective ways” (Richardson, 2012, part 1). Internet safety and digital citizenship cannot be ignored but must be explicitly taught.
Common Sense Media (this is a great resource for teaching digital citizenship)
2. Technology does not replace great teaching
Technology is a learning tool and cannot or should not replace quality teaching. It is true that “education is no longer about knowledge transmission, but is increasingly about how to access knowledge”(DeWith, 2015, discussion post week 2). For some educators, it may be tempting to put various technological devices into the hands of their students and assign a task to ‘access or acquire knowledge’. According to the OECD report, the use of technology and the internet can be effective tools for guided research and project work (Chowdhry, 2015). However, it is important to teach and model the skills needed to develop life skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration. Technology without excellent teaching only creates a consumer mentality of ingesting information or consuming games as quickly as possible.
In the following video, Kasey Dirnberger (2012) encourages teachers to weave technology into the curriculum and to provide formal technology instruction for the elementary students.
I love the following quote:
“We know that technology can really enhance good teaching, but the key ingredient is the good teaching to start with. [Technology is] more an amplifier and it’s a tool for good teachers rather than a magic wand which transforms bad teachers into good ones” (Chowdhry, 2015).
3. Use digital tools to do real work for read audiences
In my discussion post #3, I applauded Richardson’s fifth challenge of “doing real work for real audiences” (Richardson, 2012). As cited by Chowdhry (2015), Professor Slotta stated that “technology is most effective in the classroom when it is used to develop skills similar to those that adults are using in everyday life, such as finding resources, critiquing arguments, communicating with peers, solving problems and working with data” (Chowdhry, 2015). Providing opportunities for students to connect with real audiences is motivating and provides a sense of purpose.
One topic from Phase 2…
If I had to choose one topic or takeaway from Phase 2, I would say that I have really discovered that teaching is no longer the isolated career that it once was. Educators have so many ways at their disposal to connect with colleagues. The sharing of ideas and the opportunities for professional development are numerous through the use of technology. Instead of being an isolated island in my own classroom, the world has now opened up. I love the flexibility of connecting with colleagues around the world or even just throughout my province whenever it is convenient for me and from whatever location I happen to be at.
During Phase 2, my confidence in connecting through social media has grown immensely. Although I am still a fairly novice Twitter user, I feel quite confident with my skills in blogging and setting up a website. I love gleaning ideas from others as I read the posts, blogs and tweets of other teachers. For example, I was not able to attend the Google Conference in Kamloops with my fellow colleagues as I was in Victoria, but I could track their learning through their tweets.
Moving forward, I intend to continue to blog about my own professional growth as I attend workshops or try new ideas in my classroom. In addition, I intend to tweet out interesting things I do so I can contribute to the collective knowledge of educators.
In my quest for technological advance, I must not neglect to forge ahead in my skills to become an even better teacher.
Chowdhry, A. (2015, Sept. 15). Computers in classroom have ‘mixed’ impact on learning: OECD report. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://t.co/wwiLgLarEd
Common Sense Media. (October 2, 2015). “5 Social Media Rules for Teens & Tweens” . Retrieved from https//youtu.be/AYqodXdf5YU
Daniels, K. (November 6, 2013). “Empowering the teacher technophobe: Kristin Daniels at TEDxBurnsvilleED” . Retrieved from https://youtu.be/puiNcIFJTCU
DeWith, Sept. 12, 2015. [web post] “Parenting Responsibly”. Discussion post 1
DeWith, Sept. 16, 2015. [web post] “Becoming a Learning Master”. Discussion post 2
DeWith, Sept. 21, 2015. [web post] “Increasing our circle of influence”) Discussion post 3
Dirnberger, K. (August 1, 2012). “The Importance of Technology Education at the Elementary Level: Kasey Dirnberger at TEDxMCPSTeachers” . Retrieved from https://youtu.be/pz5JnjByXh4
Richardson, W. (2012). Why School?: How Education Must change When Learning and Information are Everywhere. TED Conferences, 2012. Kindle Edition.
Scholtz, O. “Dialog, question, tux icon”. [image].Retrieved from http://linux.softpedia.com/developer/Oliver-Scholtz-93.html
Technology for Teachers and Students. (April 4, 2015). “Beginner’s Guide to Using Twitter for Professional Development”. . Retrieved from https://youtu.be/8MqUu2aIhU4
Toppo, G. ( November 21, 2012). “A different way to think about technology in education: Greg Toppo at TEXxAshburn” . Retrieved from https://youtu.be/D17P3kqB3_0