Time to Reflect: Inquiry Blog #5

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.

Time To Reflect
Time To Reflect

Key Takeaways so far:

  1. 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)

Computers in classroom have ‘mixed’ impact on learning: OECD report

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.

References:

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

 

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6 thoughts on “Time to Reflect: Inquiry Blog #5

  1. Excellent post, full of reflective and thoughtful evaluation of your learning and experiences so far. You’ve done a great job summarizing some of the very big ideas and strategies for taking advantage of new tools and pedagogy in your professional practice. You have deeply understood the benefits of connecting, constructivism and professional learning networks and while they can be scary and daunting, the rewards are very worthwhile. I look forward to being a member of your PLN for years to come! Good blog post with linking, tagging and embedding.

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    1. Learning something new always seems daunting, but I am a firm believer in supporting each other as we persevere. I enjoy learning new tools and finding creative ways to apply them for effective educational lessons. My current struggles in my new classroom entail trying to figure out why my projector and IWB are so inconsistent and temperamental. Every time I have a lesson prepared in which I need to rely on my technology, something seems to go wrong and I have to “abandon ship” and go with Plan B. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to get our projectors to work consistently every day.

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  2. I love when you stated, “Technology without excellent teaching only creates a consumer mentality of ingesting information or consuming games as quickly as possible.” How true! It is something we all need to remember. Technology is an excellent tool to incorporate into our teaching, but we need to ensure we are using it to enhance learning. I very much enjoyed reading your reflection.

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  3. Thank you for your comments. Technology can be a great tool. I came to really appreciate my smart board and the incredible value for learning it provided. Now that I have moved classrooms and no longer have one, I see what a valuable educational tool it was.

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  4. I agree with all of your take aways especially the use of digital tools to do really work for audiences. I really want to use some of the great apps out there and I’m thinking of the one you suggested a few posts ago, Sock Puppet. I’m hesitant because grade ones are so young and when I used Explain Everything with them last year, it was rewarding, but it took a lot of time and we needed a minimum of 2 adults in the room to trouble shoot for everyone and keep us moving along. I am determined though!

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