EDUC 6710 Reflective Essay

The educational field has changed immensely over the years. Through this course I have been able to discover and implement various online resources that will help benefit my future students. Between Wiki sites, blogs, twitter, social bookmarking and podcasts I believe that I now have the necessary skills to use technology as an effective tool in the classroom. Through using these technologies I have found that ability to collaborate, discover, create and publish are right at my fingertips, and I have the capability to share this with my students. Podcasts is one of the resources that I have found that can easily be implemented in my classroom setting that will be able to help me reinforce concepts for all types of learners. In mathematics, giving step-by-step worked examples is a great way to break down concepts and provide extra support outside the classroom. “Video podcasts allow students to control when, where, and what they learn, as well as the pace of learning” (Kay, 2012). This opportunity fosters a sense of responsibility in each student and the instruction can be tailored to a student’s specific readiness level.

Throughout this class the importance of knowing the unique learners in the classroom has been reinforced. It is important to understand the needs of the students you are teaching in order to effectively meet those needs. For one to fully understand the learner, one must be “aware of students’ prior learning, culture, family, and community values to improve teaching and learning” (Laureate Education, 2016). Only once you know the students, can an educator begin to prepare them for post secondary schooling and the workforce. Building a strong foundation of creating, collaborating, research, critical thinking and problem solving are key in order to “learn effectively and live productively in an increasingly global and digital society” (ISTE, Standards for Students). In order to help build these skills in my classroom I plan to incorporate more technology based authentic problem solving projects. This will give my students the opportunity to work together on researching topics in order to discover and reinforce different concepts. “Modern learning is about doing authentic work in the world that can be amplified by technology. And it’s about forming networks and communities outside the physical space to support and nurture the work” (Richardson, 2015 p. 17).

Twitter is an amazing resource which I have never had experience with prior to this course. Next year I would like to incorporate twitter into my classroom. Twitter is a great way for students to become involved with class discussions outside the physical classroom. This is also a great way to get community members and families involved in discussions as well. Unfortunately, bringing social media into an educational setting does have potential risks. Students have the opportunity to post, opening up the possibility for inappropriate posts. Through discussion with colleagues I have worked a way to avoid this potential roadblock. There is an excel worksheet that can be distributed to the students online, when they want to create a post they can add the post to the excel sheet which can then be approved before being published to the site. Creating online communication with students, families and community members via Twitter helps foster student’s 21st century skills such as communication and collaboration (ISTE, Standards for Students). Integrating twitter into my classroom is a great method for me to “collaborate with students, peers, parents and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation” (ISTE, Standards for Teachers).

In order to prepare students for tomorrow’s society and workplace educators must be fostering 21st century skills in the classroom. One goal that I have set for myself in order to transform my classroom environment is to integrate Twitter. For the 2016-2017 school year, my goal is to use Twitter daily as a place to send reminders for assignments and upcoming assessments, encouragement and positive reinforcement for students who put their best efforts forward. At least once a week I would like to hold a class discussion outside the classroom. This discussion can involve community members, other teachers, administrators and parents. This is a great resource for students to collaborate, discuss and think critically outside the walls of the classroom. Another goal for next year involves Podcasts. I believe that podcasting is an amazing resource for a mathematics classroom and has the potential to truly transform my current teaching practices. Next year my goal is to involve students in the making of at least one Podcast per Unit. This is a great way to have students participate in utilizing technology create and connect with the concepts.

With these two goals I will be able to improve my ability to “communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and colleagues using a variety of digital age media and formats to improve and/or enhance student learning” (Laureate Education, 2015). By implementing what I have learned in this course, and continuing my education I will be more prepared to meet the needs of my diverse learners in the future. One quote has stuck with me through this course, “As educators, we must embrace technologies and innovative activities prevalent in our society to equip our learners to be strong economic innovative contributors” (Bevins, 2012 p.12).

 

References:

BEVINS, P. S., CARTER, K., JONES, V. R., MOYE, J. J., & RITZ, J. M. (2012). Producing a

21st Century Workforce. Technology & Engineering Teacher, 72(3), 8-12

ISTE. (n.d.-a) Standards for students. Retrieved November 5, 2015, from

http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-students

ISTE. (n.d.-b) Standards for teachers. Retrieved November 5, 2015, from

http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers

Kay, R., & Edwards, J. (2012). Examining the Use of Worked Example Video Podcasts in

Middle School Mathematics Classrooms: A Formative Analysis. Canadian Journal Of Learning And Technology, 38(3),

Laureate Education (2015). Technology Proficiencies. Retrieved June 23, 2016

https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201640_04/1_Standard_Documents/1_Current_Documents/MSED/MSED_RWRCOEL_Technology_Proficiencies.pdf

Laureate Education (2016). Diversity Proficiencies. Retrieved June 23, 2016, from https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201640_04    /1_Standard_Documents/1_Current_Documents/MSED/Standards_MSED_Program_Prof_Educator_Success.

Richardson, W. (2015). From master teacher to master learner. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree

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