This course has exposed the true extent of technology’s influence in our society. When I surveyed the students in my classroom on their use of digital devices, I was amazed at the multiple ways students communicate. The course work required active participation in creating a classroom blog, at Blogspot, a podcast with Podomatic, and a wiki page with Wikispaces. By developing these online tools I increased my knowledge and understanding of Web 2.0 tools. Now I can incorporate this 21st-century communication into my classroom.
My knowledge of Web 2.0 and my ability to use the tools has increased due to my recent exposure. I realized digital immigrants can learn and teach these tools, if we embrace the power of the Internet and the digital devices relevant to this generation. By using a classroom wiki, I have watched students interact with other members and check the posting history. I believe I learned a new way to teach and interact with my students.
The change in my classroom from teacher-centered to learner-centered made sense to me as I completed this course. New curriculum for me this year included Lego Mindstorm robots and Sim City 4. My sixth graders learned how to download firmware and codes to the Robots. My seventh graders built virtual cities in Sim City 4 and participated in a Sim City challenge. As I was learning and integrating this technology into my classroom, I felt the shift from my personal instruction, to peer to peer and group discussion as the students discovered what combination of codes correctly ran the Robot C. As the resources in this course implied, the shift from teacher, to group and student driven learning, is a desired affect of 21st century learning. I did feel more relaxed with my classroom’s atmosphere once I read this shift, from teacher lecture to group interaction was desired. I would have to say, my perspective on learner-centered instruction improved. I am going in the right direction; I just need to persevere.
This course has encouraged me to build my technological foundation. With frequent use of a blog and wikispace I can stay connected with my students even if absences occur. I can post homework assignments and short instructional videos to the classroom wiki. Students can access the page from anywhere and no longer are dependent on a fifty minute block of lecture time in the classroom. The technology of RSS feeds will keep me informed on the latest techniques and changes I need to know in order o network with colleagues throughout the world. By maximizing my knowledge base, I can only increase my students’ achievement. By using a learner-centered environment, I believe I will engage my millennium learners more thoroughly.
One long term goal I have to transform my classroom environment is to learn the classroom management system BrainHoney. Our district has moved to this system and our staff is being trained to use it. Lessons plans, audio and video resources, graphics and pictures can all be stored in this one management system. Teachers can develop a quiz or test that is uploaded to a module. Automatic grading is programmed into BrainHoney, so students get immediate feedback. I really understand the benefits of BrainHoney due to the exposure this course has given me to the future landscape of teaching. I plan to enter new data and resources to my BrainHoney account with the benefit RSS feeds and recent networking has provided me.
A second long term goal I have to transform my classroom environment is to increase my use of robotics. The Lego Robot C has been more successful then I had originally thought. The district leaders want this type of 21st-century learning to take place in our schools. At first I was afraid I would fail miserably with this curriculum. Surprisingly, I have learned to enjoy the challenge of programming a robot. My goal is to broaden my knowledge base of robotics and expand code writing with my junior high students. I plan to achieve this goal by teaching robotics 4 times a year instead of just once. I also plan to collaborate with other robotics teaches and share sample code and resources. I have already found reliable links that provide instructions and ideas for Robot C.
Concerning my feelings regarding the technological advances in the classroom, I will admit, the changes are more diverse than I realized. The speed of change and the amount of digital devices used by this generation is astounding. I believe all teacher must seek exposure and training in Web 2.0 tools in order to keep abreast of the changes happening in our careers. Evidence shows that almost every Web 2.0 tool makes it easy to connect and create with others globally to expand our instructional basis. We just need a little confidence and exposure to harness the power of these tools ourselves.