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Ed Tech Project Reflection May 5, 2011

Filed under: Personal Reflection — LC @ 9:13 pm
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For this Ed Tech Project and for this class as a whole I stretched myself to incorporate elements that I would actually use in my own classroom.  Often in grad classes, we have to create curriculums, lessons, etc that cannot be practically used in my own classroom.  Thus, I spend a lot of time on a project only to let it sit there!  So, while creating these lessons I tried to implement what technology I was confident in teaching and comfortable trying out.  I also stretched myself all semester becoming more familiar with using and implementing the wiki, which I now feel I could actively use daily in my own classroom.  My intent for this project was to implement technology practically into an existing unit (one that I could still implement this semester).  This unit was on how Jesus taught and what was at the heart of those lessons. Reflecting over the way Jesus teaches, He taught in such a way that both challenges people and brings them together collaboratively.   Using Jesus’ teaching methods as my model, I wanted to both challenge my students and encourage collaborative learning.

Unfortunately, not all pieces of the final product will be used in my classroom this year because my classroom units moved faster than my Ed Tech project (I have used parts of it and intend on still doing the VoiceThread).  Yet, I do think the final product challenges my students creativity through various means (blogging reflections, cartoons, etc), intellectually (new technologies, more outside of class requirements), and collaboratively (using other students as support).  The element of collaboration is seen both on the large & small scale through various lessons in the unit.  I want my students to collaborate and support each other—but not fall into one group member doing all the work.

In the future, I would of course like to implement this in my classroom beforehand so I could discuss direct results of my students.  I would also be interested in perhaps using a Google site or something besides a Wiki as the means of presenting and compiling the material.  The Wiki is simple, yet I have used it a lot now and some functions are very frustrating! It does work well as a simple place to bring together all of the information.  I was satisfied with how I feel the unit really came together to aid in all learning styles and abilities.  I often hear teachers complaining of how they feel they just need to “add” technology to their curriculum, but I feel that these technology updates really enhanced my lessons.  I did take away parts of lessons, but I ultimately believe they will be made up for in the technological skills my students will learn.  I found myself dissatisfied and frustrated with the Wiki at times (this could be due to my desire to declutter, center, and work with font sizes…).  Also, I felt stumped at times of ways to enhance certain lessons without losing the main message of the lesson, at that point I realized that I shouldn’t change it!

To complete this activity I first looked at my upcoming units because I wanted to use a unit that I could still implement this semester (that only sort of worked out).  I then looked deeper into the unit and thought about what I wanted to change and focus upon for this unit.  Again, since the unit covered how and why Jesus taught a certain way—I wanted to include that in my process.  I then searched for research articles to help me in the process.  I also felt that our diigo lists were helpful because I already had a great base of 20 sources to look further into.  Also, the blogging and twittering helped set up a base of information as well.  I kept a “stock pile” of info to turn back to as I slowly created my project wiki. Finally,  I put it all together!  Again, the only sticking points were I wish I would have been actually able to implement and that I either could have gotten the Wiki to work better or use a different media.  I am very proud of the outcome and look forward to actually implementing parts of it with students this semester and next year completely implementing it!


Personal Reflection #2 March 31, 2011

Filed under: Personal Reflection — LC @ 11:42 pm
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Well, since personal reflection #1…to be honest, I have gotten out of the “honeymoon” stage of excitement over new technologies.  Sorry! I am feeling overwhelmed by the different tweets & blogs I follow.  Part of this I think had to do with being away from it for a week, only to find myself with over 400 blog posts to weed through! I need to start trimming down, but I feel bad “unfollowing” someone.

Also, I am starting to feel the backlash from school & students.  For my Ed Tech project reworking a unit, I have found many of my students don’t want to try new technologies.  They are just apathetic towards it.  They don’t want to learn something new that they feel will just change again in a new months.  I told them instead of writing a paper we were going to create a voicethread–most were excited, but others groaned. Next, I dealt with certain website restrictions and lack of microphones….I am powering through though! I do appreciate this project though, because I feel that in the past I have projects for grad school that I can never practically work out in the classroom.  This one I am forcing myself to!

Our Group Project 1 is something that I will not forget tomorrow.  By creating this wiki of our “Ed Tech High School” and discussion 3 on Tech high schools; I felt real hope for the future of Ed Tech.  A lot of times I just feel like we are sitting around in class talking about technology, but it is really great to see it actually happening! By creating our “Ed Tech HS”, I felt that these programs and possibilities exist….just baby steps!

Well, just as I said….baby steps! All of the great things we included in our faux HS, many of them were free and can be actually incorporated into the classroom…tomorrow.  Outside of teaching, I love listening to TED talks and I immediately incorporated it into my Ed Tech HS course…why don’t I do that more often in my actual classes! I hope to in general get out of this rut and actually implement all that I read about!




Personal Reflection #1 February 23, 2011

Filed under: Personal Reflection — LC @ 2:20 am
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Just as with my first Ed Tech class with Dr. Toledo, this class has been a whirlwind thus far.  I feel with my first class it was such a dive into a realm I really didn’t understand, so I tried my best to just soak up all the knowledge that I could.  Now, in this class I feel MUCH more confident!  Granted, I know I am still learning a lot and in no way am trying to act like I understand all of this—it is just not as overwhelming as before!  I feel that I have learned a lot through our Eluminate class sessions—I have found that not only is it an incredibly convenient way to hold class, but a very worthwhile experience.  It is very unique that we can listen to Dr. Toledo, another classmate, or a guest speaker from around the world as we all type in our own thoughts, opinions, & drop in links to related topics.  I’ve felt like I’ve grown up in such a educational world of “raise your hand & wait your turn”, that it is really freeing to put my opinion right out there and have someone respond, while still being respectful to the speaker.  I have gained just as much, while still feeling very much so that my opinion has been heard.  We talked about back channels in my first ed tech class, but now I really see the usefulness of it in this class.  I’m still working on the next step of incorporating it via my own classroom—but I think it would be very useful to use if I skype in a guest speaker.

Thusfar, one of the lessons that has stuck out to me the most has been on Personal Learning Networks.  I always felt like the term “PLN” has been tossed around in so many of my grad courses, but I never really grasped the usefulness of it.   I was truly in awe when Dr. Toledo jumped onto Twitter and brought in members of her own PLN to discuss with us the importance of PLNs.  As I mentioned below in a past blog post, I had my own personal “PLN” success story when the weekend after the Egypt protests I decided it was vital to teach my students on the situation in Egypt.  I hopped on Twitter and was very successful!  With various world events, we can’t always be prepared to have a lesson ready to help answer our student’s questions—this is where I have found the use of a PLN so successful & important!

Finally, I hope to continue to use my PLN as a source to better my student’s learning.  I will sometimes get so boxed in to my lessons that have worked in the past; I must continue to revamp my lessons!  Not only to incorporate different avenues of technology, but for the simple reason of bettering my students and myself as a teacher.