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!