Thursday, December 17, 2009

Teaching with Technology Course Reflection

Video produced and narrated by Andy Comer

The outcomes I had envisioned for this course were to get a better understanding of what it meant to truly integrate technology into the classroom. I had hoped to continue to explore using Web 2.0 tools and I did have many opportunities to do that as well. By using Google docs and the Google site for our group project, I was able to compare this resource with using the Wikispaces site that was created in our first course. I felt that the Google site was much more user friendly and had alot more tools to offer in working with groups. I was challenged to work outside my comfort zone by having to create a lesson plan but having the encouragement of my group helped me do what I needed to do. I also learned to use Animoto to create a sample learning activity which is another Web 2.0 tool that was shared with me by the members of my group.

Learning about using Web 2.0 tools, lesson planning, group collaboration and dynamics, the importance of reflective thinking, and providing feedback and assessment are all very relevant to the work that I do now. In counseling and advising students, I can see the need to provide more opportunities for group interraction, feedback, and assessment. It is important that I continue to develop a greater awareness of the Web 2.0 tools in order to provide resources to meet the needs of the students and to better prepare them for the 21st century. The insights I gained from working in a group will better prepare me to assist my students in developing their collaboration skills and increasing their self-esteem. I will continue to encourage my students to work on their reflective thinking skills by posting on our group blog and will create opportunities to provide feedback and recognition in order to motivate them toward the goal of academic success.

I think I would have enjoyed spending additional time exploring techology activities for diverse learners. Since I have a child with a physical disability, I am familiar with some of the learning aids and tools that are available to meet his needs, but I am not familiar with those applications that are commonly used for the hearing and visually impaired students. I felt that the two textbooks that were required for the course are excellent resource tools and I plan to spend more time researching and using some of the ideas that I discovered in them. Possibly I would have had more time to explore these applications if it had not been for the holiday or if more attention could have been provided to this area in a video for the course. Working with the group tremendously enhanced the learning process but the necessary time spent in interacting with the other group members limited the amount of time I had to read articles or research the new concepts and ideas.

Although there was a holiday weekend and I had also scheduled another trip out of town during this course, I feel that I was successful in completing the course assignments. I was able to take my laptop with me and complete reading assignments as I traveled which allowed me to stay on track. Being able to communicate with my group via email and the Google site allowed me to continue working with little interruption while staying in my hotel room. I was also able to get email updates through my cell phone. I felt that an increased level of feedback and assessment could possibly have aided the group in determining our continued direction or any changes that were needed each week. Since I do not have a degree or background in Education I became discouraged early in the group project because I felt that I did not have the knowledge and understanding necessary to successfully create a lesson plan. Although my team members were very helpful and encouraging to me in the process.

A couple of new things that I learned about myself from this course were the importance and value of developing strong reflective thinking and group collaboration skills. I have come to see how using the class discussion board, writing on our blogs and wikis, and completing our group and individual reflection assignments enhances the learning process. Reading about and creating learning communities and working collaboratively in a group has made me a true believer in the importance of using these methods in working with students. What I learned about my technology skills was that I am not afraid of learning and using new technology tools and am willing to assist others in using tools that are unfamiliar to them. Something I learned about my leadership skills is that I have a tendency to take on a leadership role at times even when I am not in an assigned role of leadership. I approached the project with a positive attitude but quickly began to feel a small level of frustration by by being in a situation where I had to depend on others and not feeling "in control" of the outcome. One thing I learned about my attitude was that I although I was reluctant at first about the idea of working in a group, I discovered that I actually enjoyed the group interaction and collaboration and the opportunity to get to know people better.

Our Group Project -

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