From the beginning, I thought this course was really challenging because each week, there was a complex project due that involved reading, planning, researching writing and revising. In fact, there were times when I spent 15-20 hours on a project. I’ve learned a great deal in this class, and this entry will summarize what I’ve learned and how these assignments have both enhanced my knowledge of AECT Standards and helped me grow professionally.
To begin with, writing the vision statement afforded me the opportunity to research and analyze my own position on integrating technology. Then, organizing a relative advantage chart that aligned with the common core standards not only allowed me to justify technology use in the classroom, but I was also able to share my chart during collaboration. My collaboration group appreciated the clarity of the chart in terms of the technology tools being aligned with the common core standards.
One of my biggest learning stretches occurred during the interactive presentation assignment. For the assignment, I created a pre-reading assignment for The Grapes of Wrath, and it was the most interactive and engaging presentation that I have ever created. I implemented it about a month ago, and it went really well. I actually had students tell me that they appreciated all the work I put into it, and they were excited to read the novel. This success tells me that as a teacher, I can really hook my kids if I spend the time and create something that is truly interactive while front-loading and scaffolding knowledge. Overall, this course has taught me new methods of integrating technology, and on top of that, I learned how to integrate and develop lessons in disciplines other than my own. As a result, I will be able to strengthen my instructional strategies, utilizing the resources I learned during this course.
The constructivist theory along with an emerging theory, connectivism, guided my project development in this class. For instance, I constantly strive to design learning activities so that students make connections between different disciplines, ideas and concepts; I especially focus on how they make connections to their own lives and construct meaning. This happens when students are directed to access their background knowledge about a topic. I then encourage students to share their ideas or theories with their peers and/or me, and together students learn from their perceptions and misconceptions, and they formulate new hypothesizes or understand the concept on a deeper level. These strategies are based on the constructivist theory in that they foster creative problem solving.
EDTECH 541 is a class that not only focuses on technology integration, but also examines the relative advantages for using technology in the classroom. During the course, I was exposed to and learned the applications of networking, instructional software, software types, web-based activities, integrating basic technologies, adaptive/assistive technologies, internet-based tools, and interactive technologies. These skills helped me demonstrate my mastery of AECT Standard 1: Design, in that I was challenged to apply the principles of instructional design, message design, instructional strategies and learner characteristics. For example, the social studies lesson that I designed (along with many other projects) integrated the previously mentioned technologies while also incorporating primary sources and a Jigsaw activity. See http://www.cmillsedtech.net/Social_Studies_Activity.html.
In addition, every project in this class advanced my skills and mastery of AECT Standard 2: Development, and AECT Standard 3.2, Diffusion of Innovations. Not only did the assigned projects challenge me in terms of bringing about change in my classroom and my professional life through trial and adoption, but they also challenged my technological skills. I have used several of these projects in my teaching thus far, and will continue to do so with an emphasis on engaging the learner and improving my skills and instructional strategies.
Part 2: Self-Evaluation
Content: 65/70: I believe my content was thoughtful and synthesized what we had learned during the module. I tried each week to demonstrate insight while also reflecting on my overall connections. Sometimes this was difficult to do in that I couldn’t reflect until after I had finished my project (because I needed, for myself, to complete the assignment in that order), and there were times I felt like I could have expounded more on what I had learned.
Readings and Resources: 20/20: I feel like I have met this criteria. I actually really enjoyed this textbook.
Timeliness: 18/20 Sometimes I didn’t finish my blog until the day it was due, but that was usually because I was still working on my project. So no, I didn’t always give enough time for people to respond, but I’m not sure that I could have done it any other way because as I stated, I reflected after my experience, and I think that was a good thing rather than a determent to my learning. However, because it was required, I think I should lose a few points.
Response to other Students: 30/30 I read and responded to two classmates for every assignment, and I felt like I added some insight and personal reflection to the posts.