A Journey Through Technology

Week 4 Reflection

This week we explored digital footprints. I can honestly admit that the idea of “Googling” myself is very scary to me. I know some of the information that I might find, but other things that might pop up are a whole other story. As a teacher, it is probably something I should be doing more often, but it still isn’t easy. The degree to which our information is tracked on the internet is scary, and this week made me see that it is even more important for students to be educated about digital footprints and citizenship than I might have thought after week 3.

I think that some students may be aware of how information is tracked online, but I would say that a good portion of them do not. Some kids don’t even realize the repercussions from using social media inappropriately, so to think that they might be thinking beyond the instant in which they post something is unlikely. This week’s topic is more than enough for me to become a more vocal proponent of including digital citizenship classes as a requirement in high school. Students, and most likely a lot of their parents, should know what is out there about them, and know what they can do to slow the pace of information sharing, or even prevent it from happening in the first place. In our age of technology, I find it unlikely that you could prevent yourself from having any digital footprint at all, but we should all know how to keep that footprint as small as possible.

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Week 3 Reflection

This week we looked at character education and how it is related to the idea of digital citizenship. After looking through the resources this week and looking at what my fellow classmates posted, I think that if schools focused more on character education, digital citizenship could easily come from character education. It is a bit disappointing to me, especially as a parent, that schools need to focus more on character education. It is definitely not an easy task, and I can see how parents could really use some help in that area, but it is unfortunate that some students would only every get character education at school.

I now realize the importance of offering character education, and think that districts should put much more emphasis on offering character education to all of their students. If districts focus more on character education, digital citizenship could easily be incorporated into the curriculum, so all students are exposed to the concept. Once districts start to focus on character education and digital citizenship, we could easily incorporate digital citizenship into all classes. It would definitely need to be a group effort, however, if we want to make an impact on students. I don’t think only offering digital citizenship once would fix the problem. Digital citizenship would need to be an overarching concept in all of a students classes for actual change to happen.

Leave a comment »

Week 2 Reflection

This week we examined the three versions of the ISTE standards and how they might change for the next iteration. I honestly had a hard time getting my thoughts together and comparing the first three versions, but after reading through Josie, Gerald, and Erika’s posts, I think I have a better grasp. At the rate technology is changing, the types of technology that might exist for the 4th versions probably don’t even exist yet, and if they do, they aren’t widely used.

The ideas of implants and AI being a bigger part of our daily lives honestly scares me. Are there valid applications for them? Sure. Is there a potential for overuse/misuse? Definitely. I am not opposed to using technology in our lives to try and simplify things, but reliability needs to be something we think about, too. For example, in writing my G+ post this week, technology sort of failed me. For some reason, I could not get the ISTE 2017 standards to load on my computer. Every link I tried didn’t work. Maybe the ISTE site was undergoing maintenance, or maybe something else was going on, but it was still frustrating, no matter the cause.

I will say that one positive that came out of this week is that I realized I need to be looking at the ISTE standards a lot more when I’m planning for my classes. I realized how important it is for me to stay current on these standards so that I’m giving my students the opportunity to get as much out of technology as they can in my classes. I need these standards in my professional practice so that I can continue to increase my effectiveness so that students are getting the most relevant things in my classes.

1 Comment »

Resources for using Canvas

One of my goals for this course is to learn how to use an LMS to build my blended course, and allow students to have access to all materials in a dedicated online classroom environment.

This is the first video I watched to get started:

Leave a comment »

Virtual Teaching and Learning ILP

This is my first year of teaching where I have daily access to Chromebooks for my students, and I hope to use these to eventually make all of my classes blended. Having daily access to technology has been a desire of mine since I started this degree program. Having a blended chemistry class, my goal for this class, would allow my students to take control of their learning and also allow differentiation in my class. I want my more advanced students to be able to move on to topics that challenge them, while allowing my other students to be challenged at their own level.

In order to provide an organized environment for the blended class, I want to explore online LMS options such as Canvas and Moodle to distribute lessons to students. I want students to be able to unlock new lessons as they progress, potentially giving every student the opportunity to move onto the more advanced topics if they so desire. I currently use Google Classroom to deliver online content to students, but there is not an easy way to allow students to progress through lessons without posting them all at once.

Chemistry is a lab-based class, so the potential for online labs is essential to the success of a 100% online class, and could still be useful in a blended classroom. My hope is that with a blended classroom, there wouldn’t’ be as much of a need for online labs, but it could provide students with choices in the types of activities that we do. I already use PhET simulations with my students, but could also expand my use of these to help all levels of students be more successful in chemistry.

I am very excited about this class and hope that I can start transferring my knowledge to my classroom right away. I am actually going to be trying a blended and differentiated unit for the next unit in my chemistry classes that starts on Friday September 15th, so that will be a great starting place for me in this class.

 

Leave a comment »

Makerspace Funding Proposal

Here is my makerspace proposal. Would love to hear feedback!

Makerspace Funding Proposal

Leave a comment »

Week 11 Reflection

This week’s essential question really helped me to see how far I’ve come throughout this Ed Tech journey. I started with program thinking I wasn’t going to change anything about how I teach, and have made so many changes I don’t even think I could count them all. I hope that someday soon my classroom is successfully student-centered and my students can say that they enjoy my classes and learn a lot, maybe even liking chemistry by the time they are done. I will always be learning in my journey as an educator, and that is okay with me, because it means I will be doing what is best for my students.

This week I read and commented on Mariah’s and Douglas’s blogs. Douglas said that it is one of his goals this year to get his teachers to be leaders in technology instead of always being behind, and I think this exactly what we need in education. I know that time is going to be the biggest constraint to this goal, but maybe using a mentorship program for staff to help each other could be an answer to that. Teachers definitely need to be more confident in their technology abilities, and being leaders to the students will be good for everyone’s confidence.

Mariah talked about how hard it is to move out of your comfort zone and continue in learning as a teacher. She said she wants to focus on collaboration in her classroom and this is something I want to focus on as well. I want to give my students as many opportunities to collaborate with each other as I can, which will require me to move out of my comfort zone of doing things the way I’ve done them in the past. Hopefully this the year that I can overcome my fears and help my students learn in a student-centered classroom.

I look forward to using what I’ve learned this summer in my classroom this year. There isn’t much time before school starts again, but I’m so excited to see where my 21st century learning can take my students this year and into the future.

Leave a comment »

Week 11: How have you, and will you continue to “Learn the 21st Century” and allow your students this experience in your classroom?

Learning has changed so much, even since I graduated high school in 2005. The way that I learned, and the way that my current and future students will learn are not the same, and I expect that it will continue to change as new technology and teaching tools are developed. The only way I can hope to be able to teach and help my students learn, is if I am learning in the same fashion. “It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you have not learned in this century.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle Location 4477) I think that my experiences in this degree program have been so crucial to me being able to teach 21st century learners, because I have become one over the past 2 years.

I started this program in the spring of 2015, and since then my approach to teaching and student learning has changed drastically. At the time, I was in the middle of my fifth year of teaching, and was honestly struggling. I was attempting to teach the way I had been taught in high school, and it wasn’t really working. I felt like I was hitting a wall in my career, and knew that something needed to change if I wanted to continue teaching. That first semester was so hard for me, because I was forced to move beyond my comfort zone into a realm of teaching and learning that was beyond anything I had ever really experienced. In hindsight, I now know that this was the best decision I’ve ever made because my entire outlook on teaching and learning has been forever changed. I know that even when I’m finished with my coursework, my research about education will continue on, because I will also want to be the best teacher I can for my students. This is the first way for me to continue to “Learn the 21st Century”, both for my students, and myself.

Tsisana Palmer (2015) shares 15 characteristics of a 21st century teacher and I think that each of these should be goals to shoot for to allow my students to be 21st century learners. A few of these characteristics, such as “learner-centered classroom and personalized instruction”, “students as producers”, and “project-based learning” are ideas that I am already working on trying to implement in my classroom, so I figure that I am already moving in the right direction. There are some characteristics on her list, however, that I am not yet working towards, including going global and coding. To continue on the path of a 21st century teacher, I will eventually need to at least try these out in the classroom, even if I don’t use them consistently with students.

“Learning in the 21st century requires critical thinking, adept use of technology, and global collaboration, and we should offer all these to our students on a regular basis.” (Oates, 2009) In order to allow students to really become 21st century learners, I need to allow them opportunities to use 21st century skills. I can continue to learn about the new technology and how to use it in class, but I also need to make sure that I am giving students those same opportunities in class. The biggest issue that I think I will face in this is letting go of what I’m comfortable with, and helping students to do the same. When you have learned a particular way for all of your life, whether you are 15 or 50, it can be hard to adjust to a new way of learning. I need to remember that if I’m struggling with this change, my students are as well, and I have to support them through this and not expect them to pick it up right away. “Schools and teachers must be challenged to use the tools and techniques of today, not the ones of the past.” (Oates, 2009) Adapting to a new way of teaching and learning will be a challenge, and who knows how many years it will end up taking. My goal is to not give up and make sure that I am working just as hard, if not harder, than my students to help us all become 21st century learners.

References:

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Oates, R. (2009) How to Learn in the 21st Century. Educational Leadership, (67)1. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/How-to-Learn-in-the-21st-Century.aspx

Palmer, T. (2015) 15 Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher. Edutopia. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher

1 Comment »

Week 10 Reflection

This week really helped me to start putting all of my thoughts and resources about makerspaces together so I can start planning out my makerspace proposal. All of the resources we’ve collected throughout this course will be important in developing my proposal, and so many of them are full of reasons why makerspaces should be used in school.

This week I read and commented on Jule’s and Brian’s blogs. Jule shared the vision statement for her district and then explained how each part would be supported by the implementation of a makerspace. I found the community connection piece very helpful because connecting to the community can be a very hard thing for schools to do. Jule’s post also showed me that I need to look at my district’s mission/vision in addition to my school’s mission.

Brian summarized the NMC Horizon Report 2015, which detailed multiple reasons for why makerspaces are a good educational tool. Two aspects he summarized, real-world connection and preparing students for the future resonated with me because those are both parts of my school’s mission statement. The resources that Brian shared will be very useful to me when I write my proposal.

This week really helped me feel more comfortable with my abilities to argue in favor of a makerspace in my school and I feel confident that my proposal will be convincing enough to actually get a makerspace in my school.

Leave a comment »

Week 10: Why does Palmer High School need a makerspace?

Throughout the previous nine weeks, we’ve looked at constructionism as a theory of learning, and how to provide students with this type of learning, mainly via makerspaces. So why does Palmer High School need a makerspace? Our mission statement is the first place to look for the need of a makerspace. “This mission of Palmer High School is to prepare life-long learners, community assets, and citizens of integrity.” (Palmer High School) Based on my research throughout this course, I think that getting students into makerspaces could help prepare them for life-long learning. But what are some of the other benefits of makerspaces?

“Students who complete maker-based projects create real-world things.” (O’Brien, 2016) There can be a real struggle to connect students’ learning to the real world, and makerspaces provide the perfect opportunity for real-world application. Makerspaces also provide students a chance to take charge of their learning, making it more meaningful to them. “Creating a classroom makerspace is an opportunity to give students ownership of their own learning as they explore their own passions.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle Location 3968) Student-centered learning is the main focus of the constructivist learning theory, from which constructionism was developed. When students take charge of their learning, they get more engaged and tend to learn more than traditional teacher-centered instruction.

Another reason for a makerspace is to help a variety of students succeed. “Makerspace projects have the ability to help struggling students see the value of their classroom work — why it’s relevant and how it shakes out in real, tangible, ways.” (O’Brien, 2016) Students who don’t normal excel in the traditional school model may find themselves seeing greater success in a makerspace classroom because they can see how what they are doing connects to real life.

According to Carrie and Alton Barron (2016), there are seven benefits of makerspaces. to those who use them:

  1. They keep them in the present.
  2. They keep their blood flowing.
  3. They foster independence.
  4. They spark the brain boost that comes from using one’s hands.
  5. They improve people’s moods.
  6. They offer a sense of community.
  7. They break the habit of wastefulness.

“Making is crucial for happiness, health, and mind expansion.” (Barron & Barron, 2016) Based on my research and learning about makerspaces this summer, I really don’t see any reasons to not have a makerspace. If there are any negatives, I haven’t found them. I can’t even imagine how having a makerspace when I was in school could have changed how I learned and what I learned. I think that all students deserve a chance to try making, so why not give them that chance at Palmer High?

References

Barron, C. & Barron, A. (2016) Seven Surprising Benefits of Makerspaces. School Library Journal. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from http://www.slj.com/2016/08/technology/seven-surprising-benefits-of-maker-spaces/

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

O’Brien, C. (2016) Makerspaces Lead to School and Community Successes. Edutopia. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/makerspaces-school-and-community-successes-chris-obrien

Palmer High School. (n.d.) Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://www.matsuk12.us/phs

3 Comments »