Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I am a teacher that has always had a passion for learning and technology. My passion ignited this summer as my horizons in educational technology expanded through the MAET Master's program. Throughout the past six weeks I have grown as an educator and a learner by examining the applications to creating an essential foundation of technology into the classroom. This time has helped form a perspective of my beliefs about technology and education.
Providing 21st century learning in classrooms today is essential for students. Fostering creativity, collaboration, and connections are just a few of the benefits. In order to provide a high standard of learning, I believe we must first look at our goals. Punya Mishra states "Teachers are designers of the total package". Presenting this total package provides the best experiences for our students. Our goal should combine our use of technology, the pedagogy of teaching, as well as our content knowledge into a "sweet spot" for learning. This concept is otherwise known as TPACK. The idea of TPACK should be the focus of all educators to examine the total design of the learning experience in the classroom. I am very excited to share some of the projects with my colleagues that I have created that demonstrate the TPACK framework.
Collaboration is an essential element towards 21st century learning. The pedagogy of collaboration empowers students and gives them ownership towards their learning. Students have the ability to share ideas, use a variety of informational sources, and create a display of the knowledge they have learned. Combining the pedagogy of collaborative learning with the content using technology of web 2.0 tools allows an authentic learning opportunity. The Scholarship of teaching is not just about giving the students the information. It is rather about creating a learning environment where all learners connect and engage with the material. John Hattie, a researcher on the influences of achievements in school-aged students states, "The more the student becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the learner, then the more successful are the outcomes".
We must also provide diverse learning opportunities in our classrooms to reach a common goal. By examining Universal Design for Learning principles, we can plan a lesson that will foster learning for all types of learners. We can supply opportunities to express creativity through a variety of tools that can accomplish the task. As Sir Ken Robinson states, "Creativity is as important as literacy". Giving the student opportunity and choice to think "outside of the box" could lead to an "aha" moment in their own learning experience. Isn't that what we are searching for as educators? We all don't learn the same way.. therefore we shouldn't be expected to share our knowledge in the same fashion. I read an article recently that mentioned that our learning styles are as unique as our thumbprints. Let's take that idea and let them express their uniqueness passionately and creatively.
As educators, we must also learn the importance of establishing and building a Professional Learning Network. Through the use of social media, such as Twitter, we can expand our horizons and possibilities for collaboration in the classroom. Working with others and generating new ways to look at common core standards provides a community that extends your perspective as a teacher and a learner.
I also believe that as 21st century teachers, we must also take the time to teach our students about digital citizenship. It is important for students to know how to safely navigate the web, as well as understanding the idea of copyright, fair use, and creative commons. Our students need to know how to research, share, and create information effectively. Students must also learn how to incorporate social media into the context of their learning. I look forward to sharing the Voicethread on digital citizenship, as well as the tutorial on copyright that we created during our classes this summer. These tools will hopefully help other colleagues prepare their students to be digital citizens.
Our students are the future. We want to provide them with an authentic and engaging learning experiences. I look forward to implementing the valuable tools and applications I have learned throughout these classes. I believe I am ready for the challenge!