EDUC 6711 Final Course Reflection
As this course began I was asked to state my personal theory of learning, and I have often refereed back to what I initially wrote as I gathered more knowledge about learning theories and instructional tools from various experts. I would have to say that I still believe all theories of learning are important and relevant, but I tend to favor constructionism and social constructionism as the being the most effective in terms of student achievement and understanding. However, after completing this course I am more knowledgeable on how these theories can be implemented into daily instruction, and what technology tools, programs, and activities support these theories. It is my goal that with deeper understanding of the educational theories and technologies that support them, I will be a better educator for the remainder of the time I stay in the profession.
There were a couple of changes that I made to my daily instruction as a result of the knowledge I gained during this course. The first was the use of non-linguistic representations to deepen student understanding. I immediately began to look at the resources I used to instruct students on a daily basis, I began to remove most of the wording in these resources, and replace them with pictures. I also remembered that when “teaching similarities and differences, use graphic representations to help students (Laureate, 2011)”, so I used more thinking maps. I was also introduced to VoiceThread in this course, which I really enjoyed, and believe it can have a significant impact on student learning in my classroom. I will implement this technology in the upcoming school year. I really enjoyed the ease of use, and all of the different media that can be added to the software in order to create projects and collaborate with other students and adults. Other technologies such as wikis and blogs allow “students to collaborate on projects without the constraints of time and geography (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M., 2012, p.80)”, but I believe students will like this program more than the others. Designing activities using these programs also support my view on the importance of cooperative learning.
One long-term goal I have set for myself is to incorporate more cooperative learning activities that incorporate 21st century technologies into my daily instruction. Currently, I do more than any other teacher on my grade level and content, but I do not think it is enough. The pressure of standardized testing does play a major role in the pacing of my lessons, which shrinks the amount of time allotted for these types of projects, but I am determined to find a balance between the two. Another long-term goal is to be a voice of 21st century technology implementation among my colleagues. Many of my fellow teachers see me as a leader, and there is no better way than to lead by example. I have already set up help sessions to those teachers that want to know more about blogs, wikis, and VoiceThread. It is my hope that they will attend these sessions, and return to their classes and use these technologies with their students as well.
As I reflect on this course, I believe that I am a better teacher than I was seven weeks ago, and I have more weapons in my arsenal for instruction. I also know that the technologies and instructional strategies that I will employ in my class have be proven by research to work and increase student achievement. I enjoyed this course, and I am looking forward to gaining new knowledge in my future courses.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program eleven: Instructional strategies, Part one [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction
that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.