Summary of Learning
Throughout the course of this class, we have talked about a lot of different aspects of technology. From different tools a teacher can use in their classroom, to cyber sleuthing people - everything has been a learning experience. I have found a new enjoyment for Twitter, which is interesting because I did not like it before. Once you can actually use it for interaction and professional development it takes on a whole new meaning in the role of being an educator. From Twitter, I have read posts and connected with people that I would have never had the chance to. I think when talking about technology in the classroom I often forget how it enhances the development of the teacher. We can connect and share resources with teachers all around the World.
My mom is a grade3/4 teacher who is currently taking her students 'around the world' in Social Studies. it was through this class that I found an article about connecting to other classrooms around the world using Skype. Using Skype as a learning tool for students to actually connect with the place they are learning about is an experience that cannot be reproduced. Students can visually see how students in that area of the world eat, go to school, live, and act.
There are so many other tools we talked about in class, the ones that stood out for me were Mathletics, and Storybird. Even though they are on opposite ends of the subject, math and English respectively, they both help students achieve higher learning. Storybird was especially intriguing because it allowed students to create their own stories and narrate them. The oral component of learning is a very important aspect of development. Out of all the tools in the presentations, Storybird is the one that I would be most likely to use. I think there is so many potential uses for that tool that the possibilities are endless.
Blogging is an aspect of ECMP 455 that I found both challenging and rewarding. Coming into this class, I did not fully understand the full benefits of blogging and how it can be used in the classroom. Although I still think it is difficult to have a 'successful' classroom blog where parents and students contribute, (so many variables i.e parents are not involved, no access to computer, rely on student to tell them what happened in class, or just forget there is a classroom blog) I have realized that having a blog is for my own development. As a teacher, having a classroom blog (even if no one reads it) is for the teachers development, just as much as it is for the parents to stay updated. It allows the teacher to reflect on the day, and share the successes from in the classroom. The teacher can easily look back to certain days for guidance in a similar lesson, or look back to the previous year to see how they introduced a concept. I think this is what is holding a lot of teachers back from blogging - that it is a lot of work when no one is even reading it. They need to remember that the blog is not only for the parents, its for their own professional development as well.
Another opportunity I would quickly like to talk about is connecting with Carol Todd. Despite everything that she has been through, she was the most positive and understanding woman I have ever listened to. I think that we can all take an important message away from what she was saying. Yes - having a positive digital identity is important, and yes - we need to educate youth on the impacts of being online. But I think that most important thing I learned that day is that life is going to try and tear you down, but it is up to you whether you are going to let it. Carol Todd turned such a tragic event into a way for her to reach out and help other people. Just as with being an educator, sometimes being in the classroom might get tough. But it is our choice whether we let the tough times define who we are, or whether we embrace them as an opportunity to grow.
Overall, this class has taught me a lot about using technology in the classroom and how it can change the way students are participating. For example, Kahoot! allows students to use their cellphones to answer questions given by the teacher. That totally changes the way students are participating and engaging - hopefully for the better. Students are surrounded by so much technology in their lives that banning it from being used in school is pointless. As educators we need to embrace the changes being brought about by technology, and try to incorporate them into our lessons.