Monday, December 19, 2011

Final Post

I was initially very nervous about this class. At first I encountered some difficulties, and was encouraged to "problem solve," which initially was very frustrating to me, but soon enough I realized that I demand the same of my students. Nothing is more frustrating when a student comes to you with simply, "I couldn't get it to work..." to which my reply is always, "Did you try this? Or this? How about this?" It's important to preach what I teach. Self-learning and self-sufficiency is ultimately what we are teaching.

This class was packed. There was a lot to learn and time management was key in this sense. I do not think I was able to fully delve into each piece of new technology we learned, but I did certainly gain a better understanding of the really important ones: Kurzweil, Smartboard and Boardmaker. I am confident that I will be using this in my many teaching years to come and am happy to say I am comfortable with these programs. And I love prezi now, and so do my students. I think they are simply pleased to be presented with something non-linear like ppt. Hey, whatever it takes to keep them engaged!

The group work was a bit challenging. I did not really like coordinating all the information on the Wiki, and to be honest, all my groups just abandoned that method and stuck to email chains. It was hard to rely on everyone checking the wiki consistently, and there wasn't a way to decipher who was saying what. Yes, I understand that we could get fancy with it and make it easy to decipher, but honestly that was just too much work to simply communicate ideas. Again, time efficiency was crucial with the work-load.

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and definitely walked away with a lot of useful tools that I have already introduced to my classroom.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Digital Minds

I thoroughly enjoyed last week's discussion. It helped me realize a multitude of things; 1) how dependent we all are on technology 2) how I inaccurately label what I am doing as "multi-tasking" 3) how, in turn, I require my students to "multi-task" and 4) how my students are becoming increasingly more dependent on technology. As I have mentioned before, I work at a school that not only incorporates technology, but embraces it, relies on it, and expects the students to rely on it as well. I believe that they have accepted the notion that our students are growing up in a technologically fast world, and we can either shield them from that, or teach them how to use it responsibly. In the Life Skills course the students learn about cyber identities and cyber footprints. I think it is great that they learn at a very young age that everything you do on a computer, is essentially public. The school even hosts its own social network site where students can create profiles and play around with the idea of cyber identities. Not surprisingly, they love it. Again, I think it is great that responsibility and technology have become part of the school curriculum--it makes sense to me.

However, it is interesting to realize how many of us think we are capable of multi-tasking, when really, some piece of our final outcome is suffering due to the fact that our energy is spread out across different mediums instead of focused. We can do 5 things at once, each resulting in 1/5 of its potential quality, or we can give out entire attention to one thing, resulting in a higher quality outcome. It seems so simple, yet I found myself acknowledging all the multi-tasking I ask of my students, and yet, I am still surprised when the quality doesn't meet my expectations. That's not fair. I now find myself trying to identify what ways in which I ask my students to multi-task and correct this issue by breaking them into smaller tasks. The results? To be determined....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Assessments and Accommodations

Assessments are a crucial part of teacher accountability and an important method for teachers to better know the individualized help their learners need. Without assessing our students, teachers would simple be preaching, not teaching. It is important to we know where we can help our students improve or excel, and we can only do this through constant assessment. Along with these assessments will come the realization that some students struggle in unique ways, and in order for them to fully reach their potential and gain mastery of the material, accommodations are needed. I believe it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that the student receives accommodations. These accommodations can run the gamut from simple test accommodations or from everyday curricular changes to better meet the students' needs.