Monday, May 11, 2009

Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education: A New Mind Set

Reflections on Insights Gained From the First Of Six Technology Courses in the Master of Science Education - Integrating Technology in the Classroom at Walden University.
Through this course, I was invited to take part in the technological revolution by examining 21st century media tools and their implications for inspiring and challenging today’s students. I gained first hand knowledge of the powerful learning opportunities afforded by technology by exploring the use of podcasts, blogs, and wikis in the classroom. I have to admit that before this course, I had no prior experience with Web 2.0 tools. Although there were times when I was frustrated, for the most part, I found the process of creating with digital media very challenging and exciting. I expanded my own technological knowledge and abilities by creating a blog, podcast and collaborative wiki. These experiences and insights have given me the confidence to effectively integrate this new technology into my own classroom. Although I still have a great deal to learn about the Internet based world, I am ready to shift the focus in my classroom to student centered learning. During our learning journey, if we come across something I don’t know, I am confident that my students and I have the problem solving skills to discover the answer together.During this course I learned that children growing up in a media rich environment have a different way of learning. Teaching methodologies must focus on creating an environment that facilitates students’ capacity to learn things in different ways. Effective teachers provide rich learning experiences that require students to develop expert thinking and complex communication skills. They develop activities that incorporate 21century skills such as collaborative creative thinking and problem solving, technology and media tools into the curriculum. Students are provided opportunities to communicate, create, collaborate, and interface with the technology environment they are going to need for the rest of their lives.I have always incorporated a knowledge-centered approach to teaching in my classroom. I see myself as a facilitator of guided discovery. Students are guided in analyzing information, comprehending new ideas, communicating, making decisions, and thinking critically. Students are given a variety of resources and instruction on how to use those resources to make their own discoveries. Working in flexible cooperative learning groups and with partners is the norm in my class. I now realize that in order to create a learner-centered classroom it is not necessary to teach new subjects, but instead teach the subjects currently in the curriculum in a relevant and exciting way. By integrating digital media into the curriculum, I can provide opportunities for students to create their own authentic learning experiences. Students will develop learning skills and content knowledge by interacting and collaborating with others to design and publish their learning in wikis, blogs and podcasts.I have made a commitment to bring 21st century learning and technology skills to my classroom by continuing in the Master of
 Science Education - Integrating Technology in the Classroom. I also plan to continue my involvement with several educational websites such as The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. During this course, I have also subscribed to a variety of educational blogs that have served as an invaluable source of information and support. What I am most excited about and looking forward to is the collaboration with our technology teacher to start infusing Web 2.0 tools into the curriculum to intellectually engage and foster the love of learning within every student.My first goal is to transform my classroom into a 21st century learning environment by making content relevant to students’ lives and create opportunities for students to interact with each other using Web 2.0 tools. Students would develop informational wikis in social studies and science content areas. Students would become the teachers, as they talk about what they have researched and what they’ve learned, using new vocabulary in authentic contexts. Students would have the ability to work on their wiki outside of class as well. I would also like to develop a class blog as a forum for my students to contribute their thoughts and ideas in a discussion format. My second goal for transforming my classroom is to purchase a lap top cart. I would accomplish this through a combination of fundraising and grant writing efforts to obtain the funding.Although I have always been a teacher leader in acquiring computer hardware and software and technical support at my school, I now realize that this is only one factor to integrating technology into instruction. This course has provided me the skills, knowledge and motivation to become a teacher leader for integrating learning skills, 21st century tools, and core subjects to create a vibrant education for students (Partnership for 21st Century Skills).ReferencePartnership for 21st Century Skills.  A report and mile guide for 21st century skills

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