As time went on and I learned more however, I realize that it wasn’t about using it ALL every day. It is about knowing what is all out there and having a repertoire of knowledge to use for different situations and finding what works best for MY classroom and students! So I get it now.
I believe I will start off with some things I did not like about this class. The first thing I had a hard time with was working in groups. The only reason I didn’t like it was because I felt I tended to put more effort in than most of my group (although not all of them). I did learn however that may not necessarily be true. I do have high expectations of myself and so I tend to require that in others, which isn’t always good since others may work different than I do. I am the TOTAL opposite of a procrastinator, while others may work better under pressure. I like to start right away and get things done early; while some are comfortable waiting and as long as they get it done on time they are good. The finished products turned out well so this showed me that it doesn’t have to be done a certain way or in a certain time frame to be good work and also that I can use some “loosening up” when it comes to that. I did feel that one group project was enough for this particular class. I thought the Wiki Page assignment could have been done separately since a lot of it was done alone anyway. For me, it was stressful to wait on others for such a little amount that was “group” related.
I also did not like the amount of work, which may sound lazy, but in truth I am FAR from lazy (I was working, taking 3 classes, taking care of my kids & their ball games/activities and my home) and love to read and learn, but I did feel this was a large amount of work and a lot more than in any other class I have taken so far. I am not sure if that is a fair critique or if the course could do with a little less work, it is just my opinion. With that being said, I do feel that I am MORE than prepared to use technology as a tool in educating my students in the classroom, and that my students and I will benefit greatly from what I have been able to accomplish in this class (and there is also a sense of pride with how much I have done and was capable of). Just in creating my own “Teacher Website” digital portfolio to showcase what I have learned in this class was very beneficial and even got me pretty excited about creating a real one when I am actually a teacher. Seeing my work on a website like that let me see in ‘black & white’ just how much I was able to do this semester.
I did really enjoy a few things in this class! The Tech Tools in each chapter in our textbook (Maloy, Verock-‐O'Loughlin, Edwards & Woolf. 2013) were extremely helpful and showed me so many things to make things easier in teaching, grading and my own continuing education. I also enjoyed looking at websites or material and critiquing them to see if I would like to use them as a teacher or if I thought students would enjoy them and learn from them. I have often just skimmed though a page and decided it wasn’t useful. Actually taking the time to really evaluate them from not only my view but from a possible students’ view was one of the main lessons I learned in this class. Learning how to evaluate information properly and taking the time to really see what they offered was especially enlightening.
The discussion post in this class I actually liked a lot. I got to research and post my opinion and findings on various issues. My favorite was the Legal an Ethical Issues Discussion. I am a “Black & White”, wrong/right kind of person so I do tend to live my life based on what is considered to me to be moral and base my beliefs based on basic human compassion. It was interesting to see that so many people chose the same topic of Cyberbullying as well. This showed me that it is a major issue that has hit home with a lot of people. I am glad to have been a part of that discussion and to tell my own story and to provide others with information and tolls like Stopbulling.gov that gives tips on how to stop bullying. I hope it helped others as well.
The last thing I will talk about is all that I learned about technology and assistive tools to help teach diverse/special needs and English Language Learners. Teaching these students has honestly given me more anxiety than any other aspect of teaching. I live in Southwest Florida, so ELL students for example are a way of life. I was not afraid to TEACH these students. I was afraid of FAILING them as a good attentive teacher! The strategies and tools I learned in this class (one of my favorites was Brainpopesl.com) helped ease some of my anxiety and showed me that there are so many tools out there to help these students and help ME help them. I also found information about assistive tools for everything from Autism (Stokes, 2013) to severe allergies in my research and the research of others in the class for assignments. I wasn’t aware there were so many helpful tools available for these students and their teachers.
Now that I have neared the completion of this course, I can say with certainty that I feel capable of tackling the task of incorporating a variety of technology, assistive learning tools and educational strategies into my lessons, and use the skills taught through our textbook, technology based assignments and the material & feedback given by Professor Coleman to enhance my teaching style. I believe it will give me the ability to give my students all the effort I can put into their education and my own. That IS and should be our goal in this and future classes. To that end, this course did just that.
BrainPOP © 1999–2014. BrainPop ESL Tour [Video]. Retrieved from the Web.
Hogan, Chrystal. April 2014. ‘Seriously??’ [photograph].
Maloy,R.W., Verock-‐O'Loughlin, R., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2013). Transforming learning with new technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Stokes, Susan. Assistive Technology for Children with Autism. Special Education Services. Web. 13. Feb. 2014. Retrieved from Web.
Stopbulling.gov. Website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from Web.
YouTube. “Cyber Bullying Virus”. Daniel Fraser. March. 2013. Retrieved from Web.
YouTube. “The legend of Pig and Chicken, and effective group work”. Maryna Badenhorst. Nov. 2008. Retrieved from Web.