Friday, November 9, 2012

Benoit--CEP 811 Final Sharing Activity

I learned a lot of new technology tools and how to use them in my classroom. I use technology in my classroom already, but this class taught me some new things and also showed me some ways to use what I was already doing more effectively. I am really proud of the things I created and excited to include them in my teaching. I think it in this class it was essential to work with other educators and see their opinions and ideas about assignments. It helped me think about things in a new way and really grow as a teacher. Getting effective feedback quickly from the instructor was also something that helped me reflect on what I was doing and how I was approaching the information.
  • What are some things that you have learned about effective teaching strategies when integrating technology?
I learned that as a teacher I need to be confident in my technology knowledge, but I don’t need to know everything. It’s a process and just like when I learn the new task, students will have to work through the new technology sometimes. Having things the the Wiki and Weebly I created will make it possible for students to get additional help outside of class. It will also give them a place to review what we did in class. It puts some of the learning in their hands. I also liked that after we made our lesson plan we used the UDL principals to analyze it. I felt it helped me think about what choices I'm making in my lessons. It forced me to recognize how students learn and to make sure I'm meeting their needs. I am already aware that students learn in different ways, but this exercise reminded me how important it is to recognize this and plan accordingly. Finally, the "Face to Face Instructional Strategies" was a great a reminder of some technology tools I can use with my students. It was helpful to hear about different tools and then see how it was being used I also liked commenting about these tools on Merlot because I could hear how other people were thinking about the tools and using them in their classrooms.

  •  How did integrating web-based technologies help you think about and evaluate uses of technology?
I used to think about web-based as having my students to use the Internet to find information. As I take these technology classes, I'm learning there's a plethora of other ways they can use the Internet. Learning about Webquests and how to use them effectively was a great tool for me. I sometimes have students look up information online to learn about a time period or author before we start reading. I was just sending them to websites to copy things down. The Webquests I researched were a lot more interactive and had students engaged in the material. I’ve already started to incorporate some of these new methods and students seem to remember and relate to the information in a more meaningful way. Websites like the Weebly and Wiki I made, help me see that students can have a place to find additional resources and get information outside of the class. The Weebly is something I knew I could do, but never really forced myself to do. Now that I have it, I feel it will be a real asset to my students and will improve their learning. The Wiki is a new thing to me and at first I wasn't a fan, but now that I'm starting to work with it, it has a lot of things I could embrace. Unlike the Weebly, my students can actually contribute to the Wiki and collaborate together. That opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for them and I'm excited to try it out with my students next trimester.

  • How have you met your own personal goals for learning about technology integration?
One of my goals was to use the tools from this class in teaching my “blended class.” Creating an account on Merlot and interacting with the site during this class helped me see I can find useful resources anytime I need. I can find lesson plans and interactive tools with just a simple search. I also liked I can comment and add my own resources, so I have a place to keep them and also a way to share them with others. Another goal was to use some of the blended class mentality in my regular classes, not just the blended section. My regular Senior English B class also reads the Catcher in the Rye, so the Wiki I made will be extremely relevant. It will be an online place for them to get additional resources and also collaborate outside of class. Another goal I had was to create an assignments to use in my actual classroom instead of just talking about the toos. I did this when I created my StAIR. It took a lot of time and energy, but now I have a tangible resource to utilize whenever I need. It's something I can always go back and edit and adapt, but the base work (the hyperlinks, images, ext) are already there. My final goal was to work with other educators to improve my teaching with technology. This class has definitely helped me open that door. It has shown me it’s essential to work together and hear other teachers’ ideas and outlooks. I’ve learned there are multiple ways to use technology that I can take and then use in my own classroom.  It was nice to see other people working with different technology tools and collaborating with them to improve my own teaching.

  • Do you have any new goals? What are your plans for reaching your new goals and your long-term goals after this course is over?
My biggest goal is to keep up with my Weebly and Wiki. The biggest challenge for me will be finding time to use it in class, but also keeping it updated for students to access outside of class. I love the idea of the websites and think it's essential students have a place to get additional help when they aren't in my classroom. I want to make sure I'm showing them these sites and using them in class, but also making them accessible and up to date for students to use on their own time. My goal is to keep this going, so student are always feeling supported. I also want to keep finding new resources and improving the internet sources I’m using in my class, especially when I use things like Merlot and the Webquests. There is always new information out there and varying ways to present it to the students. Keeping content updated and relevant will catch student’s attention and hopefully make them want to learn more. Another goal is to keep working with the UDL principals, as well as the technology standards. This is the first time I’ve seen UDL principals and I feel they are essential to supporting my teaching and meeting students needs. Overall, I want technology to keep being a focus in my classroom. By taking these classes and actually applying what I learn, I can use the tools to make my classroom a better place.

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