Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflection: Final Blog Posting

     As I reflect upon what I have learned in this graduate course, I am astounded by how much technology impacts education, work, and society.  This course really got me to thinking.  I now see technology in a whole new way.  I understand that integrating technology in education is important and that it leads to productive and successful citizens in the workplace. 
            Blogs, wikis, and podcasts were introduced to me during this course.  Though I had heard about these means of communication, I never thought to combine these with my lesson planning.  As a professional teacher, I began thinking about designing lessons that incorporate the use of blogs, wikis, and podcasts into my math curriculum.  As a student in this course, I was able to create and contribute to these collaborative forms of technology while gaining hands-on learning experience.  I was able realize the significance and purpose of each new technology which ultimately lead to designing student-centered math lessons including blogs and wikis.
            I have always known how effective the physical collaborative groups can be in the classroom.  However, throughout this graduate course, I learned that collaboration via the online setting can be just as effective – and even more so than within the four walls of the classroom.  I have deepened my knowledge of the teaching and learning process by expanding collaboration and communication among students to outside of the classroom.  By doing so, students are gaining 21st-centuty skills that are preparing them for the workplace.
            While I tend to be the giver of information in my math class, this course has encouraged me to change my perspective from that of teacher-centered to learner-centered.  It is necessary to incorporate a constructivist approach to learning algebra so that students may construct their own meaning and develop a deeper understanding of the applications.  Now, the world of information is at the students’ fingertips, not just standing before them in front of the classroom.  In math, word problems can come to life.  Students may research meaning behind parts of the problem they are unsure of.  Students can access real time and current information too.  Students can work collaboratively on a performance task, such as an exemplar, through a blog or a wiki.  Then, students can discuss the solution on a podcast.  Students are more engaged in this type of environment as opposed to a teacher-centered classroom.
            In order to expand the knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement, I plan to stay abreast of the current and upcoming technologies and research ways to integrate these technologies into my own classroom and curriculum.  I plan to continue and complete this graduate degree so that I may learn more about integrating technology into education.  I would like to share my knowledge and experiences with my students as well as with fellow colleagues.  I would like to encourage professional learning at my school to include topics about technology and student achievement. 
            In order to transform my classroom environment, I have set two goals.  My first goal is to write a grant to obtain 6 classroom laptop computers. Though every student may not have access to their own individual computer during class, I believe that each physical collaborative group within my classroom should have access to the internet.  I will pursue the goal of obtaining 6 laptop computers by writing a grant to IBM.  My second goal is to establish a student-centered classroom that includes the integration of technology.  My goal is to establish a learning environment for my students to work together both inside and outside of the classroom.