Even before students come to school, they are using technology!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Reflecting on Integrating Technology in my Classroom
My teaching and learning process has transformed and significantly enhanced since I started this course. I have started to look at my lessons closely and make sure that I am including technology with my instructions. By using a classroom blog, I feel my students are learning beyond their classroom walls. The 21st century skills require students to focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, to prepare them for the future (P21). By integrating technology in my classroom, I plan to infuse all these qualities of P21 in my students.
As the course ended, I realized that I have changed my perspective from being teacher-centered to learner-centered. Earlier, I was uncomfortable about a noisy classroom and wanted students to do their work independently. More recently, I have recognized the importance of students interacting with their peers to gain knowledge. Now I assign partners when students do their math journal pages, and upon finishing their writing piece, they meet in a group to discuss each other’s work. In this manner, I am moving my teaching from teacher-centered to learner-centered. I make a conscious effort to do this and have printed out guidelines from the
National Capital Language Resource Center that remind me to teach with a learner-centered focus.
One way that I will continue to expand my knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement is by always keeping my focus on the well-being of my students. I plan to constantly take the extra step, educate myself, and learn the skills required for my students to succeed with the 21st century skills. After completing my graduate degree, I plan to take refresher courses in technology to always remain current, and implement this knowledge in my classroom.
I have two long-term goals for transforming my classroom environment. First, to integrate technology in my classroom by writing lesson plans that include technology based lessons, and second, to make sure that technology is used as a learning tool instead of an instructional tool for project-based activities.
At this time, I am fortunate that I do not have any real institutional or systemic barriers to overcome since my school and the district have made the integrating of technology in the classroom a mandate for this year. My only concern is that budget cutbacks or other factors in the future may adversely impact the continuation of this support that we currently have.
In order to ensure that my lesson plans reflect my teaching practice of integrating technology in my classroom, it is imperative that all content standards included in the lesson are supported by the use of technology. I have started blogging and podcasting with my students and this has been a huge success. This is a big deal for my third graders, and gradually I would like to introduce them to the creation of a class wiki. I have to make a conscious effort to ensure that I am successfully integrating technology in my classroom.
My second goal is to make sure technology is used as a learning tool. While doing a lesson on a smart board, I sometimes do the interactive activity myself instead of asking the students to come up and touch the smart board, especially when I am time constrained. From now on, I will make a conscious effort to involve them with the technology instead of doing everything myself. By making technology-based lessons more student-centered instead of teacher-centered, students will become more enthusiastic about their learning.
I have reviewed the self-assessment checklist from Week 1 after completing this course, and reflected on the improvements in my teaching strategies. In the first section of this form, “Practices to Support 21st Century skills,” most of my answers have changed since I have improved in all the categories. In the second section of “Developing Technology Skills for the School and Workplace Environments,” not too much has changed so far. In the next year or so, I will work on becoming more proficient in teaching with technology integration in my classroom, and then venture out to be a leader in developing technology skills in my colleagues.
My outlook on integrating technology into the classroom has changed a great deal after completing this course. Earlier I had mentioned that I used PowerPoint, Smart board, Brain Pop, and YouTube videos in my class. Just doing all these activities did not translate into integrating technology in my classroom. These activities are for the most part teacher-directed and not student-centered. This course has expanded my horizons and taught me different ways to help students learn. Introducing them to a classroom blog, assigning work for the students on the blog, and helping them create a podcast of their social studies vocabulary words are examples of integrating technology. Students are collaborating to learn from each other. I am now definitely “doing different things” rather than “just doing things differently,” and moving my students towards 21st century skills is very rewarding.