Friday, August 5, 2011

My Reflection




Reflecting on my GAME plan


The GAME plan that I implemented was to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity, and engage in professional growth and leadership. Using my knowledge of the subject matter, integrating it with technology, and teaching my students to collaborate with each other helped me get closer to achieving my GAME plan. The new learning that resulted from my GAME plan was the knowledge about project-based learning and the different assessments administered to students. In order to make the assessment meaningful for the students, teachers need to recognize that “assessment is more than the assigning of grades and serves a critical role in monitoring and evaluating the academic progress of their students” (Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. 2009, p. 163). Having seldom assigned students any project-based learning, this course has made me realize its importance, and the positive impact that it has on student learning. Project-based learning requires a great deal of planning and collaboration among teachers. “Project-based learning is an instructional strategy in which students work cooperatively over time to create a product, presentation, or performance. The two essential components of project-based learning are an engaging and motivating question and a product that meaningfully addresses that question” (Starr, L. 2005). The impact this new learning has had in my instructional practice is that it has made me aware of assigning project-based learning assignments to my students, and more importantly, equipped me to give them timely feedback on their progress.

My GAME plan needs to be modified to a certain extent for it to be optimal for the success of my students. In this GAME plan, rubrics need to be introduced before any assignment is given to the students. A rubric is a good way for students to monitor their own progress, and to explain specific assessments. “Rubrics are performance-based assessment devices that judge progress on performance, not isolated knowledge about the topic” (Edwards. Gloria. J. 2002). Another modification to the GAME plan is to create a collaborative atmosphere among the students and make certain that they know how to work appropriately in cooperative groups. Students collaborating and working together would greatly enhance the GAME plan and make it go smoother. “Cooperative learning encourages achievement, student discussion, active learning, student confidence, and motivation. The skills students develop while collaborating with others are different from the skills students develop while working independently” (Teacher Vision, 2011).
The immediate adjustments that would be made to my instructional practice regarding technology integration in my content areas are to start a classroom wiki, have students create digital stories (across content areas), and collaborate with e-pals to help foster online collaboration among students. By making these adjustments, I would be able to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. This course has taught me that it is very important for teachers to instill 21st century skills in students. For teachers who are not very comfortable with technology, this would be a difficult task. “Today’s technology offers teachers a variety of tools and solutions that can be inspiring. However they may also be overwhelming for some teachers. Establishing solutions for meeting standards can help maintain the inspirational nature of these evolving technologies” (Cennamo, K., et.al. 2009, p. 227). This course has also taught me that when students get an assignment on the web 2.0 tools, the teacher has to be mindful that all the standards for that topic are being met. Aligning standards to assignments is a challenging task and I need to ensure that they are implemented regularly into my teaching.
Integrating technology into instruction as well as problem-based learning, social networking, online collaboration, and digital storytelling is essential for teachers. Problem-based learning can help students understand their content better because it helps them to work collaboratively to come to a solution. Project-based learning can be integrated into a lesson along with online collaboration and digital story telling. For example, in one of the lessons students work on a problem-based question - how to be involved in your community? Students work collaboratively and research the question and talk to a person in the municipal building by using a social networking tool, Sykpe. After students gather all their information, and check the validity of their resources, they create a digital story of the question, how to be involved in your community? I implemented a lesson with a few students who worked on a project-based activity. They reflected on the importance of volunteering in their community. Students used technology to gather all their information through Internet research (on figurative language), talked to their peers about their involvement in their community, and proceeded to write a paragraph using figurative language. Students illustrated by using Microsoft Paint, then copied and pasted their writing and illustrations onto a word document. Students reflected on their actions and what help they could provide for their community. Then they created a digital story, and posted their experience on the classroom blog. Integrating all these strategies into a lesson makes learning interesting for students.

References

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Edwards. Gloria J. (2002). Make Your Own Project-Based Lesson Plan. Retrieved on July 28, 2011 from http://www.coloradoadulted.org/SS%20Lessons%20for%20Adult%20Learners/Curriculum%20Topics/lessontemplate.pdf
Starr, L. (2005). Education world virtual workshop. Retrieved from the Education World website: 
http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/virtualwkshp/virtualwkshp002.shtml.
Teacher Vision. Cooperative Learning. Retrieved on August 5, 2011 from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/pro-dev/cooperative-learning/48531.html


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