Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reflection Paper for Walden University - Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society

I have learned a great deal in this course.  So far, I have created a blog, worked with a wiki, created a podcast, and studied how the workforce is changing and what skills people need to be productive employees.  Students will use a skill set that varies slightly from what they currently use.  They will need to acquire 21st century skills which will put them in a position to succeed when they go to work.  These 21st century skills involve the use of technology while enhancing their ability to think critically, communicate, be creative, and work collaboratively with others.  These skills are the ones we should be emphasizing through our core content (not in place of) because these are the life skills students will probably use the most throughout their lives. 
I felt this course was taught in a way that we could model it for our students.  We were not told, “This is how you create a blog.”  We were given a starting point to give us some direction and told to go create a blog.  We were then given time to work on it.  As students, we were responsible for our own work, not the teacher.  The teacher was only responsible for pointing us in the right direction and answering any questions we had.  Since I had never used any of the above mentioned technologies, I now feel more confident implementing one of these into my classroom.  This is what we need to strive for in our classrooms.  Too many times we get caught up lecturing or telling students how to do something instead of letting them figure it out for themselves.  What is even more disturbing is that administrators tend to lecture at faculty meetings.  The administrators cannot “teach” the faculty what they need to do without lecturing.  Yet they expect us to teach in a student-centered learning environment.  This class is a good model of how we should teach in our classrooms.  Our administration should be doing the same.
I have always been a believer that students learn by working on some task.  Minimal learning takes place when listening to a lecture.  This course has given me many ideas to use in my classroom.  Students learn a great deal by working on open-ended projects.  The learning process of students is more apparent now.  I look back at some of the strategies I used in my classes and think, “What was I thinking?”  Having a better understanding of the learning process allows me to transition from a “deliverer” of information to a facilitator.  Student can find information in many places.  Students need me to give them direction so they know what to look for. 
The best way for me to continue to expand my horizons is to keep practicing the techniques I have learned.  I am only starting to scratch the surface of what I am capable of doing in my classroom.  I need to keep adding more new ideas using technology and develop new ways of making my students learn to think.  The rest of the faculty also needs to learn the same skills.  I need to attempt to expand my role in both my classroom and with the rest of the school.  In this way we can all learn more as we progress and students will be better prepared for both college and life.
I have set two long-term goals over the coming years.  I would like to incorporate a daily blog in each of my classes.  This means I would need to post to each of my five blogs each day.  This seems like a daunting task.  However, I am sure this will become routine I will not even have to think about it much.  My other goal is to use technology in each of my classrooms each class.  Again, this seems like a great deal of work.  Lessons will have to be tweaked (and in some cases overhauled) as more creative assignments need to be implemented.  Unfortunately, I am the only physics teacher at the school.  I am not able to bounce physics ideas of anyone else in the building.  I am teaching a chemistry class next year so I might be able to share some ideas with the chemistry teacher.  If we could work together, we could come up with some neat assignments to enhance student learning.

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