Halfway There!

Now that my MAET year 1 experience is half way over, I can’t believe how much I have learned already. And to think, this is only half of what I will gain from this summer in Ireland! From robots to readings to class discussion, it has all inspired me to go home and use what I have learned this summer to engage my students in their learning through technology!

My summer here in Galway started with reading about learning and understanding. The book, “How People Learn” by the National Research Council (2000) presented research about the process in which people learn. Throughout my school career becoming a teacher, we always talked about different ways that our students would learn. However, now that I have been a teacher in my own classroom for three years it makes much more sense to me.

mindsets map

Mindsets in education has been a concept that has continued to pop up throughout all that we have learned and talked about. Through the readings we’ve done in class, we looked at different mindsets that people could have and how they may approach a problem. It requires a special mindset to be a forward thinking, tech integrating educator in today’s society. We discussed how with the changing role of technology in society, our mindsets must open and change in order to accommodate.

We’ve discovered how extensive our Personal Learning Networks really are at this point in our lives. This lead to discussion on the potential for them to continue to expand as we grow in our career.

Of course in an educational technology program we also read and discussed what the impact of technology is on teaching and learning. Integrating technology, pedagogical, and content knowledge into the lessons that we teach is called TPACK. TPACK is framework to understand and describe the types of knowledge needed by a teacher for effective practice in a technology integrated learning environment. To learn more about TPACK, check out tpack.org.

Remix

We learned about how all the various genres we have now, for example, music, movies, literature, are all simply REMIXES of old tools or ideas! Nothing is new; everything is a variation of some idea or product that someone had before. We experiemented with some basic coding to make our own remixes using thimble.mozilla.com. For a review, we each chose a learning theory and made an infographic about it using piktochart.com! We were both introduced to a new tool
as well as refreshed our memory about common learning theories.

maker1

Photo Credit: Liz Owen Boltz

Making. What is it you might ask? Making is the art of learning through creation and exploration. One of our major projects that we are currently working on is a maker project, but my Special Interest Group also chose to focus on the Maker Movement. The Maker Education Movement is a group of people that know that kids learn best through play and they are pushing to integrate play and creation into the classroom again. In “A More Beautiful Question” Warren Berger (2014) states that, “when you give kids more freedom to pursue what they’re interested in, they become easier to control.” (pp.53) This directly relates to making in the classroom because it allows students to learn through exploration in a way that is familiar and interests them.

As a part of learning about the Maker Movement we visited the NUI Galway MakerSpace and played with TIE Bots! As a science teacher, my lessons lend themselves to making and I love watching my students discover concepts and have that ultimate “light bulb moment” through creating something themselves.

OK, it wasn’t all nose to the grind stone learning these first two weeks. We had a lot of fun, both inside and outside of the classroom. We have had some brilliant discussions that have sparked an extra passion in me for both learning and teaching that I didn’t know was in there. The adventures around Ireland have made us a much stronger team and network of educators who, I feel, will be connected through the rest of our careers. I cannot wait to see what the next two weeks here bring!

IMG_1980.JPG

Photo Credit: JP

Berger, W., (2014) A More Beautiful Question. New York: Bloomsbury USA.

Donovan, S., Bransford, J., & Pellegrino, J. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind,         experience, and school. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?   isbn=0309070368

Photo Credit for Featured Image: “Constitutional Reliability of Tamilnadu Council” by tcdol is licensed under CC 4.0

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