Throughout my teacher preparation courses, we were taught how to question, how to write lesson plans, and how to set up a classroom. At the time, this all seemed great. It wasn’t until I had a classroom of my own and could put the theories that I had been learning about into practice that I truly started learning how to REALLY do all of these things. The book “How People Learn”(2000) talks about how we learn best through experience and actually going through the motions ourselves.
In my classroom, I often pair students up in strategic groupings of those who are struggling with a concept and those who
already understand. This helps the more novice students learn from the more accomplished novices. As Warren Berger points out in his
book “A More Beautiful Question”(2014) novices often question tirelessly trying to wrap their head around a new idea. In my class I use the TPACK framework to integrate technology into my students process of gaining new content knowledge. I want to incorporate learning about new uses of technology as well. This will help give my students the new digital literacy skills that they so desperately need to have to be successful in today’s society.
Using technology to help students learning will not only help give them usable life skills, but it has the great potential to be very engaging. Students today, come to us with many basic tech skills which makes them more comfortable with initially learning through the use of high tech tools. Technology doesn’t always have to mean computers, it can be low items like sticky notes, or whiteboards. These low tech technologies can be just as engaging and useful depending on how teachers integrate them into their teaching.
One way to integrate technology into classroom norms is by joining the Maker Education Movement. People have always learned better through creating and discovering. It is now being officially labeled and reinitiated in classroom practices. Making can either be an integration of low or high tech project based learning systems where students build and actually make models to help create a deeper understanding of the content that they are learning. This is something that I have been integrating into my classroom already and hope to continue to build more and more making into my lessons.
Computer apps can help both students and teachers stay more organized. I know Google Drive helped me tremendously this last year to compile all of my resources for each of the classes I was teaching in one spot. It also allowed me to easily collaborate with colleagues on lesson ideas, agendas, events, and tests and quizzes. Google Classroom helps my students stay organized with their class assignments. They are able to look at one place online for what and when things are due. They can also turn assignments in right on my class page as well. This was a useful tool for me this year as I could also send messages to my students through Google Classroom about their upcoming assignments.
Google Classroom, Google Slides, and Google Docs allow me to present my material to students in multiple ways. Students could read and follow the presentation by accessing it on Classroom, and students could visually follow along on the screen as I also orally presented the material to the class. Offering multiple means of presentation allows my students to choose which method of learning suits them best. This way they are able to better engage in their own learning. This way of thinking follows the Universal Design for Learning framework.
This summer in the MAET program has been an amazing learning experience. I am very excited to take back what I have learned to my colleagues and my students. I am most excited to take back the use of blogging as a means to reflect on learning, quickfires to introduce a new tool or topic, and to introduce the special education department to many of the tools we learned about this summer. I think all of these new technologies, if integrated properly, could really help my students engage in their learning more effectively. I am worried that I will not explain some of the tools and how to use them properly to my colleagues or that they won’t see the point of trying to use it. I need time to plan out specifically how I can implement some of the tools and procedures in my classroom and I will start by showing one colleague and if she is interested, then I will take it to more of my department and beyond.
I cannot wait to see what MAETy2 brings!
Berger, W., (2014) A More Beautiful Question. New York: Bloomsbury USA.
Brockman, J. (1996) Edge https://www.edge.org/
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