Thursday, March 7, 2013

I have learned...

1. I have learned a lot about teaching and learning with technology over the last several weeks. At the beginning of this semester, I was not as familiar with technology, especially using it in the classroom. Exploring SmartBoard has been extremely helpful for me. My cooperating teacher uses it in the classroom everyday and it has become a regular part of the curriculum. I have also seen the difference in student motivation when the SmartBoard is being used, the students immediately raise their hand to participate when there is an interactive activity. Using the SmartBoard in the classroom is beneficial for students and as I continue to explore the technology I am becoming more comfortable with using it and creating lessons. I feel that after exploring different technology applications and thinking outside the box, you can use multiple forms of technology for teaching and learning in the classroom. Technology can be a wonderful resource in the classroom.

2. Some challenges that I find myself facing is relying on technology too much in the classroom and also patience. Sometimes technology does not work so it is important to be flexible and have a back up plan. What do you do in a classroom with 25 students and the SmartBoard is not working? Personally, I have to remember to have patience when teaching and learning with technology. I am not as familiar with a lot of these applications and I tend to have a lot of questions. Patience is key.

I have learned...

1) I have already greatly improved my skills with technology and can better use them for educational purposes in my future classrooms. I have created multiple slides of informal assessment and used that knowledge to make a lesson using the Smartboard application. I have learned special functions on GoogleEarth (functions other than finding my own house) and can use them for differentiation in my lesson plans. I have learned more about the blogging world and understand better the convenience that is having an online resource in which students and teachers alike can post and comment on the same page. Xtranormal is an online movie maker that I have personally used to make a quick and easy educational short film. We are beginning an iMovie project where I am learning how to use short videos in the classroom.

2) We have discussed and encountered several challenges of teaching and learning with technology. We have talked about the cost of incorporating technology in schools; some schools simply do not have the funds for the technologies some schools can afford. Sometimes, as we have experienced in the classroom, technology can be finicky and difficult to work with. Some of the problems stem from ignorance, for technology does take some education and practice before it can be utilized to its fullest extent. Teachers must be able to troubleshoot quickly and effectively in order to react to different problems that may occur in the classroom.

Reflection

1. What have you learned?

I have learned how to use many different technologies such as the smart board technology, google earth, and photo story. I learned how to use these different technologies in teaching settings. I have learned how to differentiate lessons using this technology and  how to effectivly assess the students on a given subject.


2. What are the challenges with respect to teaching/learning with technology?

I think the challenges with using technology is making sure that the actual technology is working and making sure that the students are on task. I think that limitations need to be set on computers to make sure that students stay on task. For example, blocking social media sites during school hours would keep the students from being distracted while on computers. I also think that a challenge with teaching with technology can be making sure that the software and wireless connections are working properly. There are often problems with wireless connections so I think that this could potentially be a problem. Teachers will have to work with IT to make sure that the wireless connections are functioning properly in the classroom.

I have learned...

I have learned that technology can be used as a tool to meet the needs of diverse learners. For instance, you could use a photostory for visual learners or a smartboard activity for more tactile, kinesthetic learners. Technology also can be used to help students with disabilities, such as technology that turns webpages into braille for visually impaired students. I also discovered that technology is not limited to tech experts. I saw this when I was able to create a Google Earth lesson even though I had not used Google Earth previously. Additionally, I learned that there is a large amount of technology tools available for teaching. It's just up to us to find and utilize these tools.


The main problems I have to experience concern troubleshooting. What were to happen if we needed to troubleshoot our technology while in the middle of the lesson? I'm also challenged with determining when to use technology without becoming too dependent on it.

Knowledge and Challenges

I have learned a lot about technology from this course so far. Before this course I didn't have any experience with SmartBoard and I was excited to learn about the technology in order to use it in the field. Although we only completed one project dealing with SmartBoard I feel that I have gained a lot of experience and new skills with this technology. In fact, today I met with my cooperating teacher to talk about my lesson plan and she asked if my lesson would include the SmartBoard. When I told her my lesson would include a SmartBoard file, we began talking about the technology class I was taking and she was impressed that I knew the technology. Beyond SmartBoard my skills with other technologies have broadened as well. These skills include working with Google Earth and iMovie. While working with technologies in this course I have discovered a few challenges that accompany working with the technology. Different technologies have different limitations that I did not realize until working hands on with the technology. For example, when using the SmartResponse on SmartBoard you are unable to type math symbols, like square root. This posed as a limitation when designing my SmartBoard project and lesson.