Post #3 – Literacy in an Information Age — Final Reflection
When I began my journey three and a half years ago, my goal was to obtain my M.Ed. in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning so that I could eventually work in administration. Along the way, however, I realized that educational technology classes were what I enjoyed the most and had the most impact on my classroom. I no longer want to work in administration; I want to continue my work trying to evolving as an educator and using technology to its full potential. What I have realized is that I want to be a part of this educational revolution that is currently in its infancy and since I love change and challenge…. it is an incredibly exciting time to be a teacher!!
As I think back to what my classroom was like when I started this process, I see that many things have changed. I have tried blended learning, using a flipped classroom and have incorporated technology in every way possible! My physics students are now using motion detectors and graphing software to carry out their experiments. The obtain accuracy that they never even came close to when conducted the traditional way. For example; In measuring the acceleration due to gravity, most students were within 2-4% of the actual textbook value! It was an amazing experience…. the students didn’t realize the significance until I started clapping and jumping up and down with our results!! We were drawn in to the event and wanted to measure so many other types of motion with the detectors. To me, this was inquiry-based education at its finest.
I try to keep in mind something that I learned in my Inquiry and ICT class: I want my students to learn with the technology, not from the technology. The mistake that I made myself prior to my classes is using technology for technology sake. I was using it to replace me being the source of information but was still direct teaching and not student centered or inquiry based.
With the learning that I did as an educational technology student I was determined to change the way I did things. At the beginning of the 2011/2012 school I attempted to create completely inquiry and problem based classes with the help of technology. After a month of stress and frustration, I realized that we… meaning my students as well as myself… were not ready or adequately skilled for such a transformation. From that experience, I recognized that starting small is essential for everyone and building slowly but surely from that point on is the best way to go. My eLearning class has confirmed that what I experienced with my students is not uncommon. Both teachers and students need time and practice to acquire the mind set and skills for working collaboratively in an inquiry or problem based environment.
Digital literacy and digital citizenship have become part of all my science classes. My students are blogging with students from across the province and across the world about nuclear physics. Because I am the moderator and have to approve all posts before they go public, I have been able to have valuable conversations with some students who did not necessarily understand appropriate blogging practices. For the most part, however, my students impressed me and went over and above expectations. I also had my students investigate and use many different online presentation tools and had them work collaboratively to build their knowledge.
Even though my educational technology classes have come to an end, I will model lifelong learning by continuing to research so that I stay up to date with current trends. I will continue to include as much technology in my classroom as possible and to build into a balanced and student-centered classroom that will help my students to be the creative problem solvers that will be successful in today’s information age.