Throughout the course of integrating technology in the classroom, I have obtained a variety of technology resources that will help me make my teaching more creative and student learning more interactive, intriguing and fun. I loved how our professor introduced alternatives for expensive software with already existing programs that can be found online that are not only free but also user friendly and are just as good.
After this course, I will be determined to change the learning environment in my classroom. Every unique learner will be accommodated by giving them the choice of producing their learning outcome by the means that allow them to express it better. For example, verbal students can create podcasts, while visual students can create digital stories or PowerPoint presentations. Students should be given the opportunity to be creative with their assignment as it is one of the skills needed to be addressed in the 21st century learner.
Also, I will think twice before creating a PowerPoint presentation after this course. In fact, I’ve become a critic among the audience instead of a listener after learning that including so much text in slides will make the presenter lose his/her audience very quick. I actually wrote about that when a presenter asked us to write her an evaluation of her presentation, hoping she would take including more visual and less text into consideration.
Overall, this course made a deep impact on me as an educator than any other course. It taught me to think of how 21st century learners have skills that are needed to be addressed in the classroom, and that there’s definitely a need for change and adjustment in my classroom to address these skills.
Thanks for the eye opener, professor Knight!
This article really changed my views on using cell phones in class! I agree with all 5 points the author mentions about the benefits of students using cell phones in class, especially the one about preparing students for their future careers. Many employees and managers nowadays use their cell phones to check emails or refer to information, which helps them navigate their work and meetings better and faster. So having students use their cell phones in class can and will prepare them for that. However, allowing students to use cell phones in class must be accompanied by rules. Teachers should not expect their students to use them for educational purposes and creativity without proper guidance of why and what to use them for. Many classrooms can have a large number of students in them, and that could prevent the teacher from monitoring each and every student’s use of their cell phone. So I think explaining why and what to use them for is necessary for both the teacher and the student to control their devices’ use for educational purposes and creativity.
I viewed Sal Khan’s talk on how and why he created Khan Academy which started with a very few viewers to becoming a window of learning to learners from all over the world. It’s remarkable how video based learning can result in creating an individualized and personalized instruction for each student, and shifting away from the “one size fits all” type of instruction. The students can watch videos of their subject content on their own pace, on their own time, and in “the intimacy of their own room” Khan says.
Khan mentions that one of the least appreciated benefits of watching lectures online instead of hearing them in class, is that students are spared of the inevitable question “do you understand?” teachers ask after instruction that could actually make students lose concentration when trying to grasp the concept. By simply watching the concept being taught through a video, students can watch the content over and over, pausing occasionally to reflect upon an idea and fitting it in in other ideas, which is exactly what students should be encouraged to do; to think and generate ideas rather than receiving and memorizing them.
When I’m in a building, and someone asks me where a certain place is located in that building, I feel that it’s best that I guide them to it instead of giving them directions that may not be clear or even too complicated to grasp. And that’s one example of when I know something but for some reason cannot explain it. That’s why I was immediately hooked to the The EdAdmin Minute 231: 7 Tips For Effective Explanations podcast I found on EdReach. The podcast may be short in duration but it includes Lee Lefever’s monumental tips on giving effective explanations to an audience. One tip that I found extremely helpful as well as important is to include visuals and less text in your presentation slides. I think that explanations are not only to inform but also make audience engage, and one of the best attention grabbers are visual aids. They help the speaker demonstrate information rather than telling it, which will surely help the audience to speed their comprehension and retain information for a long time.
I think I would consider podcasts as a means for professional learning. What I liked about the podcast I listened to was the fact that included resources for the listener to refer to regarding effective explanations, such as Lefever’s blog, among the speaker’s share on the topic. Even though the podcast did not include any type of visual aid, and I am a visual learner, I actually enjoyed it, and felt the urge to share it through this post as I know many educators would like to know more on how to give effective explanations. But I would lean towards podcasts that are enhanced with any type of visual aid in the future.
The author of this article seems pretty enthusiastic about flipped classrooms. But who can blame him? He struggled with the problem that his AP Calculus lectures were always “on speed” for 45 minutes missing the opportunity to engage his students in discussions necessary for “developing” their thinking and logic. He solved this problem through flipping his classroom by “sending the teacher-driven activity home and giving the students a voice in the classroom”. The result of this was the high scores his students received on both in-class assessment and AP exam! And of course a more engaging and happier classroom environment.
Flipped classrooms can bring life to the classroom as students take learning into their own hands and only refer to the teacher, who no longer serves as a “sage on the stage” but more of a facilitator, when they struggle in learning a concept. This in particular is why I’m becoming an advocate of a flipped classroom. Back in the days in middle and high school, I used to rely on my older siblings to explain to me hard concepts that I needed to learn in order to complete my homework. But my siblings had lives; they weren’t always there when I needed them. This made me end up going to school without completing my homework and got in trouble for it. It’s true kids nowadays have access to connect with a much bigger group to refer to when they need help (e.g. using the internet to connect with teachers, friends, experts, etc) But it sure would be more effective to refer to their teacher in the right moment and in the right setting where their questions could lead to other questions that could lead to discussions and so forth, and that’s one of the advantages of a flipped classroom that I’m highly fond of.
This is a great guide in Edudemic for teachers to learn more about flipped classrooms. The guide is easy to read, supported with visuals, and well organized. It helped me learn more about how it works, and why students have better learning outcomes than in a traditional setting. I also found the list of resources and web tools most suitable to use in a flipped classroom extremely helpful.
After I read Shelly Wright’s article, it dawned on me that it’s okay to take risks in the classroom, if not preferable. I think that Shelley Wright is a great inspiration for educators who are afraid to change their ways of instruction, and to add some “spice” in the way they want their students to learn. By implementing project-based learning in her classroom for the first time, I don’t think it mattered to Wright what the museum would look like as much as the amount of information she wants her students to learn through their “inquiry, collaborative, and project-based learning” and she becoming more of a “facilitator” rather than the “all-knowing guru”. And even though it was her first time to implement project-based learning with her students, I think she handled it like a pro. I loved how she respected her students by first explaining what it is and how it works because it was “unfamiliar” to them. Most educators would implement teaching and learning methods that are novel to their students without allowing their students to digest the transition from the old to the new.
The other thing that dawned on me is that taking risks in the classroom WILL bring up challenges, like when her students became stuck at one of the phases of the project, and that’s okay because these challenges are what will perfect the next time teachers use their ideas with their new students. Wright handled that challenge by using her PLN to seek for other professionals’ aid, and it worked! She was presented with a video that she let her students view which stimulated discussion and excitement which allowed the project to resume.
Project-based learning is something that is not only not implemented in classrooms back in my country, but also unfamiliar by both teachers and students; teachers are “the sage on the stage” and students receivers of information. I’ve been an advocate of students taking ownership of their learning ever since I became a student in the US, and determined to let my students do so, and project-based learning is a great strategy to do that. However, I don’t think I will be able to implement it in my classroom for the first time right away, or do what Wright did with her students by explaining what is. I certainly will not and cannot start “cold turkey” for 1- this will overwhelm students, and 2- they lack the resources (technological resources mostly) to do their research and collaboration. I will be determined to shift the control from me to them gradually, provide them with motivation to boost their confidence that they can do it, and provide them with technological resources for researching and collaborating.
If this is not taking risk in the classroom, I don’t know what is.
Poor George Washington, couldn’t eat with those terrible dentures.
I’ve always had this thought about Twitter, that if I ever use it, I will be completely addicted to it (judging from the people around me) And I didn’t think it would add value to my time in any way. That’s why I never bothered to learn about it, or at least familiarize myself with twitter-related terms like hashtag or retweet (which I thought was another word for reply). But I’m so glad I got the chance to create a social learning network using Twitter, because I never knew that it offers much more than letting people know what Justin Bieber had for lunch, or what Lindsay Lohan was recently arrested for. Plus, I thought it was high time I learned about it, especially if I’m going to use it for the sake of growing professionally.
Since I knew nothing about twitter (I know! What world am I living in!?) And the fact that I’m a spatial learner, I watched a video that explained how twitter works. It appeared to me that there isn’t anything complicated about it, and I can use it with ease, which is an important factor for me if I’m introduced to something new and planning to use it for a long time.
The idea of the hashtag really got me fascinated and I believe it is what will contribute to my professional development. If I’m interested in a topic, I could simply hashtag it, and I might find a community interested in the same topic and offering valuable insights. Not only that, but the community itself is very diverse, which means everyone can benefit from each other’s experiences, views, thoughts, and questions too. And if a hashtag does not exist, I could simply do a research by typing a keyword, then scanning what hashtags people are using in their tweets for me to refer to. I also found a helpful list of education-related hashtags that is neat and categorized into different categories from subject area to grade level. Visiting the hashtags that I’m interested in will lead me to the latest buzz in that topic and this will help me in keeping myself in sync with what is going on.
You can follow me @danyashal 🙂