Sunday, 15 April 2012

Final Reflection of EDUC 6711

In Week I of this course, I was asked to develop my personal theory of learning, back then I just knew I leaned towards Multiple Intelligence, which aligned with both Social and Constructivist Learning Theory.   As I continued throughout this course, my understanding of these learning theories has deepened tremendously.  Not only did I get to look deeply into these two theories, but I was also able to learn about the technology tools that go hand in hand with them.   Each week we delved deeply into discussion about the different learning theory, from the Behaviorist to the Social learning theory, during this time I was able to get a better understanding of each theory and the technology tool that aligns with them.  I realized that the Behaviorist learning theory is still evident in my classroom, however, it does not play a large role, and it’s linked to classroom management.  One thing that will definitely stick with me is, the use of many different type of strategies and technologies can contribute substantially to the teaching and learning process (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008, p.7). 

Now that I am at the final juncture of this course, I am bombarded with so many different ideas of how I would like to adjust my instructional practice in regards to technology integration; the big question is what I will begin with first.  The one thing that has been nagging me the most is how to ensure that I keep using technology as a learning tool and not as an instructional tool.   Learning technology (student-based) can be defined as the variety of tools students use to activate knowledge and deepen content (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011a).  Please don’t get me wrong, my classroom is student-centered, however, I would like my students to have more hands on experience and the ability to work at their own pace, especially for my diverse students. I guess what I want is my own classroom lab (yeah right), or access to the laptop cart.  There is so much more I would like to do in my class, but with the lack of resources, it’s going to be a tedious process.

The first technology tool I would like to use with my students is the blog.  Blogs will enhance my students’ learning by allowing them to communicate, collaborate, provide feedback, and assistance.  But most importantly it allows for reciprocal teaching, where students can summarize, ask questions, clarify and make predictions (Pitler,  Hubbell,  Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p.137), and the best part of the blog is that the students are given an opportunity to create an artifact, that they can share.   With this form of technology like all the others I wish to implement, I must secure lab time, to ensure that students get the allotted time to construct their blogs,  post and provide feedback to other blogs.

The second technology tool I would like to use with my students is VoiceThread, this is another form of collaboration tool, which my students will have a blast using.  VoiceThread offers my students the opportunity to once again construct a product for presentation or sharing with their peers.  This form of technology, will allow me to see how well students understand the concept, and to fix any misconceptions they might have.  With instructional technology, students will be actively engaged and motivated in the learning process (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011a). 

My two long-term goal changes I would like to make in my instructional practice regarding integrating technology will be utilizing Virtual Field Trips and the concept mapping tool  I placed these in the long-term goals because in order to carry out these task I will need to have access to a computer lab or the laptop cart.  Virtual field trips can expand learning opportunities by allowing students to visit places they otherwise might not be able to visit (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011b).  These visits allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the content, and allows for engagement.  Like Dr. Orey states “Virtual Field trip is a powerful tool that creates an episodic that allow students to make rich connections that they will be able to retrieve at a later date” (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011b).  In order to achieve this I must first take the time out to design or research the concepts I would like the students to investigate, then plan the lesson.  I know with virtual field trips, I must be very organized as it takes time and dedication.  Given this information now, I can definitely plan ahead this summer and align a few virtual field trips with my algebra concepts. 

 With using advance organizer, I am giving my students a powerful tool that they can use to help process information that they don’t usually use (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011c).  Advance organizers give students the ability to retrieve, use, and organize what they already know about a topic (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p.9) which leads to deeper understanding. These tools allow students to brainstorm either at the beginning or the end of a unit. as it allows students tonactivate prior knowledge.  The biggest draw back, as with all technology tools is getting to use the technology, in a school with limited resources we have waiting list of people trying to get into the computer labs, and it is also on reserve for Reading/English teachers.  With this activity, I would have the students read throught the chaoter we were about to begin, as they scan the chapter, they can ask questions they would like answered, copy down key conceps or define words or terms they are not familiar with.  With doing this the students will have their own personal study guide.  My aim is to move my students to the 21stcentury, and with these tools we are heading in the right track.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program eleven: Instructional strategies, Part one [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011b). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011c). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundation (Laureate Education Inc. custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007).   Using technology with classroom instruction that work. Alexandria, VA. ASCD.