As my Learning Technologies class comes to an end, I am going to take a moment to reflect on all that has happened over the past eight weeks. I learned about a lot of different types of technology that can be used in the classroom, standards that are in place for students and teachers, and engaged in enlightening discussion on the various topics we covered. The class has opened my eyes to the importance of technology in the classroom, not just to engage students, but to prepare them to be productive 21st century citizens.
I blogged and tweeted for the first time for this class, and I think that both have their place in education. I have created screencasts, wikis, and slideshows, not to mention exploring numerous other Web 2.0 tools. Much of this technology was foreign to me prior to being required to use it for various assignments for this class. What I learned was that technology is not so scary, and it has the potential to make an educators life infinitely easier. You just have to be willing to find the correct technology and try it, and usually you will find that it is much easier to work with than you imagined.
I also became more familiar with ISTE’s NETS-T and NETS-S, as well as that AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner. It is great to have these standards in place, but we need educators that are making an effort to meet them. I do not mean just throwing technology into a lesson to meet a standard, or retroactively looking at their lessons for the week and deciding that a certain activity qualified as their required use of technology. I mean teachers that find meaningful ways to include technology in their instruction to enhance the student’s learning experience. For this to occur, I think that politicians and schools systems must make an effort to make sure that schools are equipped with up to date technology, and that teachers are being trained how to use it effectively.
Now we get to my internet presence, it was non-existent prior to the class, and has not magically gotten better over the last two months. I do see the importance of having a strong, positive online presence in order to get the job you want, set a good example for your students, and be connected to other educators that can make your life easier. I see the importance of creating a Professional Leaning Network, and through what I have learned in this class have an idea of how to start getting connected. Sometimes being a teacher, you may feel isolated, but online there are thousands of people and resources to help, and give you much needed support.
At this moment in time I have every intention to be a cutting edge, technologically sophisticated teacher that will meet the needs of the 21st century learners that will be in my classroom. Having that mindset is a good start, but now comes the hard part, actually becoming that teacher despite the fact that sometimes technology does intimidate me, and I may find myself in a situation where the administration and my colleagues do not place a high value on implementing technology. It is my duty to take what I have learned from this class and use it, and beyond that stay up to date with new technology and find like minded individuals that will help me in the areas that I am lacking. I do not think that will be easy, but I want to be the best teacher that I can possibly be, and in today’s world that means infusing your lessons with technology to engage and excite your students, while preparing them for the world. I will Google myself in a year, and if the results are similar to what they were at the beginning of the summer then I will have missed out on some great opportunities, and failed myself.