Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Evolving Role of the Teacher - Reflection

Step 1:
This course has helped me to learn new ways to implement new technologies in the classroom in order to motivate my learners. I have deepened my knowledge through the resources that were available to me (i.e. videos, articles, books, etc.).

Teaching with technology allows me to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. Since so many of our learners are familiar with using a variety of technology, it allows me to “Do different things” as stated by Dr. Thornburg (2008) in his video, The Emergence of Educational Technology. If I can take a podcast and record my voice reading a passage, I now can upload it to my classroom webpage for students to access at home. Whereas, before I used to send home a practice sheet where the students had to record how many times they did the practice at home with a parent. They dreaded this activity. I feel that a pod cast is an exciting new way of practicing fluency while implementing it with technology. Although that is “Doing things differently” as Dr. Thornburg described, I am still motivating my students to use tools they enjoy using. My students can also now do a podcast of their own voices and listen to their own reading. This is such a great way for them to self-evaluate their oral reading performance. This is definitely “Doing different things” (Laureate Education, Inc, 2008).

Since I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, I have always had the mindset of learner-centered learning. I actually have it on my resume’; however, my ideas file for implementing learner-centered learning has only grown. I am now excited to use vocabucasts and wikis in my classroom to take my learner-centered learning to the next level.

The only way I can continue to expand my knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology to increase student achievement is to continue my journey as a lifelong learner. I will continue to take courses and earn my Master’s in Education in Integrating Technology in the Classroom.

Step 2: Long Term Goals (within 2 years) Two long-term goals to transform my classroom environment:

1. Continuously seek ways of obtaining grant monies to purchase technologies.

2. If training is not available for these tools, I will network with other educators around the world through blogs, etc. to learn new ways to implement the equipment available to me.

My principal is always asking us what types of technology we feel would engage our students, so I would inform her because she has a grant writing team. I would also try to get as much training with these tools; however, as mentioned before, if it is not available, there is a vast amount of resources online that could be sought.

Step 3:
After reflecting on the checklist I filled out in week one of this course, I found that some of my answers have changed after taking this course.

I am currently using a classroom website and an online grade book to communicate with students and parents. I always have attended the “Meet the Teacher” night in person, but because I had to attend a recent funeral for my grandmother, I was able to webcast my open house. I called it my “Virtual Open House.” My parents and students were amazed with the technology, and how I took the time to use it in that manner. Had I not taken this course, I would have never thought to have such a backup plan!

Through this course, I have learned new ways to teach fluency through a Podcast. Vocabulary is also a hard concept to motivate students to study. Through vocabucasts, I can now teach vocabulary online, and my students do not even realize they are learning in the process because it is so much fun.

To design learning experiences and incorporate technology with that learning has been quite a challenge for me. I have used my Mobi for very basic things, but now that I have learned about blogging with other educators, I have learned of a new way to network while learning from other educators using the same tools. It has allowed me to learn new ways to engage my students.

My areas of opportunity have definitely changed! I am now feeling comfortable with blogs, podcasts, and wikis in the classroom. I can now add these to my areas of strength.

More than ever, I am now working to promote best practices in technology integration through research, evaluation, selecting and sharing these new tools and ideas for my classroom instruction.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). The Emergence of Educational Technology. Baltimore, MD: Dr. David Thornburg.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

21st Century Skills

After visiting the website which addresses the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I discovered that there is a push for the skills necessary to be successful in today's workforce, yet many states are not part of the initiative. I was pretty excited to see that there is a variety of resources for educators such as videos, blogs, and wikis to visit.

One thing that surprised me about this site was that there were only 15 states in the initiative. My state, Indiana, is actually not in it. Although Indiana is not part of this partnership, after visiting one of the wikis, I was able to get a better understanding of project-based learning (PBL). PBL is actually emphasized and taught at Indiana University and was emphasized in a video on one of the resources on the previous wiki. It really pushes for this type of learning to meet the skills essential for P21 skills. If PBL is being taught to current and future educators, why are only 15 states part of the initiative? According to the P21 skills site, as I understand, for the state to become a part of this partnership, the state's Governor has to submit an application with the state's plan to implement the 3R's and 4C's to join.

In the Framework for State Initiatives, there were five recommendations for implementing P21 skills. I liked that one of them said that we need a national consensus around the assessments of 21st Century Skills through large-scale public education initiatives. If only a few states are in this initiative, then how is our nation going to keep up with other countries? I liked that Cisco posted a video and a statement on how... "technology, when intelligently applied, can empower K-12 leaders to deliver 21st Century Skills." If these large companies are trying to push for the skills in education, then I feel it is our duty to do this so students can eventually be employed by these companies whether it be out of high school or after some type of post secondary education. I think it would be great for a Governor to link a state to such a great initiative, but where is the funding to provide professional development going to come from?

One thing I did not agree with on this site was that the Affiliate Program for Professional Development was very costly. Another personal disagreement is its affiliation with the NEA, which has, in my opinion, contributed to and lobbied for very controversial political issues.

The implications of my students and myself as a contemporary educator are not in line with many of the state initiatives. We are still doing paper pencil tests which lack critical thinking application, yet there is a necessity to teach the P21 skills for our children to succeed in the workforce of today and the future. A lot of it boils down to politics and money. If everyone had the same goals for education, we would not be facing these challenges in the education system today.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blogging in the Classroom

I would like to use a blog in my fourth grade classroom for my students to respond to a novel or a story we are reading during the week. The purpose would be to actively engage my students in the reading. Oftentimes students will not read assigned chapters, but the blog would be something that would hold them accountable for what they gained from their readings. It would be a place to interact about the story. It would be great to assign each student a different question. Each student would then be responsible for posting a response on other students' posts (similar to what we do here).

I like to do a classroom comprehension lesson called Deal-a-Discussion. I group the students up and have them answer various questions as a small group. We then convene as a whole where the groups present to the class and I allow questions, comments, and other dialogue to take place. I do this about once a week. I would love to change it up a bit, and allow students to do this in computer lab at times or even on our classroom laptops. This could be called Blog-a-Discussion!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Technology in the classroom has become one of two things.  It has become like second nature for some, or it has become something teachers want no part of.

My classroom technology consists of a ceiling-mounted projector, Mobi, and clickers. I use these interchangeably almost daily during the school year.

What technology do you use in the classroom? I will post again soon with ideas and ways I use my technology. As we dedicate ourselves to being lifelong learners, we commit to sharing ideas with others to benefit our students. I can't wait to hear from you!

Custom Search