Reflection: Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas

As we approach the end of my current graduate course, Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas, I am thinking about the GAME Plan I wrote about in the last few entries and what it taught me about who I am as a teacher and a learner.

Dr. Katherine Cennamo says that self-directed learning centers around a goal, an action plan for that goal, a healthy level of consistent self-evaluation, and flexibility throughout the process (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009a).  She also says that teachers should, ideally, attempt to embed professional development into their daily routine and to use technology as a way to support the process and make the learning process more efficient.

My cohorts in this course helped to reiterate those points and help to keep me on track regarding my own personal learning goals.  Jessica Sova (2014) shared with me that her district uses SharePoint to host electronic discussion boards for its staff, making it easier for anyone to communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time.  Amy King (2014) then relayed to me that she also found professional organizations to be expensive, overwhelming and ineffective insofar as meeting her expectations and that going to workshops was much more rewarding.  This got me thinking that maybe I could employ a technology tool similar to SharePoint to help our district teachers report on and, more importantly, discuss and collaborate with regard to the workshops they have attended.  As a result, I changed my GAME Plan to include the creation of a district database and discussion board that serves this purpose and am happy to say that I have a proposal ready to submit to the administration this week!

My idea is to use a Google Site to host much of the information staff has gleaned from conferences and other professional development opportunities via their Google Drive folders (which easily integrate into Sites) and to embed a Google Group that serves as a discussion board for various topics.  This proposal meets both of the goals I tied to the ISTE Standards for Teachers (2008):

  • 5.a: Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning
  • 5.c: Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning
It also supports many of Dr. Cennamo's recommendations about self-directed learning, including using technology as a support, embedding professional development into my daily routine (we are a Google Apps school that uses Google for many tasks on a daily basis), and creating an opportunity for myself to consistently learn, evaluate and re-evaluate until I feel I have accomplished what I set out to do (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009).

Probably the most important thing I learned--or rather, that was reiterated for me via this process--was that valuable collaboration can take place via technology like our Blackboard classroom or this blog.  This is a point that Dr. Peggy Ertmer supports when discussing the use of technology in project-based learning classrooms (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009).  

She states that technology affords students with valuable opportunities to not only work on their interpersonal skills, communication methods and leadership abilities, but also assists them with learning the actual course content in the process (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009).  I have seen this myself over the last few years since I've made technology a daily part of my students' lives and feel validated in everything I am doing to provide them with this kind of growth.  I will continue to integrate collaborative technology tools such as social networking apps and peer editing tools into my lessons.

I like the idea of using the GAME Plan model with my students and feel that it, too, validates much of what I am already doing.  I tend to start with the end goal of a lesson and discuss that with my students first before helping them to devise some sort of action plan and self-evaluation techniques into their learning.  In the past, I have done this in smaller chunks and taken more control of the classroom than I had wanted to.  What I hope to do from this point forward is to continue to work more and more as a facilitator who aids students in forging their own paths and directing their own learning (Ertmer & Simons, 2006).

I do not think there are any immediate adjustments I will need to make with regard to my instruction beyond what I already outlined, simply because I am already engaging with project/problem-based learning, social networking tools and digital storytelling on a regular basis.  I am fortunate to work in a district that not only makes many technological resources and training available to us, but also encourages us to integrate non-traditional tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MovieMaker, Google Drive, etc. into our curriculum. 

I very much enjoyed this course and my interaction with my cohorts and am excited to continue to grow as a teacher and a learner!



References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Ertmer, P., & Simons, K. (2006). Jumping the PBL implementation hurdle: Supporting the efforts of K–12 teachers. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1), 40–54. Retrieved from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=ijpbl.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers

King, A. (2014, July 26). Re: My game plan update [Online blog comment thread]. Retrieved from: http://edtech-caffeinated.blogspot.com/2014/07/my-game-plan-update.html?showComment=1406426829634#c6874937430280905827

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Integrating technology across the content areas: Promoting self-directed learning with technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Integrating technology across the content areas: Spotlight on technology: Problem-based learning, part 2. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Sova, J. (2014, July 26). Re: My game plan update [Online blog comment thread]. Retrieved from: http://edtech-caffeinated.blogspot.com/2014/07/my-game-plan-update.html?showComment=1406395469779#c5145258792056197392

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