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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Appplication 8 Understanding the Impact of Technology in the Classroom

Even before starting my endeavor in obtaining my masters on integrating technology in the classroom through Walden University, I knew I was not very technologically savvy, but through this class I have created and accomplished things I never thought I would have been able to do.

Being a special education teacher within a Resource setting, there are more times than not that I do not include any technology in my classroom or lessons. After completing this class, I feel more confident and compelled to have at least some type of technology during each class. Until I become more efficient, I can start off with baby steps-perhaps having students start and update a weekly blog or even experience skyping with other students or dive into the wiki world. My intent would be to expose my students to technology within another type of classroom setting in addition to what they are being exposed to in their regular classroom. When my Kindergarteners to Third graders reach middle or even high school, think of all of the technological inventions that will have been invented. Through this class, I have learned new skills that I will be able to incorporate into my classroom to ensure my kids are on the road to increasing their Web 2.0 skills, which will eventually lead to being a commodity in the workforce.

Knowing I did not posses adequate technological skills, through this class I have realized the importance of preparing myself for this 21st century in order to become a more effective teacher as well as for the betterment of all my kids, school and home. How do I adequately prepare my students at school? Do some of my students know more about technology than I do? I know my own teenager does. After hearing answers for a podcast assignment, I wonder what life will be like for kids even in a few years. I know the little things I am doing in my class- working together as a team, giving my students more control and responsibility in their learning, and having my students answer questions about ‘how’ they achieved their answers are great skills for helping them down the road. After completing this course, I realize I must do more in the classroom to allow them the capabilities of using more technology.

My classroom strategies and techniques are already learner-centered. After initial assessment at the beginning of each year or when a student enters my class, I formulate a plan for each student to succeed best based on their learning preferences and methods of modality. Each student has certain responsibilities in order to reach their potential at that point. After a student-teacher conference, we talk about what they are having difficulties with and what they want to accomplish, I have my students write down their goals. My goal is assist their learning and keep them on track. Now that I understand what having technology skills and knowledge entails, my perspective has changed in that my students are already coming in to my class with skills, such as email, websites, gaming, applications on phones, even Webkinz.

Since starting my master’s degree with Walden, I have been seeking more information from visiting educational websites to reading more articles and blogs that relate to various educational topics. These websites, articles, and blogs are providing me with more information about current trends, technology ideas for the classroom and for the special education student, brain based theories, etc. Through the continued reading of magazines, websites, and blogs, I can keep abreast of ways to use technology to increase student achievement and become more of an effective teacher.

Set two long-term goals (within two years) for transforming your classroom environment by which you may have to overcome institutional or systemic obstacles in order to achieve them. How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
1) I would like to receive a smartboard and projector to use for all subject areas. Two years ago, I wrote a grant, which enabled a colleague and I to purchase two e-beams, therefore I foresee myself writing another grant in order to obtain the smartboard and projector. After hearing my colleagues in this course discuss the uses of a smartboard and doing some of my own research, I feel certain being able to utilize this type of technology would make my teaching methods more exciting for my students and enhance my student participation and attention. Accomplishing this goal does not mean “receiving a smartboard”, that is not the goal in itself. This goal would be met only after I was discovered enough to utilize the smartboard to its fullest potential for the betterment of my teaching and my students’ learning.
2) Until recently, I never heard of using ipods within the classroom setting, but I have signed up to take a workshop through my school system and have discovered all of their uses. I would like to have a set of ipods where I could download reading stories, math songs, and even social studies and science information for my students to listen to at their own present level of performance. Since ipods are considered a ‘luxury’ instrument, they are not readily available throughout my school system. With this said, I have heard of some of special education teachers using them in various settings, therefore writing another grant through the special education department would provide the funds for this project.

After completing this third course through Walden, I feel I have gained more hands-on and immediate knowledge that I will be able to share with my students. Overall, I have found useful tools from all of my classes to incorporate into my classroom. I cannot wait to see what the next class holds for me. With the start of the 2010-2011 school year just weeks away, I will be sure to share my newfound info with my colleagues and students on blogs, wikis, and podcasts. These will become a part of my vocabulary inside and out of my classroom. I know I will be on board of this 21st century adventure and am recruiting others as well!!

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