Part 1: Reflection
At the beginning of this course, we were required to choose a specific content area to focus on throughout the semester. I decided to choose writing. I teach First Grade and writing is something that is often difficult for my students. In hopes of improving my teaching, I chose to focus on an area where I could use as many new technology resources as I could find. Choosing writing proved to be a challenge. I found that there are not many technology resources specifically for writing that are also geared toward First Grade. A lot of tutorials require reading and not many First Grade students are fluent readers at the beginning of the year. However, when I broadened my content area to Language Arts, which supports writing, it provided more possibilities.
Throughout this semester, even though I focused primarily on Writing/Language Arts, I have learned that there are so many enhancements and advantages to using technology for any content area. Technology is engaging, motivating, and fun. Technology brings experiences into the classroom that would not be possible without it. There are also obstacles that come with using and integrating technology. Most of these obstacles have to do with money, access, and lack of innovation. Even though the obstacles can seem overwhelming, I plan on continuing to do all that I can to overcome them. Technology integration is an essential part of 21st century classrooms and learning.
There are two perspectives when it comes to effective instruction. Directed instruction is teacher directed and designed. It is based on a set of predefined information. Inquiry-based learning is the idea that teachers are facilitators and that learners generate their own learning. (Roblyer, 2016) When developing the projects and assignments for this course, I combined both theories. I think there is a time when directed instruction is still necessary, but I also feel that allowing students to work in groups and make their own discoveries is meaningful. When teachers take on more of a facilitator role, learners take ownership of their learning. As I learn more, I hope I make a shift toward more inquiry-based learning.
As my journey continues throughout this program, I become more and more familiar with the AECT standards. The projects that I have developed throughout this course demonstrates mastery of Standard 1: Content Knowledge, Standard 2: Content Pedagogy, and Standard 5: Research. I have demonstrated knowledge, effective implementation, and explored, evaluated and applied methods to enhance learning and improve performance.
This course has challenged me in many ways. I find that when I am challenged, often I grow. I have grown professionally in many ways throughout this semester. I began with little resources or knowledge on technology integration specifically for Writing/Language Arts. I am leaving with many resources, lesson plans and integration ideas. Writing is something that is tough to teach in First Grade, but with the knowledge and resources that I have gained, I am excited to see how these technologies will not only improve my teaching, but also improve the success of my First Grade students.
The biggest takeaway for me is that no matter the obstacle or how overwhelming technology integration may be, the benefits outweigh it all. If you step outside your comfort zone and use technology to enhance your teaching, the possibilities are endless. I plan on taking more risks when it comes to technology integration. I plan on continuing to research and explore new ways to use technology to enhance all content areas, not just writing. This course has given me a great start. I can't wait to see the impact I can make on my students using technology.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
Part 2: Personal Blog Assessment