Thursday, February 16, 2012

Katie Whitemarsh
Final Blog Post Reflection
            As I have progressed through this class and made headway with my GAME plan I have found many great resources and techniques to integrate into my teaching. For following my game plan I have made progress of looking into online professional development opportunities already and with the help from my classmates have found some viable options to look into for the future. By having great discussions on my blog just with my classmates, I cannot wait to share my blog with members of my school staff as well. I hope to get my blog out there to share with people not only in Washington State, but also in other states and even countries as well. We may think we are not struggling with the same obstacles because we live thousands of miles away from each other, but the truth is that we are and we can help and support each other by sharing ideas. Now, that I have a better idea on how I will improve my professional development with technology I would like to move on to the leadership part of the standard. One of my professional goals is to create a district blog for my district. The blog would be centered around our state test. So much of our instruction is driven by this test and we all want our students to perform the best, but many of us do not have the time to communicate with other teachers as to what tips and tricks they use with their students to help them perform well on the test. My experiences with blogs in this course have helped me become more comfortable with them. As far as using the GAME plan with my students I would like to introduce it from the very beginning of the year by showing my students how I personally use it academically and personally. My fifth grade students could use it as they get older and have more projects to juggle in their own lives. It is a very simple plan and it will be easy to show the students the steps and examples of how they could use it themselves. One of the best areas for me to apply the GAME Plan is from the Cennamo, Ross and Ertmer book on identifying content standards; this will be especially helpful if I was to switch grade levels within my district or if I was to move to a different state to teach, which may happen here in the near future (2009, p. 45). With my students I would like them to become so familiar with the process of the GAME Plan that when they get assigned a project to work on they can come up with a GAME Plan on their own to execute.
One of the most important concepts I learned from this class is that in order to incorporate technology into the classroom I do not need to create brand new lessons and throw out the lessons that I already have created, I just need to add to them. This has made it so that I do not feel so overwhelmed at the task of adding technology. As with any new skill, it will be scary and frustrating at first, but the more I use it the more comfortable my students and I will become. Since my main content area focus right now is science I would like to incorporate more technology in my classroom by having students do more background knowledge on the topics we are learning about on their own. I have even learned more about the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and assistive technologies so that I may help my students that may not have as many advantages as some learners (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). I am looking forward to incorporating technology into my lessons by using online collaboration programs where my students can interact with students in other states or countries. I would like to transform my lessons into more inquiry projects where my students take more control of the learning on their own and I am just the facilitator. I am looking forward to the digital storytelling projects the most because so much of science is a process and systems. The students will be able to clearly show their understanding of different processes like weathering by using images and voice recordings in their projects to share various weather effects.
When I incorporated the problem-based learning activity with my students that dealt with them creating a dam that would help protect their town from flooding I had amazing results. I had the students in groups with assigned jobs and they worked so well together! I was happy that they really took this project and ran with it. They had a great time researching different dam designs because they used the Internet they were able to see images of the different designs. The students really got into their roles as well; I think it helped to have the students have real titles for their jobs instead of just numbers for their roles. Next time I hope to bring in an engineer that has worked on designing a dam after the students have completed their projects so that they may ask him or her how they progressed through the design process and how they use technology to help them in their field. I also think an extension to this activity could be to have the students research the career field that they were assigned like the engineer or project manager as a career study.
This course has helped open my eyes to show me many new opportunities as to how I can integrate technology in my classroom through not only lessons, but projects, assessments and units as well. It is exciting to know that I am at the forefront of many of these new technologies and they are only getting better. I am very excited to put my new skills and knowledge to use.

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.

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