Monday, December 19, 2011

Final Reflection for Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology

My reflection on my most recent class, Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology, begins with revisiting my personal learning theory created when this class began.  In summary, my learning theory stated that students needed their basic needs to be met, students need guidance at critical points to make that jump in their learning, and students need to be taught in multiple ways in order to recall information later.  After taking this course, I feel that I have the same theory that is now strengthened by different theories.  Below is an explanation of how my theory is strengthened by what I have learned.

Marzano, Pickering & Pollock (2001) discuss the importance of providing feedback and recognition in order to improve performance.  I believe this falls in line with my students' basic needs being met.  If a student feels acknowledged and sees the results of the effort put in, they will feel better about themselves and gain confidence.  Several different uses of technology support students who are in what Vygotsky calls the zone of proximal development.  Learning more about the benefits of blogging and other social networking gives that peer support that Vygotsky (1978) states helps support students to the next level of learning.  Finally, learning about different technologies such as VoiceThread and Prezi allow students to not only create dynamic artifacts, they also offer different ways for students to receive and process information, making future recall that much more possible. 

Some immediate adjustments I am making to my instructional practice is looking for ways to integrate any technology that will help with my lessons.  I am looking more and more for resources already created online, as well as creating my own, to use as supplemental clips during my math and science lessons.  I am also creating students who are technology experts by exposing them to technologies and allowing them to rotate the setup and creating of technologies presented in class.

I am rolling out an Edmodo site for my two classes in January.  This will allow my team teacher, our students, and myself a place to collaborate and share documents and ideas with each other, through assignments and uploaded presentations.  A second technology I am focusing on is VoiceThread.  I want to use this technology not only to supplement lessons, but also for students to create math steps and presentations for each other and themselves.  I have learned a great amount and my skills have expanded as a result of this course.  I believe that I now have more access to excellent technology tools and know how to use those tools. 

Two long-term goals I have for my instructional practice are to create a more student driven classroom though project creation using technology and to set up a student blog with another middle school for students to share their learning.  My strategy to achieve a more student driven classroom is to collaborate with my colleagues to supplement our science and math curriculum with at least one project every two months.  Our curriculum by design already has student focused strategies built in, however more project-based learning types of activities will still be beneficial.  My strategy to create and to set up a student blog with another middle school is to set up a team of students, work with them to create a blog, and reach out to other schools in our district to team up to support collaboration across schools.  The timeline for these goals is to have both in place by April 2012.

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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