After yet another whirlwind of a class, we have reached the end of EC&I 833 and that means it is time for a video representation of our final summary of learning. Below is the summary of learning I completed for this course with two of my colleagues, Krista and Luke. We had a lot of fun filming this, so we hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!
I have to say, although this final summary of learning addresses the main ideas we have learned so far this term (those ideas that we found to be most important), the impact they have had on my teaching have been immense. Before this class I used Kahoot quite often, but now I am using a wider range of different media and software to enhance engagement in my classroom, such as PollEverywhere, Mentimeter, Aurasma, Google Cardboard, and Recap – and those are just the ones that I have had the time to make an account and try out. I intend to use so many more that have been suggested in the class thus far, which is one of the main things I appreciated about this course – the practicality. Yes, we went through the theory and the historical backgrounds, which helped us to understand where we are today, but we also delved into different apps and technologies that are progressing Educational Technology and making history as we speak. For once I feel as though I can actually be ahead of the curve in Educational Technology, and I can help other teachers in my school learn more about these apps and websites and why we need to use them in conjunction with our curricular outcomes. I can be a leader in this field because of the knowledge I have garnered throughout this course.
This, of course, took one ‘ah-ha’ moment for me to realize that I needed to completely dive into the use of educational technology in my classroom, and this happened early on in the course with Katia‘s presentation on the history of audio-visual technologies in the classroom. There was a time when people thought that they were being spied on through their television sets, and that radio, the walkman, and the telegraph were all dangerous tools that kids shouldn’t be using. Ridiculous, right? Well, we know that now, but we didn’t back then. Just like in the present – we aren’t sure that all these new technologies are safe for our students to use. However, I don’t want to look back at my own history and say to myself – well that was silly, why did I think that? Why didn’t I take advantage of the technologies that came about to help my students learn and grow in our 21st century? Anything can be scary, and truthfully, dangerous, if it is misused. That’s why we, as teachers, need to learn how to use them and how to apply them in the classroom meaningfully. That is one of the biggest takeaways I have had from this course : that it is essential for us to face our own fears, to move out of our comfort zones, and to try new things for the sake of both our students’ education, and our own. It may be difficult as I have never been knowledgeable in the area of educational technology – or comfortable with using it – but it is important and therefore needs to happen.
There is also, of course, the learning theories that I just simply can’t forget. I went to Campbell’s musical on Friday night – The School of Rock – and all I could think of when the one student was so driven by receiving a gold star for doing good work was Foucault’s behaviorism, behaviorism, behaviorism. That’s not all! Every time I am planning a lesson, a unit, or even just an activity as part of a lesson, I think to myself what kind of theory am I promoting? I aim for constructivism, social constructivism, and connectivism through my lessons, but that is not to say that I don’t have elements of cognitivism and even behaviorism permeating through my work. This is perhaps because of habit or because of ease and comfort which, again, leads back to my initial takeaway from the course – that I need to push myself to try new and exciting things that promote different ways of learning.
In the end, it was also all the questions that my peers posed that kept me thinking every week – how can we use assistive technology with everyone in the classroom, and not just those with a specific diagnosis?; what kind of assessment practices are best to use with the different technologies and apps that we have seen throughout this course?; what applications do we have for virtual and augmented reality in the classroom and how can we access these applications affordably?; how much of our educational system is controlled by technology corporations like Google or Sony and what can we do about this?; when and how can we incorporate social interactions within online and distance learning?; and how can we meaningfully use educational technology in the classroom without just using it for the sake of using it? I think back to that first class and Neil Postman’s idea of technology being a trade-off – we need to consistently be aware of this. I still don’t have the answer to all of these questions, but they keep me reflecting upon my own theories of and beliefs about education and what more I should be doing in my classroom, while still working towards the goal of students building upon their knowledge to grow and develop into the social and digital citizens they need to be in the 21st century.
So thank you to all my peers, to Alec, to our guest speakers Katia and Jade Ballek, and to my two teammates for the final summary of learning for everything that you have taught me throughout the course. I have thought a lot about my own teaching practice, and I have come out with different ideas and notions that I need to incorporate into my own teaching. The theory and the practical have been woven together so well in this course that I know it has, and will continue to have, a great impact on my learning and growth.
Until next time, EC&I 833-ers.