A Year of Teaching with Technology in Review

Reflection always seems to come the strongest for me at the end of a school year. I guess it is the big picture learner in me.  Reflecting back over the past year with all its struggles I discovered there actually were successes. I have gone from walking into the computer lab with my heart in my throat and unable to deal with the myriad of tech problems or knowing how to teach with technology to finding a new search engine and creating a lesson with it on the fly using  a mobile lab with over half the laptops not working. I am deeply shocked at my own learning curve.

I began my year with absolutely no experience teaching using any form of technology. I had never used networked computers on an “intranet”. I had no idea how to fix the simplest of problems.  I had no idea how to “teach” my students. The instruction methodology I had used in the classroom was not working in the lab.  So how does a linear teacher teach using a nonlinear tool? I managed to find a way that works for me.

The biggest learning this year:

  • realizing the power of a good PLN – Twitter included
  • using technology as a tool
  • finding my instructional stride & understanding it still has to fit me when using technology
  • keeping my technological learning transparent and letting the students teach me and learn with me
  • taking risks as a teacher and seeing my students take risks with me – this one was the best one

All this new learning also created some questions:

  • How important is the process when teaching new technology to students?
  • How big is the risk to student safety when using certain Web 2.0 tools – in terms of giving of private information for accounts and where is the information stored and who has access to it?
  • How big of a risk will I take in allowing under 13 yr old students to use various Web 2.0 tools?
  • How to I ensure I am using the technology as a tool to drive good curriculum and not just use the technology for its own sake?
  • How do I assess the learning and by what criteria?
  • Does using Web 2.0 tools to enhance the curriculum increase student learning?

It seems my learning has created more questions than it has answered. I would hope that is the sign of an effective teacher.

So the stack of professional reading grows higher for the summer as the need to revamp my prep classes and manner in which I teach grows stronger.

What was your biggest learning this school year?

What are you reflecting on?

Anything good to read this summer?

2 thoughts on “A Year of Teaching with Technology in Review

  1. That sounds like a very successful school year for you and your students!

    I’ve been reflecting on how to successfully integrate video into my courses. Digital photography and Photoshop both worked so easily into my program in the last couple of years but my attempts to introduce video and video editing this past year weren’t as successful. I’ve also been thinking about the work we did using Flickr and blogging in my art/photography courses. Flickr, to my surprise, was used more successfully than student blogs and I’m not really sure why at this point.

    Summer reading includes Dances with Dependency by Calvin Helin, Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky and maybe the Fifth Discipline by Senge. There are other books on the shelf, but I’ll let lazy summer days decide the rest! I’m also signing up for Twitter this week, and waiting to hear if I’m in the MEd year that follows TLITE, both of which will affect my summer reading list.

    What are you reading this summer?

  2. Hi Errin,

    I think using digital photograph would be great. I wish we had a digital camera bin we could borrow from our Resource Centre and then have the students create movies/slideshows for science – motion, simple machines etc.

    I am in the MEd (following TLITE) – just rec’d the letter. I’m sure you will get in. Not sure about my focus just yet. Somehow without some deadline slamming me in the face, I’m not inclined to worry about it yet!

    I am on Twitter – look me up! Send me a tweet about the MEd.

    My reading list is getting a little on the extensive side! I am reading:

    Windows on the Future – Ted McCain, Ian Jukes (almost finished)
    The World is Flat – Friedman (almost finished)
    Net Savvy – Ian Jukes, et al.
    Information Power – American Library Association
    Mosiac of Thought – Keene/Zimmerman
    Here Comes Everybody – Shirky (been on my shelf for a year!)
    Reading Power for Nonfiction – A. Gear
    This list does not include the fiction reading I do as the school T/L! I bring home a stack of children’s books to read over the summer as well as harass my local public children’s librarian for books
    AND will attempt to teach myself some HTML programming. That ought to be scary!

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