As an educator, reflection becomes a natural and necessary piece for everything that impacts the classroom and students. As I reflect upon all that I have learned and encountered from my most recent course at Walden University, Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society, I am amazed at what I have been able to take away in knowledge and resources.
As I have mentioned previously, I have been pulled from my comfort zone. Any time truly good learning takes place, the learner should be pulled into new places to allow for new learning. This course has helped me to develop my technology skills as a teacher, and as member of this 21st century society. I have been introduced to types of technology that I have only previously heard about, and honestly never saw myself using to any capacity! Also, this course allowed me to begin thinking more creatively on how I could possibly use such technology in my classroom, even with kindergarten students (also something I never imagined).
Furthermore, this course brought out discussions regarding how technology impacts the learning process, and how children learn can possibly be altered based upon their exposure to technology. This debate and the discussions that followed, as well as other similar course discussions, deepened my knowledge and opened my mind to new thoughts about the teaching and learning process. For example, if I have students who are so exposed to technology as young children that they are “digital natives” and students who come from homes without financial means to have technology causing that child to be a “digital immigrant”, this would alter not only how those students may learn most effectively in the classroom, but also how I should teach those students (Laureate Education, 2010). Therefore, I have had the opportunity to reflect on how technology impacts the teaching and learning process.
Another reflection I’ve made in regards to the impact of technology in the classroom is what it means to move from being teacher-centered to student-student centered. My kindergarten classroom, (as I’m sure most are) is already naturally built to be very student-centered. The students create so much of their own learning throughout the year and work in centers that rotate and allow the students to take a lot of ownership in their learning. Each day and each lesson naturally moves the students from a teacher-directed introduction and then involves a gradual release. However, the use of technology with five-year-old students is somewhat more difficult because it would obviously take much more time to give young students the tools they need to work as independently as in other situations. Because of this I have to be creative on how I can still create a student centered lesson that allows the students to learn about and interact with the technology while I continue to direct and assist. Some types of technology are much easier and more possible to give students the same ownership, while technology such as blogging, would need to be done as a whole group. However, this class has helped me to create ways that even then I could create student-centered lessons by involving the students and allowing them to take roles in what we do with the blog as a whole group.
In order to expand what I have learned about learning, teaching, and leading with technology I know that I will have to try new things with my students so that I can see what works and what doesn’t work. The more I integrate what I have learned in a way that can increase student achievement, the more I will learn how to best create lessons involving technology so that students are learning not only curriculum content in effective and motivating ways, but also learning 21st century skills.
It seems that I best way to make sure that I am expanding what I have learned is to create goals that will lead me to reach new levels as an educator integrating technology. The first goal I have for myself is to finish my Master’s degree with specialization in Integrating Technology into the Classroom so that I can continue to learn new skills and methods on how to help my students reach their highest potential. My second goal is to write technology integration into my Professional Development Plan (PDP) that my district requires me to begin next year. Putting this into my PDP will hold me accountable in new ways and give me extra motivation to use what I have learned from this class and future classes in my classroom.