This semester I am taking two online courses, this one, and “Instructional and Assistive Technology.” The reason I am taking this course is because it fits a requirement towards my Master’s Degree. This year I am pursing my Master’s through Arcadia University. I am taking 15 credits in STEM, and 12 in Connected Learning. Both those certificates, and a thesis statement will blend to create a Master’s Degree.
So far, I have completed two online courses through Arcadia University. Both were a lot of work, and quite challenging. I expect this class to be the same. Both classes I have completed gave me opportunities to connect with the rest of my peers. I created a blog in my last course, and shared my work through the blog. The rest of the class did the same, and it was amazing to me how connected we all became. The act of keeping in contact with one another felt more like a desire than an expectation or requirement. I hope this course gives me the opportunity to gain access to sites, thoughts, and classroom ideas; access that I may not have stumbled upon if it weren’t for my peers sharing with me. After I take this course I hope to put into practice the connected learning principals that I learn during the next several weeks.
I am curious about many things in education. One has always been how to safely integrate technology into the classroom, while at the same time still adhering to all the standards in each lesson. The truth is, our students are part of the digital age, and it is so important that they take learning into their own hands and connect with the world and to one another. Teaching through instructional technology is essential, and teaching them to use technology as a tool is also essential. The future truly does belong to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try, to explore, to poke, to question, and to turn it inside out. When students are willing to get messy- to truly, truly get messy and take risks- is where the magic happens. As an educator, I am curious about how I can foster a classroom of learners that are willing to take risks. I am curious to learn various ways to use technology in ways that will enhance my everyday lessons. I know a lot comes from connecting as educators, sharing, reading, exploring, and trying on all types of different ideas and methods. I am excited to go forth in this connected practice!
As a fourth grade teacher, my students are so excited about online games. My kids this year LOVE Minecraft. They build worlds with one another, and recently two of my students decided to start a world out of the books that they’ve read. My two avid readers base their worlds around story settings. I have no idea how to use the program, but I completely appreciate what they are doing! I think it’s so neat that my ten year olds know so much about the internet, coding, and the possibilities out there. Overall, I think I’d like to be exposed to more ways in which I can integrate technology- ways that are meaningful and enjoyable to the kids. My students are very interested in writing code. Each year my school celebrates STEM with an “hour of code.” The event is sponsored by code.org and encourages anyone to take advantage of the opportunity spend one hour understanding the basic concepts of computer science and computer programming through games and other activities. The idea isn’t to learn computer programing in one hour. It is more of an opportunity to demystify the concepts of computer science with the hope of developing a general interest in the field. Each year I do the online activities with my kids, but I don’t build on as the year goes on. I’d like to learn more about ways that I can continue this education in my classroom. I’d also like to learn how to spark computer literacy with children at an early age. I have access to computers all day long, and I often shy away from them because I worry about my nine year olds on the internet. I’d like to learn more about internet safety, and how I can keep the kids engaged in an age appropriate way. I have a particular interest in games, since watching a TED talk called, “How Games Make Kids Smarter.” Gabe Zichermann speaks, “Do kids these days have short attention spans, or does the world just move too slow?” Zichermann suggests that today’s video games are making children smarter, and we should all embrace gamification. The TED talk states that the power of games helps engage people, and build a connected learning experience. I see this in my own classroom (as mentioned about in terms of Minecraft). Listening to what motivates kids, I notice that kids love videogames, and also books. Kids come to one another’s level when it comes to book discussions, and discussions about a game experience. I’d like to learn ways to bring this idea into my classroom.
Overall, I guess my big desire is that I want to enhance my classroom with as much technology as I can. I know there is plenty more out there that I haven’t yet discovered. I want to start off my school year next Fall with my laptop set up, connected, projected, and I want to teach USING the technology. It’s out there- there is so much to offer. I am just ignorant as to how I can go ahead and use it. After reading the syllabus I am confident that I’ll walk away from this class feeling connected to, and empowered by other educators. I look forward to putting in the work!