Saturday, October 30, 2010

Final Reflection GAME Plan

Looking back over the past eight weeks, I am amazed with the wealth of information I have gained. This class has me excited about using technology in a meaningful way with my high school Geometry and Algebra II students. Through the applications for this course I have created a unit plan on quadratic equations that has me anxious to implement. Having my students use digital story-telling in this unit will help me reach one of my goals; “facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity by promoting student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning and creative process”.

One of the fears I have with incorporating technology into my classroom is that I am not a digital native. I went to school long before computers. Every new tool I use takes a long time to learn. I was relieved to hear Dr Abrams say, “Don’t let the technological aspects get in your way. Give it to the students and let them run with it” (Laureate, 2009). I have to let the student teach me the technology as I teach the math standards. After all teenagers are much more tech savvy than a veteran teacher of twenty one years.

I have been encouraged by classmates to let go with my traditional idea of order in the classroom. They have reassured me that in all of the chaos and confusion during cooperative and project based activities there is a lot of engaging and meaningful learning taking place. This week I did my first math lab with my Geometry class. Although the custodians may not have been happy with all of the popcorn that was spilled on the floor, I was pleased to hear very thoughtful discussions taking place amongst my students. Maybe this old dog can learn some new tricks.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Spotlight on Technology: Digital Storytelling, Part 2. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Using the GAME Plan with Students

The GAME plan is a focus on goals, action, monitoring and evaluation. The benefit of this process is that it focuses on the thinking skills necessary to be a productive citizen. Whether it is a quick decision like what to eat for lunch or a more thoughtful decision such as buying a car, the mind goes through the same process. The ultimate goal of educators is to create productive citizens. This process supports that notion.

A twenty-first century classroom follows the standards set out by International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). When evaluating these standards, one will notice that standards focus on process, thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility. No standard states “The student must use PowerPoint.” This transition is a reflection on how society is changing.

By taking time to read the NETS-T standards, I have established a better means of communicating with my students and parents through the integration of technology. By incorporating the GAME plan into creating a web site, I was able to set goals and monitor my progress along the way. In many cases goals are set by both teachers and students with no clear direction on how to get there. In the end few goals are met. By making a plan, I held myself accountable and was able to accomplish my first goal: To communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital tools.

Teachers need to ensure that students are equipped with 21st century skills so they are actively engaged as a self-directed learner

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Revising My GAME Plan

I think I have accomplished the first goal, to communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital tools. My class web pages are going well. I have a student aid that helps to enter daily assignments. Parents and students are referring to the website on days when students are absent to get their assignments. I will continue with the web site throughout the school year and asked for students’ and parents’ feedback.

My second goal, facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity by promoting student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning and creative process, is progressing. My students are putting together their digital portfolios so they can create a presentation at the end of the year in place of a written final. I continue to monitor the students and their work as new concepts are mastered.

The next goal I would like to tackle is: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity by modeling collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.
GOAL: I want to become more familiar with tools that help students collaborate with each other and students in different schools

Action: I want to find other educators that use collaborative tools and learn the advantages of each one. Why do some people use blogs, wikis or google docs? I will take workshops and classes to help me become comfortable in setting up and managing these tools

Friday, October 8, 2010

Evaluating My GAME Plan Progress

As I look at what I am doing toward reaching my goals, I am moving along. I have a good understanding of the content and the direction I am headed. I have found some resources that have proved to be valuable to me. The technology teacher continues to be interested in how I plan to use technology to enhance student involvement and understanding. He wants me to join the tech team as they go to a demonstration on a new projector that works similar to a smart board, but projects on the wall and white board. The cost is a fraction of the whiteboard. I don’t know much about this new technology but I am skeptical about it being interactive. If it is as good as the smart board I hope they purchase enough for everyone in the high school that wants to learn how to use it.

The resources and information that I have received from the course text, DVD and discussion threads have increased my confidence. Through the course text and DVD, I have learned many strategies that will allow me to use technology to enrich learning experiences. Applying skills from courses, I have developed a web page that will support students academically by allowing parents to access the site from home and keeping updated on information from school. Students have been very helpful in suggesting what information they like to see on the web page.

The biggest question facing my school district is “Can the school district afford to fund the technology needed to incorporate 21st century skills into the content area”?