Friday, April 13, 2012

EDUC 6711 Reflection

            In Week One of this course, I constructed my personal theory of learning.  My theory then and now consists of a combination of the constructivist and social learning theories. Throughout this course, I have deepened my understanding of these two theories. I have learned the many different technology resources I can use to support my personal theory of learning. The biggest thing I am walking away with from this class is the difference between technologies as instructional tools versus learning tools. Dr. Michael Orey explains in “Technology: Instructional Tool vs. Learning Tool” that instructional tools are technologies used to by the teacher to present information, whereas learning tools are technologies used by students to be active learners (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011b). This simple distinction made me realize that many uses of technology in my classroom are primarily used by me, which is not the student-centered classroom I want. 
            To begin my shift to a student-centered classroom, I need to put technology into the hands of my students in meaningful ways. One technology tool I will immediately implement is the use of combination notes through the use of Microsoft Word. Combination notes support the cognitive learning theory because it aligns with Paivio’s dual coding hypothesis that states information is stored as text and pictures (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011a). I will use this strategy and combine it with my own personal learning theory, by having students collaborate with a partner to create combination notes on different topics. (See my blog posting from March 13 for more information on combination notes.)
            Another technology tool I will begin to implement is the use of a blog. I have tried to use a blog in my classroom before, but I did not give my students time in class to practice using the blog. I want to use a blog in my classroom because it will give students a chance to interact with each other, while creating artifacts they can go back and revisit. My plan is to set up a time when my students can go into the computer lab and respond to open-ended blog posts.
            This class has introduced me to many different technology tools that I am excited to use in the future. One long-term goal I have is to utilize spreadsheets for students to track their effort and grades. One major obstacle I face as a teacher is showing my students they are accountable for their grades, as they often feel it is out of their control. Over the summer, I plan to create a spreadsheet within GoogleDocs for students to use next year. Next year, our school will be piloting Google email accounts for our students. I will set my students up with their Google accounts and then spend the first few weeks of school explaining what effort is and how to use GoogleDocs. Then, after every chapter test in math and science, I will have my students grade their effort and record their scores in our computer lab.
            Another technology tool I would like to use is Edmodo. Since my personal theory involves the social learning theory, I think this step makes sense. Edmodo offers many options for collaborating. Edmodo allows students to interact, take quizzes, utilize GoogleDocs, and more. My plan for integration is again, to set up an account on Edmodo this summer. I want time to become familiar with Edmodo and the options it has. I will not roll out Edmodo at the very beginning of the year but will wait until October or November. My reasoning for this is I do not want to overwhelm my students or myself at the beginning of the school year because we will already be learning about GoogleDocs and normal classroom procedures. In October or November, my plan is to slowly introduce students to Edmodo, getting them set up, and then giving them simple tasks in the beginning. Then, by January or February, I hope to have my students fully engaged in Edmodo. My biggest goal is to take baby steps to make these transitions easier for everyone.

 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011b). Program thirteen: Technology: Instructional tool vs. learning tool [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from