Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reflection on Literacy and Technology

As I reflect upon the last eight weeks I realize how much I learned about using technology to enhance the educational experience of my students. Today literacy goes beyond knowing how to simple read and write. Literacy for the 21st century learner involves not only having the fundamental skills of literacy but also using them as a foundation to build upon the literacy skills needed to effectivley communicate their ideas with others using a multitude of resources including technology. Through this course I was able to take an idea I had for my students many months ago and develop it into a well developed inquiry based project using various literacy skills. Not only was I studying and creating this unit for this course I was putting it into practice at the same time. I was able to learn from my students as well as teach them how they can successfully use technology and other resources to gather information and put it together in the form of a book that they will use to teach my ninth grade students. There was a deep sense of accomplishment and joy for both me and my students as we carefully put the pieces together to create the final masterpiece. As I go through each course and learn more about literacy skills and technology I see myself becoming a better teacher every day. I am now able to create lessons and introduce new skills to my students that they will need to be successful in their futures.

In order to continue growing as an educator I must continue learning. Being a life-long learner is something everyone must commit themselves to becoming, especially educators. The way our students learn, work, and communicate is changing the more our society advances. It is my responsibility to stay updated and to be familiar with these changes if I want to be a true asset in their learning. My goal is to continue learning and growing both as an educator and an individual. After completeing this masters program I will continue to seek out professional development opportunites to stay informed of what is new in education and in technology. As I learn new things the next step woul dbe to carefully incorporate what I learn into my lesson planning and instruction. By putting in into real practice I will be able to see what works and what doesn't work well with my students. I will also be preparing them with the necessary skills they will need after high school.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Final Reflection....

The past eight weeks have opened my eyes up to a whole new world of technology that can be used to teach and prepare my students for the world that awaits them. Even though I had began this class with some knowledge and experience in technology I was truly clueless as to how I could incorporate it to enhance the learning of my students. Once I began to explore the world of blogs, wikis, and pod casts I automatically became hooked! While the school year may be over I am already anticipating the new school year that will begin in September. Hopefully when I return I will have a smart board and projector that will allow me to begin my journey of incorporating technology into my lessons with my students. My plan is to create a blog that will allow my students to interact outside of the classroom on a variety of topics that relate world/American history. Being able to use technology to teach in a new way allows my students to take more ownership over their learning. It will allow me to take the day's lesson beyond the four walls of my classroom. This class has taught me that technology allows students to learn new ideas and concepts on a much deeper level. I will no longer be their main source of information, they will learn how to find their own answers through use of the world wide web! As I continue to learn the connection between technology and education I will be able to better serve and prepare my students for their futures. Through technology they will develop a new style of learning that will help them grow and become lifelong learners. My goal over the course of the next two years will be to use the technologies I have learned through this course to enhance the level of education my students receive. It is important that I use the "right"tools to successfully prepare them for the work place and society that lies ahead awaiting them when they leave high school. The main obstacle I will face in terms of incorporating technologies such as the wikis and blogs will be accessibility to the resources needed to bring those things to my students. In order to overcome that main obstacle I will continue to learn and bring the knowledge I gain to the attention of those necessary persons in my district who can make the decisions necessary to make my goals a reality.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

21st Century Skills!!!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything but I'm back and have lots to say about incorporating 21st century skills into our schools. I just finished viewing the website "partnership for 21st century schools and I thought it was AWESOME! I am no stranger to the concept of creating 21st century schools. Earlier in the school year my principle emailed everyone a report about New Jersey and 21st century skills. New Jersey (state I live and teach in) is in the process of turning its highschool into 21st century schools. Unfortunatetly our schools today are still geared towards 19th century life/jobs. How are we preparing our students for their futures if we are two centuries behind? Answer is simple: WE'RE NOT!!! Many college professors and businesses have complained about how ill prepared our students were once they reached their schools or businesses. The best solution to the problem is to find out what our students were lacking and find a way to make it better and right for our future graduating seniors. New Jersey like a few other states are busy rewriting curriculum and redesigning schools that will produce better quality students.
Regardless of whether we like it or not, the world is changing and education has to get on the bandwagon of change. Our students are living in an age of technological innovations and its only going to keep on changing and getting more technical! When it comes to the website and their mission I agree with them 100%! We must change all of our schools for the better and make sure that all students regardless of their socioeconomic status have access to this new 21st century learning. They must be taught to think critically, think on their feet, and be literate not in only in reading and writing but in technology. Once our schools begin changing our students will be placed in a position where they can better compete in our global society. Any thoughts? Please share.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blogging in the Classroom!

I knew very little about the world of blogging before taking my technology course for my master's program. I have seen them and written a response here and there but was never sure of how I could use "blogging" with my students. As I learn more about the world of blogging I am very excited to incorporate this style of learning with my students in September.
I currently teach history to 9th and 10th grade ESL at Newark Tech High School. Luckily I teach the same group of students for two years in a row, this allows me to know my students well enough to get busy creating a blog over the summer they will enjoy and benefit from. I have spent sometime brainstorming with some of colleagues on creating a blog(s). We all decided that a blog would give our students the opportunity to interact with one another in a new way as well as give them the opportunity to share ideas with students in other grade levels. Using a blog as a teaching tool will help students read, think, and write more critically. Critical thinking skills are lacking for the students in our school, this would be a new and more interesting way for them to improve their thinking skills. One of the best ways to do this is to assign an id number or tag name for each student to encourage them to speak openly and honestly in their post to one of the teachers or students. Creating a blog for my students may also reach those shy students who like to hide in the back of the classroom hoping I won't notice they are there! What do you all think about blogging? Do we blog or stick to the good old fashion round table discussions in the classroom?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Social Networking Sites & Education?????

I was wondering if social networking sites such as MySpace, Twitter and the like can be used for educational purposes. Our students are constantly on these sites-are they really learning anything? Can we find a way to make them educational? What do you all think?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What impact does technology have on students?

Teaching students who are growing up during the midst of a technological revolution can be quite challenging at times. Students are constantly distracted and bombarded by the latest and newest technologies around. It amazes me how a student may walk into my classroom without the proper supplies ( because they have no money) but yet they have the latest new cell phone or ipod! In all honesty I am only 28 years old and am no stranger to the technology of today but I did not grow up with all the same technology as my students. I never heard of social networking sites such as MySpace until I began teaching 3 years ago! My question is how much does technology influence the way students think and learn in the classroom? Students all over the world have so much access to a variety of information and all it takes is a click of a button on a keyboard to get it all. How do we as teachers compete with all of this? Unfortunately I have access to very little technology, a television with a VCR and DVD player and two computers that sometimes work. Some of my colleagues have smart boards, projectors, computers, and a TV at their disposal courtesy of NCLB funds. By no means I am complaining about the lack of technology in my classroom or about technology in general. I am a firm believer that many schools need to update themselves and become a part of the 21st century. Our students have changed but many of our schools/classrooms have not. Since so many of our students are "connected" will the incorporation of modern technology in all our schools result in students receiving a better quality education that will allow them to better compete globally?