I did not use the exact interview tool I created for this class, but I used one very similar to it for a beginning of the school year activity. When my classes change, I plan to use the interview tool I created for this class because it includes questions for both parents and students that I had not considered before. I may have to adapt it just a little to fit a more blended-learning style of classroom. I do think interview tools such as these encourage adults to open up to conversation. I think it allows them to see that we as educators truly do care about their children, and when parents see that, they tend to want to open up and help in any way that they can. There is a lot of important information that can be gathered from these tools. Some of the most important information I have found is the constraints placed on students that make it difficult for them to complete work outside of the classroom, whether they be time or technology constraints. If I have this information, I am better able to visit with my students about it and make accommodations for them that will allow them to be successful in my class.
The conversation stays pretty well on track because of the format of the interview tool. Google Forms makes it easy for both students and parents to answer questions, and it doesn’t provide a lot of room to steer the conversation off track. I do, however, like to include a space where students and parents can tell me anything they think of that may not be on the form. I believe this is a very valuable activity to complete before a course begins. It lets both students and parents know that you care and are interested, which can go a long way in education. It also provides you as the instructor with some very valuable information that you may not otherwise get. This is an activity I will continue to implement regardless of whether I am teaching in a face-to-face classroom or online environment.
I believe my favorite part of this course has been all of the new technology tools I have used and discovered. I am going to be starting a new position as a technology integration specialist for my building in addition to teaching. I now feel more confident in taking on this role after having learned so much from this course. I have learned more about how to use technology in a way that is advantageous to my students rather than just recreating experiences that could take place without technology. I now understand the importance of taking the time to research and practice using technology before putting it in front of my students. Because of this course, I will now always ask myself “What is the relative advantage of using this technology?” I believe I have met the AECT standards through my coursework because it has taken a great deal of research and reflection to create lessons that incorporate technology and that I can actually use in my classroom. I believe that each of my assignments reflect current research and pedagogy, as well as effective incorporation and management of technology. Because of this course, I believe the way I teach as I enter my classroom in a couple weeks is going to change. I now see the value in letting my students take more responsibility for their own learning through the use of technology. I believe I will now take on more of a facilitating role than I have in the past. I am more excited to begin this school year than I have been in awhile. I cannot wait to incorporate more technology into my classroom in a more meaningful way.
I did often relate to real life experiences and share substantial information, but there are some posts that I could have maybe gone into a little more detail.
Readings and Resources 20/20
I completed each of the reading and often related to them in my posts. I also used some outside resources that I had found on my own. I believe all of my APA citations are correct.
I had all of my posts in on time, but they were often submitted on the due date which did not always give my peers much time to respond to them.
Responses to Other Students 30/30
I did respond to at least two of my classmates each week. I feel that I was sincere and detailed in the majority of my responses.
Final Score 130/140
After the open house event, I plan to have a few more assessments. The students will complete both their peer-evaluation and self-evaluation after the open house. We will also have a class discussion about the open house event and how students felt about it. Did they feel that they got a good response from community members? Do they feel confident about how their presentations went? We will also take time to discuss their Final Journal Entry and what they learned from the project as a whole. We will revisit the Padlet from the first day of the project and students will add what they have now learned and how or if their perspectives changed as a result of the project.
There is a plethora of technology resources for social studies. There are primary documents, games, maps, and videos galore. It can be extremely intimidating and challenging to dig through all of these resources to find those that are the most beneficial for students to use. I see this challenge as being one of the most difficult for incorporating technology into social studies content. It is time consuming for teachers to sort through all of the resources available. It is also difficult to make sure resources are being used in a way that is truly advantageous to the students and not just to fill time or act as a substitute teacher. As I have been learning more about technology, I believe I have found a solution to this problem that will work for me. I have discovered tools such as Symbaloo or Diigo can help me sift through resources as I have time. When I come upon a resource, I can simply save it to one of these two sites and can revisit it whenever it is convenient for me. As I look through resources, I have begun to ask myself this question: “What is the advantage of using this resource for me and/or for my students?” These two strategies help make finding resources and using them in a purposeful way more manageable.
The other challenge I often face is that students believe everything on the internet is reliable information. There are many historical inaccuracies and other errors throughout the World Wide Web. It is important that we teach our students what constitutes a good, credible source and how to evaluate their sources. It can be difficult as a teacher to know how to implement technology and also how to teach our students how to use it. Professional development centered on technology can help greatly in this aspect. It is also good practice to always test and use technology yourself before placing it before your students.
Tina Heafner states, “research recognizes various negative outcomes of technology use as social isolation, all information is “good” misperception, information overload, and the time consuming nature of technology. However, effective technology integration offers opportunities to enhance social studies instruction and to increase student motivation while preparing students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become good citizens, which are the fundamental goals of the social studies” (2004).
Heafner, T. (2004). Using technology to motivate students to learn social studies. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 4(1). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/volume-4/issue-1-04/social-studies/using-technology-to-motivate-students-to-learn-social-studies
My role as a teacher when incorporating PBL into my classroom will definitely change, and I believe it will be a change for the better. I have always been a person that likes to feel in control, and I will have to let go of some of that control when bringing PBL into my curriculum. In PBL, the teacher takes on more of a guidance role and allows the student to assume more control over their own learning. The teacher must be able to offer help as needed, but should provide students with opportunities to choose their own learning structure. This is a great way for students to learn because it is exactly what they are going to have to do when they leave school. They will not always have someone there to instruct them in their learning or decision making. It will be up to them to figure out on their own, and I believe PBL can give them the skills necessary to do this.
My understanding of scaffolding is that it is where the instructor provides a starting point or guidelines to help students stay focused on the task or question at hand. It is where the instructor first teaches the skills that students need in order to be successful. Scaffolding is important because it provides organization for the project. It keeps both the students and the instructor on task and working efficiently. I think the two most important benefits of scaffolding are that it allows students to feel that they can be successful and lets them know what is expected of them. Scaffolding allows students to feel that they can be successful because it provides them with the necessary tools and skills to do so. If scaffolding is done correctly it clarifies the purpose of the project, what is expected of students, and how they will be assessed.
In my project, I plan to scaffold my lessons in a few different ways. I plan to take time to teach students some of the skills they will need in order to be successful. Before letting students loose to research, we will talk about what constitutes an appropriate source and how to find such sources. Before students present, I will give an example presentation and discuss important presentation techniques. I will provide rubrics and examples for students to follow, so they will know exactly how they will be assessed and not have to guess as to what is expected of them.