Sunday, April 15, 2012

Final Reflection

When I reflect over my classes, I am always amazed at the amount of information I learned. This class focused on learning theories and how the brain processes information.  Although I studied many of these learning theories in undergrad, it has been much easier to comprehend and apply since I have my own class.         
At the beginning of this course, I had to determine my own personal theory of learning.  In my first paper I wrote, “I do not feel most people fall under one specific theory of teaching.  I think to be a highly effective teacher you need to be well-rounded in many areas.  I am a firm believer in visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinetic learning styles, or the VARK theory (Orey, 2001).  I do not believe that a person has to have one learning style but I think many people have a dominate area.”  After learning more in depth about different learning theories, I feel even more strongly that teachers need to use a variety of strategies to meet the needs of all students.  Each student has their own learning style.  To accommodate each style I need to make sure that I have students work individually, in pairs, and in groups.  I need to teach concepts in multiple ways so that students can transfer new knowledge to their long-term memory.   

This class has introduced me to technology learning tools that I have already implemented or will in the near future. One tool that I would like to use is a VoiceThread.  I have applied this twice as an instructional tool with my students.  However, I would like to use it as a learning tool with them creating the artifact.  Using a VoiceThread allows my non-fluent readers a chance to express themselves.  They can easily upload the pictures and verbally express their thoughts.  For my students that are more timid, they can use words to type their ideas.  Another technology tool I would like to use more often is the concept maps on websites such as SpiderScribe.  Concept maps allow students to organize the information in a way that is easiest for them to understand.  In addition, they can upload pictures to enhance their understanding of the material.

Throughout this course, I have learned the difference between an instructional tool and a learning tool.  I realize that standing in front of a Smartboard is simply an instructional tool.  It is not until a student interacts with the board or creates an artifact that it is considered a learning tool.  In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Work, we learned about nine cluster strategies that are proven to help students learn.  These nine strategies gave multiple examples of how I can incorporate technology, thus expanding my repertoire of tools.

One long-term goal I have for myself is to use the microphones that were just purchased for my school.  By the end of the year, I would like my students to create a VoiceThread and use Audacity.  Students will create a VoiceThread about a state they will research including points of interest, historic events that took place, etc. My second goal is by the end of April, students will use Audacity to record themselves reading and then listen to the recording. Many times students do not realize that they are not using expression or pausing for punctuation until they hear themselves read aloud.  Another goal I have it to implement more learning tools instead of instructional tools.  I think that by students creating blogs, VoiceThread, podcasts, and wikis, I can reach this goal.

In conclusion, this class has helped me to better understand how my students learn.  I have already begun to change my current lessons to be student center opposed to teacher centered.  I have also starting adding more technology based projects.  

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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