Of all courses in my educational background this is one of the most thought provoking I have encountered. To be a successful educator one must get to know how each student learns best, and from there use observation and theoretical knowledge to fit the best strategy to each student. “A theory is a hypothesis that describes, speculates, or defines a relationship between a set of facts or phenomena through a body of principles, policies, beliefs, or assumptions” (Leonard & Orey, 2007, p.4). There are many documented educational theories describing how students learn. Educators also develop their own theories based on certain students or classrooms.
My personal learning theory from week one maintains that depending on the approach used in managing environmental factors, the brain can be trained to compartmentalize stimuli in order to focus on a number of tasks at one time. This course didn’t change my learning theory at all, I just have a deeper understanding of the technology the multitasking student would be most successful at. Game based, problem based, collaborative and cooperative learning are just a few. Game based is sometimes a fast past game where students need quick thinking and reflexes to be successful. “Cooperative learning provides and environment where students can reflect upon newly acquired knowledge, process what they are learning by talking with and active listening to their peers, and develop common understandings about topics”(Pitler, Hubbell, & Kuhn, 2012, p. 73). For active students their brains need to have technology activities where the body does not have to be still, but the mind can still focus.
One immediate change I intend to make in my classroom is I plan to incorporate VoiceThread as much as possible. I found it to be such a great tool and the list of things that can be done with it is long. I will also have the students contribute to the class website. I am going to add a special page for them to write, draw and publish their work. Actually, it is very hard to narrow it down to just two. I have made a list of things I want to do differently this year. I know I need to take it slowly, especially with a new group of five year olds. My plan is to completely revitalize my instruction. It has become routine and boring for me to teach at times so I can imagine how my students feel at times. I also have a very technology reluctant team so I have held back a bit for this reason. This year I am giving it one last try to bring them with me and if they still don’t want to embrace the technology I am moving on. There are too many amazing things out there my students deserve to be exposed to.
I have two very firm SMART goals for myself in the long term. I will be integrating technology in at least one subject per day as a teaching tool by December, 2016 and in 3 subjects per day by May 2017. This goal I feel is easily reached as long as I plan well and get routines in place. My second states that I will be integrating technology into 3 subjects a day as a learning tool by December, 2016 and in all subjects by May, 2017. Again, planning, routines and classroom management is the key. Children are so technology literate by five that it should be no problem getting them started.
Theories guide educators in finding best ways to teach students. Teachers follow these theories and sometimes arrive at their own, but at the core, the goal is to do what is best for the student. Technology can reach students in so many ways that we never thought possible. We as teachers just need to keep learning about new and cutting edge technology.
Leonard, K., Noh, E.K., & Orey, M. (2007). Introduction to Emerging Perspectives on Learning,
Teaching, and Technology. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning,
teaching, and technology. Retrieved 2016, from http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that
works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.