Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reflection #10- Experience in EME2040

My experiences in this class have come to show me that technology plays a major role in the education world. This class is everything I thought an education class would be. After taking introduction to education last semester, I was a little disappointed with my experience, seeing as I didn’t learn much of what I expected to learn about education. This class has showed me the in and outs of the career and has engaged me in valuable, hands on experiences. One of my most valuable accomplishments I’ve come across in this class is being able to differentiate different types of lesson plans and be able to create my very own professional one. I have created lesson plans previously in different academic centers that I have worked at. However, EME2040 has taught me the process step by step. Let me just say, It’s not as easy as I expected. A professional lesson plan incorporates every little detail, and stresses that the teacher include procedures without the exclusion of any step. I learned the difference between a behaviorist, constructivist, transpersonal, and tellacolaborative lesson plan. This class has also showed me multiple instructional ways to spread information to students through the use of technology. Before this class, my lesson plans consisted of teacher one on one instruction, worksheets, or a book. Computers have come a long way and now bring a wide variety of opportunities for teachers and students. I learned how to create a professional instructional power point that can assist students in further understanding a subject in a more visual way. Teachers can also assign students a group project that instructs students to create their very own power point presentation. This is a good way to incorporate the knowledge of technology with the knowledge of the actual subject into one assignment. It gives room for the student’s creativity, enthusiasm, and fun. I also learned about a digital story. I have yet to create my very own digital story, but I have done research about them and they seem like tons of fun. They’re a great way for teachers and students to unleash their creativity while sharing information with the class. They allow us to use pictures, music, and voice over’s to create a fun slideshow for other students to enjoy and gain knowledge off of. Even though I am not done with my journey, so far, my experience in EME2040 has been a very good one. I hope to learn many more techniques and ways in which I can instruct a classroom through the use of technology.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reflection #9- Technology in instruction

I never really thought of exactly how many opportunities technology brings into the educational field. In this class, I’ve learned so many mechanisms that involve technology in the process of instruction. Technology is a great way to get students motivated and excited about learning. If you think about it, If you are teaching a lecture straight from the book, you are most likely to bore the students to death. However, a teacher can combine that same lesson with the use of computers. There are now many new programs that make learning fun for students. There are reading, math, social studies, science, and even physical education programs that students can use to better their knowledge in the subjects. Technology has token a major leap from what it was back when I was in elementary. Students are more motivated in a lesson once they know they will be using computers, even if it is for educational purposes. There are websites students can access from their houses where they can practice their skills or even complete homework. Teachers can assign students a tellecollaborative lesson where they can communicate with students all over the world via internet. The internet open up millions of doors and opportunities for teachers and students. They can use email, messaging, and chatting to communicate with other students and learn about their native land. Teachers can also assign students research projects where students can search the world wide web for information regarding their subject. Websites such as google, and yahoo, and ask are just a few of the amazing websites brought up by technology. The possibilities with technology in the classroom are endless. Another great instructional method involving education are digital stories. Even though I have yet to create my very own, I have researched on them and they are definitely fun, creative, and educational. Whether it be a teacher creating one to instruct students or even having students create their very own to present to the class, they’re awesome! They are a great way to get students to have a visual and audio representation of the lesson being taught. It is a fact that the more senses involved in a lesson, the more likely a student is to catch on to what is being taught. Having a student create their own digital story gives them an opportunity to experiment with technology while still making sure they grasp the concept of the lesson. They’re a great way to unleash the student’s creativity and talents in each slide. Overall, Including technology in education and instruction is very crucial and important. Technology is becoming part of our everyday lives and it is important that we prepare our students for it. 

Reflection #8- Educational philosophy

We all have different thoughts and approaches to education. This creates our educational philosophy or outlook. My educational philosophy would be a constructivist one. The constructivist approach stresses that we all, as learners, create our own interpretation or reality of things based on our past experiences. It states learning as an interpretation of the world around us, and our process of creating meaning. A constructivist approach in education is one that emphasizes hands on activities that help students connect to reality and the real world. In contrast to a behaviorist approach, it gives students the opportunity to think on their own, rather than having a teacher guide them through a lesson. Having students work in groups sparks their curiosity and motivation. It fuels the brain to process and work harder. Constructivism prepares students to face difficult situations and teaches them how to resolve them. It focuses on the learner setting goals and trying to reach them. I like constructivism because it stresses attention towards communication and interaction without such focus on the accomplishment of the lesson. It suggests that through assimilation, learners place their experiences into an already existing framework without actually changing the framework. Students will use their already existent perception of the world and combine them with their experiences in order to learn. I think the best way to focus on a students learning is to have them actually learn on their own through interaction and problem solving. Having students attempt and see results on their own is the best way to ensure learning. Constructivism focuses on accommodation as the use of failure leading to learning. We act on the expectation that the world works in one way that we believe. If we see it goes against our beliefs and violates or expectations, we fail, but yet, we learn from it. Constructivism focuses on HOW things happen, not paying much attention to students following the instruction and understanding the lecture. It is an active learning process, which has always been my favorite when it comes to instruction. Constructivism gives students responsibility and motivation towards learning. It makes them responsible for their capacity and speed of learning, depending on their participation and enthusiasm. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reflection #7- Digital Story

What is a digital story? That is a good question. I had no idea what a digital story was before being asked this question. Therefore, I researched it. A digital story is somewhat like a short educational video clip. It includes information in the form of pictures, video, audio clips, and text. It is basically the story telling of a specific subject or topic. It narrates some ones particular point of view. The person creating the digital story has many options and things to play with. It is a great way to unleash creativity. You can record an audio clip over an actual video. You can place text over a video, or even just display pictures while playing an audio clip. The possibilities are endless. A digital story can cover a wide variety of subjects. It can narrate an actual story, or present educational or historical information. A digital story is a short, personal presentation provided by the author based on their thoughts and opinions. They usually last about two to ten minutes. An effective digital story usually includes seven essential elements. These elements are point of view, a dramatic question, emotional content, the gift of your voice, the power of soundtrack, economy, and pacing. Point of view is basically the main point of the story and the authors point of view, pretty self explanatory. Next, there should be a key question that keeps the viewer attentive. The question will be answered by the end of the clip. Emotional content includes something personal and serious that connects the audience to the story. The gift of your voice is a great way to personalize the story. It’s always good to ass music and sounds that will add a little spice and attraction to the story. Economy is a metaphor to using just about enough content, however, not overwhelming the viewer. Pacing refers to the rhythm of the story, whether it goes fast or slow.  There are many types of digital stories. these include; character stories, memorial stories, stories about accomplishment or adventure events in our lives, stories about places in our lives, stories about what we do, or other stories such as recovery, discovery and love stories. Digital stories are a great tool in education. They can serve as a great lesson plan, or even as a way to integrate technology and multimedia in the curriculum. It helps content and lessons visual and easier to understand. This use of digital stories even makes teaching easier ! Students can even create their own digital story as a presentation tool when faced with a difficult project. In order to create a digital story, the creator must obtain the program “photo story 3”.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reflection #6-Tele Collaborative Lessons

Tele Collaborative learning is a new and fresh way of teaching. It is the use of technology and computers in a classroom in order to expand creative learning and thinking. The use of computers in a classroom is an open door to millions of learning possibilities. Access to the world wide web is a great learning tool for students and an awesome teaching one for professionals. Besides all of the available websites with educational information for students, the internet gives access to many communication possibilities such as email and chat. Students can communicate with other students and professionals from any place across the world and exchange information and ideas. Students can also work with a number of different programs and online activities to further their studies. In the article of tele collaboration, middle school teacher, Brenda Dyck shares her experience of her tele collaborative lesson. She worked with two classrooms from complete opposite sides of the globe. Her students from the United States had online communication with students from Israel. They discussed the theme “the right to safety”. The students emailed back and forth and discussed their individual lifestyles in their native countries. The students didn’t seem to mention their environment until they were asked to write their papers discussing the safety level in their countries. The american students seemed to be perplexed and shocked with the responses submitted by the israeli students. They gained a better understanding and appreciation of what it exactly it meant to be an american and it’s great benefits. The teacher also used computers to show the students images from CNN of the terrorism in Israel. It wasn’t until this activity that the students really opened their eyes and minds to terrorism and the Israeli community. Through their recent online communication, students viewed the Israeli students as any other thirteen or fourteen year olds. It wasn’t until this conversation came up that students began to appreciate their country. Tele collaborative activities and lessons like these are great to open up and spark any students curiosity. They gain their attention because they are fun and consuming activities. Grabbing a middle school students attention can be a very difficult task at times seeing as they are going through a difficult age where nothing seems to be interesting. Technology, especially computers are a great and fun way to implement education. This lesson provided by Brenda Dyck was a very informative and valuable lesson. Definitely a life changing and eye opening experience for those students. It is an experience they will be able to share with their children when they grow older. It made students have a greater appreciation of the United States and our great safe environment. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reflection #5- Cooperative/ Collaborative learning

Cooperative/ collaborative learning is a very productive way of learning in a classroom. It is essential that a teacher incorporates at least two assignments through ought the school year that consist of collaborative learning. Working in groups enhances learning in many efficient ways. Usually, a group of two or more students are places together to solve a problem, or discuss a lecture that was brought up by the teacher. The main goal of a collaborative assignment is watching students actually cooperate with one another and work together as a team. Sometimes it is very difficult to place students in a team and expect each one to do their fair share in an assignment. Group work identifies responsibility from the team members. With evaluation sheets and group progress, the teacher can observe the behavior of students as they come together with a project or assignment. She can see who is usually a group leader and who is not such a hard worker. These group assignments identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, placing ones weakness with another one’s strengths creates the actual collaboration. Students help each other and balance out one another to come up with a final project. Students use all of their critical thinking skills together to come up with one final solution or conclusion to whatever assignment it is they are doing. When students work with one another they develop their interpersonal skills and come up with better ways to deal with conflict. Collaborative learning groups must consist of three things. First, the students must feel comfortable in their groups, but also challenged. Second, the students cannot be too big, that way all students can contribute and participate in the assignment equally. Third, the task the students are completing must be clearly identified. Collaborative learning helps students absorb knowledge and skills from one another and put it all together to create their own individual meanings. They learn through experience and  guidance from one another. Group work introduces students to diversity and the art of working and accepting ideas from other people. Collaborative learning will benefit students in the long run because it will be applied in many situations that we are faced with in the future. Working with a team is something that will be reflected when students enter the business world later on. Collaborative work helps students get a better understanding of a subject while also expanding their social skills at the same time. Collaborative work is a good way to enhance motivation in students because it is usually a more entertaining activity than any individual task assigned by a teacher. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Reflection #4- Inquiry based Learning

In order to fully understand what inquiry based learning is, we must understand what inquiry is. Through ought our whole lives we are constantly forced to use our senses in order to make sense of the world. If we sit and observe a 3 month baby we will discover just exactly what inquiry is. A new born baby uses all of their senses (hearing, seeing, taste, touching, and smelling) to discover the things they do not understand about this new world they’ve come into. When a baby first sees something, their first reaction is to either put it in their mouth or touch it and play with it. When a toddler is going through their “little scientist” stage, they experiment with their senses to figure out exactly what each item does. Inquiry based learning is the process of using our senses and questions in the educational system. If we look back we notice that through our early educational experiences, we were brought up to believe that asking questions was wrong. We grew up with the fear of asking our teachers questions. We were taught to memorize a lot of information and then later we were tested on it. Inquiry based learning is a hands on approach that helps students make use of their senses and their brains. Storing information is not making use of the brain. Inquiry based learning encourages the process of curiosity and intrigue. Students try to find solutions to problems with the use of experiences and real life situations. We make understanding and sense of the world through trying to figure out how things work. Inquiry is not trying to memorize or know the right answer. It is trying to make sense of something, because there is never going to be just one right answer. Sometimes we memorize so much information, yet we have no idea what it is all about. We are scared to ask questions so we let our curiosity wonder off. Inquiry based learning includes a curriculum that encourages students to work together to solve an issue and brainstorm rather than reading a book and absorbing information. It is considered “discovery learning” where the teacher simply assists students to come to their own answers and conclusions. They do not give the answers to the students. Students experiment with their senses and objects to master better analytical and critical thinking skills.