As I finish the last week of this course, I have taken some time to reflect on what I have learned and how it will affect my ability to effectively and appropriately integrate technology into my classroom. I have reflected on my personal theory of learning prior to completing this course, made some immediate changes in my instructional practices regarding the integration of technology and set two long-term goals that support integration of technology.
As I reflect on my own personal theory of learning, I still support the continued use of the constructivism/constructionist learning theory. I believe that students need to be able to construct their own meanings for the knowledge to be useful and remembered. Originally, I did not recognize that my classroom also models behaviorism. Behaviorism seems to be viewed as old school methods of teaching. I use behaviorism through grades, point systems and extrinsic rewards to help reinforce a desirable behavior or help a student modify his or her behaviors. Used when needed, this learning theory can provide positive and effective results. I have observed the presence of the social learning theory in my instructional practices. My students are building knowledge by working together to solve problems or build projects. This will help them be ready for the 21st century workplace.
I have learned about several technology tools that I can use effectively in my instructional practices to enhance student engagement and learning. I am incorporating concept maps with graphics into the note-taking instructional strategy. Concept maps allow my students to organize and synthesize information in a way that “...replicates the network model of memory” (Laureate Education, 2009). “Graphic representation has been shown to produce a percentile gain of 39 points in student achievement (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). In addition, I have added Voice Threads within my instructional practices. Voice Threads support the social learning theory “…cooperative learning focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning. When students work in cooperative groups, they make sense of, or construct meaning for, new knowledge by interacting with others” ( Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Voice Threads will allow my students the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas and gain knowledge from each other.
I have set two long-term goals that support the integration of technology into my instructional practices. First, my goal is to follow the “Matrix of the Four Planning Questions, the Nine Categories of Instructional Strategies, and the Seven Categories of Technology” as I plan instruction for my students (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). The matrix provides a checklist of all of the things that I need to consider as I plan what instructional strategy will be used with what technology. This will assure that the technology used is appropriate and effective for student learning. My second goal is to stay a lifelong learner myself by attending staff developments and finishing my master’s degree. This is important because technology is constantly changing and so the way my students think and learn is constantly changing. I want to stay abreast with the new so that I can maximize my students’ learning by using current forms of technology and prepare them for the 21st century workplace.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore: Dr .Michael Orey.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.