The first class in the MAET program has come to a close and I find myself with some mixed outcomes. Because my teacher preparation courses were so thorough in focusing on meaningful activities and outcome based learning, I do not feel that my thinking altered at all around the topics of learning and understanding. I do feel better prepared to consider technology in support of these goals. One of the more interesting things I encountered in the course regarding learning in classrooms was to tap into the enthusiasm of online affinity spaces (Gee, 2013). I am really drawn to the idea of trying to make my classroom more like these creative communities.
What will impact me most going forward is the TPACK framework and the ideas the lessons should include not just ‘learn and explore’ but also ‘create and share’. I feel that I have utilized technology well in the past to support students in their exploration of curriculum content, but I know that I have not called on them to contribute their own creations to a learning community. I am looking forward to calling on students to produce their own creations to demonstrate their understanding of various topics. I can already envision some amazing photo essays for world history inspired by our last lesson examples. I would love my classroom to really embrace this idea, not of passive reception of information, but of creative representations of understanding and critical thinking. I do struggle with adapting these ideas for my Algebra classes. This will take more searching and creativity on my part. (I am considering some combination of Google Maps and road-trip planning to demonstrate linear equations.)
One of the problems that I have been running against, while being excited about the possibilities in combination with the many technology options, remains access to technology tools. I am not currently teaching in a one-to-one classroom, so I have to reserve the resources ahead of time. This can make it difficult to integrate ideas more organically. Projects integrating creative technologies have to be planned out well ahead of time. Alternatively, I would like to be able to incorporate some of these ideas outside of the use of personal computers. As mentioned early on in the class, the new media literacies (Jenkins, 2013) can be taught without necessarily having access to ‘technology’. This was not explored much, and I do still have questions on the best way to do this. It seems particularly pertinent for my situation. In pursuit of this, I will need to consider how ‘repurposing’ resources (Mishra, 2012) more readily available to me could help. I struggle with allowing students to use their smartphones, because they are so easily misused. This is partly a management issue, but needs to be considered in the creation of effective lessons. I have questions on the best way to utilize smart phones, without leaving opportunities for abuse. That is something my teacher preparation courses did not cover, and that my PLN struggles with as well.
Overall, I am looking forward to the next course in this program.