Throughout this course, I have learned so much about technology, teaching, and myself as a learner. I cannot believe all of the resources that I now have. This class has given me an exponential amount of tools that I will forever use. There is so much information to take in, but I know it will be put to great use in the future when I am teaching in my own classroom.
The technology that I have learned throughout this course are all things that I never knew existed before taking this class. I have learned how to blog and how a blog can be used with your students to communicate effectively with one another. I have explored all of the things Google Docs has to offer and I have applied this source to my other courses I am currently taking. I learned how to use a wiki and how wikis can be used by anyone. Wikis are a great tool for classrooms that foster participation and communication among all of the students. I have learned how to use Voicethred as an effective tool for students to voice their opinions or own experiences through their own voice and images. I am so excited that I learned how to use a Podcast because I feel that I will use this in my future classroom for storytelling or read aloud with my students. I can assure you that I will never again create a PowerPoint that is boring for my audience. I know now how to create an interactive PowerPoint that is engaging for everyone in the room. I will continue to Skype with various teachers and educators that have the knowledge and experience that can help me in the future, There are so many pieces of technology that I will take with me from this course, and I have appreciated what they have offered me now as well as what they will offer me in the future.
This course has given me a new perspective of what it is to be a teacher in this day and age. Teaching and education is deictic and forever changing. What teaching is today will be different than what it will be tomorrow. There will continue to be changes in the use of technology and how that effects teaching. Teachers need to keep updated on the new technologies that are available and be able to teach their students to the best of their ability. I feel that this course has readily prepared me for what is to come for teaching. I feel prepared to teach students all of the new technologies I have learned and how to integrate technology into my teaching each and every day. There needs to be a sense of balance with using technology, but having the knowledge to use these tools will only make you a more effective teacher.
More than anything, I have learned more about myself throughout this course. I have learned that when I try something new, I feel a sense of pride and the power to teach this to someone new. I never considered myself as technologically savvy, and to tell you the truth, I was scared at the beginning of this course. I was scared that I was not capable to do the things on the computer that everyone else could do. I was scared that I might do the wrong thing. The one thing that I failed to realize was that if I didn’t mess up once in a while or didn’t make mistakes, then I would never learn. I was capable of using these tools and I took more than I could ever imagine out of this class. I appreciate everything I have learned. It has made me a stronger person, educator, and learner. I will use these tools in the future and I now have the drive to learn things I may be scared of!!
This Wednesday I skyped with Rita Santiago, an ESOL teacher for adult students. Rita is from Wisconsin, and she has the most experience with teaching of anyone I have ever met. She has taught at all levels for teaching English as a second language and has taught Spanish in the past. Her students that she currently teaches range from 18 years old to 75 years old. This teacher has such an amazing relationship with her students, and she loves her job so much. She gave me inspiration and hope for when I become a teacher in the future.
We discussed how teaching English as a second language is so rewarding for her, and how she loves to go to work every day because of the impact that her students have made on her. Teaching English as a second language is my major at Nazareth for my Masters, so we connected on such a huge level… it was amazing. She could tell just by talking to me that I was excited to be a new teacher, and I was looking forward to working with students that needed my help. She made me feel as though I am in the right place and made me appreciate all that I have to look forward to in the future.
Rita Santiago and I also discussed the ways in which she uses technology in her teaching. She said that twitter was the best thing that she could have found for her classroom. She feels that it has enhanced her lessons and has given her the opportunity to talk with other teachers to help herself as a teacher. She has also used Google Docs, which she has felt is a great tool to use with her students in an interactive way. I talked to her about all the ways we have used technology in our course this year and the tools that I will apply to my future classroom. I told her that we have used Voicethreds in the class, and she offered ways that it could be useful. Rita told me that her class used it as a story telling exercise, where she did the reading and showed pictures of the book as it went along. I thought this was a great idea to use this tool, and it such a great way to engage younger children. I will definitely use this tool in my future teaching.
I was so appreciative that I had the opportunity to talk with Rita Santiago, and I feel that I have taken so much out of our conversation. I never anticipated that I would talk to her for over an hour and learn so much from our discussion. Our conversation flowed naturally, there were no awkward moments throughout the discussion. She talked to me about monumental things that I will never forget about teaching. She told me that I am meant to be a teacher, and if my students can tell that I care about them, then that is all you could ask for as a teacher. I thought this was great advice, and I know I will be talking to Rita again soon through Skype!!
I don’t think I have ever heard of the term PowerPoint poisoning before this class. I have sat through some boring presentations before, and I believe I am guilty of giving some boring presentations. I hope I never give another presentation the way in which I have been giving them for years. During class this week, we explored the different things that PowerPoint has to offer. There are so many things that a person can do with PowerPoint that I never knew how to do before. In class, we learned how easy it was to place an image on the screen that when you clicked on it, it would take you to another page. I found this extremely helpful when trying to go back to the home page. I always found that when I give a PowerPoint presentation, I want to go back in the presentation, but do not feel like flipping through all of the slides. This is an efficient use of time and a creative way to set up your presentation. I also really liked how we placed a certain page to a certain part of an image. This would be helpful as a teacher. Throughout the class, I was so excited to use something like this in a science lesson. For example, I would love doing this type of thing with PowerPoint when teaching about parts of the body. I could place a different slide to each part of the body, and when you click on the part of the body, it brings you to a new slide! I am excited to construct a PowerPoint with my partner and I am eager to try all of the new techniques we have learned in class!
During class tonight, we watched exemplar videos of how a teacher can incorporate Skype within his or her classroom. In one of the examples, there was a teacher that would Skype a student who had cancer in the classroom so she would have the opportunity to take part in class lessons and discussions. This student would Skype her fellow students every day so she could take part in what was happening in school from the comfort of her own home. Cancer is such a debilitating disease, yet this student was able to travel to art class, gym class, English class, and so on. Technology has become such a huge part of our society, and even though parents may have their opinions of how hurtful the internet can be, this is a huge advantage that seems impossible. This child has been given a second chance to see her friends, experience what her peers are experiencing, given a feeling that she is not missing out on her everyday life, and making strides with people she feels the closest to. It is amazing the advancements that have been through technology and how young children are implementing technology in their lives each and every day. Once I saw this movie clip example in class tonight, I knew this is what a can passionately write a blog about because I felt a great sense of pride and admiration for this teacher. I went home and watched the full video. It was amazing to see how this teacher incorporating technology into the classroom and how well the students responded to it. This teacher seems like an amazing and courageous individual who is not afraid to take chances in the classroom to benefit the good of the students. I wonder if there are teachers who would have implemented Skype into his or her classroom to benefit this child, or if they would have taken the easy road and just filled the child in on assignments she missed.
I have learned many things throughout the construction of this paper. This paper, and the resources that I chose, have taught me ways to integrate technology into an ELL classroom. All students, not just ELL students, can apply technology cross curricula and can use it to further their learning. In one of my sources, there was a classroom that used podcasts to communicate with one another in the classroom. This was a different way to assess student participation, and a fun and engaging way for the students to communicate with one another. In another source that I used, there was a French classroom that used a strategy called TELL for English language learners. This strategy increased participation among the students and helped them with drafting, revising, and editing papers. This strategy was a useful tool and I am eager to try and apply this to my teaching in the future. Another component that I discovered throughout this paper was the term technophobia. I think many people assume that teachers do not use technology within their teaching because he or she is afraid to do so. This is not always the case. Some teachers believe that technology goes against their beliefs or personal preferences and choose not to use it. Even though they are missing out on something that their students can value and be engaged about, this is their choice. I hope to one day, when I have a classroom of my own, to integrate technology as much as possible for my students and open their eyes to new material. After writing this paper, I understand that integrating technology into teaching has many options, and can truly benefit the students when used properly. There were so many issues that I touched upon within my paper and many ways in which technology can be a way of learning for the students. I always look for new ways to support my teaching and engage my learners, but I never thought I would gather so much information and knowledge from constructing this paper. Sometimes I become frustrated or stressed out when it comes time to write a paper, but once I started delving into this topic, I became intrigued and learned a great deal. I learned about myself as a teacher, as a student, and ways that I can cultivate my learning and the learning of others. I appreciate this assignment and I know it will be used a great deal within my major and my teaching in the future.