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!!
Throughout the readings for this week, there was one that I connected with the most. The reading titled “Building Better Instruction” really hit home with me and made me reflect on the lessons that I do each day with the kindergarteners at my school. I teach four and five year old children, so the one thing that I have to keep in mind throughout my teaching is versatility and creativity. I cannot teach in the same manner every day, or teach with the same learning strategy in mind all of the time. To keep my lessons interesting and to keep the children engaged, I take notice to all of their different learning strategies and I gear my lessons towards them each day. One day I might do a lesson catered to the visual learners by drawing a picture of what I am teaching or showing a diagram. The next day I may play Spanish music or play an audio of people speaking Spanish for my audio learners. The next day I will have the students move around the room and play games, or I will have the students dance to cater to my kinesthetic learners. My students adapt to the learning styles and thrive when given new material each day.
In the reading “Building Better Instruction”, the author talks about nonlinguistic representations. I agree with this portion of the reading because I know that all students learn in various ways and teaching should be represented in such ways that vary from just a teacher giving a lecture. Students will have more success and a better appreciation for learning when given opportunities that enhance their academic achievement.