Reflection on Integrating Technology into Content Areas
Throughout this course of integrating technology into the content areas, I have learned a variety of ways to include technology into the classroom. In this process, I created a few GAME plan goals to help me learn technology better. According to Cennamo, Ross and Ertmer (2009), “The GAME plan requires you to think about and take steps to direct your learning process, specifically while learning about technology and how to integrate it into the curriculum.” (p. 3). During these past seven weeks, I have been working on a couple of Game Goals to aid in my learning process.
The first GAME plan I have worked on during these last few weeks was to use Google Forms more in my classroom. In this goal, I really wanted to start using Google forms as a way for my students to reflect on their learning. Reflective thinking promotes development and growth (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). I have used Google Docs in the past for collaboration, but I have not used Google Forms. Since beginning this goal, I learned how to create a form and send it out as a survey to students. One way I have used this form was to survey my Technology Club students to see what they are interested in learning about while in Technology Club. I also intend to give these students a reflective form asking for honest feedback and reflection on learning on Technology Club on the last class. This is the first year I have done Technology Club and I am interested to see what students liked, learned and thought could have went better about the club so I can improve this club next year. I have yet to implement this into my regular classroom, though I intend to use it as a reflection on a future book project. I see Google Form as a wonderful resource to help analyze students’ results. I really like how it is easy to look at the forms and see the results. Not only can I use these forms as a survey, but I would also like to use them as pre and post assessments of units, and check in with students to see how they think things are going in a variety of areas in the classroom. I see this improving my instructional practices by giving me timely feedback to adjust my instruction to better meet the needs of my students.
My second goal was to learn how to use wikis and implement them more in my classroom. At the beginning of this class, I was excited to explore and learn more about wikis. I created a school wide wiki to promote communication with my colleagues. This wiki, https://skyline502.wikispaces.com/, has not been much of a success. Only about one fourth of my staff actually has joined. I discussed this with my principal and we talked about maybe implementing this more next school year as a beginning of the year objective. I work with a staff that is not very technological and who tend to be resistant to any need tools or changes. I still intend on pursuing this as a way to promote communication and collaboration among my colleagues.
After using wikis more, I realized that it might not be the best reflection tool for me to work with my students. First of all, I found with Google Docs that my students often deleted each other’s work. Most of this was not intentional, but by editing a page at the same time, students would overlap each other and sometimes delete each other’s work. This could really be a problem with a wiki. I have found two people cannot edit a wiki page at the same time without overwriting and deleting each other’s work. I really see the potential of this tool with students working together on a wiki page to collaborate ideas. I think I may even start different wikis for students when we begin our ancient civilizations literature circle groups. When doing this, I will make sure each group has it’s own page or even one wiki with different pages to avoid too many students trying to edit one page at one time. In my attempt to do more of a collaborative reflection process: however, I have actually strayed a bit from this goal and begin working with blogs with my students.
Since I realized that wikis might not be the best tool for students to reflect and respond to each other, I went on a search for a tool to better meet my needs. After some research I came across the site www.kidblog.org. What attracted to me to this site is that it was an easy to use blog that allowed teacher control over students’ blogs. All of the students’ individual blogs are under the teacher’s account with access to all blogs on the same home page. Another bonus is that if your students do not have email, this site does not require student emails. Our classroom blog site http://kidblog.org/MrsMorris9/
This GAME plan process has been successful in helping me improve instructional strategies into all subject areas. I would like to use a similar strategy next year with monthly goal setting with my students. By having students actively work on and reflect on their goals, I believe they are more likely to achieve their goals. Not only do these technology tools help improve my instructional practices, but they also motivated my students and helped establish a stronger community in my classroom.
It is this enthusiasm that really helps me see the benefit of integrating technology into the classroom. According to Vicki Davis, technology tools give students an authentic audience, collaboration opportunities, a voice and added excitement for learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). I foresee myself continuing to work with blogs, wikis and Google Forms in my classroom. I really see wikis and blogs as excellent ways to promote collaboration among students, especially as they work on Problem-Based Learning projects. This will also give them the skills to contact experts via blog or wiki to get additional information during research projects. I also see Google Presentation as an easy to use tool to help students collaboratively work together to do digital storytelling. All of these digital tools I have used throughout this class can easily be used to better implement successful teaching practices into all subject areas. Therefore, making technology a helpful tool, not just another thing we have to teach our students. I look forward to learning more ways of implementing these tools in my classroom in the upcoming years.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2010). Technology integration for meaningful
classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Spotlight on technology: social networking, part 1. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.