Final Course Reflection


In “Teaching with Technology,” I explored three theories for learning: the constructivism theory, connectivism theory, and the cyborg learning theory and their implications for teaching with technology.
I participated in a learning team and collaborated on a solution to a scenario-based group project using Web 2.0 tools and other technology applications. I also designed a student-centered learning experience with technology and provided a rationale for technology activities designed for diverse learners. I read about ways that Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can be used to provide individual students with appropriate instructional support and challenges. One article I read from chapter 6 of Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning stated that “[s]uccessful learning experiences challenge and support each learner appropriately and adjust as the learner changes over time. The goal of UDL is to provide every student this kind of customized and responsive experience" (Rose & Meyer, 2002).

This new lesson plan format worked nicely with the Working on the Work lesson plan design template that Highland Park ISD Group collaboration was a major emphasis in this course, so when we began our group project, I tried to be proactive in assembling a team in order to complete our scenario-based project. I hoped that I could bring strengths to the group that may not be present. My experience as a health teacher and my past experience writing curriculum helped steer the team’s lesson design. However, it was interesting to see how others put their spin on my basic lesson plan. James Paul Gee states: “Very often, you don’t learn that much from an expert, you can learn a lot by learning with somebody else.” http://www.edutopia.org/digital-generation-james-gee-video reminded me that I still had a lot to learn. So, I really got to pick up a few new ideas for my course. Our group worked very well together, spending multiple hours in a Skype chat room discussing the group’s strength and weaknesses and what the project would look like in the end. The group interaction and their faith in me to provide the structure of a UDL lesson plan made me want to put my best foot forward. My only negative is that I still like to feel “in control” so group work is always harder for me to complete.

During this course I gained a better understanding of my current strengths and weaknesses in the areas of lesson design after 24 years of teaching. I realized that I need to continue to explore how to design authentic assessments for my future students. It was my interaction and discussion with my group members that showed me that there are other ways to design a quality lesson. Finally, my chapter 6 reading from Solomon and Schrum challenged me by this one statement: All schools are driven by requirements to maintain and improve standardized test scores. And yet these efforts create a rather interesting conundrum, because frequently the "new school" model and high-stakes testing seem in conflict with each other." (Solomon and Schrum, 2007) As a lifelong learner and a professional in education, I need to further explore ways to help alleviate the conflict we still see with standardized testing and the need for authentic assessment.
References:
Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002).Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Chapter 6.Available online at the Center for applied Special Technology Web site. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/
Edutopia.org (nd). Big thinkers: James Paul Gee on grading with games. Retrieved on 12/14/09 from
http://www.edutopia.org/digital-generation-james-gee-video

Solomon, G., and Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, new schools, Eugene, Or: International Society for Technology in Education