CEP 810 is the first course I have taken on the road to my Master of Arts in Educational Technology program. This class has forced me to think a lot about the best ways to implement technology both for my students in my role as teacher-librarian and for my staff as the technology leader for my building. I have explored a lot of new tools that I am excited to use – Wunderlist, Popplet, WordPress. I have also used familiar tools like Twitter, Google and YouTube in different or more interactive ways. I have been thinking about how best to make use of these tools to support teaching and learning in my building. In our first week of class, we focused on teaching, learning and understanding. The concept that stood out for me was scaffolding. Teachers need to provide it in their teaching to help students grow. Students need to develop it in their own brains in order to access learning more efficiently. My mind returned to the idea of scaffolding in our discussion of TPACK. My teachers are experts in their content and are comfortable in the pedagogy that they use to teach it. They may not comfortable with a new technology piece or how it forces them to change their pedagogy. My job is not necessarily to simply teach them the new technology, but to provide them with the scaffolding to discover and implement the changes that the new technology has brought to their pedagogy. I am fortunate to be working with a technology integration team in my district that shares this viewpoint. Although we do not always get the support we need from administration, I am feeling very optimistic though that we will be able to make some changes in our professional development model that will allow us to scaffold teachers more effectively.
I am still working on how to apply some of this to my work with students. The networked learning project was a great experience and I’d like to use something similar with my fifth graders when we learn a new technology tool, but my district blocks YouTube. I would also like to have my students start reading blogs, but many of those tools are also blocked. I want to implement these types of learning into my curriculum, but I need ideas about how to manage it when so many tools are unavailable. Another question I have is how to get teacher buy-in of any new pedagogy that does not directly relate to high stakes testing. It is difficult for teachers to be willing to change what they are doing if they know that there will be a short term dip in their students scores as they go through the change process. I recognize this is a question related to my role as technology leader rather than teacher-librarian, but it is one I struggle with frequently. Needless to say, with one course under my belt, my own mental scaffolding remains somewhat incomplete, but the questions my coursework has generated are important ones for me to consider.
I have really enjoyed the learning I have done in this course. It has challenged me, amused me and helped me grow as an educator, but most importantly allowed me the opportunity to learn to knit. Thanks for the experience.