As a teacher and an instructional designer, I have had many experiences both in the classroom and behind the scenes. I often reflect upon my journey to help remind myself of the learning theories that are part of my teaching philosophy. Using these learning theories, I have learned to integrate technology that enhances learning. In addition, through the use of technology, I have been able to create tutorials, videos, online courses, and websites.
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Reflections as a Teacher
Professional Learning Network
As a life-long learner and a teacher, I am always trying to figure out ways to learn new things. In 2012, I was introduced to the Professional Learning Network (PLN). Teachers and professionals from all over the world participate in weekly discussions, share ideas, and give one another inspiration. I use my PLN all the time for innovative ways to teach and to regroup and focus on why I do what I do.
Teaching, Learning, and Understanding
The best teachers reflect upon their own lessons and find new ways to improve. Teachers want each of their students to succeed and understand as they are learning. As a teacher, I have always had the mindset of “student-centered.” There are many different learning theories such as project-based, inquiry, and discovery learning that help students understand what they are learning.
Applying Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge
Teaching Students Online
In this day and age, many school districts have turned to integrating technology. Many examples are 1:1 classrooms and teaching online. By using Haiku Learning Management System, I created a Unit on Plate Tectonics. Throughout this course, students work through three units where they participate in readings, videos, collaborative projects, and individual checks for understanding.
Writing Labs with Technology
Students often see technology as fun rather than learning. It is important to take this idea and enhance it. By focusing students on the content rather than the fun, new technology they are using, students learn while having fun. In this lesson, students learned about the scientific method and created posters online using Glogster.
Learning in School and Other Settings
During my career as a teacher, students struggled with the idea of density. Students could easily plug in information to a formula to find density, but they struggled with explaining density, explaining how volume and mass change, and applying the idea of density to explain the impact of temperature on changes in density. Using my knowledge of content and pedagogy, I attempted to solve this problem by implementing technology to enhance the learning of my students. I completed research and reached out to fellow science teachers to see how they teach this tough concept.
Engagement in the classroom is always a problem for teachers. Teachers want every lesson they teach to have students on the edges of their seat to help with retention and mastery. I decided to research engagement and apply design thinking. Design thinking is a process of six steps that includes questioning, empathy, defining a problem, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Through this process, I was able to figure out new ways to engage students and reflect upon the process.
Teaching with Technology
As a math teacher, I always tried to help students master the concepts they were learning. One of the best ways to ensure this is for students to explain their thinking and their understanding. Through the use of Kidblog, I created a lesson that incorporated technology and had students explain their thinking as they solved a two-step equation.
Using iMovie to Create Videos
Ever since I had purchased a Mac, I always wanted to know how to create a video. Through the use of YouTube tutorials and Apple community, I was able to teach myself how to use iMovie. During this process, I had received a puppy for my birthday, who became my muse. I took videos using my iPhone and edited the video into a tribute to my puppy. I also tried to fit the music to the video as best as I could.
Technology in the Classroom
I always wondered how many other teachers use technology and how they use it. By using a Google Form, I was able to create a survey to give to my fellow teachers and co-workers. I then analyzed this data and made an Infographic to showcase the data.
Technology and Leadership
During the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to work with a group of educators and create the 7th annual Global Resources in Education and Technology Conference or GREAT14. During GREAT14, I presented on the topic of Cyber Bullying. A colleague and I collaborated to find research-based tips that teachers could bring back and implement in their classroom right away. In addition, we facilitated a discussion that included educators from all over the world. It was an amazing experience to work with educators with different backgrounds and to be part of the production of a conference and be a presenter of a session.
I was also able to showcase my website creation skills and work with two other colleagues to create the website used for the conference. I helped with the organization of the pages as well as the biographies for the presenters.