Before taking CEP 811 Adapting Innovative Technologies in Education I always questioned the idea of building curriculum around projects. I felt that due to the amount of state standards that I needed to address, I couldn’t afford to waste time by allowing my students to play around in science. However, these past seven weeks have caused me to reverse my thinking and I now wonder how my students will survive the future if they don’t learn to think. Thinking, synthesizing, explaining and reasoning are more important skills that memorizing science facts. I find myself agreeing with Eric Isslehardt (2013) when he said his school was concerned because “authentic learning was largely missing.” This has been true at my school as well.
I mentioned in my Final Reflections on CEP 810 post that I am looking to change the way I teach AP Biology. While CEP 810 started to give me ideas about what my learning cycle might look like, CEP 811 allowed me to focus on the “Produce” phase. Throughout this course, I have learned about why I should have my students become makers. According to Bransford, Brown and Cocking (2000), “schools and classrooms must be learner centered” (p. 23). The Maker Education (and constructivist approaches) “focus on engaging participants in learning content and process” (Halverson & Sheridan, 2014, p. 501). This type of authentic learning experience that builds off of student interest will increase student motivation and metacognition.
While CEP 811 has allowed me to learn about some great technologies (iMovie, SketchUp, and Easlly to name a few) more importantly, I have begun to learn how to use technology in education. Richard Culatta (2013), the Director of the Office of Educational Technology, says that rather than just digitalizing what educators already do, we must use technology to give students experiences that would not otherwise be possible.
This statement really stuck with me as I began my part-time role as Technology Coach this past week. In fact, I played that two minute segment of his TED Talk after being introduced in a staff meeting. My hope is to meet with teachers one-on-one not only to teach them about specific technologies but also to help them change the way that they view educational technology. I plan to introduce my co-workers to TPACK.
There are times in this ed tech journey when I am excited about what the future holds. There are other times where the pace at which technology changes is almost too overwhelming to consider. Through it all, my goal is to help provide my students with authentic learning opportunities and the chance to become Makers.
Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. National Academies Press. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368.
Culatta, R. (2013, January). Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeaconStreet [Video File]. Retrived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg.
Halverson, E.R. & Sheridan, K. (2014). The maker movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 84(4), 495-465.
Isslehardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/PBL-aligned-to-common-core-eric-isslehardt