Edtech 501: Reflection

Throughout this course I was constantly challenged and inspired. I was introduced to many tools that revolutionized the way I viewed my classroom blog as well as my instructional practices as well. I began my journey in this course by researching about facilitated learning practices and how it relates to Edtech. During the research process, I identified key components for successful facilitation: environment design, implementing vast resources for diverse learners, organizing resources and provisions of the tools used by students. This helped me tremendously in my overall planning and curriculum planning.

Another section of the course that greatly helped with my current teaching position was the use of a tool called Zotero that can be used to organize resources into alphabetical order and in APA format. As a graduate student as well as a teacher of high school English, this tool has become a regular in all aspects of my life. I just really loved how everything that I learned about basically all had to do with that first research paper about facilitation and this course gave me a lot of the tools necessary to implement a successful facilitated learning environment.

In this course, we also explored a bookmarking site called Diigo, that enable us to share, compile, and showcase research  with others in a public or private forum. We were asked to participate in Google Plus and Linked In and a few other social networking sites that help educators to connect, collaborate and network effectively online.

Some of the most challenging aspects of the course has to do with evaluating the technology at my school. I obtained assistance from the technology coordinator to effectively narrow down what category the technology in the building would fit into (Advanced, Novice, etc). Also, after researching into the “Digital Divide”, I found myself conflicted by the ideas presented.

How could such a monumental problem ever be solved? Were there clear cut solutions that would effectively and quickly narrow the ever-widening gap? The Digital Inequality Solutions project did just that. It allowed us to research and discover these solutions for ourselves. It was a very rewarding project not just because I was able to find my own solutions, but being able to connect with other classmates and hear their ideas really made this problem seem like it was fixable and that with a few good ideas, a lot could change.

Some other notable programs used in the class included using RSS readers and learning about the possibilities of RSS feeds in the classroom, as well as using simple animation programs like Xtranormal to get kids involved in learning about topics that normally might be boring (i.e. Plagiarism). Overall, I learned a lot in this class and was exposed to a lot of useful tools that not only help in my everyday teaching but also just in the organization of my professional life as well in graduate school. I feel very fortunate to have been able to take this class and have this knowledge to pass on to other colleagues as well as my students.

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