There were many important ideas that I learned about this semester. For one, teaching is nothing more than empty words unless you are doing it with a purpose. This means that by using a learning theory as a foundation for teaching, the students are aware of the objectives and the way in which they will be asked to learn. It also allows the learners to be aware of expectations and tells them what the teacher values in the educational process.
I’ve also learned that the process for designing a course or a single lesson needs to start with reflection; reflection about the way I teach and reflection about the types of students that I have and the way in which they learn. It is important to know your students and to know how they learn best and what strategies might best motivate them. Reflection is also a wonderful way of evaluating students as well. As I’ve looked back over my reflections from this course, I have realized that I learned more and retained more information through the self-reflection about a chapter than in the actual reading itself. It was when I could connect those theories and ideas to my own classroom that the information finally sunk in.
When I discovered the type of learning theory that was most prevalent in my classroom, it helped me to be a better teacher by really seeing my students and what type of learner they are and what teaching styles best help them achieve success. This included the use of different peer groups in order to allow for collaboration. I also included more reflection in their weekly work, which allows me to see how they are thinking about an assignment and what they really learned from a task. It also gives me direction about where to take my next lesson (remediation, moving ahead, etc). I have also used the annotated bibliography with my students in their research projects, so that they understand why they are using a specific source and so that they can evaluate the information presented as credible or “shredible”.
The Annotated Bibliography demonstrates my mastery of Standard 3.1.2 by using the research I did on Communication in Educational Technology to create a list of valuable resources that could be used for the final synthesis paper. I not only combined the list of websites that held information pertinent to educational communications and instructional technology but also provided a short summary of each site in order to connect them to a bigger idea of Communication in Educational Technology.
The Learning Theories Paper demonstrated my mastery of Standard 1.4.b by describing the learner characteristics that are taken into account when choosing an instructional strategy. The paper discussed the use of Piaget’s Learning Theory and how it might be used to help students in different age groups and learning levels.
The final synthesis paper demonstrated my mastery of Standard 2.0.4 because I wrote a paper that showed the connection between two different learning theories and educational technology. I showed how they might be applied in order to establish user autonomy in an Online Learning Community as well as establish a foundation of effective communication between learner and teacher.