Reflection<br /> mmckenzie1.blogspot.com<br />EDLD 5352<br />Course Reflection<br />As this course comes to a close I am prompted to reflect on what I envisioned it to be from the beginning. My course expectations were to learn more about running reports and analyzing data to interpret those results in order to make school wide decisions. It was interesting reviewing my campus’s STaR Chart results as well as the Texas Long Range Plan. Looking at the data on the reports; as well as the district’s Technology plan, gave me insight on how the school establishes and implements its vision and shared goals. The STaR Chart verified the need for a revised professional development plan at our campus. According to The Texas Long Range plan for technology, in order to meet the needs of the 21st Century Learner it is imperative for teachers to provide content-focused strategies and technology tools appropriate for each subject area and grade level. (Vision 2020)<br />I have mixed feelings about the outcomes of this course. All of the assignments did not necessarily align with my expectations. I would have liked to set up a Wiki as well as participate in a web conference as one of the required class assignments. During this course the web conferences were optional, but, due to time constraints I did not have the opportunity to participate. The blog assignment was my first blogging experience. Blogs enable people to express themselves, provide information and entertainment to an array of interested parties. <br />The emphasis put on the amount of required discussion board posts during this course were pretty extensive and time-consuming. I understand the importance of providing tools to aid in learning from each other but, I felt there was too much weight placed on the discussion board. I found myself concentrated on just doing the tasks vs. being able to take the time to really gain deeper knowledge from the content. Having to post so many comments left me, and others with a sense of “going through the motions” just to get the assignment done, which usually results in less learning. I found myself with little time or energy to really focus on the content of the assignments. <br />I did however enjoy reading the articles. I learned a little bit about blogging and I would have liked to do an assignment with the Wikis and video conferencing with my discussion group. I enjoyed the hands- on assignments and the ones were we had to interview administrators. The interviews gave me the opportunity to learn more about some of the responsibilities that administrators are required to maintain throughout the year. <br />Learning how to read the STaR Chart and analyze the technology integration reports was relevant to my campus. It put into perspective all the stakeholders involved in technology integration and what role each person has. From the district level all the way down to the campus level. The 21st Century Learner is the first generation of kids to grow up surrounded by new technology. “They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players…and all other toys of the digital age.” (On the Horizon, Marc Prensky) <br />As an administrator I will lead by example. One of my favorite quotes is "
If you treat an individual ... as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be"
— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe<br />If students are treated with dignity, given encouragement and know we will not accept anything less but their best. They will do everything in their power to live to up to our expectations. <br /> Faculty and students relate better to people that make them feel comfortable. Gone are the days when administrators sit in the office and make appearances at meetings. Periodic walk-through will play an integral part in getting to know the student body. <br />From the onset of this course I have learned that you have to multi-task and be ready for constant change. It became frustrating with all of the changes in the beginning. I also learned that I am not afraid of technology and I embrace it. My head is full of many ideas. The problem is mapping out a plan of action and developing an implementation schedule from start to finish. In addition, I would also like to learn more about how to integrate technology into lessons to accompany the lesson plan not, use it as a stand-alone assignment. With technology implementation we must remember that technology alone will not automatically improve or engage the 21st Century Learner. Student’s still need to master a range of practical skills. (The New Literacy: The 3 R’s evolve into the 4e’s, Sam Armstrong, David Warlick, Technology & Learning: Sept 2004) <br />Our school has a lot of work to do in the form of staff development. GISD provides a lot of opportunity for its employees to be trained on the latest technology. But, the area I think we are lacking in is training. The classes provided at the technology center are on a voluntary basis. Therefore, participation is at the employee’s discretion. This results in a split. Veteran teachers who are probably the most reluctant will not necessarily sign up for classes. On the other hand, new teachers and those with less than ten years experience are more likely to embrace and become excited by the classes available. This results in half of the staff learning about ways to engage the 21st Century Learner while the other half remains stagnant. Engagement is a key factor in motivating 21st Century Learners. <br />Blogging can be used to enhance education in many ways. Blogging allows people to get instant answers and is catered to a small group of people who are interested in the same topic. It can be a useful tool for networking and finding out information about an array of topics and ideas. For students it is a way to express their feelings and share ideas with other kids their age from around the globe. I am going to create a blog that will discuss hands on projects for students to use while reading books. When my class reads a novel that has been made into a movie I am going to use AVID strategies. Instead of having students answer discussion questions on paper they will participate in philosophical chairs or a Socratic Seminar.<br />Technology will be integrated into this lesson by having student’s blog after reading a few chapters. They can post their feelings and ideas about certain events, characters or the outcome of the story. Blogging will provide a way for students to practice engaging in deeper thought. It can also be used as a fun homework exercise. I have already taken polls in my classes and the majority of my students have access to the internet at home.<br />I want students to feel comfortable in their own skin and be able to express themselves intelligently regardless if their opinion does not agree with the norm. Blogging encourages students to speak up who would otherwise be silent in class.<br />As technology continues to grow we must also adapt and adjust to technology. Who knew one day we would have access to a system that allows us to search topics or find people within a matter of seconds. The time has come for us to teach 21st Century Learners about ethics in the classroom as well as English, Math & Science. 21st Century Learners need to be aware of the dangers that come along with new technology as well as the pros and cons. <br />Nothing is private these days. With the growth of Blogs, Wiki’s and social networking sites, we need to be careful about what kind of information is made public. Teens share too much personal information. Information that would normally be shared with a close-knit group of friends is now available to an infinite number of people. Students enjoy using MySpace because they can interact with their friends instantly. However, children need to be taught about ethics to include Cyber bullying, Online Predators, Copyright Laws and how to protect their personal information. I was perusing Facebook the other day and my friend’s daughter has over 600 online friends. I was amazed because I know she does not have that many friends locally.<br />Educators also need to be careful about personal blogs. In the headlines too often we see were someone was fired because of certain information that was posted on their blogs or Facebook accounts. For example, talking about their bosses, calling in sick or posting inappropriate pictures. With Blogs and any social networking sites we must proceed with caution. One thing to keep in mind is be careful about what you post because it can and will be used against you. <br />Incorporating blogs into the school system will be very beneficial because it would allow parents, teachers and administrators to communicate with each other simultaneously. Our campus has very low parent participation. My goal is to increase parent involvement. Throughout the school year we are constantly thinking of innovative ways to get parents to attend open houses and become more involved in their child’s education. Blogs can be another avenue of communication that will save everyone time and money. I would like to create a faculty blog and divide the faculty into two groups. Group A will attend a physical meeting, while Group B will participate in an online meeting. An assessment will be given to both groups to determine which one was more effective. <br />The articles from this class contained some very useful information. I plan on applying the information to incorporate blogs and create wiki’s. As technology evolves I plan on growing with it in order to prepare our 21st Century Learners for the future. <br />