Writing my final blog post for CEP811, I can’t help think: this was a challenging course. I needed to be challenged. I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone to grow as a lifelong learner and educator. I feel different than I did seven weeks ago…
Part A: Professional Assessment & Evaluation
After being immersed in the “maker movement” through this course, I have a newfound understanding of exploration and how to evaluate and work with students. I’m seeing now the process of learning is just as important as the end result. It is one thing to arrive at the answer, but it’s important to be reflective on the journey you took to get there.
I want to give my students more time to explore concepts and discover new ways of learning. They need time to find new strategies that help them and potentially their peers. This self-guided discovery is something they will always remember. I can see it in our upcoming science unit on water – we use the extremely hands-on FOSS science kits. How nice would it be to take the time for students to really explore, learn, and have fun at the same time? Students completed a project this year where they created a musical instrument by repurposing items at home. I want my students to tell more about the process of finding their materials and creating their instrument. Did they try out a few materials before deciding on the final ones? What challenges did they encounter when they were creating?
My Squishy Circuits kit was nice to work with because all you needed were batteries. I could see this working in my classroom, but I do believe it would be more worthwhile in 4th grade where students learn more about circuits. I can imagine 4th graders would take the learning to a whole new level.
Another major concept of this course was Universal Design for Learning – being sure all student needs are met. I plan to keep up with the UDL guidelines to be sure I’m best meeting the needs of my students – and asking them outright what else I can do to help them as learners.
Part B: Personal Assessment & Evaluation
This course was challenging, plain and simple. I was challenged with a maker kit that I had never heard of before. I was challenged with finding educational research to support my ideas (and proud to discover I was implementing some learning theories). I took a lot of risks developing my own game for my students, and took more risks by evaluating myself as a teacher/designer of activities (with the UDL guidelines, for example).
I worked harder in this course than I think I ever have. I enjoyed reading recent educational research to see how my ideas followed popular theories of learning. When I plan my lessons now, I think about what learning theories I’m supporting and which students will need more support. I look a little more around my classroom now to make sure the learning spaces I’ve set up are what my students need, and find myself wondering the same thing when I enter a colleague’s room.
Having a project chosen by the MAET curator to share with the program was the boost of confidence I needed as a lifelong learner. It showed me that yes, in fact, someone out there in the world was seeing my work. I find myself taking more pride in my work and going the extra mile because I know it could help someone else out there who stumbles upon it.
An an ed tech integrator, I’ve got some work to do. I will continue making sure that I’m really integrating the technology, and not just using it because it’s available. I plan to instill a sense of urgency in my students so that they understand the importance of technology as a learning tool – when used in the appropriate way, of course!
I want to show my students what I’ve learned from this course – that taking risks is good for the soul (and the brain!).
[photo credit: Blumenthal, Roy. (19 Novemebr 2008). Preparatory Drawing for Warwick Cairns — The Good News! Take More Risks! [photo]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/royblumenthal/3043438508/.]
Blumenthal, Roy. (19 Novemebr 2008). Preparatory Drawing for Warwick Cairns — The Good News! Take More Risks! [photo]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/royblumenthal/3043438508/.