What was your favorite module in this course? Why?
My favorite module in this course was Module 4: Practice Embedding. This has been by far the most useful skill I have learned in this course because I have used it so much. It seems hard to remember a time when I didn’t know how to embed something. I have used it a lot as I was creating a class website for the upcoming year. For some reason, it was also the skill that has made me the most willing to try something new. Once I learned that I could embed a video or image, I could embed all sorts of things! My most recent discovery was embedding a back-to-school countdown on my class website. Learning to embed helped me try something new and challenging on my own.
Which module in this course was the most challenging for you? Why? What did you learn from that experience?
The most challenging module for me was Module 5: Get Social. Now, I am not afraid of social media; I am very active on both Facebook and Twitter for professional development. I didn’t want to have to add another social media platform to my plate. But, for this module, I signed up for Instagram. Instagram is fine; there are a lot of beautiful and cool photographs on it. I’m sure there are plenty of teachers who use it successful and like it. It seems a lot like Facebook and Twitter to me. You post a picture and write a caption. I’m not sure I’m sold on it. I don’t have anything against it, but it’s hard to keep track of all the different social media sites. During the school year, I feel so busy with everything, I’m not sure I will be able to keep up three different sites. It was good to try something new, and I feel like I understand it better, but I’m not sure it’s worth it for me. Maybe that will change in the future. It took me almost a year to “get” Twitter. Perhaps next summer will be the “summer of Instagram” for me.
Choose two tools from this course that you would like to start using in your teaching or work. How exactly would you use them? If you don’t plan to use any of the tools from this course, talk about the reasons why.
Two tools that I will use this school year are Screencast-O-Matic and Voxer. As I transition into the school year, I am busy making videos for my self-paced classroom. Screencast-O-Matic is so easy to use and will be really helpful in making my instructional videos. It is very convenient that I can upload it to YouTube and embed it into my class website or email the link to my students. Voxer is a cool collaboration tool. I like the idea of my students having my phone number without them having to actually have my phone number. I will be accessible to them without giving up some of my privacy. I also like the idea of them collaborating with each other. I have a small class (12 students), so we could easily be one group with lots of opportunities for students (and not me!) to answer each other’s questions.
Browse the Teacher’s Guide to Tech and choose two new tools (or categories of tools) that you would like to learn next. Explain how each one might meet a particular need, help you reach a certain goal, or solve a problem for you.
I would like to add podcasting to my list of assessment tools, so I will check out the podcasting tools. I have a hard time coming up with creative, different ways of showing learning. My presentation options tend to be in written form: poster, PowerPoint, etc. I think some students would really benefit from getting to create a non-written assessment, and I know some of them would love to play around with the tools. I love podcasts myself, and I would like to introduce my students to them, both listening to and creating them. Since I am making a self-paced classroom, I would like to use more of the flipped learning tools, especially Edpuzzle. I like that I can take videos that already exist and customize them to suit my and my students’ needs, including comments, quizzes, and pauses. I think having more options for my self-paced classroom will make it easier for me to create content and get it ready for my students.
Set three concrete, measurable tech goals for yourself. Set a deadline for each one.
- I will have my first math unit’s videos finished by Friday, August 5.
- I will have my first writing unit’s videos finished by Friday, August 19.
- I will explore podcasting tools by Friday, September 30.
What has been your most important take-away from this course? In other words, what is the most important lesson you learned?
The most important lesson that I learned in this course was that technology tools are not scary. I can use them confidently, and they are not too hard to learn. All it takes is a little time and some patience with my practice. Try new things; there are so many helpful, productive tools available to teachers, and I want to find the ones that will help me the most.