My Digital Reflection assignment required me to travel down a very long road. I graduated high school in 1981 and college in 1986. My very first teaching job was actually teaching typing on electronic typewriters! I’ve definitely seen changes in technology – loving every moment!
Five to Ten Years
This assignment is the most challenging and rewarding endeavor that I’ve encountered in over 15 years. I traveled the world between 2000 and 2007. While overseas, I taught technology in Saudi Arabia for three years. In order to fully appreciate my journey with digital literacy, I must emphasize where I’ve been and how far I’ve traveled.
In 1998, I was fortunate to obtain a job at a middle school in Round Rock, Texas. Eighty percent of my student’s parents were employed by Dell in Round Rock. In 1999, our school district purchased several rolling computer labs. It was my job to get them up and running and out to the teachers to use in their classrooms. I also had two Mac labs and three Dell labs. We were “integrating technology” that year into the classroom that year and it was so exciting! Teachers were actually collaborating with each other, students were performing cross-curricular research, inserting photos, writing, etc. I thought life was good.
Reflecting back, I now realize that all we were doing was having students create PowerPoint presentations while learning how to properly cite sources. The only collaboration was watching the presentations and offering feedback. During my research, I’ve learned that for years I’ve just been showing students and teachers how to use technology that is available at the most basic level. I’ve learned that we’ve not evolved into COSTA’s Level 3 of predicting, evaluating, apply learning to real life experiences (with technology). We’ve got to focus on student-centered learning and teaching in ways that are exciting and meaningful to our students.
I’m teaching Graphic Design and Practicum in Business this year. My practicum students are enrolled in the work program and must have a job. I surveyed the classes this week and not one of the students has an electronic portfolio. Most of them didn’t have an updated resume`. My lesson plans for the upcoming week are to get them an e-mail address, a storage portal, and an electronic resume`.
Another interesting fact that I learned from our weekly reading, the students actually liked the learning experience more and learned in a shorter time frame when UNESCO ICT (Information Communication Tools) CFT, ICT-based instruction was included. We are under tremendous pressure to teach a wealth of information in such a short period each school year. I feel if teachers are more comfortable with digital literacy, students will be more engaged and excited to learn.
It was refreshing to watch the video Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology (www.learnnc.org). Dr. Alena Treat comments that with technology becoming more and more advanced, she sees herself as more of a guide instead of a teacher. I believe that teachers will be more willing to use a variety of technology once they see the students achieving, excelling, and thriving in the classroom.
During this school year, I plan to enhance student’s learning by moving from just fact gathering to evaluating and speculating, via digital literacy. My goal is to make my lessons fun, innovative, and challenging by using webinars, podcasts, videos, collaborative projects, interactive feedback, discussion boards, and electronic porfolios. It is my professional and personal goal to educate myself, step out of my comfort zone, and become more interactive and collaborative in my classroom. I want to raise the level of expectation in my classroom to better equip my students with the technology that will help them become better digital citizens now and in the future. I’ve always believed in sending our students out into the real world with the goal of becoming employable, not only at age 18, but at age 53. According to ICT, one of their goals is to “help expand access to education, strengthen the relevance of education to the increasingly digital workplace, and raise educational quality”.
My first task to achieve this goal is to start with some interactive lessons that I can create for the days that I’ll be attending professional development conferences such as the TCEA Conference in Austin. This will be much better than leaving “busy work” for the students to do while I’m not in the classroom. I will create assignments that the students will be required to post even when I’m not in the classroom. There will be no excuses because all of my students have computers with an internet connection in my classroom.
I look forward to the next chapter in my life, my new digital life. I have a renewed spirit in education, not only for my students, but for me and the teachers in my district. I’m also excited about learning how to best use my new TK20 account. My personal goal is to retire from teaching within the next five years. By pursuing my Master’s Degree, I know that I can be employable in the “vitual world” for many years after leaving the traditional classroom.
Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology. Retrieved August 22, 2016 from http://www.learnnc.org
UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers Chapters 2-4. Retrieved August 22, 2016 from http://unesdoc.unesco.org