Thursday, December 1, 2011

Final Reflection--Technology is Awesome!

        Along with the fast progress of human innovation, technology provides today’s education with new horizons and unlimited possibilities for technology use in schools and classrooms.  I believe this technology course helps prepare today’s classroom teachers with current and wide knowledge of technology uses in educational settings, as well as chances to learn and practice their technology integration to serve their teaching works.
I would still recommend using the same textbook (Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, by Boblyer & Doering), organized, based on solid educational theories, including rich and up-to-date information of software and websites, which is one of my favorite parts of this course (my most memorable moments are those when I was playing with the technology tools, software, and exploring the websites recommended in the chapters).  It is great when you don’t have to search aimlessly and take lessons from your failures.  With the guidance, you are simply learning the best and most successful practices of technology.  Now I have better and clearer pictures of the categories and types of educational technologies.  In my area of teaching, I know where to find these technology resources and what websites and software are reliable and top-rated.
I also learned the foundations of effective technology integration are learning theories, essential conditions and Technology Integration Planning (TIP) Model.  TIP model is central to the successful technology implementation.   Classroom teachers should always use this model to guide through their practice, starting from self-assessment of their knowledge, determining relative advantages, deciding on objectives and assessments, to designing integration strategies, preparing for the instructional environment, and evaluation. 
The best thing I took out from this course is I actually started using some of the technologies in my teaching.  I tried using Voicethread, the digital story telling tool, to model reading for my students who speak a different home language, and provide opportunities for them to learn each other.  I created podcasts and uploaded the recording of text and stories in second language for students to listen and finish assignments.  I polished my skills of using Microsoft Word Processor, in the preparation of teaching materials and test papers.  I feel like I am no longer afraid of using technology.  I also received positive feedbacks from both my students and parents.
I took one of Dr. Tiffily’s courses in the spring, and she closed our course by recounting a true story happened on her:  trying to save a failing marriage, she went to a book store and started reading a book that was supposed to help.  As she browsing through the pages, she noticed the book offered strategies such as writing little love notes and hide them under the pillow, or having a romantic dinner in a fancy restaurant to recall the old memories and so forth.  “Nothing special, everybody knows these little tricks”, she came to the last page, which seemed to respond to her thinking, “These small things might not be big deals, but how many of these things did you actually TRIED to save your relationship?” 
I am always inspired by the story and believe this also suits the situation of educational technology integration.  Ask yourself: How many of the technologies and strategies have you actually used in your teaching?  Keep in mind: It is good to think big, but it is also important to start small.

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