As I read through my personal theory of learning that I wrote at the beginning of this course, my thoughts on the subject have not changed much. In the case of the students I teach, I still believe that lack of motivation is the primary obstacle that prevents them from learning. What has changed, as a result of this course, is that I am now armed with a slew of technologies that I can use to engage my students in the study of math as well as to show them why math is so important.
One of my immediate goals is to prepare a presentation for the Promethean Board to be used on the first day of class that highlights different career choices and the math involved in each one. The other is to make use of Excel as a learning tool for organizing data in units on statistics and also as an self-evaluation tool for students to track the correlation between their effort and their grade. These two ideas, while fairly simple to implement, will hopefully motivate my students to try their best.
As for long-term goals, I would like to take advantage of the mobile lap-top cart our department received last year and incorporate WebQuests and perhaps a wiki into the curriculum. With so many WebQuests available, I'm sure I can find several that I can integrate into my lessons. A wiki will take a lot more planning and effort on my part but I feel that by writing about mathematics and sharing their knowledge with one another, my students will deepen their own understanding.
Implementing my long-term goals will require that I take a leap of faith. I have only 84 block classes in which to cover over 100 performance indicators, give quizzes, tests and review for a mid-term and a standardized, state-wide final exam. I am constantly battling the calender. Do I view the technology goals I've set as luxuries to be implemented if time permits or as a new instructional tool that will replace my old conventional lessons? Everything I've learned so far in the courses I've taken toward my Master's tells me that by actively engaging my students they will retain more and be able to recall more of what I teach them. I'm ready to jump.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Technology makes it possible for students to learn from and with one another in a variety of different ways. Topics can be researched and data gathered online. Graphs, charts and tables can be constructed with the click of a mouse and used as tools for analyzing and displaying information. Findings and conclusions can be posted and shared on blogs and wikis. Power point presentations and webcasts can be created. The possibilities are limited only by the availability of the technology and their imaginations. Probably the biggest thing technology-based social learning has going for it is that students don't consider it "work". It's enjoyable. They are actively constructing something while getting to interact with their friends and then they get to show off their work and share it with not just their classmates but with students around the world.