Sunday, December 26, 2010

Final Blog Post

At the beginning of the course, when I chose two NETS-T to focus on I didn't realize how difficult that would be to accomplish. My first goal was to use digital tools and resources to have my students solve authentic problems. This goal has been met in theory, with the three lessons I wrote for my unit plan, but it has not been met in practice. When the opportunity arose to attend a training session on how to set up a Web site for my class I decided to change this goal and focus on the Web site as a way to communicate information to students, parents and colleagues. The GAME plan format helps transform what may seem like a daunting task into manageable pieces as your action plan can be as detailed as you need it to be. Also, monitoring your progress along the way helps to keep you from straying off course, wasting precious time and energy.
As a result of using the GAME plan I now have a Website in the works that I can use as a means of communicating important information with students and their parents. Seeing how useful the GAME plan was, I'm sure that I will use it on a regular basis, not just for lesson planning, but for any professional or personal task or goal I might have.
I've become more familiar with the workings of blogs and wikis from this course, this being the second class I've taken in which they were used. I've also learned of a software program for math called Geogebra, while doing research for class assignments, which I plan on investigating further. While I'm not ready to make any immediate changes in my instruction, these three applications hold promise for future use in my classes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Using the GAME Plan Process with Students

The GAME plan is a versatile tool that can be used in many different applications. It's a great lesson planning tool for teachers as well as a learning tool or even a goal attainment tool that anyone can use. It could be used by someone trying to lose weight or getting out of debt or any project or goal that someone finds overwhelming. The GAME plan helps to keep you focused and organized. Students could even create their own GAME plan for studying for an exam. Since the best teaching is done by example, one thing I could do is decide on a technology that would benefit my classes the most and then, with the help of my students, devise a GAME plan for myself on how I will learn to use the technology and use it in the class. The students could help me monitor my progress and evaluate the end results. At the same time, perhaps each student could make up a GAME plan for something they want to accomplish themselves. It wouldn't have to be math related. They'll probably more receptive to the idea if it's not math related.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Revising My GAME Plan

I've come to the conclusion that the biggest obstacle to my integrating technology into my classroom is not having the time to research how other teachers are using technology in their math classes. It's very easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged. Many times I'm unable to think of a way to use a given technology in my class because I don't fully understand its capabilities. Unfortunately, technology use is pretty basic in my school; power point and internet resources, so I have no colleagues to ask for help. As a result, I have set a new goal for myself which is to start a Web page for my class. I've gotten the necessary permission and password from the Web committee and have begun to put together a list of things I want to include on my page. We had a very brief (15 minute) demonstration at the beginning of the year on how to set up a Web page but fortunately another teacher in my department has set one up so I can ask him for help. The next technology related goal I have is to investigate a the math program Geogebra to see if it would be useful in my classes. I don't know any one who has ever used it so I'm on my own. I need to take a more formal, regimented approach to learning about new technologies and set aside time during breaks from school for this purpose.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Evaluating My GAME Plan Progress

My goal to customize learning activities for my students is going well. I completed the item analysis of the first quarter benchmark exam and am in the process of using this data to create several different on-line assignments. I will then give students access to the assignment that fits their needs. The only problem I forsee here is that one of my classes coincides with another math course that is project-based and therefore has first dibs on the laptop cart. So computer access with this group might be limited.
My other goal, to use technology as a means of exploring real-world issues and solve authentic problems, has run into a brick wall. I didn't realize, when I chose this goal, that this is problem-based learning and now that I know more about the topic from this week's resources and discussions I see why I'm having such difficulty. PBL is a very complex process and must be very carefully thought out and planned and as we've been discussing, it seems especially challenging when integrating into a math curriculum.
I have however set another goal for myself and that is to create a Web page to be linked to my district's Website. This will give me another option for relaying information to students and parents. I have never set up a Web page before but will get started on it this week with the help of a colleague.