Learning Log- Final Reflection

As the week comes to a close I am both anxious and excited. I feel as though I have learned an incredible amount of information in a short amount of time. The resources and technologies we have been introduced to and discussed in this course has given me a large “to do” list for my summer “vacation!”

The best resource for me has been the introduction of blogging. When we first started module one I was absolutely terrified of starting a blog. WordPress, and this course have made getting started a lot easier than I originally thought. After the completion of this course, I plan on keeping up my WordPress blog. I plan on changing a few things, including the focus of the content, so that I can gear it toward my 6th grade students and parents. I have reflected on a lot of ways to integrate the blog into my class. I plan on linking it to the school website next year. I’ll post long-term assignment due dates, HW schedules, instruction for my word study and vocabulary assignments, the link to my Goodreads shelf where I can share my favorite titles for students, links to websites for the MSA, links to educational websites, and an announcements area to share news about what my students are learning about in LA. I hope that this will have a positive impact on my digital footprint as well.

Our reading and discussion about Copy Right will have a large impact on the way I conduct my class, and the way I will do my future job.  In the past, I have been in violation of the Fair Use policy regarding the amount of pages I have photocopied from anthologies, and in the use of images from the Internet in my PPs. I will be more cognizant of this especially since I plan on being a school media specialist/librarian. In our building the media specialists delivers the in-service at the start of the year of Copy Right, and is the “go to” person for any question regarding Copy Right. So needless to say, I have kept all of the resources from this class, as a future reference!

Module two introduced me to Screencastomatic.com. This is an incredible tool that I am looking forward to using in more depth next year. I plan on linking several screencasts to my blog. The first one will be a step-by-step tutorial on how to access grades on the on-line grade book, Pinnacle. I teach 6th grade, so this is the first time that the students have used Pinnacle, and they always have a lot of questions at the start of the year. Also- there a lot of additional features on the program that I think a lot of parents would take advantage of, if they knew about them. My plan is to introduce the students to my blog and then explore the features, including the screencasts, so that they can access the information with parents from home. We also have a back to school night-so I think that would be a great time to share the blog and all of the links available to parents.

Module two also introduced me to the multiple ways Skype can be used in the 21st century classroom. Although many family members and friends have been using Skype for years, I had yet to get on board. Now I love it! mY daughter is talking to ger grandparents in Florida and my colleagues and I are using it to share thoughts and ask questions about our current course work! Next year, I really want to try to get one of the authors my students read to do a live interview via Skype in my classroom next year. I am thinking that one of the authors we have paid to visit us in the past might be my best bet. So, I’m starting by appealing to Priscilla Cummings. Her book, The Red Kayak, is always a favorite of students. I think she would be a wonderful candidate for in interview because she is a Maryland resident, and in the same time zone as us. A draw back to conducting interviews and discussions with professionals in other parts of the world! I think an interview would be an engaging and fun way to end of book club discussion of the novel.

Module three got me excited about the possibilities of using Google Forms in my class. One of the ways we discussed integrating this technology into the classroom was through the use of teacher feedback surveys. I loved this ide. I have already created multiple end of the evaluations for students to complete in the past. This year, I am starting in the penultimate week of school having each of my students take turns responding to the end of year evaluation via my classroom laptop and Googleforms. Using this will ensure that I am not carting around 120 survey at the end of the year, and I can keep all the data compiled digitally until I am ready to address it. I’ also looking forward to using the forms for other types of feedback thought out the year. professionally I plan on creating some forms to send out to my 6th grade team after the PD we receive from the county. We have been fortunate enough to receive a lot of PD on new classroom technology but not all teachers feel as though the training is tailored to their needs. By surveying the staff at the start of the year, I hope to collaborate with our technology Coordinator to create PD sessions that are meet the needs of more of my team. In this way I can also differentiate the trainings based on their needs, so teachers won’t be spending valuable planning time in sessions that they don’t feel benefit them.

Finally, I am most interested in the resources and discussions we have had surrounding the creation of UDL lessons. This is such an important topic for me right now, as we more toward adopting the new CCS in our county. UDL seems like the perfect solution to our failing schools, but I worry about the practicality of creating daily lessons that meet the needs of every learner. I am completely on board, and will do whatever I can with what I have in order to help make this happen, but I am worried that the county simply cannot fund such an ambitious endeavor right now. According to what we know about UDL, we are going to ned a lot more technology in our building to fully implement the approach. WHen I read the papers and look at the budget cuts for next year, I really don;t see us being able to bring the full model to fruition. I know that the idea and philosophy is a good one though, and I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on students learning. In the article, “A Whole New School for a WHole New Mind,” DeGarmo and Turckes assert that, “At a time when our national government is sharpening the focus on our country’s failing high schools and economic stimulus dollars give new promise to the rebuilding of our nation’s school buildings, a fresh blueprint is crucial.” I am looking forward to a blue print that will eventually trickle down to my school building, and help me reach each of my students. UDL makes sense, but it takes money to implement; money we don’t seem to have.

As I finish the course work and discussion for this class, I will continue to attempt the integration of the programs and technologies we have learned about. As a 21st Century Teacher, I hope to prepare my students for a global work place and economy wheer they will have learned the necessary skills to compte effectively. The NETS and the AASL standards will continue to shape the way I teach my classes.

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