Another semester is fast approaching and I am reflecting on the past year and the world of technology that was opened to me...by the wonderful class I took with Dr. Burgos...The class really opened my eyes to a world of new applications and learning environments..I have spent considerable time pondering how I will be incorporating this type of learning in the courses I will be teaching in the fall. I taught a hybrid course this past semester as an experiment in the use of technology in higher education learning. There were several revelations I made over the course of the class.
First, throughout the class I felt like I did not have enough knowledge of the amount of content each student was getting for the on-line modules. When students are not required to come to class and directly gain content from my lecture, prepared activities or student to student collaborations are they really getting the content. Each on-line module involved some sort of assignment but my assignments tend to be more practical in nature. These assignments are based on the philosophy that activities should help aspiring teachers to apply their learning in a way that is relevant. The obvious solution to my problem would be to quiz or test student knowledge, but I am sure that memorization of education theory does not help teachers better teachers.
Another realization I made is that technology is unpredictable at times. It is critical that technology applications are tested before the class meeting, and if this is not possible always have a back up plan. This is also true for assignments given for students to complete using their own technology. Students come in all different ability levels and have many different types of equipment. It is important to provide students with opportunities for tech support and possibly with access to technology. Several times during the course I came in on non-scheduled class days to support students. Technology is constantly improving and evolving so perhaps this will be less of a concern in the future..but for now it is a must.
As for the future this semester I will be experimenting with a "video confessional" idea that a friend of mine Shelley did in a course she taught. I bought a flip camera as the DV camera...was NOT user friendly. I am hoping to again have students create blogs and work with digital storytelling. I also have made a goal for myself to figure out how to broadcast and archive class meetings so no student ever misses a course. I am hoping the flip cam helps with this goal.
Technology is sooo amazing. I went to a lunch party today and we were able to Skype in our friend Anu from India. She got to see the babies and eat lunch with us...it is so "Jetsons"...amazing...and what is even more amazing is that the possibilities to use this technology in education are infinite...It makes me love what I do...ever evolving...never the same...wow!! Check back as I document my journey...