I had always considered myself to be tech savvy, at least compared to the teachers in my building. As weeks progressed in this course, we were introduced to new technology aspects that could be integrated into our teaching practices. I definitely took great interest in many of the strategies and feel as if they could eliminate some burden from us educators. There were so many suggestions that made students responsible for their learning. I look forward to trying these new approaches and concepts within my classroom as I take a step back and put my students in charge of their own education.
There were several concepts and topics that were significant within the course, specifically flipping the classroom, understanding the digital native, and the use of games. MacMeekin (2013) discusses how flipping the classroom is about getting students to learn content out of class so when they come to class educators can do something to use that content knowledge. This was an interesting point because educators spend time reviewing simple content that could be taught at home by giving a homework assignment in the form of a scavenger hunt. More time could be spent on reflection and discussion of topics.
Another topic that was significant was understanding the digital native. For those educators that are not tech savvy, understanding or reaching today’s student could be difficult. Educators need to continue to receive professional development to update their technology skills to what is most current. Seeking professional development to learn about apps or games that could be used in the classroom will allow for greater engagement. We need to remember that digital natives are technologically inclined and can be taught using a variety of technological approaches.
The last concept I found significant is gamification. I never thought I would admit that the use of games in the classroom could be successful until I had to actually design one with my group. Whitton (2009) discusses how play is considered to be a powerful learning tool that helps promote the mastery of tasks (p. 18). Giving students the opportunity to “play” allows for increased engagement and a student-centered approach to learning.
These concepts have changed my perspective on the experience students should have when in school. I spend too much time teaching to the test, the NYS US History Regents, that I do not provide my students the opportunity to “play”. I am so regimented with my curriculum that the thought of straying for a day or two to experiment will stress me out because I will find myself two days behind. What will make me a better teacher is taking the chance and utilizing a game with the hope that I do not waste a day.
MacMeekin, M. (2013). Flipping the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/flipping-the-classroom/
Whitton, N. (2009). Learning and teaching with computer games in higher education. In Games-Based Learning Advancements for Multi-Sensory Human Computer Interfaces (pp. 18–33). Retrieved from http://www.irma-international.org/viewtitle/18786/