Part 1: Reflect on the entire course…
What you have learned?
This semester, I learned that so much can be learned when you challenge yourself. I have been teaching first grade for a decade. I am an educational technology enthusiast who really stays up-to-date with current educational technology practices. When presented with the challenge of picking a content area to focus on, I considered choosing first grade literacy or math. Incorporating technology into those areas had been a focus of mine for a few years and honestly I thought it would make this semester a little less stressful. However, I finally decided to with teaching coding in an elementary classroom. This is my first year implementing coding into first grade. When reviewing the syllabus, I knew that I faced some challenges with some of the assignments. The professor also expressed concern. However, I chose to stick with it because I knew that in difficulty lies opportunity. I gained so many ideas about how to implement coding into my classroom due to the coursework in EDTECH 541. I learned that coding can be used to enhance all subject areas. I learned to think creatively and “outside the box”. The work I completed in this course directly impacted my classroom. My students loved coding. They have used coding to create math games. They have also used it to share out their inquiry-based learning and projects. Challenging myself this semester really paid off. I am very happy with my final project.
How theory guided development of the projects and assignments you created?
I was able to find great resources online about the benefits of teaching coding to young children. Those resources gave me confidence as I moved forward with developing my projects. It was challenging at times because coding with young children is a new practice or re-emerging practice but the more I searched the more I found. I am more of an “experience based” teacher. I haven’t relied on theory too much in my career and mostly “learn by doing”. With 2 Graduate School semesters under my belt, I now know that so much can be learned from reviewing and referring to theory. This course laid out great practices in the Robyner text which I referred to often as I was planning projects. I will still “learn by doing” but will find time to stay up-to-date on the latest educational theory and practices.
How the course work demonstrates mastery of the AECT standards?
Through this project, I was able to meet many of the AECT standards. While laying out lessons, projects, and resources for educators to implement coding instruction into their elementary classrooms, I demonstrated a strong knowledge of AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge). I was able to brainstorm and develop many practices that blend theory and practice. Many of my artifacts include instructional materials that are appropriate for my grade level. I have taught first grade for a decade so I have the content knowledge to implement this re-emerging technology into content that is already taught in my classroom. Coding will be used to enhance the content of my classroom rather than replace it. The artifacts in this project will highlight this standard.
Through lessons plans that were created for this project, I was able to outline and create pedagogical practices that will help my peers implement not just coding but technology in general. This meets AECT Standard 2 (Content Pedagogy). The entire projects is chalk full of pedagogical ideas that span across the content areas. Online presentations and lesson plans can be used as pedagogical and instructional tools for anyone interested in implementing coding.
My project encourages an innovative and collaborative learning environments. The use of games, buddy work, and collaboration via social network tools like Twitter and Google Hangouts help this project meet AECT Standard 3 (Learning Environments).
For this project I created many presentations that I have shared with peers. The presentations meet the AECT Standard 4 (Professional Skills). The presentations can be shared through conferences but also online thanks to software such as Google Slides which make collaboration possibilities endless.
When reviewing the AECT standards, I am proud of this project. I am hoping it leads to great conversations and collaborations that help coding in elementary classrooms spread throughout the nation.
How you have grown professionally?
I continue to learn about productivity and work flow organization. I work full-time in a school with very high expectations. I am also a dad. As I continue on this educational journey, I am learning how to stay organized and focused. My ability to manage multiple projects in work and school has really become more proficient. I also have learned tools such as Google Slides that will help me share out my learning with my peers. I love collaboration so being able to create artifacts to share with my fellow teachers has really helped me professionally.
How your own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching have been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course? What will you do differently as an educator as a result of this course?
This class has solidified my belief that technology integration is necessary in today’s classrooms. I really enjoyed reading and researching the latest tools, software, and technologies. I am hoping to take this new knowledge and continue to create innovative, collaborative, and creative learning environment for my students. I am hoping to go deeper into my understanding of the iPad as tool that makes learning more accessible to all types of learners. My interested was piqued in the assignment that talked about adaptive technology practices. I am hoping to learn more about different tools that can help my struggling learners.
Part 2: Assess your blogging performance
I have reviewed the rubric and will highlight my proposed blogging grade here:
Content: I would give myself 70 points. I gave my best effort on each blog and really tried to tie in personal connections supported by online references. My posts tie in nicely with the weekly artifacts I created.
Reading and Resources: I would give myself 20 points. I found relevant resources and tied them in nicely with my blog posts. I found the reading to be engaging and the course book laid out nicely. I will use it as a future resource.
Timeliness: I would give myself 20 points. There was a large amount of reading while also having to find relevant references. All of the work was on top of weekly assignments that were also quite in depth as well. Taking all that in to account, I would give myself full credit for “timeliness”.
Responses to classmates: I would give myself 15 points. In my opinion, this part was the hardest. Between building quality artifacts while trying to write our own blogs that needed to be written and posted “early” in the week, finding the time to write quality responses was tough which why I am giving myself half credit. I could have done much better but I know I tried my best. I hope in future classes there are other ways to collaborate with peers as well as more innovate ways to respond to weekly assignments. I really enjoyed the Video blog, but we were only able to do that once.
My suggested overall blog grade: 125/140 points