Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tool 11

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.
I am a fan of Google docs; however, had never used Google forms and will definitely try to make use of the application in my routine duties. I have already introduced Google forms to some others who I work with in order to make a task that we share more efficient.

Dropbox is also new learning for me and I put it to use immediately. Due to the large reports I share on a regular basis, keeping memory free in my mailbox was a constant, priority taking time away from important responsibilities. By utilizing Dropbox I already see improvement in how I am not spending cleaning up my mailbox. Yes, we have Sweden available, but Dropbox is so much easier to access.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?
As I mentioned in Tool 10, I would like to see formalized and standardized cyber safety curriculum.

I am a fan of technology, and of course we are expected to differentiate instruction, so I would like to see use of the technology in the process of differentiation (other than deferring to online learning or online research). 11 Tools introduced us to ample easy to access and use apps to make the task painlessly doable. For example, I would like to see the use of technology for including homebound students in assignments that require class presentations. Using cameras, smart phones, netbooks, etc. are all available for video taping presentations or Skype offers the opportunity for participation in real time. I would also like to see homebound students use the Dropbox and Google docs in order to participate in team assignments.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Every time I participate in Tools I get exposure to new Tools that I am able to routinely use and enable me to work more efficiently, so no, I was not surprised at the new learning.
11 Tools is online learning. With each Tool adventure, no matter how much more strategic I think I can be about completing the assignments, I am always surprised at the time involved. As is the case each time I participate, it is evident that the amount of time it takes to complete Tools is not commensurate or proportionate to the amount of professional development hours administered. There seems to be a disconnect between the understanding and value placed on the time involved with online teaching and learning as compared to "traditional" instruction. Online teachers take a required class through the HCDE. In the first week of instruction the online teacher/students learn that the online delivery model requires additional time.

On the other hand, I think that in addition to the huge benefit of learning the material (apps and how to use them in the classroom) provided through Tools, the act of working through the Tools provides us with an appreciation of what is involved with online learning (the perspective of the student) and the benefit of self-driven learning provided by the online experience. In the face to face classroom there tends to be an expectation from the student that the teacher entirely holds the responsibility for student learning. The Tools online experience allows us to have first hand experience as an online learner and to what degree the individual learners can be responsible for their learning.

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