Technology provides students with unlimited access to vast amounts of information outside of the classroom. The easy access to information makes it necessary for teachers to make changes to instructional practices to meet the needs of digital natives. Educators are still teaching in traditional ways, even though, the students in today’s classrooms are ready for 21st-century learning (Prensky, 2005). Teachers need to reflect on their current teaching practices and make a shift towards teaching 21st-century skills in order to make an impact on digital natives in the classroom.
This course has helped me develop my technology skills by engaging me in learning how to use the tools I want my students to use. To effectively teach with technology, teachers need to learn how to use the tools themselves (Richardson, 2010). In this course, I have become familiar with using blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Now that I know more about how to use these tools, I have the knowledge and skills to guide my students in using them effectively. I have also learned the advantages these technologies can have on learning based on my experiences.
I have deepened my knowledge of the teaching and learning process by learning about 21st-century lifelong skills. These skills combine reading, writing, and arithmetic with critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, cross-cultural understanding, communication, computing, and career (Trilling, 2005). To teach these skills, the role of the teacher changes. Teachers are no longer the source of information for their students; instead their responsibility is to guide students to think critically about the material they find (Laureate Education, n.d.).
Since teachers are no longer the source of information, my perspective on learning has changed from teacher centered to learner centered. Changing from teacher-centered learning requires teachers to become facilitators, and instruction becomes more focused on problem solving than lectures (Keengwe, Onchwari, & Wachira, 2008). I want to allow my students to construct their knowledge using the technology resources they have available to them. Teachers in the 21st century need to value what their students already know and take into consideration how they learn (Prensky, 2005). My students are digital natives, and I need to acknowledge their experience with technology and provide them with learning opportunities to use it.
To continue to expand my knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement, I plan to keep using blogs, wikis, and podcasts. Teachers are coaches who demonstrate the skills students must master to reach success and encourage them to reach their potential (Richardson, 2010). The more I experiment and play around with the technology, the more comfortable I am going to feel in bringing it into my instruction.
To support 21st-century learning in my classroom, I have created two goals I would like to achieve in my classroom in the next two years. The first goal is to have a class blog where students can contribute from their individual student blogs. A collection of student work is created online using a blog (Richardson, 2010). Ideally, I would like to involve the entire school in blogging so that students can create portfolios of the work they have done in their time at the school. I plan to accomplish this goal by starting a class blog, a school blog, and student blogs for my students. I will use the school blog to encourage other teachers to blog by sharing the work and learning of my students.
Another goal I have for transforming my classroom environment is to create more project-based learning opportunities that combine the three Rs and seven Cs of 21st-century learning. As students collaborate on these projects, I will become a facilitator in the learning process. Students’ engagement and learning increase when they collaborate on technology projects (Prensky, 2008). I will accomplish this goal by communicating with my administrator about the benefits of this type of learning. I will also collaborate with my second grade team to develop the projects across the curriculum.
At the beginning of this course, I assessed my current practices on the integration of technology in my classroom using the assessment checklist for technology integration practices (Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society, n.d.). Before this course, I felt like I could improve my teaching practice by increasing opportunities for student self reflection and providing more opportunities for students to use technology tools to share their learning. Since I have taken this course, I feel more prepared to engage my students in self reflection through the use of blogs. Blogs facilitate reflection by archiving the learning of students (Richardson, 2010). I also generated ideas on how I can involve the use of more technology tools for my students to share their learning using blogs, wikis, and podcasts. I also improved as a teacher leader. I am promoting the development of leadership and technology skills in my students and colleagues by sharing what I have learned about the advantages of using web 2.0 tools in the classroom in faculty meetings. Web 2.0 technology values participation, collaboration, and distribution (Knobel & Wilber, 2009). I am also starting to seek out other professionals to further my knowledge about the use of technology in the classroom through blogging.
Students no longer come to school looking to teachers for all of the things they want to learn. Web 2.0 technologies are tools students can use to practice 21st-century skills they will need in their futures. Teachers need to act as a guide in helping students use this technology to collaborate with their peers and access information. Changing from a teacher-centered to a student-centered environment will help prepare digital natives for success.
Keengwe, J., Onchwari, G., & Wachira, P. (2008). The use of computer tools to support meaningful learning. AACE Journal, 16(1), 77–92. Retrieved from http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=28513453&scope=site
Knobel, M., & Wilber, D. (2009). Let’s talk 2.0. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 20–24. Retrieved from http://ezp.waldenulibrary.or/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login/aspx?direct =true&db=ehh&AN=36666620&scope=site
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 2 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Prensky, M. (2005). Listen to the natives. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 8–13.
Prensky, M. (2008). Turning on the lights. Educational leadership, 65(6), 40-45. Retrieved from http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31926035&scope=site
Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society. (n.d.). Assessment checklist for technology integration practices. Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201540_04/MS_EDUC/NCATE_EDUC_6710/Week%201/Resources/Resources/embedded/6710_Techchecklist.pdf
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Trilling, B. (2005). Towards learning societies and the global challenges for learning with ICT. TechForum. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/techlearning /pdf/events/techforum/ny05/ Toward_Learning_Societies.pdf