Developing My Personal GAME Plan

Teachers should constantly set goals and make plans to improve their instruction.  Technology is becoming an increasingly important tool for enriching instruction in the classroom.  In order for educators to effectively prepare today’s students for the future, they need to become self-directed learners and set goals to integrate technology into instruction.  Teachers can set learning goals for integrating technology into their classroom using the GAME plan.  The GAME plan supports teachers as they engage in lifelong learning through goal setting and improving important skills (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).  To increase my technology integration skills, I will use the GAME plan to set goals for designing and developing 21st-century learning experiences.

The goals I want to set for myself align with standard two, indicators b and c from The International Society For Technology in Education (ISTE) for teachers.  This standard encourages teachers to design authentic learning experiences using different technology tools in order to increase student learning (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008).  In order to set goals to improve instruction using the GAME plan, teachers should ask themselves what they already know in order to develop a strategy for meeting their goals (Cennamo et al., 2009).  I already know that it is important to provide students with meaningful learning experiences that meet each student’s diverse learning needs.  Based on what I already know about this standard, I can create my personal learning goals.  My first goal is to improve in developing authentic lessons that allow students to explore their interests related to content.  My next goal is to create learning experiences that address students’ different learning styles and needs.

After setting goals, it is important to take action steps to achieve them.  In the GAME plan, teachers are responsible for developing and creating experiences that will aid them in reaching learning goals (Cennamo et al., 2009).  The first action I will take as I work towards reaching these goals is to design authentic learning experiences that support instruction of content with the integration of technology.  The next action I will take is to identify the diverse learning needs of my students based on their interests and learning styles.  The final action I will take is to research strategies for meeting students’ diverse learning needs with technology.

Teachers should monitor their progress as they work towards achieving their goals.  Journals are an effective tool for documenting learning progress (Laureate Education, 2009).  I will monitor the progress I make in reaching my goals by keeping a reflective journal.  In the journal, I will reflect on the authentic learning experiences I implement and the effectiveness of those lessons in supporting content instruction.  I will also reflect on the success of differentiation strategies I incorporate into lessons in supporting students’ diverse learning needs.  These reflections will serve as a reminder of successes and areas needing improvement in my journey to improve in teaching with technology.

The last step of the GAME plan is to evaluate the successes I have in achieving learning goals.  It is imperative to evaluate the achievement of learning goals because it enables teachers to identify effective methods and resources for future instruction (Cennamo et al., 2009).  I will evaluate my learning goals by reviewing my reflective journals and noting which strategies were successful and which strategies need improvement.  Based on this information, I will continue to set new learning goals to continue my growth as an educator in meeting the ISTE Teacher Standards.

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating technology across the content areas: Promoting self-directed learning with technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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12 thoughts on “Developing My Personal GAME Plan

  1. Stephanie,
    By setting goals before a lesson it sets up a game plan of what a teacher is trying to accomplish. These goals can also be used to assess students and your teaching after the lesson has been taught. If goals were met then the lesson was a success and we can set our goals even higher next time. If goals were not attained then adjustments can be made to make our lessons more effective as teachers. I believe that it is of utmost importance for teachers to stay on top of the advancements that occur in technology every day. We need to make sure we are keeping up with the best technology tools that are available to our students. We need to utilize and teach our students how to use these tools in order to engage them during our lessons.
    I like that you mentioned the standard of encouraging teachers to design authentic learning experiences using different technology tools in order to increase student learning. This is basically how I feel the direction that teachers need to focus on in the classroom today. I like the idea of improving authentic lessons that allow students to explore their interests related to content. I believe this helps open the door to find topics that really mean something to our students that they will want to learn about. If what the students are learning about means something personal to them or interests them the lesson becomes much more effective and engaging. I also like your second goal of creating learning experiences that address students’ different learning styles and needs. All students learn differently and teaching a student one way to learn may not be as effective with a different student. It is important as teachers that we teach students in a variety of ways in order to determine their best learning style and the most effective way to reach them.
    How will you go about supporting the instruction of content with the instruction of technology? I believe that students love to be on the internet and also love playing games. If you develop some type of lesson where students believe they are actually playing a game while learning I believe this could help enhance the lesson. I have seen teachers integrate these learning games and have seen marvelous results. I have seen a lot of awesome math games available on the web. What grade and subject do you teach? Some of these examples include IXL and cool math. These are just a few of the examples of math games that have led to students excelling in that subject. I like the idea that you will research strategies for meeting student’s diverse learning needs. I think this is a great idea. I would love if you could share your results so that I may possibly integrate this in my classroom when you test some of these strategies out. I believe technology tools could be an excellent way to accomplish meeting the needs of students’ with diverse learning needs. In physical education there are a number of very cool but expensive new technologies available for this. The hard part is being able to afford them to be able to use them in the classroom effectively.
    I have the same idea of keeping a reflective journal as well. I think that is a great idea and it helps to make notes and to be able to make the correct adjustments to future lessons. It is important to make time to be able to do this. During the lesson it is easy to see adjustments at that time that should be changed for future lessons. Two weeks down the road it becomes much difficult to remember. Great idea!
    I would recommend some type of student assessments that you can take a look at to add to your evaluation. This will give you the physical evidence of what students were able to take away from the lesson and what they were not as well. A fun project at the end to tie the lesson together could be one way of going about this. I think you are on the right track and eager to see your results. Keep up the good work Stephanie.
    Chris Seekings

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    • Chris,
      Thank you for your feedback. I think the best way I will approach creating authentic lessons that integrate technology is by starting with the common core standards. By starting with the standards and creating lessons around the standards, I can make sure that I am teaching the content and using the technology as a tool to enhance the quality of the lesson.

      I have used IXL math in my own classroom for math practice. I think this is a great way to extend student learning or review concepts that have already been taught. I have found the challenge to this website is keeping up with the data that is collected from the website. If teachers are not consistent in checking in on the progress students are making, the program is not as effective.

      I also think it would be a great idea to keep track of the progress students make as I work on my goal. I think assessments would give me good insight as to how my goal is helping my students. I think I will do this by collecting samples of student work before I start my goal, while working on my goal, and at the end of working on my goal. By collecting student work samples, I can monitor and evaluate whether or not I am meeting students’ individual needs and whether or not my instruction is effective.

      Steph

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  2. Stephanie

    I really like your idea of keeping a reflective journal. All teachers can improve their practice by being reflective.

    You mentioned that you had a goal to improve in the area of developing authentic lessons which allow your students to explore their interests related to content. This is a goal that I have as well.

    I am working on collecting essential question ideas to help with guided inquiry lessons. I found a few essential questions in an article on scholastic’s website:
    Model Essential Questions
    Social Problems/Health
    • Who is hungry and what are the effects of hunger?
    • What does it mean to be healthy?
    Language Arts
    • What is courage?
    • What is a good relationship?
    Science
    • Why do organisms die?
    • How are we like bacteria?
    History/Cultural Values
    • Who was/is a great person? A great leader?
    • Who gets power and why?
    Math
    • What is measurable?
    • To what degree are numbers real?
    source
    http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/essential-questions

    Do you have any ideas in mind for guided inquiry lessons and how you would integrate technology? If so I would love to hear about your thoughts on this issue.
    ~Nicole Britton

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    • Nicole,

      I really like the idea of using guided inquiry to create more authentic lessons. The idea of guided inquiry is actually what made me interested in setting this goal for myself. Thank you for sharing the resource. Ideas I have used for guided inquiry are taking informational texts that my students have already read in Language Arts and creating an extension to the lesson using inquiry. I have also created inquiry lessons using content students are learning in science. I have liked using content from resources I am already using to create inquiry lessons because then students have a good background before I expect them to engage in researching their inquiry about a topic.

      Stephanie

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  3. Stephanie,

    Great post! I love how you want to focus on meeting the needs of all your students. It is amazing to see how differently each students learns, and we have to be able to create lessons that will cater to the different needs of the students. This is also an area I need to get stronger in. Many times when I teach my students something new, I teach the lesson one way, instead of differentiating the instruction so that all students can understand. I also love how you want to connect what you are teaching to the the interests of the students. This is important because if the students are interested in what they are learning, then they will appreciate and maybe even remember it more. I also think that incorporating games such as cool math and math-play is a great way to motivate your students and get them to apply what they have learned. One negative of incorporating games is that many students are playing the games just to have fun, and not really focus on the educational part of it. Keeping a reflective journal is key because you can jot down your observations and talk about what worked and what did not work. This is essential, especially when it comes down to evaluating if the actions you took to achieve your goals worked or not. Another thing you can do is to collaborate with your colleagues and see how they are incorporating technology into their lessons to increase student understanding. You may get great ideas from them. Good luck!

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    • Adric,

      Thank you for your feedback. I also think that incorporating learning games into instruction is risky because the purpose of playing the games can be lost. If teachers make a point to talk about the purpose of the learning activities, students are more likely to benefit from the games. One way I can do this is by posting objectives for the learning games that students are playing. By posting objectives for learning tasks, students and the teacher are constantly reminded of their learning goals.

      I like the idea of sharing with my colleagues about the successes and areas needing support in my GAME plan. With the support of colleagues I will be more successful. It is a great idea to collaborate with colleagues about what they are doing in their classroom to meet their students’ diverse needs. It is good to remember that I am not the only one who wants my students to succeed and that I can learn a lot of successful strategies from colleagues.

      Stephanie

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  4. Stephanie, I like your GAME plan for improving your confidence in those ISTE standards. The idea of the journal is a good one because you can be totally honest with yourself in a journal. That is a great place to just let all your thoughts out about what is going on in your classroom. You can record your triumphs as well as your struggles. If you have a written account of your specific struggles, it can be easier for you to ask for advice on how to help with those struggles. One thing I may suggest is to give your students a survey. I can be hard to take the honesty of our students sometimes because we all know they speak their mind, but it can also really help to know what they are thinking. It is important to understand what they think works well for them and what does not. It could also be nice to know what they think you struggle with. As I said, it may be hard to take criticism from children, but if they are taking the assignment seriously and telling you what they really think you could improve on to make their education better, it can’t hurt to try.

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    • Nina,

      Great advice. I did not think about using a survey to get a better idea of how the students feel about how I am doing in reaching my goals. I think this approach to evaluating my success is valuable because my students will know better than I do if they think the authentic instruction I deliver is meaningful in helping them reach their learning goals.

      Stephanie

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  5. Stephanie, I like your GAME plan for helping build your confidence with the ISTE standards. I like the idea of the journal because it allows you to keep an honest account of what is going on in your classroom day to day. A journal is a great place to record all of your daily triumphs and weaknesses. if you have a written account of your weaknesses, it is easier for you to ask for assistance from someone else to help you become stronger in those areas. Another idea I had for you was to do student surveys. It is important to know what the students think works well for them and what does not. It is also important to know what the students think about your teaching. I know it can be hard to take the criticism of a child, but if they are being serious about the assignment and are saying honest things they think you do well and something they don’t particularly like that you do, it can really help you guide your instruction. I do not mean if the students say, “I don’t want her to give us homework anymore” because that is not a practical idea, but if they said something like “Sometimes I feel like she only talks to the students in the front of the classroom” or something like that, that is something you can easily work on and may help the students in the long run.

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