Course reflection

May 12th, 2010

As I read my classmates’ reflections, I saw that several went back to their first post to see whether their course expectations had been met.  I think I’ll do the same, although my expectations weren’t quite as well-defined as some of theirs.

I expected to encounter new technology and ask three questions in evaluating it:

  • Is this tool one that the average teacher can master easily?
  • In what specific, practical ways will this tool enhance learning?
  • What is the cost of investing in this tool?  What is the cost of not investing in it?

I think we, as a class, did answer these questions each time we worked with a new digital tool.  And, amazingly enough, almost all of the tools received a “Yes” to the first question!  I know Second Life was challenging for some, but I think most of the issues came up when something “broke.”  I know that was the case for me.

We were able to enumerate several affordances for classroom use for every technology.

Finally, the big question:  What about cost?  Of course, so much comes down to money.  That leads to discussions about equity and accessibility, problems I doubt will disappear in the near future.

But one thing we did find, which was interesting to me, was that every time we discussed how to integrate technology into the classroom, the issue of time and standards testing came up.  Learning and teaching new methods takes time, which is very precious now in the world of high-stakes testing.  So, educational reform seems to be inextricably linked to the introduction of enriched learning environments made possible through technology.

I really enjoyed the class, and, yes, found it academically challenging.  We talked about “playing” with robots and Second Life, but I don’t think having fun negates the challenge.  My favorite thing was making the video for the wiki.  But I also enjoyed blogging (especially when I received comments) and reading others’ blogs.  I always learn so much from my classmates.  I got into Twitter for a while, but don’t think I’ll go there much in the future.  I’m also glad I learned about aggregators — they make visiting blogs so much easier!

Thank you to all my classmates and Karen.  You made this a great first semester for me!

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