With this course now coming to a close, it is of the utmost importance that we take a look back at some of the steps we have taken along the way. We have been given a plethora of information to use, and a great number of technological resources to try and eventually implement in our classroom. Looking back at my GAME plan from the very beginning of this course, I feel strongly that the knowledge given to through newer technologies will not only allow for me to carry out my GAME plan, but also to enhance my original ideas.
During my initial GAME plan post, I mentioned that one of the biggest changes that I wanted to make in my classroom was to improve upon ISTE standard number one: to facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity (ISTE, 2012). In many ways, I feel as though the subject that I teach lends itself to inspiring student growth through critical thinking and creativity. My curriculum centers on world cultural geography, and I am fortunate to discuss with my students a vast number of cultures from around the world. The problem with this is that as seventh graders, they are just getting in touch with the world around them, and many cannot see the world outside of their own small town. My goal has been to use the newer technologies to show the students the world. While this certainly is an ambitious goal to teach my seventh graders, I feel strongly that with good guidance, students can see the relevance of the technological lessons that I will be presenting to them.
From the very beginning of my GAME plan, I wanted to implement a lesson using ePals.com to allow for my students to make relevant global connections. Though I have not reached the part of my course where I will be having my students write to others from around the world, I have taken almost all of the steps to prepare for it. The only obstacle left to conquer, albeit a large one, is to find a classroom in another country that suits the needs of my students. This has not been an easy task to this point. Some classes that I have found are older, and many in neighboring areas of the world. However, finding one may prove to be a bit easier than I had originally thought. Since my initial blog post, I have had a few new students come through my classroom doors. In particular, one student from Pakistan has entered our middle school, and brings with her an abundance of cultural ideas. My idea is to set up a classroom connection through her old school in Pakistan, and communicate about cultures through the ePals site. The student has assured me that it would not be a problem for the Pakistani students to gain access to the computers in that school.
This type of project can instill quite a bit of creativity from the students. It is a great opportunity to not only make her excited about a project, but to make the world smaller for my other students. They can get a glimpse into her culture and a better understanding of where she came from. Additionally, each student will be able to tap into the 21st century skill set to complete this project. While the project deviates a bit from my original idea of setting up a class discussion through students in South Africa or India, this new option presents itself as an even more real-life experience.
This course has also helped me gain a bevvy of technological knowledge, and has given a tremendous amount of resources for use in the classroom. From interactive lessons, to virtual field trips, and digital storytelling lessons, we have been given a great opportunity to engage our learners. In particular, I am excited to attempt two new journeys in my classes. Edmodo is a resource that frankly I had not heard of before this course. Each and every single week, there were members from this cohort that recommended it, love it, and use it on a weekly basis. This type of resource can not only be valuable for instruction since it touches upon relevant skills, but it also taps into the creativity of the students through the online networking piece of it. Though I have not yet attempted to do anything with Edmodo, I plan to, and I am excited about the possible future uses of it.
I would also like to implement a newer digital storytelling project. Currently, I have in place an outline for a project that my students complete each and every single year. They are to research a country and have the opportunity to create some technologically based project (PowerPoint, MovieMaker, etc.). I think this could be a great chance to get my students completely immersed into their research. If I were to possibly expand the rubric so that it became a group project, the students could create a ‘newscast’ of their researched country. They can use a green screen to superimpose an image from the country that they researched, and create their newscast ‘on-location’. There are relatively few challenges for me to set this project up. I simply need to be comfortable with the editing piece of our video technology, and I truly think that this project can be a huge success.
Though my GAME plan has taken some turns along the way, I truly believe that this course has prepared me for completing it in a much more advanced way. I now have more technological skills, more ideas, and more resources to complete my original goals. Additionally, newer technological skills are in place to assist through a myriad of different ventures throughout the school year. I am truly excited about what the future may bring, and feel genuinely prepared to embark upon that journey.
ISTE, I.S. (2012). Nets for Teachers. Retrieved September 12, 2012