Here it is! The moment I was most apprehensive about. The aspect of technology, which I have been most resistant and reluctant to pursue. Whether it was due to concern over privacy, the extent of my digital footprint, the overwhelmingness of who should be in my PLC, what exactly is a PLC and once joined, how constant the bombardment of tweets, notifications and the like is? After 5 courses, I am still very hesitant about “putting myself out there”. I still feel that a lot of the PLC components are trivial and not very substantive. That said, I am also trying to see the positive aspects, hence creating a twitter account. I have tweeted a few times and participated in one school twitter chat. I have chosen to follow a few people who I see as being knowledgeable in the area of curiosity in education. I have also chosen to follow some peers. I still keep my life very private and look at Twitter as a chance to carefully grow a community of educators with similar passions.
One of the main reasons I started a twitter account was based on advice provided by a fellow Coetailer, who argued that I need to start seeing the power of these technological outlets as effective ways to get my ideas out there and to advertise my course 5 project for example. So, I will continue to grow my followers and use twitter to help me build a community of people who are passionate about curiosity, creativity and innovation in education. However, it will grow slowly.
This may not seem like a lot to many people, but considering I still have a Nokia phone and discovered predictive texting about 4 years ago, This personal growth is fairly monumental.
HERE ARE SOME UPDATES OF MY COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND BUILDING OF MY PLC:
I participated in an online chat through twitter at my school:
I started with following 6 people and now I am following 27. It takes me awhile to choose who to follow.
I started with 4 followers and now I have 10.
I have also began tweeting updates and student work on Curiosedy to my twitter
. I added social media buttons on Curiosedy in order to begin trying to promote the site and build a community of like-minded students/teachers
One of the biggest questions I had during this course (and still do) is how can we use technology in the classroom in a way that enhances learning rather than simply using technology to simply use technology. How can technology be an effective learning tool? My final course 5 project is hopefully an answer to that question or at least a glimpse into the possibilities of how technology can be used to improve student understanding. One of the realizations I have made during this course is how technology has opened the door to the powers of collaboration and student sharing of ideas to a global audience. No longer is learning limited to the 4 walls of a classroom, but rather has the possibility of reaching all corners of the globe. I believe this is where the power of technology has its greatest possible effect. We need to be using technology to share student thinking, creativity and innovation. Not only sharing, but use the technology in a way which allows students to teach each other, share ideas and further their understandings. I am excited about how my final project is trying to address these possibilities.
I have also realized through this course, that the use of technology has to be a part of a bigger change. Simply adding technology or using certain technological features in isolation is not the answer. Technology must be used in conjunction with other aspects of learning, teaching and the overall picture of education in order to have its greatest impacts. In my final project, technology plays a part, but is not the only part or the largest part. Technology combined with looking at the design of learning, researching curiosity, reflecting on feedback practices and analyzing assessments are all integral parts to creating a project or idea with the goals of seeing past the deadlines of Coetail and there specific requirements, to a much larger purpose.
My final project for course 5 will be a website based on curiosity and how we can foster curiosity in the classroom. The website is about providing students with ample opportunities in the classroom to be curious about their learning and then using technology as the tool to put their learning together and then be able to share their understanding globally. I see technology as the tool to share understanding, to be able to see what other students are doing with knowledge, to see other questions they are answering or curiosities they are pursuing. The technology is not the tool which is allowing students to better understand necessarily. It is the tool which enables global sharing of knowledge, and that is powerful.
It is a great project idea because I am passionate about curiosity and the desperate need for a lot more of it in schools and education in general. I love the fact that it will push my boundaries of technology as I will have to become technically more proficient in WordPress and will have to learn about how students can use the technology to best share their learning. I think because the end goal will be publishing student work, I predict that the level of pride in student work will increase and therefore their effort in learning the content as well as in presenting it will also increase.
I do not see a particular shift in my own pedagogy as this project reinforces my beliefs in learning being about satisfying our natural curiosities about our world and being able to pursue our own curiosities and use the content to answer our own questions. This project is simply the platform to promote the student work and to allow them through technology, a chance to share globally.
I will be designing the website but the students will be providing the content using technology. I am very excited.