Course Reflection

Course Reflection

As I look back over the past six weeks of learning in this course, I reflect on my thoughts of technology in education. When starting this course, I viewed the Internet as a necessity in everyday life from communication to learning. So many people depend on the Internet from entertainment, employment, to education. Students of all ages can earn a degree online instead of physically attending classes, and all of this is because of the advancement of technology.  I still feel as though there are far too many positive reasons to use technology today in education that outweigh the negative.

Three Significant Concepts Learned from this Course

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

Prensky (2012) described two different people when referring to technology, digital natives and digital immigrants. The digital native grew up with technology whereas the digital immigrant is learning about technology coming from a time period where most of today’s technology did not exist (Prensky, 2012).

Instructors have to learn to speak the language of today’s students starting with methodology (Presnky, 2012). Lectures can be made available to students through the use of flipping the classroom so that students can do more hands on labs, group discussions, projects, or project based learning during class time. The goal of the flipped classroom is to increase student’s learning by reversing the classroom model and focusing more on student understanding rather than the teacher lecturing (Acedo, 2018). The instructor can still be in charge of the lecture by either recording oneself and having students take notes and watch videos of the instructor or the instructor can find videos and assign those videos to students to watch before class. The instructor can also incorporate social media in the lesson by polling students by sending out a tweet using twitter or creating a poll on Facebook and having students respond. Students can also blog or collaborate on group projects or just share ideas using social media. The possibilities are endless because today’s technology tools, if used effectively, can help students learn on their own with social media being a way to collaborate with students all over the world (Prensky, 2012).

Using Games in Education

Computers games give students opportunities to learn in a language that the student speaks, technology (Prensky, 2012). The 21st century learner uses technology on a daily basis and incorporating games gives students the ability to learn by participating in hands on application. After conducting an interview with a 21st century learner who is also a college student, I learned that hands on applications are very important to college students. Computer games go beyond games and includes simulations, which can help students understand some of the same complex issues that medical doctors understand from using simulations (Prensky, 2012). It is not just the game that is being played; it is the knowledge that students can learn while enjoying content in the process! With students spending so much time playing video games on their own, it would behoove higher education to incorporate what interests students the most and use that to an advantage (McGonigal, 2010).

There is Still a Need for Brick and Mortar

Students who use only technology to complete their educational journey are missing out on connections with the institution. Yes, online courses teach students a plethora of information but the brick and mortar has far more to offer than just an education (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2011). Students who become involved in the institution by joining clubs and organizations become more connected to the school, build a community, discover passions and strengths and may even do better in school (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2011). My daughters were heavily involved in school during their high school years and one even started a club that helped students from the surrounding middle schools transition more comfortably into high school by teaming the students up with high school role models. Just as colleges look for well-rounded students for admissions, so do employers (Chen, 2015). Students who do not attend brick and mortar colleges are missing out on this experience. Although technology has benefits when it comes to education, there are some experiences that just can’t be replaced.

Application of Learned Concepts

It is my dream to start my own school and this course has given me so many ideas of where to start. I know that in order to start this process, I have to become accredited and many innovative schools have a hard time with this process because in order to become accredited, students have to be enrolled but to receive governmental funding, one must be accredited (Manning, 2014). Innovation is key, as the 21st century learner does not learn in a way that students learned when schools were invented. Today’s students are different and teachers are going to have to learn the student’s language in order to reach and teach the students (Prensky, 2012).

Students are interested in social media, games, and things that involve technology and retrieving information fast (Prensky, 2012). Today’s students work better with finding information instead of having a teacher lecture and giving students information. I know that if I am to use the knowledge gained from this course, I will be able to hold student’s attention and reach them because I will know how to speak these digital native’s language.

Conclusion

Digital natives pay attention to things that interest them and the old way of teaching that digital immigrants are used to just won’t cut it (Prensky, 2012). Put a computer in front of a digital native with a lesson that they are responsible for learning independently, you will find that they will start to research and become so engaged in the lesson that you would think you are teaching different students because you have found a way to hold their interest. I have had students tell me that my class is their favorite because they are not just sitting their listening to a lesson, they become a part of the lesson and when they don’t know an answer I always tell them they have an entire tool in front of them to find the answer to their question (either a netbook or an iPad). Digital natives are learning about technology at a rapid pace and those educators who are digital immigrants need to adapt and learn as much as possible if we plan to educate the 21st century learner (Prensky, 2012).

 

References

Acedo, M. (2018). 10 Pros and cons of a flipped classroom. Retrieved from

http://www.teachthought.com/learning/blended-flipped-learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/

Chen, G. (2015). The benefits of community college clubs. Retrieved from

https://www.communitycollegereview.com/blog/the-benefits-of-community-college-clubs

Manning, S. (2014). Launching new institutions: Solving the chicken-or-egg problem in

American higher education.  Retrieved from http://www.aei.org/publication/launching-new-institutions-solving-chicken-egg-problem-american-higher-education/

Mayfield, J. & Mayfield, L. (2011). 5 Reasons for getting involved in college-And how

to go about it. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/twice-the-college-advice/2011/09/13/5-reasons-for-getting-involved-in-college-and-how-to-go-about-it

McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world [Video]. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st

century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

6 thoughts on “Course Reflection

  1. Valia,
    I am very intrigued about your desire to start your own school. As we have learned, the accreditation process could be cumbersome. What are your thoughts for overcoming this process? What grade levels are you interested in serving? Will this be a charter school?
    I, too, wrote about the differences between digital natives and digital immigrants. This was the first official training that I had received on the topic. I found it beneficial. One take-away that I have from the course is that the digital natives live in a school where the rules have been created by a board of digital immigrants. For instance, if we see a phone, we are supposed to confiscate it. However, feedback that I received during my interview with two digital natives is that sending or receiving a quick text in class does not disrupt a digital native’s learning. Therefore, we should allow them to use their phones as necessary and within reason. I typically do not take students’ phones unless they are obviously a distraction, yet then I could be subject to sanctions from the principal. Another rule that our school imposes is no music in class. However, my interviewees indicated that listening to music is actually enjoyable and beneficial. As teachers, we get scolded if the principal does a walk through and finds students working with ear buds in their ears. Quite a discrepancy here.
    You have a golden opportunity to create a learning environment where the digital natives can blossom! I am very excited for you and from what I have seen in our classes together, you will be fabulous!
    Jolie

    Like

    • Hello Jolie. I think that I will make sure that I look into how other schools became accredited so that I can decrease the amount of headaches from trying to become accredited. I am not sure right now what type of school I am interested in opening but I am looking into a STEM school. I think that I would prefer to be charter so that I can have a little more control of how the school is ran. I agree with you about students using phones in the classroom. Phones can be a quick tool to poll students for understanding, shoot out a quick tweet or Facebook post to get a class discussion started, students could use their camera to create a quick multimedia project as a way to assess understanding, the possibilities are endless (Prensky, 2012). Digital natives are quick paced, get to the point, people that love being creative (Prensky, 2012). I think when we take away the technology tools that they possess, it is doing more harm than good.

      Valia

      References

      Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

      Like

    • Hi Jolie,
      I am going to research how to become accredited in my state so that I am fully aware of what it all entails before opening my school. I want to open up a STEM school but that may change. I really want to start with K-3rd and gradually add on grades as needed until I have a K-8 school. I really want a good group of digital native teachers to start with the primary and strengthen them to where there are little to no gaps before moving to intermediate then eventually middle school so that the middle school teachers are not struggling to play catch up to what teachers pushed through in the lower grades. Now as far as cell phones are concerned, I think that schools are doing more harm than good when taking them away. Yes, students may venture off during the day getting on personal social media or sending out text messages but there are so many other good uses for cell phones in the classroom. Students have a mini computer in their hands where they can google, snap, tweet, and post to discussion boards, group work, or small assessments so that the teacher can see who needs to work independently or get pulled for small group instruction (Prensky, 2012). The possibilities are in abundance for teachers to utilize cell phones in the classroom, but yet many schools take them away.

      Valia

      References

      Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

      Like

  2. Valia
    I learned the importance of simulations and hands-on learning when I conducted my interview as well. My students participated in a simulation last year. However, I struggled with the idea that I was not providing students with a “real” experience. I feel differently now. According to Prensky (2012) “If a prospective doctor can learn about a complex piece of anatomy or a difficult procedure from a simulator, certainly our kids can learn the frog’s interior layout from a sim like Froguts (p. 174). Moving forward, I will incorporate simulations into the learning when possible.

    Joyce

    Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

    Like

    • Hi Joyce,
      I am glad you chose to change your mind about simulations. My students also participated in a simulation at our local museum and they learned so much. The students took a patient’s vitals, tested urine for glucose levels, and even took an ultra sound of the patient’s heart. They used a robot that medical students use while in school to become a doctor. This hands on experience was very intriguing for students and they learned so much from doing. I think that I will continue to take advantage of opportunities like this and create opportunities in the classroom so that students can apply what they have learned and also learn from doing.

      Valia

      Like

  3. Hi Valia,

    Thank you for your post, I enjoyed reading it. I do agree with you in regards to the internet and the many positives it allows institutions of higher education programs, course content, delivery, student options, and student engagement.
    In response to the three significant concepts learned in this course, two of the three concepts that you highlighted was also shared in my post. You mentioned the importance of speaking the same language as the digital natives that we teach. I agree with you and see this principle as vital to my delivery and course content that I hope to implement this upcoming school year.
    Educational games while not new in the K-12 environment, is not believed to be very popular in the higher education environment. I believe that this is a key area for higher education administration to consider as this type of learning promote autonomy. An autonomous person, according to Paul and Elder (2008), is not dependent on others for the direction and control of their thinking.
    Today, teaching and learning tend to be viewed from a constructivist perspective. Learning is regarded as a self-directed process of constructing meaning, which takes place in interaction. The teacher supports the learning process by selecting input and approaches that can scaffold the learning process and guide learners towards independent learning (Sercu, del Carmen Mendez Garcia, Prieto, 2005).
    An analysis of the constructivist perspective indicates that educational gaming fits this perspective. Thank you again for a great post and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

    References
    Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2008). Defining critical thinking. Retrieved from http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766
    Sercu, L. del Carmen Méndez García, M. Prieto, P.(2005). Language & Education: Culture
    Learning from a Constructivist Perspective. Vol. 19 Issue 6, p483-495, 13p;

    Like

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