This first semester as a MSUrban STEM student has been truly amazing. I have learned so much in such little time. I came into the program hoping that I would have a true understanding of what STEM means as an educator and was taken back by how much information and knowledge that I have gained in such little time. I know that I am nowhere at the point I need to be with my newly gained knowledge, but I am far from where I started and appreciate the time, effort, and transfer of knowledge from this program and from the instructors.
I started off in this program thinking that I knew a lot about technology and boy was I wrong! Navigating a word document, social media, and power point did not make me a master of my craft. When I was told to create, edit, and upload my first video I thought I was going to pass out because this is something that I am not used to at all. With the help of my instructors and my peers, I was able to face my fears and not only create and edit my first video but I was also able to add my voice and music to that same video and help others along the way.
I have learned so many new ways to use technology in my classroom from posting on facebook to tweeting about what I have learned throughout the day, #socialmediasaavy. Sharing tech tips on a daily basis was also a cool way for us to learn from each other and also learn so much more about technology in such a short amount of time. One thing that has really stuck with me is the lesson that Missy shared on translations. I loved how she used a simple panoramic picture to show how students had gained the desired learning outcome. This lesson made me rethink how I am going to use technology in my classroom, specifically for assessments.
From the first day of the program from our shoot and tweet to the last day of the program, acting out each day of class to review what we learned, I was engaged and I loved every moment of it! I am a hands on learner and telling me about something keeps my attention momentarily, but to be a part of the lesson is much better for me so the quickfires were a plus. Using the quickfires in the middle of a lesson for me, pulled me back into the lesson and they were a challenge because of what we were asked to do as well as the time spent on completing the task. This really made me think about how my students learn and how much time I should take teaching and talking as opposed to them actually learning by doing.
This brings me to how much I learned from our daily readings. Each reading taught me something but the reading that adhered to me the most was Teaching for Conceptual Change: Confronting Children’s Experience by Watson, Bruce and Kopnicek. In this reading, the teacher brought the lesson to life for her students. Watson, Bruce and Kopnicek stated that “O’Brien stopped them and said the magic words in science, “Let’s find out” (680). These words are so powerful in science to me. When students have the ability to explore and inquire to find the answers, I feel they learn so much more because the lesson is brought to life. Reading from a textbook is not doing science in my opinion, but being able to become a scientist and explore and investigate to find the answers is science.
This entire experience has made me rethink my entire teaching pedagogy. I am so excited to start the new school year off with so many new ideas from the setup of my classroom to the way that my students learn new content. I will incorporate a makers station in my classroom where students will have the opportunity to create, take apart electronics, and investigate what makes them work to maybe making something entirely new. I will also have an inquiry science station where my students will have the opportunity to work on a different science experiment every week. They will be able to manipulate and work with materials in that station to create their own experiments and work on collecting and analyzing data.
I will certainly use the structure of the classes from MSUrban STEM and have my students start off our lessons rotating world of wonders to get them thinking about science on a daily basis and seeing science everywhere. I will also use quickfires to regroup and reenergize students throughout my lessons. Finally, my textbooks will be used only as a resource. I want my students to experience science up close and personal so they will learn by inquiry and I will be a facilitator of their learning. Assessing my students first, and addressing their misconceptions by letting them investigate their misconceptions will be one way that my students learn but I will also give them problems to investigate so they are able to make real world connections with their learning experience.
Finally, one of the most important things that I have learned so far that I know my students will benefit from is collaboration. I feel that you can not work along for you might get lost along the way. I worked with a very powerful team this summer and I know if it had not been for them, I would not have succeeded the way that I did with my technology integration, fresh ideas for lessons, and also learning how to work as a team. My students will be a part of this same experience because I will group them and continue to regroup them based on their skills, learning abilities, and choices that they make so they learn to not only share ideas but learn from one another the way that I did. Again, this was a lot of information that I learned in two weeks, but I have gained so much knowledge that I know will help my students succeed in becoming scientists and engineers for this upcoming school year.
Watson, Bruce, and Richard Kopnicek. “Teaching for Conceptual Change.”
Exploritorium.edu. Exploritorium, 7 June 2007. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.