Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Reflection on Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction and Technology

As a result of my learning from this course, I have truly learned how to bridge learning theories, instructional practices and various technology tools to further enhance and enrich my students’ overall learning experiences. It has been a pleasure exploring how to integrate the theoretical foundations of our educational system into the 21st century classroom. Now, I have a better understanding of how these traditional learning theories and instructional practices apply to our students of today and the way students grow and develop cognitively and socially as learners.

Earlier in this course, I developed a personal learning theory that incorporated a combination of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory and Albert Bandura’s social learning theory. My personal learning theory stated that all students have the capacity to become successful learners and achieve at their highest levels as long as they are given valuable experiences that support their learning styles. In addition, students’ experiences, their intelligences and their higher order thinking can be enhanced through continuous peer collaborations and discussions. Furthermore, technology can be used as an engaging and influential tool to further facilitate peer collaboration and the teaching – learning process within the classroom. I still strongly support my personal learning theory because it truly enhances students’ overall achievement within the classroom. To ensure students have an opportunity to learn at their highest levels, I will take a balanced approach and include different learning theories, such as the behaviorist learning theory and cognitive learning theory, as a foundation for the instructional practices used within my classroom in order to better meet the needs of all students.

Moreover, as a way to stay current with the today’s times and to continue student engagement through the use of technology, I plan to research more about voice threads and online concept mapping tools so that my students will be able to showcase their learning on our class webpage. I especially would like to incorporate voice threads as a final communication piece of our second grade persuasive writing unit. I would love for students to voice their opinions on a particular topic and try to persuade others to feel the same way. With the use of voice threads, their classmates could either write or record their thoughts on whether they agree with their classmates or not. I believe this technology tool would help facilitate student learning as they learn how to communicate effectively with supporting details, facts or images that would help influence their peers to agree with them.

It is my long term goal to ensure that our classroom truly becomes a classroom without walls. I want all of my students’ parents and family members to have the opportunity to see all of the learning that takes place without necessarily ever having to step foot inside our room. Through the use of our class webpage, parents and family members, from all over the country would be able to take virtual field trips to our classroom and see all of the great and exciting things we are learning on a regular basis. In addition, it is my goal to have an ongoing blog where parents can communicate to students how much they have enjoyed their visit to our classroom in order to further support student learning. Parents can also ask questions to students about their experiences working on a particular project and students can write back to parents answering those questions. In order to help make this goal happen, I plan to get in contact with our school’s media specialist and information technology staff members to ensure students’ identities and work samples are not compromised over the internet. Once I have a way to ensure the protection of our students and our classroom, then I would also make sure that I have the support of our parents and administration. If for some reason, we are not able to showcase our learning on our class webpage, then I would provide copies of our class projects on CDs and encourage parents to email the class their comments and questions in order to continue constant dialogue between parents and students as well as the teacher.

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