Mane (CRIN 604)

         Digital tools in education

May 8, 2010

Course Reflections

Filed under: Course reflections — mepada @ 4:02 pm

The course description states: “Students will be provided with a variety of opportunities to examine, apply, and critique the instructional affordances and constraints of a variety of digital learning tools, focusing upon how they can be utilized to support teaching and learning, professional development, communication and collaboration, and educational media production.”..and we did just that (and more!).

I really enjoyed learning about new technologies being implemented in the K-12 environment. Tools such as:

  • Lego Robotics (better work on my math skills)
  • Scratch (I have shown it to all my kids)
  • Diigo (which I have totally adopted and plan to always “carry” with me)
  • Digital microscopes (where was this technology when I was a kid?)
  • Food Force (talk about making kids aware of real world-related issues!)
  • Elluminate and Learn Central (wish I could hold most of my meetings via this technology)
  • Digital Storytelling (great way to integrate multimedia with content. Great items to add to one’s e-portfolio)
  • Google Earth (could spend a whole day “going” places!)
  • Inspiration (amazing project management/presentation organization tool)
  • Second Life (close to my heart!)
  • Quest Atlantis (Second Life with a purpose!)
  • and more!

Larry Cuban’s book opened my eyes to the more serious challenges and issues that come along with trying to implement technology (cost, teacher training, large-scale implementation, technology acceptance (or lack-of) attitudes, etc.). He offers a realistic (sometimes in my opinion, almost pessimistic) description of what really goes on (at least in some school districts). His books make you think twice before adopting and/or trying to push technology into the classroom!

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the NMC decided to publish a K-12 Horizon Report edition. I find it very helpful to learn about technologies being used and the technologies we need to “watch” at the K-12 levels. It helps determine which technologies should/need to carry over the Higher-Ed environment. Many of the technologies being considered at the lower levels are the same technologies being discussed and tested at the Higher -Ed level (collaborative environments, online communication tools, mobiles, cloud computing, etc.)

Discovering different ways to connect and network with our colleagues and field professionals was not just interesting but extremely valuable!:

  • Learn central and Elluminate allowed me not only to be involved as a participant, but also as a coordinator and facilitator of our own webinar!
  • The VSTE webinars/meetings in Second Life helped increased my level of involvement and engagement in SL.
  • VSTE Ning let me connect with other educators through discussion groups and forums.

The video project was a great way to look at the technology we chose for our project (in my case, Second Life) “up close and personal”. To watch/help an instructor actually go through the whole process (pre-planning, implementation, lessons learned) gave me the whole perspective. I was able to witness the complexities involved in trying to introduce a resource heavy technology and the amount of work it takes to integrate a new concept into one’s curriculum. It gave me a very clear idea of this tool’s constraints and affordances.

This was a great class! I love the hands-on/learn by doing approach to learning so in that sense,  this course was right up my alley!

Thanks Karen! Learned a lot!

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