Thenotion of my teaching with technology was different before beginning the Module1 of the diploma. Before this it was used for engaging students by showingvideos or multimedia display of flash cards, It was more on substitution andaugmentation level as mentioned in SAMR Model (Puentedura, 2009). With the helpof digital resources audit, constant interaction with the mentor, collaborationwith peers, and discussions on the learning community forum enabledme to expand the concept of efficient and effective use of technology resourcein the classroom. It was an essential for me to think carefully about when, whyand how to use technology, as well as evaluating their efficiency andeffectiveness which provide support to learners to develop 21stCentury skills.
Initially teaching and learning with digital technology was anew experience for me and for my learners too. As it was the first year my school had been introducedto Enhanced Learning Environment where digital peripherals were provided in theclassrooms. Hence, it was a challenge for me to internalize clarity aboutinnovative use of digital technology. However, by sharing ideas in focusedmeetings with mentor, seeing the experiences of others, discussing the learningoutcome and analyzing the impact on learners’ learning over teaching everylesson helped to meet the learning objectives. It was necessary to approach planningin a different way to cater diverse learning needs of the class. Agreat deal depends on the level of planning, structure, preparation andevaluation of potential impacts that technology will have on teaching, learningand achievement (Richard J.
, Boris. B. 2004). Although, I have beenarticulating the learning outcomes for many years, but the appropriateselection of technology was another challenge for me. Most importantly selectedtechnology should meet the learning outcome of the designed lesson. I have been able to reflect on my role as ateacher how much the technology use effectively in my teaching and students’ learning.
I needed to consider that digital technology enabled learners to meet thelearning objectives, rather than starting with technology and coming up withthe use for it. In this context my rolehas changed as a designer of learning activities and used Beetham’s learningactivity model (Sam’s Antic, 2012). I usually focused on the learning outcomethen created the methodology, whereas now it has been transformed and my focusis changed from ‘what’ to ‘how’. I intend to plan certain activities thatsupport the learning outcome in a better way and produce much productiveresult. I had to ensure that learners should have achoice of learning activities at different level of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy tocater to the diversity in my class.
From Module 1 to Module 2 my knowledgerelated to the effective use of digital technology enhanced and I was able tocreate new tasks that I had not thought of before. It further clarified when Iexperienced TPACK module (Mishra& Kohelar, 2009) and added activities intothe programme plan. It supported context- bound understanding of technology,where selection of tools was purposeful and fit specific pedagogical andcontent related needs of diverse learners in the class. In order to achieve desirable results interms of learners’ learning my focus was on sequence lesson planning in theprogramme plan.
By focusing on requiring end result, backward planning (Wiggins& McTighe, 2005) allowed me to address the students need and collate datato show the goal achieved at the end.Proponentsof collaborative learning claim that active exchange of ideas within smallgroups not only increases interest among the participants but also promotescritical thinking (Gokhale, 1995). While making lesson plans I emphasized onadding activities which would enabled learners to become more independent,where they would have an opportunity to work with cooperation andcollaboration. When learners got the feedback from peers or me they discoverand self-edit the work before shared the final version of their assignment.This further enlightened critical thinking and made them reflect on their work.Moreover, I provided opportunities to my learners to scaffold all learners’learning on an individual and small groups according to their learningabilities. Such as when I asked learners to collate data from other classesrelated to the topic ‘Food’, some learners did not know how to workcollaboratively on Google Docs and enter the data with mutual consent.
Then Irealized that I had to work on group organization, group management anddifferentiated instructions. Those lesson evaluation and feedback brought asignificant change in my teaching practices had included different aspects suchas in-depth planning, focusing on clear learning objective, select digitaltechnologies and other resources that supported teaching and learning both. Infact learners were able to revisit, edit and self- correct their work on sharedGoogle Docs file and give feedback to others as well. Beforeenrolling on the Diploma, I used technology as a teaching tool and the purposewas showing videos or making presentation. The significant change came in myteaching after exploring SAMR module (Puentedura, 2009) and Bloom’s DigitalTechnology (Churches, 2008) in Module1.
This helped to change my thinking andclarifying what is the need of learners in my class. I consciously plannedactivities embedded with technology that moved from substitution phase of SAMRto the modification and redefinition stage. It provided support to transform mystudents’ learning. Moreover, with diverse learning style of my class, I had tofocus on instructional techniques (Beethum, 2007) which was necessary to dealwith diverse learning needs of learners. Thus connectivism theory (Siemens,2014) offered that diversity through a variety of networks and providedopportunities to collaborate to find solutions.
It was Module 2, when I gainedconfidence to work with principles of connectivism presented by (Siemens 2014).I was able to understand that digital technologies have created newopportunities for people to learn and share information not only amongthemselves but globally as well. I also started interaction through internet onlearning forum and provided that exposure to my learners when they intervieweda nutritionist through Skype and planned healthy snack menus on Google docs forthe whole school. Once students created the snack plan ten they shared the Docslink on Edmodo with the other classes on general group of the school.
Now students have started collaboration ason-going practice by using different digital technologies. Their participationhas increased in a wide range of group and pair work activities, choosing theirown tasks and technologies from the full range of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.Secondly, learners of my class were self-regulated by using digitaltechnologies and in-cooperated purposeful collaborative activities. Studentswere able to analyse the task and set goals with the teacher’s support, then usethe designed activities. After receiving the feedback from the teacher andpeers, learners employed strategies to make progress on the learning task. Iclosely monitored the progress after giving the specific feedback. On the otherhand my learners were able to manage their emotions about the outcomes of thelearning experience simultaneously, I was able to evaluate performance oflearners on the specific learning task. The use of technology was enabled mylearners to refer to the task and did needful according to the feedback.
On theother hand it allowed me to evaluate and reflect on my teaching skills withICT.WhenI started the Diploma journey, I began with technology audit of the branch thenI shared my findings with colleagues through establishing professionalcommunity. That was provided forum to all of us to share experiences and gavefeedback. It was one of the ways to exchange dialogues and glitches faced whileteaching technology integrated lesson. It also supported me to find the bestpossible solution in the areas of improvement.
Sharing ideas on online learningforum highly motivated me and my colleagues to place learning activitiesembedded with technology in the class. Although some teachers found this difficultand showed some reluctance, however Enhanced Learning Environment of the branchand constant positive feedback brought an innovative change in teaching andlearning. I also found the use of technology very interesting because mylearners were involved and engaged, but during Module 2 when I experiencedTPACK Model (Mishra& Kohelar, 2009), it brought further clarity how to usetechnology for purposeful learning and develop higher order thinking skillsaccording to Bloom Digital Technology (Churches, 2008). At the initial stage,my students had fun when they were exploring new devices and played togetherbut eventually that became the tendency of my learners to explore differentapplications related to a particular software. Which developed confidence and supportedproductive learning.Usingdigital tools made the work easy when I gave feedback on students’ assignmentson Google Docs because it provided opportunity for learners to self-assess,edit and make necessary changes accordingly after receiving the instantfeedback from me . It has developed the ownership of their work.
Being an earlyyears teacher, I need to maintain observation record and a checklist to assessthe progress of my students regularly, especially in terms of evaluating theimpact of teaching with new strategies on student’s learning. Thus, a varietyof available digital tools for assessment that I used during teaching providedsupport to meet the diverse learning style (Harashim, 2017). Such as SurveyMonkey, online quizzes and reflection survey on Google Docs that I quicklycreated and invited students to complete the task. This practice enabled me tosee the result and progress. Furthermore, I could analyze the data and focus onthe need of each individual student and also the class as a whole. In this way, support was provided to studentsto address what the areas that the students need some help with. Despite ofmaintaining progression matrix I could evaluate my teaching practices with anyspecific lesson. Similarly using one of these digital tools at the beginning ofa period, enabled me to focus on the valuable feedback received from learnersand made necessary changes as needed based on the data.
This strategy worked ina reciprocal way for the personal growth and reflection for my learners and merespectively.Although,I was aware with the use of technology before starting the Diploma, howeverthat experience was at initial stage where I used technology for my personaland some office related tasks. Willingness to embrace change began when Istarted my course because that was essential for successful technologyintegration. As a matter of fact technology is continuously, and rapidlyevolving and considering as an ongoing process and demands continual learning.
( Harashim, 2017 ) Thus, my inclination aroused and adopted technology toexpress understanding and develop concrete learning among my students. Hence myfocus shifted and moved to learning that was relevant and assessment that wasauthentic. In result, it changed the culture of teacher-centric learning to thestudent centered learning where active involvement of students was evident andprogression was monitored.(Willium, 2014) Initially I used multimedia projectorfor showing videos to engage learners and often provide 2animate and 2 publishsoftware for creative writing on tablets, however with further experience andclarity of innovative teaching with technology changed the working ambiance,reduced the laboriousness and monotony of work, increased motivation, engagement and participation of studentsin the classroom. Through providing a variety of resources created interest andexcitement which added more fun using a different teaching and learning style.It was offering pupils more responsible for making the learning autonomy,ownership and opportunity to share expertise with peers or provided mutualsupport.
Particularly my confidence was increased with technology in order touse selected digital tools in the class and also showed more potential inlearners. I consciously reviewed the learning outcome of the lessons becausedespite of making interactive activities I was unable to meet the desiredoutcome. As the learning objective was technology focused, ‘to gather data’rather than skill focused ‘to create awareness’ hence the outcome was not as Iexpected.
Students concentrated on gathering data and involved in exploringdigital camera instead of collecting evidences which was my expected learningoutcome. When I added ‘how to use’, for the digital peripherals, and focused onmode of instruction, then it cleared the task provided students with choices.Then they mutually collaborated, and made the list of healthy and junk foodwith their pros and cons of health and added into the snack plan. That gave anew dimension to my practice, data gathering was an augmentation level of SAMR(Puentedura, 2009). Whereas when they worked together, shared and negotiatedideas, then mutually finalized the snack plan online with healthy choicesreached to the modification stage, this inspired me to continue using digitaltechnologies for learning as well as teaching.
Inorder to reflect on the experience gained throughout the Diploma, I evaluatedmy teaching practices with and without the use of technology. I realized thatthe most important reasons for technology integration with the curriculum todevelop 21st century skills in learners. My skills and understandinghave further developed with internal exposure and interaction with mentor andcolleagues, it expanded when external exposure was involved throughprofessional learning community. Now, my recent lessons have changed andimproved as it has obtained active involvement of students by using a varietyof digital tools according to the requirement of the lesson.
Undoubtedly,without the use of technology lesson could be taught, however power ofcollaboration, active learning, creativity and critical thinking would remain disconnected.It may developed but did not reach up to the requirement of 21stcentury skills. The use of technology enhanced my ability to convey theconcepts in a new way which was hampered earlier. I used networks as a way tocommunicate tasks, generate class discussion and share content that support mystudents’ learning – such as videos related to healthy and unhealthy diet, Skypewith nutritionist, Google Docs for making snack plan and reflecting on it. Withall these technologies, my students demonstrated their ability to supportsocial constructivism (Gokhale, 1995) in the classroom- not only through realtime interaction amongst peers but also with those whom they were virtuallyconnected. Subsequently, feedback received from my mentor and colleaguesenabled me to select and use a variety of digital technologies to meet setlearning objectives.
Furthermore, by using professional learning communityenabled me to align much more to the connectivst school of thought (Siemens,2014). Now,I have become confident to plan activities according to the diverse learningstyle (Harashim, 2017) of learners because differentiation came throughoffering a choice of activities and tools for learners. Such as when I sharedinstructions verbally as well as with pictorial illustration through multimediaprojector. Simultaneously, it went with formative assessment where peer andself-assessment turned out to be an authentic evidence to maintain progressionmatrix and reflection for action (Willium, 2014).
It was also beneficial as aneffective tool of evaluation. Indeed the innovative use of technology hasbecome a powerful tool to transform the role of a teacher to a facilitator. According to therequirement of developing 21st century skill I intend to explore technologiesthat support communication and collaboration. In collaboration learners wereable to interact and generate new ideas. In addition to this learners willbecome problem solvers and work independently under teacher’s supervision.
Furthermore learners will be initiative takers and face challenges withpossible solutions. They will also learn from their own mistakes and habituallydebrief the processes to create more efficient solution. In order to meetchallenges of technology- driven world I will reflect on the implications ofhow I might shape and apply digital technology more effectively. I intend tobridge the gap of understanding of my colleagues that adopting the new technologyto serve traditional practice may not be a bad thing but if restrict their useof making didactic teaching easier and more efficient and missing opportunitiesto introduce better, different or more advanced way of learning. Furtherdetails are added into professional development action plan.