This course introduced me to many technologies that I highly enjoyed learning and implementing. At the start of the course, our challenge was to create an introductory video, and I published mine on Youtube.com. I was able to make a much more personal connection to my classmates than in a discussion forum. I also liked that I could convey a lot of information quickly while being creative. Another tool I enjoyed was creating and implementing a community survey, which I did using Google Forms. I had already used the application, but this class helped me better understand the best practices that come along with surveying the public. Two other technologies I highly enjoyed were mobile learning using the authoring app easygenerator.com and presentation-based learning using powtoon.com. These two have so much appeal because the designer can keep their presentation simple while exercising a ton of creativity through visuals, sound, and text features. If I had to choose a favorite technology, I would have to say it was creating catchy presentations in powtoon.com.
On the other hand, there were a few technologies we had to try out in learning challenges that I was less than crazy about. I could not think of any uses for me to use live data in my English classroom besides during research. It was quite scientific and mathematical and I had trouble navigating the resources. Another technology I immediately wrote off was 3D immersion because what I experienced in Second Life would be highly inappropriate for students. For example, the female avatars are all scantily dressed and anyone can chat with you. By far the most frustrating of the technologies were educational games. I did not find any of the resources user-friendly or helpful in letting me create a game that would be engaging for my students. I ended up using scratch.com, but that ended up being highly time consuming, although it was good software.
Takeaways for Teaching and Learning
These activities did not change my views of technology for teaching and learning, but rather reinforced what I have learned are best practices. The technologies I loved in this course offered accessibility, enjoyment of use, practicality in my every day role, and a high level of creative expression. The ones I despised although they were accessible, needed blocks on certain content, especially Second Life. The biggest issue is that as a teacher, my time is limited, and many of the tools I turned away from were huge time wasters in addition to not being user-friendly. If I am frustrated as the designer, most likely my students will be frustrated as the participants. My main takeaway was that technology should not be used for technology’s sake, but rather when it is the best way to help students learn.
How I Will Apply My Learning
In the future, I plan on incorporating fun mini-lessons in powtoon.com and easygenerator.com. This will free up more time for students to collaborate and discover on their own. I would also like to teach my students the best practices of designing a presentation and conducting surveys. So often, we are bored watching students present, but are we teaching them explicitly enough what is expected? I know that I do not do enough. I also anticipate using Google Forms more often than just end of unit surveys and eventually having students create their own surveys and presenting their findings.
The Future of Educational Technology
In the next ten years, many emerging technologies will be impacting the educational landscape. Wearable technology like Google Glass will be the norm. Schools will probably have a number of 3D printers. Open Educational Resources (OER) will be common. Teachers will have to keep learning about these new tools and experimenting with them in their classes. Educational organizations will have to change their policies to incorporate this new technology while also protecting student privacy. Ultimately, everyone will have to advocate for the students who need to be prepared for the world, whether they are going to college or career.
Which emerging technology do you foresee having the greatest impact on education in the next 5 to 10 years?
A link to a discussion of 10 emerging technologies:
Some cool wearable technology tools from the Consumer Electronics Show 2015: