Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflective Synopsis

This Managing E-Learning course has taught me many things about teaching tools which I will be able to use as a teacher in the future. At first I was a bit daunted by all the different teaching tools, but through reading the discussion board and asking my lecturer and peers questions I worked my way through and had fun experimenting and engaging in all the different technologies. Kearsley & Schneiderman (1999) state that, “engaged learning, means that all students activities involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluation”. The teaching tools that I would use in my classroom to engage students include Voki Avatars, podcasting, YouTube/TeacherTube, PowerPoint and slide share.

Many of these teaching tools could be used in conjunction with each other, for example you could create a PowerPoint presentation, upload it to slide share and then add music. So as future oriented educators we need to give students the opportunity to be engaged in different programs and remember - we can learn from our students, just as they learn from us. We need to engage students, not enrage them.

Voki Avatars can be used by the teacher as the hook for the lesson because they are a great way to engage students. The teacher could also do a greeting or give instruction to their students through this technology tool. Students could also use this tool as they would have a great deal of fun choosing different characters, changing the voices and experimenting with backgrounds that are interesting and add excitement to learning.

Another teaching tool which I would use in my classroom is podcasting. As Learning Managers, and future teachers podcasting is great as it is free and there are thousands of available topics that you can subscribe to and receive updates to that topic. When I was experimenting with podcasts I found some very good resources which I would use to engage students in particular topics. One particular group of podcasts I would use are the ‘stories to read, words to know’ as they are a excellent resource when teaching children to read as it reads the book first, then the student follows with echo reading.

If resources are available I would also use YouTube and TeacherTube in the classroom as there are so many clips to choose from, and in most cases you will find an appropriate clip to explain a topic and engage your learners. Prensky (2001) states that “digital natives are used to receiving information really fast”, so using YouTube students can learn quickly through images and instruction.

The last two tools I would use in the classroom are PowerPoint and slide share. These two tools can be linked together as students could create their PowerPoint presentation, then upload their presentation to slide share and add music. Students can add sound, images, text and many other things at the click of a button. Music can be added to the entire presentation or selected slides and could be uploaded onto a class blog where parents can go and look at what the students have been doing in the classroom.

As a future teacher it is important to keep up with the ever changing needs of our learners, as they, “have changed radically and are no longer the people our educational systems were designed to teach” (Prensky, 2001). So we need to design fun, engaging and interesting lessons as, “today’s students (digital natives) think and process information fundamentally differently” (Prensky, 2001) from the digital immigrant era.

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