Wow, I can’t believe this course is over! I feel as though I have learned so much over the past eight weeks. Beginning this course, I had very few ideas of how to incorporate technology into my lessons and my classroom. I also did not understand the impact technology can have on my own personal growth as an educator. Throughout this course I have learned the purpose of using technology while not losing the main focus of teaching – providing our students with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in the real world. It can be easy to focus so much on test scores, that we forget to allow our students to explore, create, and inquire. On the flip side, sometimes as I was completing assignments and readings in this course, I got so caught up in the technology that I had to stop and remind myself that using technology is not an easy-fix that will ensure that my students will be engaged. How I use the technology and structure the learning process will determine if my students are engaged and truly learning.
Also, because technology is such an important part of every day life, it is imperative that we prepare our students for life in a digital society. This fact was reiterated to me over and over as I read articles and completed assignments. Once students graduate from high school, they will need to know how to research topics, analyze information, evaluate sources, and create quality products. It is our duty to prepare our students for those tasks. I believe this course has taught me many different ways and tools to guide students towards achieving that goal.
Another big thing I learned throughout this course was how to ethically use information gathered from the internet. I feel much more confident using pictures, music, videos, or text in a legal and appropriate manner. I also like that I can apply a Creative Commons license to what I have created and share it with other educators. On a side note, I have become a fan of Flickr.com‘s Creative Commons search; knowing exactly how I can or cannot use a pictures is very reassuring.
Overall, I believe this course has given me a great foundation on why and how to use technology in the classroom. I have learned techniques and tools that will help me continue to grow as a professional and as a 21st century educator. By being taught how to build a PLN and collaborate with other teachers, I have been given the skills I need to continue my learning. If I want my students to be life-long learners, I must first model that. And I am now even more inspired and prepared to do that than before.