When previewing this class I was overwhelmed by the amount of group work required and understanding where the group project was supposed to end. The final product was not clear to me and frustrating. I was finally able to relax and let each week’s assignment be the building tool it was intended to be. Working as a group allowed us to work collaboratively to create and produce a quality unit on teaching technology. My most significant frustration and stress with group collaboration was some members were procrastinators and I am not. Several members preferred to wait and do all of their work on the weekend when the assignment was due on Sunday. I know many procrastinators and they do create their best work “under the gun”. Although I am not a procrastinator I will readily admit that those few in my group did come through with flying colors showing creative and quality work.
This class took lesson planning to an entire new and higher level than I was familiar with. Universal Design for Learning was a new concept for me. Rose & Meyer (2002, Chapter 6) argued, “We can accommodate diverse learners by using a repertoire of teaching strategies suited to each of the brain networks. My knowledge of UDL was broadened along with learning to focus activities on brain networks. The UDL lesson that I created can be found using the following link: https://sites.google.com/site/technologyteachingedld5364/home/lessons. The CAST eBook Builder was also a new tool introduced to me in this class. My CAST eBook Builder project can be found at http://bookbuilder.cast.org/view.php?op=view&book=57475&page=1. This is an invaluable and simple to use tool that allows an educator to meet the needs of many diverse learning groups.
As a library media specialist, I collaborate with many teachers of different grade levels and my focus is always curriculum first and technology second. Pitler (2007, p. 217) states “Using technology for technology’s sake isn’t a good application of instructional time or funding and it is unlikely to improve student achievement.” The UDL lesson design and eBook Builder works with that concept of curriculum first, technology second while continuing to meet the needs of every learner. Using our collaborative group’s Google site allowed me to share some of the ideas into projects for professional development that I have offered to teachers on my campuses. Pulling in and using previous knowledge with new tools learned in this class made my personal experience very positive. I was able to take all tools and expand them to include activities that would meet the needs of more diverse learners.
The most important goal while completing this class was to create a cohesive group project that addressed multiple technology tools learned in this class along with personal individual experiences. I followed the rubrics and used those to try to keep my group members on task using our Google document. I do believe my team worked well together and we all stayed professional. We were able to get our individual ideas to “gel” together for a common goal. Our biggest obstacle was in Week 3 as many of us were on spring break and were traveling. However with dedication and hard work were able to get our work completed. This online collaboration gave me the unique experience to share first-hand knowledge of using Google documents and Google sites with both students and teachers.
This class challenged me to move past my comfort zone of available technology tools that I was familiar with. Sprague & Dede (1999, p. 7) stated, “Teachers sometimes are concerned about such a shift; they worry about losing control, not fulfilling their role or being seen as less effective by parents, principals, or supervisors.” I plan to continue my quest to help teachers feel comfortable giving over some of the control to the power to technology and understand students understand technology and we need to guide the curriculum since that is our specialty. I look forward to taking what I have learned in this class and share it with my educational colleagues.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Department.
Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for Learning. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Available online at the Center for Applied Special Technology Web Site. Chapter 6. Retrieved on October, 5, 2009, from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes
Sprague, D. & Dede, C. (1999). If I teach this way, am I doing my job: constructivism in the classroom. Leading and Learning, 27(1). Retrieved January 28, 2011 from the International Society for Technology in Education at http://imet.csus.edu/imet9/280/docs/dede_constructivism.pdf.