This semester’s work in CEP 810 has shed a lot of light on teaching for understanding with technologies. Our first assignment on understanding, learning, and conceptual change set the tone for the course as I reflected on how the integration of technology should lead to students constructing meaning, making connections, and engaging in authentic learning opportunities.
The Networked Learning Project (where I discovered how to make Pizza) was an innovative approach to learning. It involved research skills, thinking skills, risk-taking and curiosity – valuable lessons I would recommend to colleagues and students. Using digital tools and implementing good systems to facilitate workflow was another key learning for me this semester. It became clear that an effective workflow would free my mind of trivial tasks, and allow me to apply “appropriate focus” to the big-picture, meaningful items in my life. I have also become more comfortable using blogs and twitter as a means of sharing work and connecting with others. I can see myself continuing to use these tools (and others) to expand my professional learning network and stay informed of best educational practices.
The “Five Core Competencies of Fundamental Literacy” showed us how students develop critical thinking skills and conceptual understanding through the use of technology and digital tools. TPACK further deepened my understanding of the complexities of technology integration as I discovered that this process requires careful thought and reflection on what is being taught (content) and how it is being taught (pedagogy). Going forward, I will continue to question how technology adds meaning to a lesson while also evaluating how I can repurpose technology to better suits my needs.
Several questions remain as I continue to grow and increase my understanding of teaching for understanding with technologies. I must consider how to engage other teachers in understanding the complexities of technology while also helping them to overcome their reluctance and fear of technology. School parents often feel that technology is not “real learning” and instead it is something children can do at home (especially in the early years). Therefore, another question that comes to mind is how to best educate and engage parents in an ongoing conversation about learning in the 21st century.