Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tool 11 - Final Reflection

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

This is very much like asking a food addict to name their favorite food…Although not showcased in the 11 Tools program, the tool upon which I most heavily rely is Symbaloo. Although one could argue that this platform is just about structure and management of a PLN, I believe that it makes the PLN come alive and have meaning. Each of my students has a Symbaloo account for the purpose of gaining a structural approach to their school day PLN. I plan to rededicate myself to developing the PLN concept using this platform.
The platform that I get the most use of in managing a classroom is Google Apps. In addition, I think it is perhaps the most effective tool we have for students to LIVE 21st Century learning and outcomes. Two aspects of the Apps domain that I plan to re-visit are Stupeflix and Forms. With the former, it is both easily accessible and operable and yet terribly underused. Concerning the latter, I have toyed with the idea of assessing student learning by having them create their own tests using QAR strategies (Question Answer Relationships). I would like to see Google Forms used in that fashion and/or in creating Book Club assessments.
Another platform not specifically mentioned in the tools is one that I have grown fond of is Collaborize. I hope to become more adept at devising strategies to continue to engage and provoke students into deeper discussions, but also to manage and assess the responses.
Without doubt, I plan to devote a substantial amount of energy into facilitating the production of video artifacts as assessments via the plethora of iPad apps available.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?

I actually feel I have been on fairly solid 21st Century Learner/Outcome ground for some time now. I think the 11 Tools program has served a validating function more that a true learning one. I have felt that I have been this lone edu-wolf, a stranger in a strange land being that thinks and speaks in a different language from those around me. My hope is that feeling of isolation will be less noticeable until it disappears altogether. The workshop operation of my classroom will continue and with the addition of some new tools on a permanent basis, I am sure there will be a number of streamlining/management changes that will take place. I do know that this will be an ongoing process of trial and error, but that is what makes the job an adventure!

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Not to say that I did not learn anything new, but 11 Tools was very much less challenging that what I have experienced in the other programs I have participated in over the years. That said, I think the program was beautifully designed and presented for the intended audience. I only hope that completion of this program not be considered a terminal degree. To me it is only a beginning. The needed aspects of action planning with content, teacher, and student specific outcomes, actual classroom performance, collection of outcome artifacts, and evaluation by peers and students should be next. I hope the decision to withhold the tools until completion of the using the tools course, the after contract hours for posting reflections rule, and the wholly inadequate number of professional development hours will be revisited and revised.

1 comment:

  1. I too hope that you feel less isolation now that many of your teamies have jumped into the Web 2.0 world! There have been lots of thoughtful posts! I also realize that this training doesn't cover all tools and that it wasn't very challenging for someone as adapt in this 21st century world as you - although I do hope that you were exposed to a few new tools. We didn't plan to withhold the tools until the course was completed (I guess you are referring to the iPads as there is nothing new about the netbooks and most of this course revolves around Web 2.0.), but we don't have complete control of the delivery process. Judging for the number of staff who have completed the course at SFMS, I think most of them received the iPad before they got to Tool #8.

    You are a true trailblazer! Thanks for always being a willful "test pilot" when we have found something new to try! Looking forward to continuing to learn and grow from your experiences!