Teachers are constantly learning new materials, from textbooks to technology. Teachers who have been in the classroom for the last 30+ years have learned how to use e-mail, e-board, Moodle, Microsoft programs, and others. Teachers are truly lifelong learners, they must continue to learn how to change their roles in the classroom and how to change the way in which they present materials. From this course, I learned many ways of changing my role in the classroom. I have also learned how my students should be taught the materials, through collaboration.
For the first time, I have collaborated with other teachers on developing a wiki. I created a blog and learned how to feed my groups blogs onto my blog and to post comments on their blogs as well as adding new posts to my own blog. I have learned how to become part of a group on a wiki, I have never even seen a wiki before, not only become a part of one. Finally, for the first time I recorded my students answering questions, edited their responses, joined those responses together into one podcast and posted it on my blog. I have never attempted to use these programs before; but I have learned to work with them over the last seven weeks of this course.
In Will Richardson’s, book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for the Classrooms (Richardson, 2010), he gives systematic instructions for teachers on setting up blogs, wikis, and other learning tools. It has become an invaluable source of information. Mark Prensky defined the differences between a digital native and a digital immigrant and those definitions were debated between Dr. Thornburg and Hall Davidson (Debate: digital natives and digital immigrants). Surprisingly, because of that debate I concluded I was a digital native since I watched more than 3 hours of TV a week as a child. That was a surprising conclusion since I did not grow up with computers and had a panic attack in college when I had to go to the computer room for a statistics class. The personal computer has changed how we, as teachers, research, gather, analyze and synthesize information for our students. It has also changed the way in which we allow our students to do their research for class projects.
Change in the way teachers and students research, change in the way teachers run their classroom, change in the way teachers facilitate their classes rather than lecture to their classes. These changes have all occurred with the development of technology and will continue to evolve as technology changes. The challenge of the classroom today is to keep up with business. Teachers are educating the business people of tomorrow and it is our job to help them succeed. They must be able to collaborate they should become familiar with the latest technology available. Problems are posed by financial crises, school districts unable to afford the latest technology. Problems are also posed by a lack of communication between technology departments and the core subject departments. A lack of training on the newest technology also hurts teachers and students.
In closing, I have a word of advice for all teachers, we are the lifelong learners; it is our job to continue learning the newest technology. We are the ones who teach English, History, Math, Science, Technology, etc. to students of all ages, all economic backgrounds, all cultures and all learning abilities. We are the ones who modify our lessons to meet the needs of all students. Learning new materials and transferring that information to our students is just a part of our job. We are the educators, we have the responsibility to educate our students and prepare them for the challenges of 21st century society.
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The Changing role of the classroom teacher: part 2. (2008). Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.
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Debate: digital natives and digital immigrants. (2008). Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.
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New Jersey Department of Education. (2010). 2010 NCLB Report. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from New Jersey Department of Education: http://education.state.nj.us/rc/nclb/nclbreprt.php?c=15;d=55500;s=010
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (Third Edition ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, a Sage Company.
Skills for the 21st century. (2008). (D. Thornburg, & C. Dede, Compilers) Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.
Spotlight on Technology: collaboration through Wikis. (2008.). (J. Houston, Compiler) Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.
Thornburg, David. (2008). The Changing Work Environment. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.