Over the last four months, I've been a student in a graduate course called Integrating Technology Into Programming, Services, and Instruction. Our instructor, Nicole Zumpano, asked us to reflect on our learning journey through the course.
I love to use technology, both personally and in the classroom. I've always been an 'early adopter' and risk-taker when it comes to instructional planning and technology use, often developing units and facilitating project-based learning for my students. I've always felt comfortable with tech as a learning tool, so that part hasn't changed.
But because of this course, I have become more comfortable moving up the SAMR ladder: from augmentation and modification to redefinition. I am encouraging my students to use technology to create and produce content, and even solve design problems. For example, my classroom has two ongoing and simultaneous projects: one group of students is using technology to answer the question, "How can we communicate our learning with the world?". This group, called the Communications group, creates and produces its own podcast weekly, which we publish on iTunes. The podcast is called The Chat, and it covers both current events and school events.
Another group of students is answering the question, "How can we create an app or game that helps people?". The App Development group is creating an iOS app called Character Castle which will be sold on the App Store (we hope!). All proceeds from the app will be donated to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which helps kids with cancer. To be able to work at this level with my students is thrilling, and has forever changed my practice. I hope it has forever changed my students, too.
The best part of this class, however, is that where I used to stand alone, I now see others. Because of this class, I see many of my colleagues implementing technology, taking risks where they hadn't before. I see them finally understanding the power of technology as a tool, and seeing it not as a burden, but as opening up a new world of possibility. I am very impressed by their willingness to take risks and jump in to unknown territory, and I am not sure how long that would have taken had it not been for this class. Thank you, Nicole!