As the semester comes to a close, I have to give my final statement about my personal teaching philosophy surrounding technology in the classroom. My philosophy surrounding technology use is the classroom is as follows: technology will be used to improve, deepen, expand, and challenge students learning in the classroom. Any and all technology use is dedicated to the differentiation and modification of assignments to fit the specific needs of students. Technology is meant to open new pathways in education; I will use technology as a means of moving beyond the traditional depths of education as a means to make education more applicable to student’s lives and learning styles.
One of the most important aspect of the ethical implication of technology in my classroom is teaching my students how to become successful digital citizens. I will use creative commons to build the basis of student understanding of Copywrite laws. It’s important that I use this knowledge as the foundation of my students knowledge of ethical digital citizenship. From this, I can move toward proper research techniques, how to determine which websites are trustworthy or not, how to cite material properly in MLA or APA styles, etc. This is key for all future research writings or similar projects my students will face outside the structure of my classroom. Technology will grant me access to YouTube videos, websites, infographics, etc., that touch and inform all of the topics I have listed above.
Another key factor about my technology philosophy is how I will involve technology in my lesson plans. I will refer to the differing technology frameworks we discussed throughout the semester. The two that stand out as the most helpful and important for me are Bloom’s taxonomy and the Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) model. Bloom’s taxonomy has been used for years as a model for deepening student learning, therefore, it is useful to help me understand which technologies are applying to which category of the taxonomy. An example of this would be if I wanted students to create a project that synthesizes their learnings about a unit on Greek Mythology, I could have them film a video modeling their own myth, recreating an infamous moment in a Greek Mythology, etc. Beyond Bloom’s taxonomy, TPACK is an amazing way to let what needs to be accomplished in a lesson inform which technologies should be used. More often that not, I find teachers anxiously inserting technology into the classroom without thinking how it impacts the take-away of a lesson. By allowing your pedegogical techniques and content inform technology use in the classroom, technology will be used in a beneficial way, rather than being present without a purpose.
For me, student expression and creativity is key for me. Therefore, I want to use technologies that allow for a deeper examination into student learning while enabling the most pathways for student creativity. I envision myself using technologies such as YouTube, Prezi, Virtual Realities created by students, etc., to enrich, accelerate, or enhance my effective teaching practices. These specific technologies challenge students to push their knowledge past a shallow level, therefore enriching the ways in which they can model and apply their understandings. Moreover, technologies like YouTube allow students the ability to watch videos as many times as they need to understand and accelerate their learning. It also gives me the ability to deliver the information I need to in a way that is enhanced to meet the interests of students. When students are interested in what I am teaching, they are more likely to grab hold of the information and make connections between what they’re learning about and its applicability to their own lives.
Where there are ways technology enhances my best teaching practices, there are also limitations. The largest one we have discussed in class is the distracting nature that can come with the incorporation of technology in the classroom. We focused specifically on cellphone use in the classroom and whether or not it is better to exclude or include them, purely based off of student distraction. I think this element of distraction is the largest limitation that comes with using technology in the classroom. Additionally, as I have already mentioned, the other limitation that comes with incorporating technology in the classroom is when it is done without purpose. Much like the use of a textbook that is outdated would limit student learning, simply throwing in technology into lessons because teachers think they need to meet a standard will do nothing but hinder student learning. In order to combat these two limitations, I will first be very clear on my expectations of student technology use. If I or anyone else is talking, phones will be off, out of hand, and eyes will be on the speaker. The same idea goes for computers. If a student briefly checks their phone, it will not be an issue. Only when I see them constantly on their phones will we need to have a discussion. I will give students the same expectations and responsibilities they will face in real-world situations. If I simply banish phones or computers, my students will try and find ways around it and that causes more distractions than setting up clear and focused rules about my expectations about technology use in my classroom. Moreover, when I am planning my lessons, I will be extremely intentional about the technology I use to push forward the content I need my students to understand by the end of the lesson. If I want my students to work collaboratively, I will use Google Docs rather than Popplet. This concept will apply to all of my lessons. If the technology I am planning to use has no direct correlation to the standards my lessons are meeting, the concepts I need my students to grasp during my lesson, or causes more distraction than engagement, I won’t include it. Technology needs to be fluidly incorporated into lessons, clearly showing its benefit. Forcing it into lessons helps no one.
The most important tools that I have gained through this class are likely websites that easily set up blogs like WordPress or Weebly and Screencasto-matic, a tool that makes the idea of the flipped classroom far easier than I have ever seen or imagined. Blogs are such an innovative way to take traditional writing journals and make them into a place where students can both express their individuality in the design of the blog, and allows easy access to student work by both myself and their fellow peers. I feel that blogs are intuitive as well, encouraging students to write on a new medium that they may not be used to. I found Screencasto-matic to be the second most important tool in my technology toolbox because it showed me how simple video recording can be. I always thought of recording videos of my computer screen far beyond my understanding; I would have closed myself off to the idea of it because if I didn’t understand how to record my screen, my lesson would have clearly been distracting and unimpactful. However, after finding Screencasto-matic and trying it out for my own mock lesson plan, I saw how simple it made flipping my lessons. It will allow me to skip over lectures taking up the majority of class or give me the ability to provide students with beneficial information for future lessons or projects.
I have discussed a broad range of ideas surrounding details of my technology philosophy during this post. To sum it all up, I want to look toward my future career and the time between now and my first day as a teacher. Between now and my first job, I will continue to create lessons that keep the incorporation of technology in mind. Through more and more practice, I will become more comfortable with the idea how I will create lessons that enhance and enrich my students learning by utilizing technology in beneficial ways. I will continue to push myself to find more technology tools and continue to update my technology toolbox. When I do begin my first teaching position, I will continue to constantly challenge myself to think of new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom in a successful and enriching way. If I become stagnant in the way I use technology or set in my ways, I lose out on making education as meaningful as I can. I will always keep my students’ learning styles in mind above my own doubts surrounding new technologies. Education is an ever changing being; the technologies I use in my first year of teaching will be vastly different than the technologies I use in my fifth year or twentieth year. I will be sure to always challenge my ways of thinking and be sure to keep my students’ needs at heart when I am incorporating technology in my classroom.