EDM 310 was actually one of my favorite classes I have taken so far in college. I came into the class with a pretty good amount of computer knowledge and technical proficiency. I have been using computers extensively since I was in high school and actually had several elective courses in keyboarding, word processing, and Microsoft Office. But times have changed drastically since then. I was interested to learn about many of the technological tools that are now available for use in the classroom.
Google documents were new to me. I have been using Microsoft Office my whole life and had no idea they even existed. I like the fact that they are free and can be recommended to any of my students that doesn't have Office. I also like that they are stored online and can be accessed anywhere. However, I still prefer to use Office for my personal needs. There are issues that I had with Google documents that made it inferior to Office in my eyes. The main problem I had with Google was lag. The menu options sometimes took a very long time to load. I also did not like the interface. I found it nearly impossible to determine where I was on a page and print preview was not always accurate. Google also lacked a lot of the features of Office, especially when it came to presentations. I believe Google needs to devote time and energy towards combating these problems before anybody with access to both actually chooses their service.
Contacting a teacher outside of my region was immensely helpful to me. Not only did she give me a lot of cool technological ideas, but she also gave me ideas for hands-on projects and how they apply to teaching psychology. Anybody who has read my professional blog knows how much I love active learning! In the future, if I am having trouble conveying a concept, I may just write Ms. Damschen and ask her how she approaches it. I am not even teaching yet and already I have a good contact that I can network with and share ideas.
Blogging was definitely an interesting approach that I have evaluated in a previous post. However, I loved the Professional Blog project. I am probably going to edit mine to look more like a resume and use it as a tool in job interviews. I have often thought of what I am going to be like as a teacher, but this is the first time I have actually organized those thoughts and conveyed them into written form. That process actually made me even more excited about my future teaching career. I can't wait!
Podcasts were another project that made me think a little differently than I had before. Prior to taking this class, I hated podcasts. I would much rather read an article at my own pace than listen to the podcast about it. I think it would be a really cool idea for an interactive project though. However, if I implement this as a teacher it will totally be unscripted. There was nothing more boring to me than listening to the people who were reading their podcast directly off of a sheet of paper. When the students spoke from their heart and actually interacted and had a real conversation, it was significantly more enjoyable. I also think it is cool that the podcasts can be posted online and students can show their parents, or even out-of-state relatives, exactly what they are doing in class.
There were many other helpful concepts we went over in class. Everybody can read about my love-hate relationship with Twitter in my previous blog. I was very thankful for the Foliotek instruction. This is the first class in which I have had to use it and now I know enough about it to make posting standards for my other classes much easier. It was much more confusing than I thought it would be so I am glad to have the info. Delicious was also cool, as I had never heard of it before the class. I actually used it to help a fellow student, Christie Love, save information about her out-of-state teaching contact. iTunes was a good place to find educational multimedia that can be used to enhance the classroom experience. Google forms can be used to get a wealth of information about my students.
There were a lot of areas that I would have liked to learn more about. ACCESS and ALEX were two of those areas. I really wish we could have visited ACCESS labs, or even had the planned video available on the class blog. I also wish we had used Google Earth more. In my Hitler and Nazi Germany class last semester, my professor used Google Earth to show us the exact march Hitler made to the town square. I thought that was a neat way to present the information and wished we could have learned more about how to do that for ourselves. I also wanted to learn more about Picasa, especially some of the more advanced capabilities. We also didn't really get into the accessibility issues very much either. I was interested to see the blind guy's talking computer than was mentioned earlier in the semester and am disappointed that we never got to do that. I also would have liked to explore some of the prospective educational uses of Myspace and Facebook.
There is nothing that I did not want to learn in this class and now wish to unlearn. I believe that whether or not the technology is something I wish to incorporate, it is good to know that it is out there. I think that teachers should want to be knowledgeable and educated about all of the options that are available to them. I think they owe it to their students to at least be willing to give an unconventional approach a chance if it can enhance the educational experience.
I have always striven to be a technologically savvy individual and this class just confirms that I want to transfer that attitude into my future teaching career.