I believe this class helped me change the most out of any. Before taking this class, I had a real aversion to using technology in my classroom. My classroom used to look like a computer lab. I had long tables covered in really old desktop computers. Most of the time they were broken, but when they worked, I couldn’t keep students off of Google chat or Pinterest. They were a hindrance rather than a tool.
This class opened my eyes to a lot of really wonderful technology platforms that can help enhance student learning. I also really liked the idea of the H.A.C.K model. Through direct instruction on how to use these technology platforms, students can eventually learn to use them on their own, and ultimately pick which platform to use to best express their own learning. This class really caused me to want to change how I ran my classroom. I wanted a “tech” classroom with real computers that worked! So, I came in all summer long, pulled out old desktops, and got them replaced with laptop computers and desks. Now my classroom can be a H.A.C.K classroom; one that prepares students for a technology driven world and allows students to express their learning in their own creative way.
My Innovative presentation (Appendix G) and poster (Appendix H) forced me to think about teaching in a different way. Flipped instruction gives more time for practice in the classroom since all of the learning is done outside of class at home. Students come to school prepared and then have the teacher to help with practice or discussions. I think this model can be very beneficial if implemented in public schools.
The research project (Appendix I) really helped me better understand something I am truly passionate about as a teacher. I have always felt that advanced students in the general education classroom are constantly left behind. They are not pushed to their highest academic potential; many become bored and stop participating. As teachers, we are frequently reminded to make accommodations for low learners and those on IEPs, but never are we told to push our advanced students to do better. Because of this, I sought out to solve the problem. I wanted to know how to use the same types of inclusion techniques teachers use for IEP students for advanced students to push them to their highest potential.
I found that creating individual student packets with worksheets and projects geared to their level worked the best. By creating these, the students were able to read the novel, The Outsiders, as an entire class. I was also able to teach the class as a whole without singling out any group of students. But, during work time, students were working at their own, independent level. It worked out wonderfully! T-tests proved that students of all levels, low, general, and advanced, excelled during this unit. Not only did I find a way to push my advanced students, I found a way to help all levels of students. Because of this, I plan to prepare more units this way. It is one of the best instructional strategies I have come across thus far.