This course gave me great insight into the mind of the teachers with regard to technology. It was a great reminder of the broad range of ideas and skills that our teachers have. I particularly enjoyed watching teachers realize the power of the personal learning network. It seems to me that many teachers, before this course, would not have thought to create a PLN. Personally it challenged me to expand my PLN and think of new ways to use it. There are certain things I can just Google and get enough information to move forward, but there are plenty of things that I need personal responses to. I need ideas, I need people to reflect on my ideas.
My final project was a little bit of a stretch for me as I based it on a musical idea and I am not a musician. Also, I confess, I saw this app on Facebook (not the actual app, but rather just a video of someone using the app, then I discovered what the app was, then started thinking of how it could be used in school.) I realize this is a backward way to work but that is just the life of a techie sometimes 🙂 What I love about this rhythm lesson is the creative part. Yes, it involves technical skills (learning to use the app) but I can picture the students in the classroom really getting into the creation aspect and having a blast. These are my favorite technology lessons, those that do something not possible without the tech but that embed it so that you don’t think much about the tech. This lesson lets students use the tech but not not “for tech’s sake” but rather for music’s sake!
I had a few other ideas for this lesson. Initially I wanted to do a lesson built on this idea of “100 years – 100 faces”. Over the course of a few week students would collect 100 photos of people of 100 different ages. This media project could involve almost endless variety since you could make it revolve around culture, language, health, etc. Simply telling the stories of the people though the photos could be so powerful. Obviously this one is not totally hashed out and is more of a unit plan than a single lesson so I put that one on hold and decided to go with this music lesson.
I wanted to thank Dana and Gary for their excellent work on this course. It was great to have dedicated time to be with teachers and talk about the impact of tech on our professional lives. Thanks to you both for a job well done! My work in this course certainly does not represent my best work, not even close, but in the real world most of my time is dedicated to the daily part of my “day job”!
I agree with your expression “I need ideas. I need people to reflect on my ideas.” Too often, teachers are afraid/hesitant to talk about what they are doing in their classrooms. Yet in other professions, people display their diplomas, write papers about what they are doing, etc. I don’t see developing a PLN as promoting myself, but as a way to ask others to help me learn. I am still not sure teachers feel entirely comfortable with this approach. Reflection always leads me to greater understanding.
In addition, your comment: “These are my favorite technology lessons, those that do something not possible without the tech but that embed it so that you don’t think much about the tech,” addresses what I think may be the biggest challenge for tech integrators today. We want teachers and students to stop thinking about the tech and have it become seamless with what they are already doing. But how do we get them to this point? Is it an unreachable goal when the technology continues to change faster than we integrate it into our schools? I believe this may be our biggest challenge but it has the greatest goal in mind.