Module 4 Reflection

For , you need to critically analyze the connections among emerging technologies, learning theories, and theories of educational technology. Use what you have learned to extend these linkages to your own classroom instruction.

Throughout this module, the idea of emerging technologies has been explored.  In the past twenty years, the evolution of internet-based tools have changed and with that changed have evolved new learning opportunities.  These learning opportunities, such as learning on demand, learning through blogs and new and easier forms of collaboration, bring with them a need for sound learning theory.  While some discussion on whether the theories are new or simply existing theories with a new slant has taken place, my take away has been that an understanding of how leanring occurs through these means is necessary.

I am not afraid to admit that as I learned about these tools, I was (and am) intrigued by their potential power and rushed to use them.  I encouraged colleagues to learn more too.  While the spirit of exploration and the willingness to try and ail is important, patience and examination of the applications is also necessary.  In some ways, my rush o apply technology was great.  When it was delivered just right, it made a great impact.  However, for those occasions when it was not right on target, class time was lost and, more importantly, some people came away with negative attitudes towards the technology.  For me, the lesson is to never be afraid to try something new, but do so with a reasonably sound basis in theory.

I say reasonably sound because I do believe that there is still much to be leaned about what the true value of these emerging technologies is.  In some ways, the technologies are pushing education into a system that is much more individualized.  People pursuing their passions rather than a one-size-fits-all curriculum.  I love this idea (though hope that most people would still want to be well-rounded in their education) and feel that the technology itself then becomes individualized.  Different students might embrace blogging as a form of social constructivist learning that rings true form them, while others embrace developing multimedia projects with many collaborators.  The fact is that the technology can be applied to whatever subject matter the individual in interested in, so the individual nature of learning can become reality.

As far as my classroom goes, I feel a bit caged in. This is due to both the fact that I am teaching within a fairly traditional system (set classes, basic curriculum, 50 minute periods, etc) and that I am not always sure how technology can be used to best serve my students.  I try, but don’t always succeed.  Right now, for example, I have embraced utilizing self-made video lectures in my Biology class.  This allows me to create more inquiry-based activities in class while not eliminating the lectures that help get material (or context) out to the students.  It feels right, for right now.  In the long run, I do hope to be less content driven and provide more authentic and passion-based learning in my classroom.  When I get there, I am sure that these emerging technologies will be a big part of it.

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