First in a series of posts reflecting on class meetings of Education 504: Teaching with Technology
I have been pleasantly surprised by how all the different classes (5 and counting -- we'll get the sixth in a few weeks) in the SMAC program have been focused on the overall teaching experience in addition to the specific subject matter of the class. That trend continued today with the exercise in discussing our best and worst memories from our high school experience. (My best was my high school orchestra trip to Europe, which provided an exciting adventure, an experience of independence, challenging and beautiful musical performances, and lots of fun with great friends. My worst was when my classmates and I made two different teachers cry due to our disengagement due to their challenges in teaching us.)
That being said, I was a little surprised that we spent so much of the first class (an hour?) walking down memory lane with a pretty lose connection to technology in teaching. Probably valuable overall, and I understand that the instructors wanted to emphasize the focus on Teaching, not just with Technology, but I'm not sure about the use of time.
I thought the technique of using the google form embedded in a wiki was brilliant (it is possible I'm too engaged by shiny tricks), and I look forward to using that to aggregate student responses in say, a pre-unit base knowledge evaluation.
The next hour spent on the national technology in teaching standards was a bit murky for me. I understand that there's a tension between making standards so general as to be useless and so specific as to be stifling. I think these standards were aiming for a middle ground, but ended up being fairly mushy -- abstract but convoluted -- language. I would have been greatly helped by some non-prescriptive concrete examples, and indeed the only way I made sense of it was trying to come up with what they might concretely look like in our "cafe chat" groups.
I'm intrigued by the discussions of texting and video games and looking forward to learning more about how to use them to engage students in meaningful learning, and also how to set appropriate guidelines around their use.