As an educator, it's important to be reflective of my practice, not for the sake of boasting, but for the sake of being able to recall what went well, what worked - and definitely how things could be improved for the next time I teach this particular session of CPED2023 for Johnson University.
I spend what my wife probably thinks is an inordinate amount of time pining over and re-examining my course content, flow and learning experiences each term - or at the very least each summer. I look to improve the course, to re-examine the units, the content and timing of those learning experiences. Why? Well it's just like I tell my students, technology keeps moving forward - despite our best efforts or lack of effort to keep it from doing so. Someone, somewhere, somehow, someway thinks that there's a better, different, or more effective or efficient way for technology to do or aid us in what we do. This becomes even more (seemingly) convoluted when it additionally involves education.
I really do enjoy what I teach - I love that it's not stagnant and unchanging - though the pace [with which technology changes] does get the best of me sometimes. It's tough to keep up. With this idea in mind, I've decided that a goal for the course is to introduce students to the element of technology integration, understanding that while it changes, it's important to be aware and make use of a few select technologies that help in the betterment of their classroom learning and instruction. We can't know everything there is to know about technology - that's what Google is for. (Right?) Rather it's about being able to find out and effectively use a few technologies in the support and improvement of academic, administrative and the professional development functions of students learning to be teachers. I know that's a mouthful, but it really hits at the crux of what can be accomplished in a short 16 week course, meant to introduce students to 'educational technology'.
Interestingly, when I asked my class to identify what they associate with 'educational technology', i got well over 100 responses, and when codified using Wordle, a few select words stood out: smartboard and ipad. While several others also got attention, it thought it interesting that the things students expect to interact with most - that is the hardware seemed to be of greater prominence. To be sure, educational technology is about the hardware, and to a degree I would argue that hardware 'came first' when being added to education, but it's since been infused with software, what I call 'webware'. But all this isn't enough - students learning to be teachers (also known as per-service teachers or interns) also need to critically begin their understanding of instruction and technology integration with sound pedagogy.
So as I look back on this week's first class session, I reflect on what we thought about:
And great questions posed:
I think there's room for change, and while change doesn't mean perfection overnight, it does mean that we keep moving forward. We choose to learn from our mistakes and realize our successes might not be repeatable, since variables change (student makeup, time of day, reliability of technology, composition of the environment, etc.). On the other hand, we become ever better practitioners - professional teachers. Professional because of the why and how we teach, not because we possess a piece of paper from somewhere.