Wednesday, April 21, 2010

EDUC 6715: Week 8 Reflection

In reflecting on my learning in this course, I feel I have strengthened my knowledge and skills for integrating technology into instruction in an effort to become a leader of change in my school and district.

Understanding of and consideration for the needs of the 21st century learner are key components to keep in mind when advocating for the adoption of new and emerging technologies. The idea that students today learn the same way students of even 10 years ago did is simply ignorant and can easily have a very negative impact on our students' learning and futures.

During weeks 6 & 7, I completed a learning activity that integrates the game Lure of the Labyrinth into a 7th-grade mathematics lesson on ratios and proportions. While some “old school” teachers may see using a game to teach mathematics as an indulgent waste of time used for entertainment purposes only, I believe it better engages my 21st century students. “The hypertext minds of 21st Century Learners crave interactivity, are good at reading visual images (though weak with reading skills), have strong visual-spatial skills, tend toward parallel-processing and inductive discovery, [and] look for fast response times which leads to short attention spans,” (Rodgers, Runyon, Starrett, & Von Holzen, 2006, pg. 2).

Technology, including digital games, should not be used as a replacement for good teaching. Good teaching, however, in an effort to prepare our students for their futures, should include technology. The use of this particular technology fosters collaboration, self-directed problem solving, and communication – all necessary skills for a successful 21st century future.

As a result of this course, and the fact that I will be moving to a brand new middle school in our district next year, my eyes are wide open and on the hunt for new and emerging technologies that I can bring into my classroom. Through my readings and research for this course, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon some fantastic blogs, journals, and discussion groups which have greatly expanded my own personal learning network. Additionally, the creative and enthusiastic minds of my fellow classmates have proved to be amazing resources that I will continue to tap even after my Walden experience comes to a close.


Rodgers, M., Runyon, D., Starrett, D., & Von Holzen, R. (2006). Teaching the 21st century

learner. The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. Retrieved April 8, 2010 from

Saturday, February 27, 2010

EDUC 6714: Final Reflection

The resources my other group members and I have gathered for our Differentiation Station assignments will become useful tools to have at my disposal. In designing instruction that will meet the needs of the diverse learners that walk through my door every day, one can simply never have too many options from which to choose. When looking for new instructional resources, a fellow educator should always be your first stop. The Differentiation Station has allowed us to come together and share relevant, useful resources in an effort to improve our efficacy as professional educators.

While I would not categorize my learning in this class as “new” learning, I did find it useful. I have always believed in differentiated instruction and the integration of technology to reach all learners. I was already familiar with the principles of Universal Design for Learning, the various brain networks and how they figure into learning, and how to effectively use technology with my students. However, through this course, I was able to further my understanding of UDL and DI, and refine my approach to both. I was able to gather even more useful, engaging, and relevant technology resources for my students, which will have only positive effects on them and their learning.

I have already begun to make changes to my instruction as a result of this course. In fact, the design of my next unit is completely differentiated by readiness, as indicated by my students’ Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores. Group Learning Pages have been set up on my class website and Learning Packets have been put together for group use. Students will be using Compass Learning Odyssey to navigate their way through greatest common factors and least common multiples in their Learning Groups. I tried this same approach during the last unit on function tables and was thrilled with how well it turned out. My students naturally helped each other before asking me, which allowed me to focus on those students that needed my attention the most. We were able to come together and work out any “kinks” they discovered and, in the end, agreed it was a very successful unit. We are all looking forward to next week’s learning!