Implementing my GAME plan was rather successful! I think this was because I was reflective about my students’ performance along the way. To begin with, I was looking to “apply multiple methods of evaluation to determine students’ appropriate use of technology resources for learning, communication, and productivity: (ISTE, 2008). My students’ use of our network drive to communicate about their work was extremely successful. I am glad I made the switch from GoogleDocs to our network drive. The students could access their work from any device that was connected to the network. This also allowed more control in how to offer appropriate feedback, since students were still learning how to submit assignments electronically. It became evident how different types of approaches are needed if all my learners are to demonstrate knowledge or proficiency (Coulter, 2008). The few students who needed support with typing were offered extended time during their Resource Room time to ensure that they too could submit assignments on the network drive. Now, students are sharing their writing through the network and offering feedback electronically.
Next, in working with a diverse range of students, I know that they come to us with varying degrees of preparation, prior experience, and support at home and in the community (Coulter, 2008). To take action in supporting my diverse learners, I have created strategic groups of four where students’ strengths and weaknesses are balanced. As students collaborated over their science investigations, their groups realized (without my prompting) how essential it was to have every member do their part. Even though some groups were unable to solve the technological design problems, they were still successful in their ability to engage in collaborative problem-solving. Now, as an extension, each group is creating a wiki to document their learning. “While technology is not essential to creating authentic, learner-centered instruction, it offers a powerful resource for engaging students in authentic experiences, typically increasing both their motivation and their learning” (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009).
As I think about future GAME plans for my classroom, I look forward to the many technology tools I will be able to integrate. For example, digital storytelling can be integrated across the curriculum with ease due to the research, analytical, creative thinking, problem solving, interpersonal, and communication skills required (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). One lesson I am planning to implement next fall with my students is a digital story about their family ancestry. I have already spoken with one of my teammates for next year and have agreed that it will be the project we share with parents at Open House. Another lesson I am currently teaching that includes new technology is the Forces and Motion wiki my students are currently creating. It has been one of the most challenging projects I have given to my students because it is problem based. . By incorporating problem based learning into the classroom we allow students to learn content as they also develop higher-order thinking skills (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). My students have demonstrated collaborative and critical thinking skills during this lesson that I have never seen them use before. While it has been difficult, I know it will be extremely rewarding!
I have learned so much during this course and am anticipating the many authentic lessons I will be able to design. Authentic Instruction allows me to teach content standards in ways that engage and support my students’ interests, creativity, and motivation (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009). Authentic instruction will be especially important as next year will be my third year with my students and I want to find interesting ways to engage my students’ creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative skills.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Coulter, B. (2008). Bridging the gap with technology. Connect Magazine, 22(2), 14–15.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.