Throughout this course, I spent some time learning about the ActiveInspire software and other online programs that my students and I would be able to integrate into our curriculum. I recently received a Promethean Interactive White Board (IWB) in my classroom and will begin using it on a daily basis in my lessons next year. I have never used an IWB before, so I thought this 20% project would be a great opportunity for me to learn about the features and tricks before I get a new set of students in the fall. Promethean has a great online support website (Promethean Planet) that provides lessons and flipcharts created by teachers all over the world. These lessons can be downloaded, edited, and used by me in the fall! It is a great way for me to get started with creating more student centered lessons and activities. Here is an example of a flipchart already created for practicing DNA replication—a lesson that I will be covering late in 1st semester. I will probably use this (or an edited version) to help my students practice the replication process. I also found a link to this presentation that shares interesting ways to incorporate the IWBs in the classroom. These suggestions/ideas (even though they are more directed towards SMART boards) will continue to be helpful to me as I develop new lessons with the IWB.
I think that I have absolutely covered the “Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experience and Assessments” standard throughout this course. For my last unit this year, I asked my students to research a group of animals and create a mini presentation to share with the class. They were allowed to select whichever presentation tool they wanted—Google Presentation, Prezi, ActivInspire, PowerPoint, Glogster etc. A few groups of students asked me if they could use Weebly to create their presentation. I had never heard of Weebly, but they had just used it in their English classes. I was thrilled to learn something new from my students. Here is one group’s website that was created—I am so proud! :) Each group was also responsible for writing 2-3 quiz questions based on their presentation. I selected a handful of these questions and after each group presented to the class, I had the students take the quiz written by all of their peers.
I also think that I covered the other two standards (“Model Digital-Age Work and Learning” and “Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership”) throughout this course. I have shared with my students the tools that I’ve learned in this Teaching and Technology Cohort. I have told them that I’m continuously learning and trying new things and I asked for their help and feedback when I incorporated these new tools into my lessons. I will never forget the one student who asked me a question and I said, “That’s a good question, but I don’t know the answer...let’s learn together.” Her response to me was “You’re the teacher, you should know everything!” I explained to her that though we are the teachers in the room, we are constantly learning new things with our students. The world moves on, research changes our ideas on the things that we once knew. I told her that the day one stop learning will be the day one dies.