One of the main positive benefits for taking this course, aside from fulfilling a requirement towards my teaching certification, is that this course provided useful information about technology that I could actually use in the classroom. This course taught me new software that I never knew existed such as Jing and Inspiration, which I have continued to use for my classes. I was also shown new "tricks" with Excel and Microsoft Word that I never knew prior to taking this course. For example, if I want to make a letter that has each student's name, or their parent's name in the actual letter, I do not need to write multiple letters. Instead, I can use just one letter and create an excel file with all of the names written in it. Then I can print the letter with instructions that pull the names from the excel file so that I have individual letters. I thought that was a great technique that will save time when sending out letters about upcoming trips or events, which personalizes it. I have also learned how to create a newsletter, which I still use each nine weeks. I actually have students help write it and then post it to my blog. The students like it and it provides great information for the parents.
The project was a great assignment because it allowed me to collaborate with other classmates to create something new and innovative that I can use with my students in the classroom. My group lost one student leaving only Samantha and I to complete the task, but we shared the workload equally to complete the assignment, and I am proud of what we did. I will actually get to use our product in January upon returning from the Christmas break. I think that this assignment should be given each semester because it allows students to create a product using the various technologies learned in the course.
I will continue to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as the main technology staples in my educational toolbox. However, I want to extend beyond the more traditional boundaries of those technologies and imbue my class curriculum with some of the more "modern" technologies that I learned in this course such as creating and maintaining a blog about science, as well as dabble with podcasts. Those are two very new technologies that I would like to explore and bring into my classroom environment. I would like to bring current issues to the forefront for my students to discuss the debates surrounding global warming, renewable energy sources, and explore the environmental impacts caused by offshore drilling in hopes of becoming independent on oil. These issues and the decisions about them will affect my students' lives in a profound way. I want to use what I learned in this class to help get the information out to them in a more interactive way than just a boring old lecture.
Most of my classmates' blogs were similar in that they answered the questions provided by the instructor in the blog. I was impressed by how creative some of the students made their blog pages. As I play around more with my blog page, I am confident that I will be able to make it more personable, but for now, I am satisfied with just being able to post a blog. This is the first time that I ever blogged and I really think it is a great forum for exchanging ideas.