Reflections on the class "Web-Based Multimedia" and "Intro to Teaching with Digital Tools"

Experience Needed

When determining what online community I wanted to join I had to do some self-reflection to determine my strengths and weaknesses for designing an inquiry-based, technologically relevant lesson for my MMP (and for my future students). It didn’t take long for me to realize my biggest weakness is experience! I haven’t taught in high school, I’ve tutored 3 biology students and 2 of them where very bright honors students who were very motivated to learn.  I was a TA at Rutgers for a senior pre-med course, but it is not the same as high school. I’m not convinced my experiences will transfer.  I have learned a lot of great techniques for designing inquiry lessons for my classes and my job.  However, I struggle with what level of difficulty is appropriate, how long a lesson will take, and if it is feasible.

This is why I am joining the thinkfinity community named “All things science.” Aside from the fact that it is science focused and I am planning on being a Biology teacher, it is full of experienced teachers who I hope can help me with some of my weaknesses due to lack of experience.  In addition to the experience of its members, the community is active.  There have been posts as recent as a few hours ago.  Sometimes specialised online communities don;t have many members or the members don’t participate so the discussions are very poor.  I clicked though this community and found that this is not the case.  Although, on first glance I was a bit disappointed with the suggestions some of the teachers offered to help with particular subjects.  It was mostly “here is a place you can get a video of it” while videos are useful there are better ways of using technology in the classroom.  Maybe I can share some of what I will learn in this class and what I have learned in previous classes.

I’m very excited about my MMP project, especially after reading Walker’s article on skills and participatory culture.  I am very inquiry focused and the participatory skills students are learning are inquiry skills!  I just learned them as forming questions, developing models, linking evidence to models, evidence evaluation, revising models.  The only inquiry skill that isn’t mentioned on page 9 of the article is argumentation, but in the article he suggested they are building that skill as well. Using an online inquiry environment will help students transfer their existing participatory skills to a more formal academic setting and continue to refine those skills.  Hopefully this will result it students with strong reasoning skills and a greater appreciation of the nature of science!

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Comments on: "Experience Needed" (2)

  1. Natalie said:

    Christen,
    No worries…we all start somewhere. I view your lack of experience as motivation to advance yourself! And this is a good step! You know, one of the requirements of my IMPACT Grant was to become highly qualified in the area of mathematics. I am a Language Arts Literacy resource teacher. The only experience I had in teaching Math was when I was in the In-Class Resource setting (once) in the first three years of teaching. I have always loved math throughout high school, so I’m not quite sure why I took another route (lol). The only problem was that I hadn’t practiced my math skills in so long that I was super nervous about taking the Praxis II. Thankfully, the grant offered a graduate course per year in the content area we were studying. I decided to take the graduate courses to become more experienced in the area of mathematics. I also (finally) got placed in two 8th grade math classes (In-Class Resource) this year and loved it! It was another chance to gain more knowledge to be comfortable presenting the subject on my own. My point is, I applaud you for taking the chance in becoming more experienced and I wish you the best of luck!

    In addition, you made a comment about how several of the Thinkfinity [“All Things Science”] group posts’ were video resources and you were disappointed. I too believe there are better ways of using technology in the classroom which is why I have been excited about taking these Educational Technology classes. I have tried to implement many video clips into my instruction as anticipatory sets or reinforcement to the themes I teach, but I know there is a lot more out there to offer to the educational world. I just haven’t been exposed to enough, and I didn’t know how to access or research properly for these educational Web 2.0 tools. I am confident however that we will learn a lot from each other, the blog reflections, our readings, and the online communities.

    ~Natalie

  2. ericaeducator said:

    Hi Christen,

    I agree with Natalie’s comments — the first time out is always scary, and we all know this from our own experiences (that’s applicable to most any aspect of life).

    It’s great to see that you carefully reflected on how your community selections would influence your MMP. I’m glad to see that you aren’t afraid to go against the grain, and say if you are disappointed with something (like the Thinkfinity science group) or the perspective Daley had in the article we just discussed (since you really weren’t buying into it). In this same vein, you also appear open to hearing new perspectives that may change your own thinking — a wonderful characteristic to have (as an educator and an individual)!

    I don’t belong to the community that you joined, so I honestly don’t know what sorts of things people are posting in it. I encourage you to say something to those that belong to the group though… Has there been anyone else who is also disappointed with the majority of the content that the group members have been posting? If you’re too shy to say something to everyone, you could always let the owner/moderator know that you’re looking for “more” than what’s being shared — perhaps he or she could bring the topic up to the rest of the community members.

    Also, I see that you’ve only joined one community, but the assignment asked that you join a minimum of two. Since you’re not crazy about what Thinkfinity is offering, perhaps you could find another online forum of teachers that have experience with integrating more technology into their science classrooms.

    Finally, I was glad to see how engaged you were by the reading on participatory culture, since it falls in line with your interest in inquiry teaching and learning. That’s terrific! I’m a big fan of Henry Jenkins — he’s a participatory culture guru. He’s got a great blog and a number of books — I encourage you to look into more on participatory culture — it’s well worth the time investment!

    Best,
    Erica

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