The most valuable action I have taken to keep up with current trends and educational technology tools has been to work on my Masters in Digital Learning and Leading. This Master’s program has provided valuable videos, articles, and other resources. It has been an incredible journey to learn and collaborate with other colleagues. A previous class taught me the importance of becoming part of educational communities. To keep up with the current educational trends I have signed up for a few educational organizations newsletters such as ISTE, and I follow multiple educational resources on Twitter. Staying connected to see what other teachers are doing around the world has been informative and inspirational.
One of the most invigorating current trends in education is the idea of advancing the cultures of innovation (Freeman, Becker, Cummins, Davis, Giesinger, 2017). This trend provides an environment that encourages teachers to try new ideas and accept failure as part of this process. I am fortunate to have this culture at my current school. The principal has encouraged teachers to try new things, because of his willingness, teachers have started genius hour, robotics, dog days (where a teacher brings her in-training therapy dog for students to play with, to reduce anxiety) maker spaces, and blended classrooms. Many of these tools that teachers have embraced also provide deeper student learning and have increased engagement.
Another one of the trends was implementing online learning (Adams, Freeman, Giensinger, Cummins, & Yuhnke, 2016). As the research shows, this model has many benefits for students. The past 5 years I have been a CTE (Career & Technology) teacher, so I have been fortunate enough to have access to desktop computers for all students. However, it wasn’t until this school year, that I really took advantage of the opportunities the technology access has afforded me. My idea started small embedding blended learning into the classroom by planning once a week to provide students access to the lesson through a video, but as I gained confidence, I made videos daily. This has been one of the best decisions I have made and has allowed a greater depth for students understanding, but most of all I work with small groups or one on one with students. My classroom has become completely student-centered, for students are not dependent on me to learn, they learn through their access to the resources in the LMS (learning management system) and they learn through each other. Other teachers often come to me with technical questions, or classroom management ideas. The more students are engaged, the less behavior problems I have seen. This blended learning model allows students to work at their own pace, students are much more focused and on task.
Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M., and Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Freeman, A., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., and Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K–12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.