This semester has really taught me a lot about myself as a learner. Now it has come to my attention that I am an innovator as well. For example when I was working on my independent learning project I was constantly asking myself, “what can I do better to make myself grow as a learner?” Each day I found something new and a different approach to learning Spanish that I wouldn’t have been able to think of if I hadn’t done research. This will help me to become an innovative educator because I will constantly look for the best ways to teach my students.
In learning we see innovation as something to strive for in a way. We want to progress and help our students grow and when we are innovative educators we constantly look for the best possible ways. Innovation in learning is when we talk to each other about our ideas because let’s face it, as a group we can accomplish so much more and put all our individual ideas together to make this outstanding idea. To have innovation in learning means to take risks and change the game rules up a little bit. Getting out there and taking risks and trying new things will be a lesson either way, it will be good or it will be bad. We never know until we try. Like Couros said in his article The Mindset of an Innovator “I believe that isolation is the enemy of innovation, and I will learn from others to create better learning opportunities for others and myself” this line really touched me and got me thinking. We need each others ideas to make learning better for ourselves and others.
I have unlearned that traditional teaching ways are the best ways. We are unable to grow and progress if we always turn to the traditional ways. Those ways aren’t always going to work anyway because this world is ever changing and being stuck in past ways won’t get us anywhere but the same place we have been. I have also learned that worksheets are great in the classroom. Worksheets don’t give the students anything but practice, even then it doesn’t always benefit them. The only way worksheets will be beneficial is if the teacher goes over them with the students and explain to them what was correct and why it was correct as well as what was incorrect and why. Just like Richardson had mentioned in his article, we have to unlearn the comfort of the traditional classroom because now pretty much anywhere can be a classroom. Along with that we also need to unlearn that only teachers teach, we can learn a lot form our students and that’s not a bad thing. Most importantly “We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.” Richardson had also said this in his article. I can’t stress enough how much we need to unlearn this as educators as well as learners. Sometimes I think we expect too much from ourselves and our students by thinking they will only learn a certain concept in that class period, students can do their own research on the concept and continue to learn about it outside the classroom. That’s just the way the world is now.
There is probably out there that I have yet to discover that I need to unlearn. I’m going to guess that I will have to unlearn some things about using technology in the classroom before I have my own class. I’m not sure what I will have to unlearn but I am sure there is quite a bit. Like I said earlier in this post, the world is ever changing and within the time I have left before I teach there will be things to unlearn and things to learn.
I apologize as I am a little behind on posting my daily creates. These are from Monday April 6th to Friday April 10th. I hope you enjoy!
Monday- 4/6 Collage your day
First I wake up and go to cheer practice. Then I go to classes. Then I make this face since I have to go to work. After that I have more classes at CSC. When I’m out of class I finally get to take a shower. Then I enjoy making some dinner. Then I watch TV with my boyfriend who happened to be on TV during the CSC VS Pueblo game. Then I spend the rest of my night hanging out with my dorky boyfriend and then going to bed.
Tuesday 4/7 Crazy animal picture
Wednesday 4/8 A sleepy picture
Thursday 4/9 Special high 5
Friday 4/10 Creative hands
P.S I am not promoting chewing tobacco, I simply took this picture as a joke with my boyfriend.
I have had a roller coaster of emotions while working on my independent project this semester. Overall it has been a great experience not only to learn and educate myself about a new topic but to learn more about how I am as a learner. I think this was a great assignment and someday I would like to incorporate it into my future class. I think it is important that students learn more about themselves as learners to help themselves out through their time in school.
While doing my independent learning project I have learned that I am a not so patient person. This may seem funny now but in the process it was the most frustrating thing, Learning a new language is a very difficult and timely thing. I was expecting myself to know everything the first week. I’m one of those people that get really frustrated if I can’t understand something the first couple of tries. I was able to overcome this a bit though as the journey of my project progressed. I also learned that I’m not a very good auditory learner. I need to see what is going on and talk about it so I can get a better understanding. I tried listening to some Spanish vocabulary words and then repeating after them, but I couldn’t do it as well as if I saw the word and saw how the person said it.
At the beginning of the semester I was an expert on procrastination. I would wait till Sunday to put all my findings together and notes together about my independent learning project. As a result of that I would stress out even more because I had to begin the next week’s assignment. As time went on I got better about doing my stuff for my independent learning project ahead of time so it was less stressful. As far as actually being motivated to do my project compared to a normal assignment I was more motivated to do my project. I was more motivated because I was able to go at my own pace and learn what I wanted to learn. I didn’t have to settle down if I was ahead and I didn’t have to worry about slowing others down if I was behind. It was nice that I had the opportunity to choose what I wanted to learn and how I was going to learn it. Like most other students it was excited to have that power over my education and be in control of what I was doing with my time in assignments.
The most challenging part of my whole project was trying to find different ways to review what I had learned. I didn’t want to keep just repeating the words like I had while learning them. I really wanted to see how much I had actually retained. I was excited when I had watched the Disney movie in Spanish because a lot of the words were familiar and I recognized them. There were some parts throughout the movie that I struggled though because they would talk too fast. I found review games online that were somewhat elementary but they helped me more than I could have ever imagined. Another challenging aspect of the journey of my project was trying to come up with what to learn next. Thank goodness I had the help from my boyfriend because there would have been no way I could have done this on my own.
The best part of the project had to be the whole process of me learning how to deal with my impatient self and learning not to get frustrated. I think these are two skills that will take me far in life, especially as a teacher. I don’t want my students to feel frustrated and think that they are going to learn something completely new to them overnight. I want my students to feel dedicated to what we are learning in the classroom and help them realize that frustration does not get them anywhere. If anything frustration makes it a million more times difficult to even think. As far as patience go, I want my students to know that they have their whole lives to learn and even though a topic really interests them they will not learn it all within a small time frame. I still get excited to learn more Spanish but I know that I will never know it all and I really don’t expect myself to anyway.
I really want to implement independent learning in my classroom in the future. I think it’s important for the students to realize what kind of learners they are and what may work better for them to learn the material. I want to teach lower elementary so implementing an independent project may be a little more difficult since the students will be so young and they are learning the basics anyway. It would be something I implemented the last semester of school since I know by then they will know what to expect a little more. One approach I would do would be to have the students pick a topic that they want to learn and then have them do a mini journal write every night. The journal could include what the students have learned about themselves in their process, what they have learned about their research project, and what they plan on learning next. This way the student is doing some critical thinking about themselves as a learner and the journey of their project.
I made a comic strip about some zoo animals that I have learned so far in my independent learning project. My independent learning project is basic, very basic, Spanish vocabulary. The most challenging part about making the comic strip was the program itself that I used. The program was not very fluent, it was hard to delete mistakes and correct myself. I think it would have been easier if I would have had somewhere there to help guide me through the program. I’m not very good with computers or their programs so it is easier for me to get frustrated. I think that it why I procrastinated so much to do this week’s assignment, sure it is somewhat easy but I still wasn’t very fond. I would like to use this program more if I had someone who knows more about to help me. I would be interested in learning more about it if I could.
I would love to use this in my class because it does require the students to be creative and work more with the technology. By the time I’m teaching students will be more comfortable with technology so this would be awesome to have in the classroom. I’m sure the students would also enjoy it and have fun doing their assignments. I think there is a lot of value in presenting information in the visual and graphic styles because students will need this knowledge in some of their career paths. Not just that but it is a more fun way to show the information that does not seem so boring and uninteresting. Students could really benefit from these programs.
I can see how podcasts and digital stories are more beneficial in the classroom than the traditional approach of using novels. I think the students will be more accepting of the use of technology just because that is what is hot in their generation. I know I’m one of the few who read paperback novels still, books are beginning to be replaced with kindles and now podcasts and the digital storytelling approach. I can also see how this really helps those auditory learners because they are able to hear the story rather than read it themselves. Podcasts are also a different approach from listening to someone read a story. Yes the story is still being somewhat read but it is like a radio show that has more of a laid back approach than just reading from paper. Also the stories that students hear from the podcasts have a big part of whether they will listen or not. A lot of students are fascinated with crime shows because they love the thrill of trying to figure out who committed the murders and why. This is when the students get to learn without feeling like they are really learning, they are using all the skills involved with learning but just taking a different approach. The material that the students read has to grab their attention right away or else they won’t pay attention to the rest of the story and then it’s just a waste of time. The murder podcast on Serial in the class was great because it grabbed the students’ attention and they took it a step farther and actually pretended that they were making the closing argument. I love this because it is real life! Students always want to know how the material they are being taught will be used in their adult lives so I thought this was a great explanation for them.
One disadvantage I see to podcasts and digital storytelling is the students that need to visually see what is happening in a story may not have that opportunity because they are not reading the information, they are only hearing it. Also if the students have a question or have a comment on what is happening they may not raise their hand and have the teacher pause the podcast because they don’t want that attention on them, whereas if the student was reading the information they could feel more comfortable asking questions and commenting since there is nothing to pause. Another disadvantage may be if the students are assigned a digital storytelling assignment and they have to get into partners. Some students really dislike working with partners because sometimes they are partnered with someone who doesn’t help at all or doesn’t listen to their ideas. This is often something that is hard for teachers to monitor because there are so many groups and they really can’t determine who is doing more work if they aren’t fully paying attention to the group and what they are doing. The last disadvantage I think there might be is if there are students that have parents that won’t allow pictures or videos of them in the school atmosphere. It would be unfair to ask the class to do a digital storytelling assignment and then have one student that is the odd one out who has to do something else because they weren’t allowed to be on camera. That could cause bullying depending on the grade and what the other students respect levels may be.
I would like to implement podcasts and digital storytelling in my future class if possible. I think it is a great approach and the students would really enjoy it rather than the traditional approach. I also think the students would have a lot of fun feeling like they were “directing” their own “movie” for digital storytelling. The only reason I wouldn’t use digital storytelling in my class is if there happened to be that one student who is not allowed to be on camera at school. I say that because I don’t want anyone feeling left out in my classroom and I will prevent bullying in my classroom.
I was kind of impressed to see the results of how many students enjoyed the Serial podcast. I thought there would be more than 90% because it was something new and the teacher didn’t really know what to expect from the lesson. Also it is a new more updated approach which I thought a lot of the students would be happy to have. There are those students that would rather have the traditional approach though because that is what they are comfortable with. Not all students are comfortable with technology either so teachers should keep that in mind when they are using podcasts or digital storytelling in their classrooms.
This week I really wanted to just have a big review week over everything I have gone over so far. I looked up games online that I could play to review the vocabulary I have learned up to this point. There was one website that I spent quite a while on playing. http://www.learningspanish-spain.com/spanish-vocabulary-games.aspx this website was awesome because the vocabulary that was used were words that I have learned up to this point and if I didn’t know what one was my boyfriend was there to help. I actually enjoyed this week of my independent learning project a lot because I was able to relax and just have fun by playing a game. I didn’t really realize how much I have learned up to this point, but I’m still not confident with trying to hold a conversation all in Spanish yet. At least for now I can pick up on some key words.