Initial Thoughts about Teaching with Media
According to Ching-Ciu Lin and Sherri Polaniecki (2009), “If students are to engage thoughtfully and maturely in a world with increasingly complex audio-visual communications, they will have to be able to supplement their core academic subject knowledge with finely-honed media literacy skills”(p. 104). As I reflect on my initial thoughts regarding teaching with media, I agree it is vital to integrate media literacy skills into the classroom, and I am excited to learn more about how to make this happen.
I believe the 21st century classroom must include technology and access to various forms of media in order to effectively prepare students for a changing world. I also believe there are many benefits associated with the use of media in the classroom including opportunities for students to practice 21st century skills. According to the Association for Middle Level Education (2010), “Learning experiences are greatly enhanced when all students have the technology to access rich content, communicate with others, write for authentic audiences, and collaborate with other learners next door or across the globe” (p.16). This statement evokes the varied and authentic opportunities that I see available when technology is used in the classroom. I believe technology has the power to help students meet the demands of an increasingly globalized world by allowing them to communicate and interact with this global world during authentic learning experiences.
On the other hand, as a parent and future educator, I worry about the safety of my children and my future students when they travel into the online world and interact with unknown content, images and people. However, according to November (2012) “It will be the courageous educator who works with students to explore the power of these tools and in turn empowers students to be lifelong learners and active shapers of a world we cannot yet imagine.” November’s statement encourages me to put aside my fears of the dangers in the technological world by providing my students with opportunities to practice safe and effective uses of technology as they prepare to be self-guided learners.
To learn more about my views on teaching with media, please watch my video below:
Follow this link, if video does not play above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRVobw-VLf4&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
More Thoughts about Teaching with Media
After taking this course I have developed a deeper understanding of why and how to effectively teach with media. At the beginning of the semester I identified some reasons to use technology in the classroom including: differentiation of instruction, improved student engagement, and opportunities to develop 21st century skills. I still stand behind these reasons, and I have also learned more about how technology leads to these important benefits.
I believe technology allows for differentiation of instruction in two vital ways, through visual learning and self-paced learning. According to Lemke (2010) “It is important to acknowledge that people learn better from combining visuals with text and sound rather than using either process alone” (p.248). Technologies such as Blendspace and TEDEd allow educators to compile a variety of learning materials to activate multiple senses in learners.
In regards to self-paced learning, Salman Khan (2011) pointed out that when using videos in the classroom students can pause, rewind, and review in order to get a better grasp on important concepts before moving on to harder material. While listening to this TED Talk, I realized that I have experienced these benefits during online learning, and I know many of my students will also benefit from such helpful features of technology.
Beyond differentiation, I also believe technology provides increased student engagement. According to November (2012) when his son uses media at home “He is self-taught, self-directed, and highly motivated. He is locally and globally connected.” In this statement November effectively summarizes many of the benefits students experience when using technology at home and indicates that bringing technology into the classroom offers the chance to encourage these same attributes in our students during the school day.
During this course I learned more about how the use of media in the classroom encourages the development of 21st century skills. I believe that technology provides opportunities for students to use skills such as critical thinking when reviewing a variety of resources. Technology is also a great venue for collaboration, and according to November (2010), “It is possible that collaboration is one of the most important 21st century skills” (p.281). November (2010) goes on to state, “In an interconnected world, our students will need to learn how to understand various points of view and how to work with people in different cultures”(p. 281). This statement shows that students must learn how to use technology for collaboration as well as how to collaborate and communicate effectively when using technology.
Before beginning this course, I had already fallen in love with the idea of the flipped classroom, but I was not sure exactly how to make this practice happen. I discovered that flipping the classroom is simply about having students use technology to acquire classroom content at home and re-purposing class time for engagement in active and relevant learning experiences. According to Jerry Overmyer, the founder of the Flipped Learning Network, the flipped classroom is “about personalized face-to-face time” (Hood, 2012). When the direct instruction lecture of the past is removed from the classroom, the teacher-student dynamic changes to allow for more individualized attention. This change in teacher-student dynamic further fuels my desire to use the flipped classroom model as technology access provides.
Technology also offers opportunities to flip content delivery from the stagnant textbook of the past to the digital texts of the present and future. The Internet is filled with videos, educational articles, and real-life documents that can be used for student learning. Online media content also connects directly to the use of authentic assessment. Many technologies such as Blendspace and Popplet provide a format for students to receive content and to also create products showing their learning.
According to Pearlman (2010), “Innovators…have adopted a new pedagogy-project-based learning, coupled with performance assessment-as the best way to engage and challenge students and provide them with the learning experiences that lead to 21st century knowledge and skills” (p.120). I embrace project-based learning and recognize a strong connection between this practice and the use of 21st century tools. During this course I learned that technology allows students to participate in project-based learning because it encourages collaboration and critical thinking. Students develop these skills online while reviewing a variety of resources, sharing their ideas, and understanding the ideas of others.
In each lesson I created this semester, I noted two major obstacles in my pursuit of effective media use in the classroom: limited technology in some schools and students who do not have technology access at home. Despite these obstacles, I still feel there are many ways I can use media in my classroom and I will seek ways to gradually include more opportunities as technology access increases. In conclusion, I feel I have learned a great deal about the use of media in the classroom, and I look forward to putting what I have learned into practice.
Watch my video to learn more about my thoughts on the use of media in the classroom:
Follow this link, if video does not play above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-tiDUFfRlQ
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