Course 1 Final Reflections

CoETaIL ISB by teachingsagittarian.Our last session introduced us to some amazing people who are on the frontier of using educational technologies.  Through Skype, we listened to Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, the authors of Reinventing Project-Based Learning – Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age.  (Our own projects stemmed from their work.)  They joined us to share their work with us and to highlight the importance of keeping learning the focus of our projects and not the tech tools that we are trying to use.  The tools are just that—tools we can use in service of learning. 

Later, we were introduced to Julie Lindsay, who also joined us via Skype.   She is the IT Director at Qatar Academy and has developed a project-based learning opportunity called the Flat Classroom.  What I realized was that our instructors, Kim and Jeff, were modeling what I could be doing in my classroom:  Using Skype to connect with experts and people around the world; and developing a network that serves not only personal learning, but that of a community of learners.  In a way I saw what Jeff was talking about when he said something to the effect:  “As teachers, our role will not be to provide content, but to help students access, analyze and create with information.”

The course also reintroduced tools that I have seen and heard of before.  Having attended last year’s EARCOS conference, in Kuala Lumpur and the Learning 2.0 conference in Shanghai, both of which Kim and Jeff were presenters, the tools were not new.  But the focus was not entirely on the tools.  It was about the change that is happening and the change that needs to happen.  With the rise of digital technologies and their ever-present influence on society, schools need to be places that reflect this.  Teachers and students need to learn how to use the tools and how to learn in an entirely new learning landscape.  As international school educators, we are more equipped to do so than our public school counterparts…But what about them?  What happens to those teachers and  students who have to share 20 computers with not only a class, but an entire school?  I come from, and will be returning to, an inner-city school in downtown Toronto, Canada.   How will I take what I have learned here and apply it to a totally different setting?

While my excitement about using IT deepens, so too does this annoying worry that I won’t be able to keep up with it all.  I have “geeked out” and have integrated a variety of tools to my teaching in Grade 1.  But there is SO much more to learn.  Finding a balance, maintaining one and loving learning and teaching can sometimes be a difficult thing to accomplish.   I guess in the end, it is about setting appropriate boundaries…sometimes stretching beyond these boundaries, but coming back to a sense of self, “unpluggedness”, and spending time with friends and loved ones.

And so with this course, I have gained some further insight into Information Literacy and myself as a digital learner.  I have more questions and a greater determination to learn more.  I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity: to take this course and share this journey with such a great group of people.  We have supported each other, developed ideas and inquiry, and trusted each other.  I can only imagine how much our students will benefit from all the efforts of all the teachers who have joined me.  Thanks to Kim and Jeff for supporting us and leading us through this amazing adventure and opportunity.CoETaIL ISB by teachingsagittarian.Course 1 by teachingsagittarian.
Thanks Chrissy for the photos (now linked).


~ by Vu Lam on March 1, 2009.

One Response to “Course 1 Final Reflections”

  1. Fabulous post! As I was reading, all I could think was, Yes! Vu really gets it! Thank you so much for taking all of this in and working so hard to apply it at the grade 1 level. I know it’s been a challenge, but it’s all good learning!

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