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Running head: REFLECTION ON LEARNING 1

Reflection on Learning: Application to Professional Practice

Karen R. Parker

University of West Georgia


REFLECTION ON LEARNING 2

Reflection on Learning: Application to Professional Practice


I originally held various positions in the business field with an emphasis on marketing. I

was at a crossroads in my life and decided to change professions and become an educator. The

University of West Georgia offered a program at the time that allowed career-changers, who had

an undergraduate degree in business, take a Master's degree program and become certified in

business education. I am certified for grades 6 - 12 and currently teach at the high school level.

Because of the variety of my classes, I have one introduction class that is mostly 9th and 10th

graders, one class that is 10th - 12th grade and one class that is only 11th and 12th grades. My

teaching business and technology classes, along with my desire to further my education, the

Media Instructional Technology Specialist degree seemed that it would be the most beneficial.

This is my first semester and I was not sure what to expect. The Issues in Instructional

Technology class has helped me develop professionally. There were topics we studied that I

already either knew or had confirmed as well as topics that explained what I had observed but

had not really given much thought as to why. I also learned about many trends and have several

ideas as to how I can implement new technologies into my classroom and grow professionally.

Review of Learning

The story of Maria, Rob and others at Randall Circle High School was very helpful to me

in connecting the instruction given in Christensen, Horn & Johnson’s (2008) book, Disrupting

Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. Rob, a struggling

student, and Maria, a gifted student, illustrated two different sets of instructional problems I see

in my classroom. As I learned in Disrupting Class, every student learns differently and has

different needs. There are also other factors involved, such as standardized teaching, school

building layout, and other decisions being made to benefit the majority of students that further

complicate learning delivery (Christensen, Horn & Johnson, 2008). For our students to develop
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necessary 21st century skills and become successful after they graduate, we as educators need to

incorporate new instructional technologies into our classrooms that meet the needs of all

students.

I feel it was beneficial to research new learning theories that are being developed to

include emerging technologies. One new theory I learned about was connectivism. This theory

was developed to help explain how 21st century students learn and is based on the fact that

technology is constantly changing (Siemens, 2005). With digital technology continually

changing, I believe we should be proactive in planning to incorporate technologies into our

instruction.

I also learned about a variety of instructional design models through the video we

created. I felt that the instructional tool, creating a video and viewing others’ videos, was more

beneficial than writing a research paper. I enjoyed learning new technology to create my video

and I also learned about my particular instructional design model more in-depth.

Since I have learned that technology has rewired our brains, we only have to know how

to look up information, not learn it (Siemens, 2005), I plan on looking at and incorporating

technology differently into my classroom. I was particularly excited to read the article The Song

Remains the Same: Looking Back to the Future of Educational Technology. It became very

obvious that educators need to make time to plan for using technologies and for differentiation

within the technologies. The example of using Audacity, an audio program, in a physics lesson,

has inspired me to evaluate programs I use that can be expanded into other uses. (Mishra,

Koehler, & Kereluik, 2009)

I also learned that for educators to meet the needs of the students through changing

technology, disruption needs to occur. According to Christensen, Horn & Johnson, (2008), the
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first stage of disruption in education is now occurring with computer-based learning being

implemented. However, the educational commercial systems will need to become disrupted for

schools to achieve “a less expensive solution than was possible in the first stage” (Christensen,

Horn & Johnson, 2008, p. 123).

Through our discussions, I learned that the rapid advancement of technologies has

created problems. Many teachers still use technology for basic communications such as word

processing, PowerPoints, and emails. There are many new technology tools and software

programs but the lack of funding plays a big issue. As Christensen, Horn & Johnson, (2008)

states in Chapter 3, decades after the computer revolution, classrooms still look the same and

instructional methods haven’t varied. Other than redirecting funding, “the billions schools have

spent on computers have had little effect on how teachers teach and students learn” (Christensen,

Horn & Johnson, 2009, p. 72).

Just in the past few years we have seen technologies develop at a rapid pace, all of which

has an impact on our schools and how we deliver instruction. Smartphones are mini, handheld

computers, capable of doing more than a desktop computer. We also now have the next

generation of smartphones in the form of a watch. Technology allows us to remotely set the

temperature in our home or see and talk to visitors ringing the doorbell. Media centers use

technology to allow students to access information needed via vast, online databases. Since the

21st century student either knows how or can figure out quickly how to use most new

technologies, we as educators, need to adapt our instruction to meet their learning needs

Implications

The implications of what I have learned this semester are vast. I plan on first and

foremost taking a look at my instruction and modify my lessons to include more technologies. I
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would like to evaluate software programs I use to determine if they can be expanded for uses

other than originally designed. I will also continually evaluate how my instruction impacts

various students’ levels of learning. Since my Intro class often has 3-4 students who are gifted or

quick learners and 3-4 students who need extra time to master, I plan on developing a strategy to

use technologies to differentiate more in my classroom. I am fortunate to be able to attend the

annual STEM conference in Georgia. My goal is to actively seek out new, engaging technologies

that I can bring back to my students.

Professionally, with my peers, I would like to offer the opportunity for them to become

certified in Microsoft Office products. We started a technology professional learning committee

this year at my school but not much was accomplished. My goal is to use this committee to train

others with newer technologies, as well as the Microsoft Office products, so they will be able to

assist others within their departments. As Fathers & Clemens stated, understanding technology’s

potential is vital for an educational revolution (Fathers & Clemens, n.d.).

Conclusion

The Issues in Instructional Technology class covered a wide variety of topics. I

discovered how my students learned and why they learned differently than a few decades ago. I

also learned that most types of instruction, textbooks and schools are designed to accommodate

the majority of students, either leaving some students unchallenged or left behind. I also learned

how to utilize technology by creating a video to explain my topic, instructional design, and

sharing with others. Finally, I learned that while technology has rapidly advanced, the

educational system is still struggling to both implement these technologies and keep up with

advancements.
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References

Bates, A. W. (2015). Fundamental Change in Education In A. W. Bates. Teaching in a digital

age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. (pp. 12-41). Vancouver BC: Tony

Bates Associates Ltd.

Christensen, C. M., Horn, M. B. & Johnson, C. W. (2008). Disrupting class: How disruptive

innovation will change the way the world learns. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Fathers, F. & Clemens, J. (n.d.) Technology might revolutionize education. Fraser Institute.

Retrieved from https://www.fraserinstitute.org/article/technology-might-revolutionize-

education

Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., & Kereluik, K. (2009). The song remains the same: Looking back

to the future of educational technology. TechTrends, 53(5), 48-53. DOI:

10.1007/s11528-009-0325-3

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from

http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm