I have learned a lot this year since starting my Master’s degree in educational technology. I had no idea what to expect when I started in January. I felt that I had a pretty good handle on technology in the classroom, but I was mistaken. I had no idea about things like Chibitronics or 3D printers. It’s hard to teach something if you don’t know it exists. It reminds me of a quote I read by Donald Rumsfeld, “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns- the ones we don’t know we don’t know” (Goodreads, Inc., n.d.). For me, much of what we covered over the summer were unknowns unknowns. I simply was not aware of some of the really amazing technology that my students could use to enhance their learning.
Now that our class is almost over, I can say that I feel confident that I am a 21st century learner. One of the most thought provoking quotes I read this week was from our text. Martinez and Stager (2013) wrote, “It is impossible to teach 21st century learners if you have not learned in this century. Professional development suffers from being too ‘meta.’ Teachers are asked to teach in ways in which they have no personal experience with tools in short supply.” I feel this is exactly what is happening in my school district and it is a key reason there is a gap between what students can do with technology and what teachers are able to do. There are many reasons that teachers don’t have the experience with technology and no easy way to fix the issue. Personally, I am finding that this class is helping me gain the experience and confidence I need to teach 21st century learners. I’m excited about my Chibitronics unit this fall. I also have found resources and ideas on the blogs of my classmates and other websites through this class. I bookmarked a page from Edutopia about the characteristics of a 21st century teacher and in it, Palmer (2015) writes, “Obviously, teaching in the 21-century is an altogether different phenomenon; never before could learning be happening the way it is now — everywhere, all the time, on any possible topic, supporting any possible learning style or preference.” I feel that this is exactly what I need to keep in mind as I move forward as an educator. Things have changed and are going to continue to change. My students need me to help them keep up with the changes, which means I have to change too.
Goodreads, Inc. (n.d.). Donald Rumsfeld Quotes. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Goodreads, Inc.: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/936753.Donald_Rumsfeld
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Palmer, T. (2015, June 20). 15 Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher