I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to determine what I want to learn about to make me a better teacher. And then it hit me – I have always struggled with making my classes more student-centered rather than teacher-directed. I think this is partly due to the fear of my classes getting “out of control.” I always want to make sure than everything will go just right, and it scares me to think that something that I didn’t plan for will happen. Because, what if it’s bad? But this semester I taking two courses in a technology-driven, interactive environment. In both classes there are obvious class plans and goals, but they allow students to have freedom to explore topics of interest and therefore shape the specific class learning. This has excited me to the possibilities of how I can bring this environment into my own classroom.
So then I started developing a game plan to integrate a student-centered environment that excited and motivated them to learn and make class their own. A big part of that plan is incorporating technology into the classroom effectively. But I realized that I know how to use technology for my own purposes, but I didn’t really know how to develop its use into my lessons. And I also know that students know much more than I do about it, so if I am going to be an effective classroom manager, I had better know what I am doing or I will not actually reach my goals.
There are several online professional development courses that the state of Delaware offers that are free. E-Learning Delaware, http://www.dcet.k12.de.us/elearning/index.shtml, offers courses throughout the year for Delaware teachers. I was excited to see that they offer so many options that are centered around technology integration. The courses last about six weeks, and there are specific objectives each week that participants must meet and a final project due. This really meets my needs, so I am excited to see what the winter course offerings will be!