I began in this innovative journey thinking of cool technology tools to improve my Spanish class and share my experiences with my colleagues. Now that I reflect from the beginning of this program until now, I realize how much I have grown professionally. When I think of technology, I think of 21st century skills, TPACK, needs of my students and my school site. I think of collaboration, and finding credible resources from sites and organizations that promote college and career readiness. I realized that proper planning and organization before implementation of technology and educational models are essential for effectiveness. Before I started the program, I didn’t know where to start, where to look, and where to get support. Fortunately, the program has shown me the way and enlightened new paths to continue this innovative journey. Now I am towards the end of the master’s program, I will continue to research, share, and promote 21st century teaching and technology to enhance language learning classrooms.
Everyday I have been creating, editing, reviewing and collaborating to finish our site, poster, and video, it’s been a crazy two weeks, I thought we had more time, but the site has been taking alot longer than expected, and with the changes and modifications with “What Goes Where at Tiltnet.org” has been challenging, but everyday I have been having success. However, I feel I am playing catch up, and I am feeling the pressure. The good thing is that this will all be over soon, I hope. How you all doing?
Pedro Jiménez is a Spanish teacher in Northern California. He has been teaching for four years at a middle school. He is a passionate and dedicated educator that strives to equip his students in order for them to reach their full potential. Mr. Jimenez creates a fun, engaging, and risk-free learning environment that fosters positive interactions.
Pedro is always trying to find the best teaching methodologies and learning strategies to support all students. With today’s world demand in implementing technology in the classroom, there is a need for a progressive teaching. This will prepare students for real world application. The driving question answers the following question: What is the best way to teach world languages? The true of the matter is that, students now have access to a lot of learning through the use of technology, but in creating a specific learning method that channels student engagement that will fulfill all students needs accordingly is what drives this action research.
Reflections on your Journey
Before commencing the Innovative Learning Master’s program at Touro University of California, I imagined learning how to use technology or “cool tools” into my classroom. But, I was mistaken, there was more that needed to be understood before implementation. We did learn how to use technology, but not for technology's sake, we studied and researched how to integrate it in a pedagogical approach that not only reflected on our students’ and school’s needs and background, but that fostered 21st century teaching and learning.
Lasting Learning from the Innovative Learning program
What I take from this program is that technology has a huge impact in how the world is evolving. We live in a generation where technology is relevant and it’s transforming how students interact with learning. As educators, we need to understand its importance, and be prepared how to integrate technology in order to engage and enhance the learning experience. We can accomplish this mission by preparing all students for the real world, the world of tomorrow by incorporating technology, and instilling 21st century skills for college and career readiness.
With the school’s IB curriculum and district goals, the site focused on developing students’ technological skills that will prepare them for the 21st century. In the school’s mission statement it states the following desired student outcomes: “… produce knowledgeable, inquisitive, technologically literate, physically active and internationally-minded young citizens.” I was part of the leadership team that helped create the mission statement, and we emphasized the importance of creating technologically literate students that would be college and career ready.
In my classroom, at first I wanted to implement technology to engage students. However, after informative investigations through our Innovating Learning program, my approach has changed with intention of improving the learning experience of the students acquiring a new language. Now I not only want to implement technology in order to support students with learning needs, but to help me save time and use that valuable time to interact and provide meaningful feedback to my students. In addition, applying the SAMR model, I want my students to create things that were impossible to produce without the use of technology; “Redefinition”.
Change can be difficult, especially when you try to break traditional teaching methods, therefore, what do you do? As I learn and explore through the Innovative Learning program ask myself how can I demonstrate these new strategies, methodologies and technologies that will inspire change? How can I show my department and other world language teachers how can we enhance second language acquisition with technology? I believe (at least with what inspires me to follow others) is by example and enthusiasm. I think if I show others by doing, implementing the technologies and showing results, and have students document their positive experiences using technology can open new ideas and possibilities. Also, the web tools and tasks needs to be well planned and organized because I want to be able to show that incorporating technology into a language classroom can be more efficient and engaging for the students and the teachers, for example using the SAMR model. So I at the end, leading by example will motivate others, and being a team player with help transform the culture and facilitate change. Just like our cohort, we get inspired by our professors and peers by their example and enthusiasm transforming their classrooms.
My goals of this program is to be competent and creative when implementing technology in my classroom in order to support second language acquisition. I want to be purposeful and adequate when I use technology so that engages and facilitates learning for “all” students. Another goal is to instill 21st century skills while learning the target language. In addition, I want to be a role model or a coach for other second language teachers so they can be inspired as well.
I hope my cohort members can support me with ideas, opinions, and technologies that will support my goals and develop me as a professional. I want to support my fellow peers by reviewing their work, give feedback, ideas, and give precise praise to motivate their hard work and creative process so they can finish strong and begin implementing what they have learned into their pedagogy. I also want to be a shoulder to lean on, or a good listener, sometimes we just need someone to process what is on our minds. At the end, I just it is important to have small groups and assigned roles, and deadlines to be efficient and accountable, but most importantly respect is key to have a positive experience among our groups. Respect for each other's ideas, opinions, time, background and situations. Once we establish norms and respect each other, everything else with flow.