Final Thoughts On My ImagineIt
Change is a funny thing. The more you use it the easier it gets. Maybe because I was in a state of resistance to changing my teaching practice, I struggled to find my way with a project that would force me to examine those practices. When I first started to think about a suitable project, the best I could come up with was a mashup of old standards. Honestly I was bored thinking about what this project would look like. Slowly, I would get little ideas, try new things, refine what I did, and then do it again but better. I picked up ideas along the way, worked at integrating technology in my practice, and searched constantly for ideas which would improve my students motivation to learn. Over the course of this I realize how my ImagineIt project should look, and why it had been so hard to pin down. I managed to find a focus. I realized I could use technology to fully integrate differentiation into my practice, and lessons using technology that was readily available.
In many ways, I started this without really thinking too much about what I was doing. I started to notice little ways I could change assignments to improve student engagement and learning at every level. What I liked about the process was how quickly I could put the “fix” in for a struggling student or students. I learned how to identify pitfalls in the classroom, and how to remedy them. I came to realize this was what I had been after. A way to use technology to increase my student’s opportunities at learning science. With technology, I can differentiate or “customize” activities, labs, quizzes and tests, homework and accommodations from my desktop or laptop, at home, or anywhere I can connect to the internet. And I do.
As far as my teaching is concerned it’s the old dog, new tricks scenario. I find myself always thinking about what I am doing or want to do. In the virtual world I can do things a lot faster. What I want always seems to be at my fingertips. My students have access to their work around the clock. I even find myself communicating with my students more often, and quickly. They like what they do, and collaborate often. Helping each other is a normal everyday occurrence, which in itself tends to break down barriers between students and learning. The best part, of course, is that change is making my life easier.