In this time, technology is a surging trend in the field of education. As teachers, we should not and cannot turn a blind eye to this huge change. Instead, we should be the pioneers to equip ourselves with enough knowledge about technology, and make the best use of the powerful technology to facilitate teaching and learning.
Integrating technology into class is an inevitable trend. Technology will bring education more chances and possibilities, and may even reform the mode of teaching and learning. I always believe that technology is a promising tool and the key factor to help improve the education, update the educational philosophy and promote human progress. Thus, how to better integrate technology into class while avoid or reduce the side effects of technology to a minimum is the key point. Dr. Yang’s course inspired me a lot and showed me many cases to combine technology with education.
EDU 511 WWW & Multimedia in Education is an online course that aims to help pre-service and in-service teachers to understand and use technologies to their teaching and learning process. There are three main assignments in this course, that is, webliography, WebQuest and weblog. These three assignments benefit me a lot in terms of searching and evaluating internet educational resources, structuring internet inquiry activities via a multimedia tool, as well as designing and developing educational web resources. The three tasks were assigned in a progressive sequence which enabled me to follow the whole learning process and understand the philosophy of educational technology step by step. Another impressive feature of the course is the practicality. The whole learning process is more like the process of exploring. Take the webliography as an example, I never heard or used webliography before. And after reading the introduction of webliography provided by Dr. Yang, I was still confused about it. Then I explored the webliographies made by previous students, and I finally figured out what the webliography was. Through the exploration and practice, I not only mastered the knowledge of webliography, but also learned how to make my own webliography.
What’s more, the greatest gains of this course are not only the knowledge I learned, but also the way that Dr. Yang taught us. Dr. Yang showed us the way of learning the technologies, and he scaffolded us with lots of information, materials and examples to specified the whole learning process. I appreciate it that he didn’t teach us directly about how to use these technologies. Instead, he left white space for us to do more research and make more possibilities. Most importantly, he employed the technologies he taught us as the ways to teach us. For instance, he introduced us to weblog, and then he let us explore the weblog he made for his previous students to give us all kinds of examples. During my exploration of Dr. Yang’s websites, I found each student’s work was neatly presented according to the time order. Dr. Yang was showing what he was doing for his students. For me, a future teacher, I should learn from him and create weblog for my students. Weblog is not merely a place to store what students have done; it’s also a place to store students’ and teachers’ teaching and learning memories and growth.
However, distance learning has its own shortcomings. There are pros and cons for both logistics and social presence. Personally, I prefer the former one. I enjoy thinking and learning independently and quietly. Distance learning enables me to have my own time and space to work on my own tasks. Face-to-face class requires me to spend extra time to socialize and communicate with people. Some may think that distance learning may impact learners’ sense of belongings and acceptance in a group/class. Others may think people need more time to think and learn independently, and too many face-to-face courses may do no good for fostering such an ability. In my view, it is exactly the existing of shortcomings in both learning modes that require us to keep the face-to-face learning while develop the distance learning, as well as explore more functions and usages of technology to figure out a better way. Thus, both ways of learning are necessary and important for students. The combination and balance of two learning modes can cultivate students’ abilities in a more comprehensive way.
In conclusion, the learning experience in EDU 511 brings me new experiences and makes me think about how to integrate technologies into class and how to balance the distance learning and face-to-face learning. I will keep exploring the possibilities of educational technologies and put into practice what I have learned.
Thank you, Dr. Yang!