Future Learning Goals
A thirst for knowledge is a characteristic that most, if not all, teachers have in common. Wanting to share my passion for learning and inspiring others is one of the main reasons that I decided to become an educator. Most of my life has been spent in the role of a student. First in the public education K-12 system, immediately followed by pursing an undergraduate degree, finally the last two years that I have spent earning my master’s degree. As I am expected to graduate in the very near future, I am both excited and apprehensive. It is thrilling to think that I will not have to meet any more assignment deadlines or take daunting exams. However, I realize that all of my future learning is in my own hands. While in the role of a student, I was told the objectives I should be mastering and given assignments that made me stretch the limits of my understanding. When my time as a student comes to an end how will I push myself to continue learning and evolving as an educator? Although the answer to this question is not simple, I know that it must start with identifying some concrete learning objectives that are part of a self-directed learning plan. To begin this process, I would like to focus on three areas of learning, which include, creating a global classroom with the use of technology, facilitating technology use within my school, and exploring opportunities to increase my professional network.
"Learning How To Be My Own Student"
The learning objectives I have outlined for myself start small within my classroom. A concept that I would like to learn more about is how to create a global classroom that allows students to communicate and interact with other learners, teachers, and professionals around the world. Citizen Science projects like the ones offered on SciStarter.com, are activities sponsored by a wide variety of organizations that receive scientific data from non-professional scientists (Wikipedia.org). I think that these types of projects would be meaningful and applicable to students’ lives by teaching them practical skills and curriculum content. I would like to make a point to devote more of my classroom planning time to researching the Citizen Science activities that would match my students’ interests and ability levels.
Students working on butterfly identification citizen science project
Another area that I would like to know more about is how to teach other educators about the beneficial applications of technology in education. Admittedly I do not spend a lot of time doing education and technology based research; therefore, this is also a learning priority I have set for myself. Using online journals, such as Edutopia, provide an abundant amount of articles and blogs that offer information on current technology products and teaching strategies to implement technology into the classroom. Resources that would be helpful in learning how to incorporate technology with education are the TED talk lectures, like this one by Ramsey Musallam, about how to inspire curiosity in students through the use of technology.
While in the role of a student, I found that assignments, which forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, were often valuable learning opportunities. Consequently, the last current learning objective I have set for myself is to explore opportunities to expand my professional network. I do not think of myself as a shy or introverted person, however reaching out to educators and professionals outside of my school is something I rarely do. I would like to attend professional conferences sponsored by organizations such as the North Carolina Science Teachers Association (NCSTA) or The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). in order to meet other people and learn about organizations that may continue to be a source of knowledge for me.
In thinking about my learning objectives that I have set for myself after graduation, I realized that being in the role of a student not only requires me to learn new information, it also demands that I set aside time for learning. I have to take the advice that I give my own students, which is to make learning a priority and routine. Therefore to accomplish these learning goals I must take the time each week to review my objectives, evaluate my progress, and take actions that help me continue learning throughout my career.
Cascades Butterfly Project Team [Online image]. (2012). Retrieved October 19, 2015 from https://www.flickr.com/photo/northcascadesnationalpar/8273990532
Citizen Science. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 19, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_science
Musallam, R. (2013). 3 Rules to spark learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/ramsey_musallam_3_rules_to_spark_learning#t-42805