Eight weeks ago I started on a journey I did not think I needed much. I thought of myself as someone who was not cutting edge, but who certainly was not behind the times. I had no idea I was missing out on so many digital tools to support education until taking this SLM graduate class. I am embarrassed to list all of the tools I had never prior to starting this class. I started the journey learning about blogs. I have read them here and there, but did not follow anyone in particular, nor did I consider blogging myself nor having my students blog. I now use Skype frequently especially to collaborate with peers in my graduate classes. I can see using it to network with other PE teachers locally or even globally. I plan to use it in my PE/Health lessons to allow students communicate with famous athletes, doctors, scientists, or students in other countries. Now that I am using iGoogle, I am checking my Twitter account, Google Reader and Gmail all in one place. Twitter has allowed me to find many resources quickly to enhance my lessons. I have also been saving web resources with my Diigolet bookmarking. All of these tools have helped me get organized and build my professional learning network. I have already received a great deal of inspiration from other professionals such as Jarrod Robinson, author of the PEGeek blog and Bonnie Mohnsen author of Using Technology in Physical Education eNewsletter. Between understanding the NETs-T, digital storytelling, Web 2.0 tools, and social media, I cannot express how much I have learned.
My final journey brings me to the last module of my technology class where I was assigned the task of designing a digital learning experience for my students. This was a rewarding and challenging experience because I needed to synthesize and apply my new knowledge to my lesson plans. I decided to focus my assignment on a fitness unit for middle school physical education. After navigating around initial roadblocks, I hope I came up with an authentic and effective instructional unit. I started the lesson by showing a video on the heart and circulatory system, something that is not done frequently in PE classes. The students will be learning about different types of heart rates, how to calculate them and how to graph the data with Google Spreadsheets. I incorporated Google Docs, Wikispaces, and Skype to encourage student collaboration and engagement. Overall, I enjoyed bringing the technology into a traditional physical education lesson. I now know what it means to be a 21st century teacher and I plan to be one!
This is the link to my fitness unit in my PEHealthforus wiki.