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Nadia Williams

ITEC 7500: Capstone


Fall 2015
Vision

The field of modern education has changed drastically from the time in which I
was a student. In my time moving from Kindergarten through twelfth grade, a quality
educational experience could be had with simply a few textbooks, some worksheets,
and teacher ingenuity. Now, this is not entirely the case. While there is no substitution
for the importance of a teacher honing his or her craft as an educator, curating
documents and resources to help his or her students learn and retain content, the
amount and types of resources that exist today are significantly larger. Furthermore,
there are now more standardized tests that, while well intentioned, stand to compromise
the ability for teachers to have time to hone their craft.

In todays educational climate, where others see challenges, I see great


opportunities. Where some of my colleagues flounder when required to use technology
as a part of their instruction, I see an opportunity to use technology to streamline some
of the in-class processes. Where some of my colleagues see changes in standards as
a hurdle they must navigate from year-to-year, I see these as new opportunities to
become better versed in the subtle nuances of my content area. Where some of my

colleagues complain about an increase in standardized tests and assessments that


infringe upon their actual instructional time, I see an opportunity for advocacy. I see that
teachers can leverage their voices to help stop practices they see as counterproductive
or harmful to the overall quality of the educational process.

The use of technology in the classroom is another area in which I see great
opportunities. I envision that schools will welcome the use of digital tools as an
additional support for students beyond how it used today. I see students tackling realworld scenarios, simulations, and experiences as a result of technology. For example,
instead of using iPads to learn about a country, I see that students could go on an
exploration of faraway lands through the use of tools such as Mystery Skype or Google
Lit Trips. I see technology helping education come to life through the use of 3D
modeling software that translates student creations to a 3D printer so that geometry is
no longer just a subject, but an experience. I see technology as a means for helping
students retain their humanity as well, by connecting with others abroad, or by
participating in experiences that take them outside their comfort zones so that they can
learn how others experience life. This can be accomplished by a variety of means, but
quite simply, a short film can be the gateway to such an experience.

As a starting point, I see that there is a great opportunity to include more social
activities such as games into the digital learning landscape as a means for transforming
P-12 education. Of the literature I have seen that has been written on the use of games
within the classroom environment for the purposes of heightening student engagement,
some represent academic research, while others are accounts from education
magazines, websites, and outlets. Some of the published and peer-reviewed articles
that have emerged in outlets such as the Academy of Educational Leadership Journal to
BizEd.
According to Carlson (2013), there is an effect on differing instructional methods
upon student learning. When students are offered the opportunity to learn through
lecture, videos, discussion, brainstorming, individual projects, and presentations, only
four of these options provide students with a high level of engagement which they, in
turn, interpret as heightening their own critical thinking within the classroom (Carlson,
2013). These four methods are lecture with discussion, brainstorming, discussion, and
individual projects (Carlson, 2013). Educators must be sure to stay in tune with what
engages their specific student clientele to ensure that the concepts being delivered
through instruction are in a format to heighten their efficacy with such students (Carlson,
2013). Thus, teachers must be conscious while designing their lessons to create ones
that do heighten student engagement as there is a correlation between student

engagement and how well they perform in class (Ozturk, 2012). Gameified lessons in
P-12 education as we move forward could be used to support student self-reflection so
that they can take ownership of their learning and metacognition. Such self-reflection,
as in the student self-video, can also add another layer to designing lessons and
instruction that will heighten student engagement (Maloney, Paynter, Morgan, 7 Ilic,
2013). Furthermore, teachers must be provided with the appropriate level of autonomy
in order to remain connected with their student clientele (Ozturk, 2012). Thus, I see that
there will be a loosening of top-down restrictions upon educators in exactly how they will
conduct their work in their classrooms. I see a growing focus on educators leading and
teaching other educators as is evidenced in activities such as EdCamp and Twitter
chats. In fact, the contribution of teachers, with sufficient knowledge, skills, and
motivation, to the effective use of the newest teaching methods and materials are at a
higher level (Ozturk, 2012). The inclusion of an instructional method perceived as
new such as gaming, particularly of a technological sort, will as such have an effect on
instructional methods of student learning. Most important to realize is that the inclusion
of games is not new, but our refocus on its impact on learning and student engagement
does run counter to our current industrialized model of student instruction.

I wholeheartedly believe that quality teaching goes beyond the tools and
resources, but in this age where technology is becoming an integral part of the
educational process, quality teaching shall arise from each educator honing his or her
own craft to think beyond the box of traditional education with technology at his or her
side.

References

Carlson, S. C. (2013). Instructional Methods Influence Critical Thinking: Do Students


and Instructors Agree?. Academy Of Educational Leadership Journal, 17(1), 27-32.
Maloney, S., Storr, M., Paynter, S., Morgan, P., & Ilic, D. (2013). Investigating the
efficacy of practical skill teaching: a pilot-study comparing three educational methods.
Advances In Health Sciences Education: Theory And Practice, 18(1), 71-80.
doi:10.1007/s10459-012-9355-2
ZTRK, . (2012). Teacher's Role and Autonomy in Instructional Planning: The Case
of Secondary School History Teachers with regard to the Preparation and
Implementation of Annual Instructional Plans. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice,
12(1), 295-299.
Schaffhauser, D. (2013). Can Gaming Improve Teaching and Learning? (cover story). T
H E Journal, 40(8), 26-33.