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Obre, Eartha Angeline B.

ELT 505 Prof. Ma Jhona Acuna


1. Rebecca Lawson
Myself As A Learner
During my re-education, I've discovered that I do not want to ever stop the learning process.
I want to be a lifelong learner. The more I learn and explore, the more I see that looks valuable
and interesting that needs exploring. Thanks to technology, there are now so many new ways
to explore and learn. But more importantly, I have also discovered that it is not just about
me and my learning process. Rather, the true importance becomes how I am able to inspire
and motivate others (my students) with learning that uses technology as a catalyst.
Empowerment comes from finding multiple ways to show students that technology can help
them to perhaps learn more easily and on a higher level. This in turn helps them to develop
their own love for lifelong learning. The empowerment continues as I create situations for
learning in such a way that students decide what they need to learn and how they will go
about learning it. The use of technology creates many opportunities for self-directed learning.
I have come to understand that learning is dependent on interaction with others. Hearing and
seeing the ideas and experiences of others, sharing my ideas, discussing and learning from
each other produces a richness of truth and learning. Technology helps to foster this
interaction among many learners.

Technology And Learning

Consider how technology has become such an important part of learning. Technology allows
for a finer, more individualized degree of interactivity in order to customize the learning
experience based on the needs of the user. Technology provides new resources for learning
that overcomes distance and time. The addition of this valuable tool, technology, into our
education system is a slow process. It begins as one single idea of how to use technology in
education. That one idea soon becomes noted as a meaningful addition and so more uses of
technology are developed across more curriculums. Technology becomes integrated in
multiple ways for instructional purposes. As a new technology is developed, educators think
and reflect on how that too should become incorporated into their classrooms. Sometimes
these insights arrive one idea at a time. At other times, there is a wild flurry of growth and
activity while technology is added to support teachers' instruction and students’ learning
when the conditions are right. It takes funding and committed support of all parties involved
(administrations, boards, parents, students, teachers) to develop appropriate projects for the
integration of technology into our education systems.
One area of education impacted by technology is with our "special needs" students. Many
useful assistive technologies and advanced software programs continue to be developed
helping students to overcome physical or emotional disability. These students may be able
to utilize a computer quite easily where using pencil and paper or classroom participation is
a greater struggle for them.
Technology adds sensory depth to topics. It may be as simple as playing music at the beginning
of a class in order to set the mood for learning. It may be as powerful as hearing a noted
author read his own poetry. Or viewing videos of historic moments in our society. Technology
adds great value to the learning experience for some types of learners allowing them to see
or hear what in the past was only to be discussed or imagined.
Another important use of technology is the creation of opportunities for repetition and
practice. Individual students may use simulations or specialized software to assist their
learning of facts or practice of skills as often as needed until the concept is mastered. These
types of programs are tireless tutors. They free up the time of the teachers that in the past
may have been spent in individualized instruction and can now be spent in planning new
learning opportunities for many students.
Technology is changing how teachers instruct and deepening the learning experience for
students in other ways. No longer must students rely only on the information that the
instructor presents. The teacher should not be considered the sole source of information for
students. Students must learn how to do research, evaluate their findings, and then
assimilate their learning. The Internet is a powerful tool for research and a springboard for
this type of active learning. It provides many opportunities for authentic learning experiences.
Technology is being used to help students collaborate with other students. Students no longer
need to learn in isolation. By using chat, discussion threads, and even hand-held computing
devices, students can share what they learn with others. Students can share with other
students anywhere whether it is within their own classroom or somewhere across the globe
in another state or country.

Online Learning

Technology is adding a sense of fluidity to education. One of the main areas where technology
is having an enormous impact is in online instruction. Many people turn to online courses as
a way to start or continue their education in the face of personal obstacles or schedule
conflicts. Students are no longer bound by time or geographic constraints when seeking
educational opportunities. With proper motivation, many students can work full-time, and
tend to their family's needs all while working toward their degree.
While using technology for online learning presents great opportunities for some learners, it
is not appropriate for every learner. There are also some teachers who perform best in a
traditional classroom rather than in an online environment.
Although technology creates the opportunity for online learning, it does not ensure success.
Knowing how to leverage the power of technology can only go so far. I feel that the key to
successful online learning experiences depend a great deal more on people skills. The most
important factor for success is the effective use of communication skills for both student and
instructor. Without the benefit of body language and classroom visuals, the power of timely,
well-chosen words gains importance. What may seem perfectly clear and obvious on one end
of the online classroom, may be cloudy and confusing when received on the other end of the
room. The tone, the emphasis, the mannerisms are not visible in an online classroom.
Clear expectations of both learner and teacher must be set forth at the beginning of class.
What does one expect of the other? The teacher needs to lay out the schedule, the topics to
be covered, the point value of assignments, the due dates, classroom procedures and policies.
The teacher needs to develop instructional methods that use technology to trigger those "a-
ha" moments for the learners. Students must be dedicated, on task, responsive and
communicate on a regular basis with the teacher. Disciplined learning is imperative for
success as an online learners. Never put off until tomorrow what you could (should) do today.
It only gets harder to get back to task when you somehow "fall off the track" in an online

Extending the Learning

With the completion of my Master of Arts in Educational Technology, I want to extend the
learning in three major areas. First I will continue to use technology to empower my students.
As a teacher, I must create the kind of environment for my students so that they will be able
to develop and reach their personal learning goals as they become lifelong learners. They will
be given many projects and learning experiences that will help them be active participants in
their education. Students will be introduced to technology at the beginning of class.
Technology will be further integrated with the curriculum to function as a tool for maximizing
the learning process.
Second, I have resolved to support my colleagues as they strive to use technology more
creatively to instruct their students. Some are aware of technology as an instructional tool
but not truly cognizant of its potentially enormous impact on learning. I will model techniques
for them that I have found success with. For example, the use of electronic surveys on the
first day (and again the last day of class) helps me gather data on the needs and abilities of
students. This data allows for the customization of teaching techniques for that particular
group of students. The purpose of the survey on the last day serves as a powerful and yet
seamless feedback tool on how well the students have learned the material presented.
Additionally, electronic surveys are a wonderful way to introduce students to the idea that it
is possible to use technology for communication and the collection of their ideas in addition
to being a medium for the research of ideas.
For classes meeting in a computer classroom where each student has his or her own
computer, technology can help to make these class sessions interactive and collaborative. By
putting students into small groups or pairs, quick Internet research can help them find
answers and solution to problems. The small groups of students then report back to the larger
group as "experts" in their problem area. Learning occurs for the entire class as everyone
discusses the findings and draw conclusions from the small groups' research.
I will show my colleagues how technology can help with the lecture portions of classes using
PowerPoint presentations displayed via an overhead projector. These presentations could be
loaded onto a campus network or the Internet so students may access them at any time for
review purposes.
Besides helping my colleagues in the specific ways discussed above, I am working to develop
a new course serving as the capstone course to the Lansing Community College certificate
program, Internet for Business. The course will be called Web Portfolio. Students will explore
job opportunities using the Internet and learn about appropriate types of electronic résumés.
Students will then create a digital portfolio of their work developed throughout the certificate
program that supports their electronic résumé. The process will get them to use technology
to review and strengthen their learning. The end product (digital portfolio) will help them
obtain gainful employment upon graduation from the certificate program. They will have
thoughtful, visible documentation of the their skill set as well as its application for
communication and problem solving.
The third area for extending my learning is more of a long-term goal. I plan to investigate and
apply for the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program. Although this is a new program, I feel this
experience will round out my learning as I take part in professional and collaborative
opportunities with colleagues at overseas academic institutions. Sample activities may
include taking part in specialized academic programs, lecturing at graduate and
undergraduate levels, or conducting teacher training programs in countries where there are
U.S. Embassies and a Fulbright Commission in place. Once my application is received and
approved, my name is added to a database administered by the CIES (Council for International
Exchange of Scholars) as a Senior Specialist. Then as program requests are made, CIES
facilitates the matching of Senior Specialists with the program requests. The process is long
but the rewards and potential for extended learning are enormous.
What began as my personal re-education amid the flood of new technology has now shifted
into calmer waters that ripple with creativity and learning. Sharing and helping others learn
promotes a rich climate in which to sustain the lifelong cycle of learning. As technology
increases its stronghold in our lives, there will be countless new opportunities to harness its
power for lifelong learning. Respect, patience and effort will help all of us to realize the impact
that technology can have on lifelong learning.