“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”by Peter F. Drucker
Short-term- Reflect on your best and worst lesson this week or last semester then share this reflection. Want to go the extra mile? Read comments on the blog and respond to some of the questions and struggles of others in our community!
Long-term- Try recording a lesson live and having a colleague evaluate it. Also, develop a routine to take one day to reflect on your communication with your colleagues, students’ parents, or administrators!
One of the worst things I have found is when I take material from other sources (rubrics, tables, etc.) and do not personalize them enough. In the middle of an activity, I realize that the students are confused and the material isn't working the way I want it to. This is completely my fault as I try to save time or try to "wing it" too much.
It's much better for me to take the extra time and really think through the activity and modify materials for my needs. Even when this means starting from scratch, which is honestly what I do the majority of the time! I just never seem to find activities and materials for what I want to accomplish in my media lab! One of my own personal goals is to publish some of my lessons and activities online.
The best activities have been ones in which the students are given some free rein to be creative and expressive in their learning. Giving them the freedom to have control over the technology is empowering, shows that I trust them, and can get them exploring further than they would otherwise.
We draw monsters in PowerPoint, create tables of data from the roller coaster database, take apart computers to see the "guts", manipulate pictures of ourselves with gimp for art projects, etc. If I can get all the senses involved, the kids have a better chance of taking in the information!
I invite staff into the media lab and encourage them to sit in a class at any time. I tend to chat and introduce the activity at the beginning of class, then let the students go to the computers to work. It is very much a "guide on the side" style. However, I would like to get more feedback on how this is working. There is always room for improvement.
Immediately, I would like to implement more opportunities for students to evaluate me. Their voices need to be heard and they need to have outlets for their opinions.
It might be interesting to utilize the resource OhLife as a means of reflection. The free service will email you a reminder to add an entry to your "diary" which you accomplish by writing and sending a reply to that email. It's very simple and could be scheduled for a convenient time. Maybe I will try using this to write quick reflections on what happened in the lab that day.