Looking over the past semester I try and think of what I learned and if taking an educational computing class benefited me. I did not have to think long becuase with each module I learned a new tool to use, or I expanded my knowledge of a previous tool I already knew how to use. The telecommunications module, the tutor module, the tool module, and the webquest module all brought its own pieces that I did infact benefit from.

At the end of the Telecommunications module I looked back and reviewed everything that the class had to do during the three weeks. There were different discussion questions and other projects that we had to complete in the first real module of the semester. When I thought about what I learned with this module I realized that I had experienced a couple of firsts and learned a lot while doing so.
The first topic we had to work on was how to evaluate a website. This may seem like a small area, but with the internet being so huge today learning how to evaluate and also how to properly use a website can really come in handy. Anyone can "surf the web", but with this experience I learned how to set up a rubric and got different ideas on how to teach others how to use the internet. With the internet being as huge as it is, knowing how to teach your students is a very important topic to cover when educating others. After completing this I feel like I can sit down with someone who has never used the internet before, and show them simple procedures to search the web and how to look for the right sites.

            The second practicum in this module was another new experience for myself. I have seen blogs before that my friends have made, but I have never set up one for myself. The step by step process is a lot easier then most would think, and once the blog is complete there a lot more things that it can be used for. I use to think blogs are just places where you post comments to let everyone know how you are doing. However, blogs can be a great tool to use especially for an online class. With a blog it can be a great way for everyone to share ideas and create discussions to help a class learn.

            Probably my favorite part of the module was the lesson plan. I have never actually written a lesson plan before, but I really enjoyed taking a subject that I have specialized in and learning how to teach others about it. One idea I have for the future is to work in a college setting as an athletic trainer, and also have the opportunity to teach other athletic training students. It has always been a joy of mine to help others learn, and writing this lesson plan gave me the opportunity to see what a lesson plan consists of. It takes a lot of organization and planning when it comes to teaching a lesson plan and this experience was a valuable and enjoyable one at the same time.

            At the end of the Tool module I realized that I have learned how to use many different computer tools that can help in educating when used properly in the classroom. Not only can they be used in the classroom, but with the basic knowledge of each tool they can be used presentations and in succeeding in the workplace. Some of the tools that were used in this module were new, and some helped advance personal experience and improve the skill.

           The first practicum in the tool module dealt with using pictures in a photo blog. In the previous module I learned what a blog was; in this module I learned how to expand that previous knowledge. For visual learners pictures can really help students understand a difficult topic. Pictures also help attract viewers and make something more appealing. The more appealing people can make a blog the more ways it can be used to aid in teaching.

           The next practicum included multiple parts and multiple projects. The power point presentation is something that is not new, and something that I have used many times in being a teachers assistant in previous classes. However, the objectives that needed to be covered with the power point presentation forced me to explore some tools of the power point program I never really used. Learning how to use different slide transitions and animations made my presentation more flashy and appealing than they normally are. When each slide has its own uniqueness it helps to grab the attention of the students.

           The rest of the practicum was entirely new. I have never used or seen the program Inspiration but am glad that I got the experience to learn how to use it. It is a great way to organize a topic that may contain a lot of information, and is also a great way to organize an essay. At first when I looked at the program it seemed tricky, but after completing the step by step tutorial it is easy to do and very easy to understand. It is a great tool that anyone can use, and it can easily help a student organize how to write if they have difficulties in that area. Some students know how to write a great essay but may not know how to relate all of the information and understand it.

            For the final part of the practicum that had to be completed, I chose the excel program. I have heard of excel before and knew what it can be used for, but I have never used it myself. The calculations that can be made can save a lot of time in organizing a spreadsheet and also avoid making errors when creating one. It is also a lot easier to use excel than I thought. I remember about three weeks ago I was sitting doing work in my office and a fellow co-worker asked if I knew how to use excel. At that time I was clueless on how to use the program, but after completing the tutorial I was able to teach her myself how to use excel. In a matter of a few short days I was able to learn how to use a program and also teach someone else how to use that same tool. That alone shows how easy it is to learn new tricks and also help teach others. It shows it would be a great tool to teach in the classroom.

            In my opinion the tutor module may have been the most effective and useful module we have done as a class so far. A huge part of teaching is the ability for the teacher to get information across to students in the easiest way. We have learned how to evaluate and how to use many types of software to help educate, but this module helped to improve a persons ability to teach or "tutor"� a person in a certain area.

            When I was first introduced to a blog I was unsure how to use one and how to create one. I really did not see the point, but this module helped by showing how many different things a blog can be set up. I have always been a visual learner and learning how to incorporate video or audio into my blog will help in teaching other visual learners. A blog can contain information and directions on how to do a certain technique, but providing video/audio/pictures can help a student take the written information and apply it when seeing the information delivered on video. Some information when written can be difficult to understand, but seeing it actually performed will make it clearer.

            In previous modules we have learned how to evaluate a website, but this module we learned how to evaluate software. Knowing how to properly evaluate software and what pros and cons to look for can help a teacher (especially a young one) pick which programs to use. It is also helpful to see the difference between good and great software. I have also used simulations in my undergraduate work to help learn difficult topics, after this module I was able to learn the types of simulations and all the different ways they can be used. Simulations can be used for many different topics and can be used as a way of testing, reviewing, or as a way to present.

             Each module had its own activities and own way of teaching. One of the first activities we had to complete with each module dealt with the articles that came with each one. With the articles we got to learn exaclty where the internet came from and some of the most used terms thats other people may not know about. We also got to get a closer look into the world of technology that poeple do not think about when using the internet and also learned about past, present and future trends that are involved. Also with each reading came questions with discussion that also helped a huge amount in learning with this class. Not only did the questions make each person think about what we were learning, we also go to see what other poeple wrote and thought and create a discussion with them. I think a great discussion with several ideas from several different poeple is better than just reading articles and textbooks when it comes to learning.

             When it comes to taking what I learned and using it in the classroom I would love to be able to have every student complete every assignment with perfection. With the tools I learned in this class I can have my classroom come together as a whole. In my opinion I think the best way of teaching is students working together with each of them bringing their own view to the topic. That would expand the area and even if one student does not understand a topic, others can help them learn and it would eventually stick better with the whole group. All the tools I learned in this class could eventually help lead to one of my goals of creating a more interactive class. A webquest would be a great way of doing so, I could use the webquest I have created here (after a few changes) and create an activity where gorups make a porfolio for themselves, once again with each person bringing something different to the table.

             When I look back at this class and what I learned from it, I can say without a doubt that this has been one of the most educating classes that I have taken. This was my first real class dealing with education and it helped me understand how to put my knowledge into an organized structure, and also how to teach others with that information. The hardest part of teaching is figuring out how to get the information across to the students and this educational computing class really helped give me numerous tools to choose from. At first I got to learn where the internet that we use every day actually came from, and the history of it. I got to learn and experience how to use different computer programs like excel and powerpoint that can be used in teaching and in professional settings. Creating a webquest was tricky and it took a lot of work, but it was a great learning experience and can be stored in my arsenal of teaching tools to use in the future. One other thing I noticed is how easy it has become to make lesson plans. The first time I had to construct one it was a great challenge, but now it is still tricky at points but it has become more entertaining and more fun to work with.

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