RIP3 Reflection

So the end of the semester is here, and I’ll be the first to say that I learned more than I thought I would. Not only this, but I also learned that there are so many more things to learn as well. It’s amazing how many different technological tools there are to use, and it’s safe to say it’s overwhelming when you try and consider each and every one of them. I think the most important thing I gathered from learning about the different technological tools is to pick out the ones that could be the most help to your classroom. For example, there are some that could work for an English class, but not for a math class and vice-versa. This is a good segue into my final project, which was over Noodle Tools. This particular technological tool is great for helping students learn to how cite different websites. Citation, references and bibliography can be a very confusing thing, especially when you consider all the different styles, as well as the fact that different teachers, schools and school districts prefer different methods. One school could prefer MLA, while another could prefer APA. Some might even prefer Chicago, not to mention the teacher’s preference. Noodle Tools helps students along with the proper way to cite. One of the things I love about Noodle Tools is the fact that I wish I had this as a high school student. I believed as a student, as well as currently as a future educator, that the focus and effort should go into producing a well written paper. Students shouldn’t have to fret over losing points pertaining to an incorrectly written citation or reference page. Conversely, as a teacher I would hate to deduct points away from a student if they provide the source but didn’t cite correctly. I feel that it is unfair and a waste of brain power. Now, that’s not to say I don’t believe that proper citation and references aren’t important. It’s paramount that things are done correctly this way. What I’m against is the way we teach them the different styles, because most of the time they are tedious, and above all boring. Learning shouldn’t be boring, it should be engaging. Monotonous listing of sources is not engaging. Noodle Tools helps students get on the correct pathway to citing correctly. Another great feature of Noodle Tools is the organization, as well as the connectivity power between student and teacher. Visiting the Noodle Tools assignment page, they have every tool at your fingertips immediately. No searching for anything, but rather students can easily access it. They can search for projects that teachers have created and tailor their work towards completing the project correctly. In the teacher settings, they have an inbox; as well as a message center so students can turn in assignments as well as communicate with them easier. Teachers also have the ability to check to see how many times a student has visited Noodle Tools, so they are aware if students have used the resources given to them. Noodle Tools is also very well regarded amongst teachers and librarians. The librarians at Omaha Central, where I had my practicum, raved about the accessibility and the usefulness of Noodle Tools, as well as some of the teachers I talked to. I got help navigating the site from one teacher, while a class I was involved with was given a tour of the site themselves. So it was obvious that the administrators felt strongly about this tool to present to the students as a positive. While observing the students use Noodle Tools, it did not surprise me that they were navigating through the site with general ease. There weren’t any urgent questions or puzzled looks on their faces. All in all, Noodle Tools seems to be the future of citing sources, resulting in seemingly being more popular than Easy Bib, a similar program. The most important part of my learning experience through TLDE was the fact that not only do you need to know how to use many different tools, you need to stay on top of your game. Our Twitter posts every week was a good example. I needed to learn how to use a program I’ve never used before, as well as how to properly navigate through it. TweetDeck was an awesome way to stay connected with Dr. Campbell, as well as other classmates. The connectivity with this was unmatched. I don’t honestly think I could compare this learning experience with any other I’ve had a UNO, high school or Wichita State, where I got my first undergrad. Technology has advanced so much; it was obvious that administrators felt the need to create an entire class pertaining to it. Therefore, it was unmatched in the experience category. Having class on Saturday, something I’ve never had before was another eye opening experience. It was odd being in class on a weekend, but it made me appreciate the class more because it felt like it stood alone. Other things I have learned from this experience is to learn from your peers. Scrolling through TweetDeck, I realize that there are many more people in the class know much more than I, so it’s important to pay attention when they speak or Tweet on TweetDeck. My hope is that I can keep in touch with some classmates, allowing me to see the different technological strategies they will use in the classroom that I could use as well. TweetDeck has really opened my eyes to the connectivity and organization of Twitter. I have had many different people in the education world follow me, or send me a message wanting to connect because they see we have the same things in common. I plan on continuing to use TweetDeck throughout my teaching career. Finally, my plan of use will be determined in the future as I learn different methods of teaching and assessment.  There are so many things I have learned, it’s near impossible to say how many of them I will take advantage of. However, things like TweetDeck, Twitter and the connectivity to people that have the same educational interests as me is probably the biggest thing I plan to use as my education about the teaching world grows. I hope to take along many more things as I move along in school, and it’s important to stay up to speed on cutting edge technology so I will be prepared in this ever changing 21st century. I would like to thank Dr. Campbell for being kind, as well as incredibly helpful when answering my technologically illiterate questions.