Topic 1:  Introduction 

Part I: Use of Emerging Technologies in our Secondary Classrooms 

My current school, Concordia International School Hanoi, is a BYOD (bring your own device) school. Every student from grades six through ten (currently our high school only has students enrolled up through tenth grade) has their own laptop that is used in all subject areas throughout the day.  I surveyed the entire student and faculty population of our secondary school about the emerging technologies being used in their classrooms. Below is the summary of the results.

Q. What technologies are you most commonly using in your classroom? (common answers)

A. IXL, Khan Academy, Google Drive & Classroom, E-textbooks

Q. What technologies have you used this year? (common answers)

A. Social media, BrainPOP, Google (drive, classroom), Cloud computing, Open Learning, Flipped Classroom, Khan Academy

Q. Most useful technologies used this year?

A. Google Drive/Classroom, Open Learning, BrainPOP videos, Khan Academy

 Part II : Reading Reflection

After reading the NMC Horizon Report on “Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Schools,” I have broken down my reflection into three main areas common themes, concerns, and highlights.
THEMES
1. Role of the Teacher
As a teacher in today’s school, it is apparent that there is a large shift happening in schools in regards to the role of the teacher in the classroom. There is a shift occurring in classrooms – and in my current school this is very evident and encouraged – where the teacher acts as a guide or facilitator to the students learning.  As more and more educators and institutions begin to accept and incorporate the idea of Blended or Hybrid Learning classrooms, the role of the teacher is only going to continue to evolve and change – a change that should be embraced.  The growth of a blended learning environment, as the report mentioned, fosters the desire for more meaningful instruction and collaboration amongst students in the classroom.  As teachers, time is our biggest obstacle; there never seems to be enough of it to cover all the material and reach all the unit/common core goals throughout the year.  By embracing Hybrid Learning, students are allowed more time in the classroom to collaborate and interact with the each other, which allows them to explore higher order questions and ideas as it relates to the content being taught/learned.
This brings me to next theme I identified throughout this report:
2. Increasing and Improving Students Higher Order Thinking Skills
As mentioned in the report, the Global Education Leaders’ Program main goal is to increase higher order thinking skills. By creating environments that foster collaborative and critical thinking, educators can facilitate the growth of these skills in their students. That is why it is important to accept and allow education to evolve (by incorporating ideas like blended learning and unschooling in the classroom) to become more flexible to allow for more opportunities for authentic and individualized learning.  3 main goals, we as teachers, should have for our students is to teach them – the importance of and how to effectively – analyze, communicate and collaborate.  These are skills that extend far beyond the walls of the classroom – they are lifelong skills that will help students succeed as global citizens in our world. In my schools current high school humanities classroom, the students have been working on a project called “Leadership and Legacy” based off of the National History Day website.  This project, although challenging at times for students as it incorporates ideas of the “Unschooling” model which is such a different style of learning for most of our students (specifically our Asian student population that is used to more structured classrooms) has created an environment for collaborative and critical thinking to occur on a daily basis.  It has also created a more flexible learning environment as students have been allowed to use their class time (90 min period) to leave campus to interview people of interest in the local community.  This flexibility allows for more opportunities for authentic and individualized learning.
CONCERNS
A concern that came to mind as I read through the report was the impact on students social intelligence.  Although it was highlighted as a skill that educators find important to foster and grow within their students; I consistently worry about the impact of technology on individuals social skills and intelligence.  Although there are apps and tools that allow for students to collaborate and connect with others around the world – online in real time, and through shared documents – that face-to-face interaction is still vital to a child’s growth and understanding of appropriate social interactions.  The PSS (Promoting Social Skills) program initiated and used throughout the EU, is a program the addresses the same concern and identifies the importance of balance between the increasing use of technology in and out of the classroom, and social interactions between individuals.individuals social skills and intelligence.  Although there are apps and tools that allow for students to collaborate and connect with others around the world – online in real time, and through shared documents – that face-to-face interaction is still vital to a child’s growth and understanding of appropriate social interactions.  The PSS (Promoting Social Skills) program initiated and used throughout the EU, is a program the addresses the same concern and identifies the importance of balance between the increasing use of technology in and out of the classroom, and social interactions between individuals.
HIGHLIGHT
As mentioned in the report societies expectations of what students should be learning in school are changing.  There is a continual shift away from traditional ideas of rote memorization of facts, dates, figures and equations, and towards the idea of “Grit and Determination.”  Persistence, resilience and determination are skills that lead to success. Teaching students that it is ok to fail; that working through the challenges of initial failure will lead to some of the most important and valuable lessons and learning, is as important if not more important than mere raw intelligence.

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