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In order to be a better educator, it is important to evaluate not only what I believe, but why I believe it.  By developing an educational technology philosophy, I am able to evaluate what I want to accomplish with my students and the best way to achieve those goals.  I am a strong believer in efficiency and effectiveness; therefore, having a solid plan in place to accomplish my goals is important to me.  I feel that this also benefits my students in that I am able to use all available class time to implement my strategy and evaluate where I may need to modify the plan to fit my students’ needs.

Since I am a proponent of the Constructivist philosophy, I believe that the purpose of education and training should be to prepare students for the real world and what will be expected of them in the workforce.  In order to accomplish this, it is important to incorporate technology in a way that is effective and not extraneous.  Technology such as simulations and interactive online competitions help to not only build technology skills but also teach content.  One example of a real world application of an online game is having students in an ecomonics or business class participate in an online stock market game where they have to build stock portfolios by buying, selling and trading stocks online.  The students compete with area teams to see who can make the greatest profit over the course of the game.  Another great real world technology that is easily integrated into the curriculum is having students use simulations.  For instance, in Accounting, having students evaluate and input electronic journal entries for an entire accounting cycle of a business is a great way to have students reinforce and learn accounting skills that are directly applicable to real world scenarios.

The learner is largely responsible for his or her own education.  My definition of a great student is one who is willing to put forth the effort required to learn.  A great student is willing to not only do what is expected or asked, but they are also ambitious enough to go beyond that.  The student who is willing to ask questions, evaluate the material, and experiment with the technology involved always learns more.

An effective teacher is one who can assess the needs of her students and present the information in a way that they not only understand but can apply.  This requires adaptation and flexibility since each student and each class is different.  The teacher must be able to present the material in several ways in order to make sure that she is meeting the students’ needs.  Having a solid plan in place to begin with offers a solid foundation that can be adapted as needed.  In addition, the teacher should set high expectations and hold the students accountable.  It is a disservice to the student to lower expectations in order to boost grades. 

My goal is to teach the students the content material in a real world scenario that they will be able to use in the future.  I want my students to gain the real world skills that will allow them to be informed and educated people.  I want them to gain marketable skills that they will be able to use to get a job and make a living in the world.  I want my students to gain the confidence and computer attack skills that will allow them to take on new technology and projects and not be afraid of them.  My students should leave my classroom with the mentality that they can handle themselves in a job interview and on the job.  From the library, I want my students to leave with a love of reading.  I want them to feel that they can read for pleasure and that they can become a more educated person while doing so.

I feel that at the middle school and high school levels I should be able to present the material and allow the students to learn on their own.  At this point in their education, if they are not able to take the material and apply it after demonstration and examples, they are not likely to be able to learn new tasks as an adult.  As an adult, we are rarely spoon fed information and skills that we need.  We have to learn how to be self taught.  For this reason I feel that helping the students learn to teach themselves and acting as a consultant is more beneficial to the students.

My expectations for students to succeed include students being prepared, on time, in compliance with all school policies, willing to work, meeting deadlines and willing to apply critical thinking skills.  I expect the students to realize that the primary responsibility for their learning depends on them!  I also expect the students to communicate properly and effectively both on paper and during discussion.  The compliance with these expectations generally results in a better grade since they foster success.   

Through self evaluation and evaluation of my teaching methods, I am better able to develop my educational technology philosophy.  Once I have developed the philosophy and I know what I want my students to accomplish, I am better able to develop a plan which will facilitate success.