Six weeks. Eleven classmates. Two professors. One career-altering experience. Over the course of six weeks, my perspective on teaching and technology have been permanently altered.
Before MAET, I believed in adding technology into my lessons. Today, I believe in the TPACK framework, that asks teachers to integrate technology, pedagogy and content meaningfully. To not plan a lesson, then integrate technology; but to plan a lesson that incorporates the tech tool most valuable.
I can’t help but feel incredibly proud of the work I’ve accomplished. The MAET certificate courses were the most challenging, and rewarding courses I’ve had the privilege of taking in my academic career.
In his New York Times article, “It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q.,” Thomas Friedman calls for individual initiative. He says that in the next generation of job seekers, having a higher I.Q. won’t always prevail. Friedman says that equally important are “P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime” (2013).
At the core of my teaching philosophy is the importance of curiosity and creativity. I believe Friedman’s ideas are crucial to the 21st century classroom. Teachers need to instill curiosity and passion, to ultimately provide students with the tools to get whatever job comes their way.
This project was especially meaningful to me, as I am currently designing my very first classroom at Berkshire Middle School. In researching classroom design, I utilized The Third Teacher resources to connect with blogs and articles about classroom design. One such article, written by Trung Le, explored Danish government’s project to improve schools. Le said the “pedagogical reform boldly promotes innovation and self-directed learning in the Danish education system by recognizing this millennium’s shift to an ideas-based global economy” (2010). This is where I started. I wanted to find design ideas that would encourage this communicative, collaborative environment.
In a study on classroom design, Letty J. Rayneri (2006) found that students across the board prefer a flexible learning environment, where they have mobility and freedom to move (p. 115). I hope that my dream room would allow students to move between several different learning areas.
In the upper level, I wanted to create a space conducive for group work, and individual reading or studying. I incorporated seating and tables that differ from one area to another. In the lower level, I placed three standing tables in the back of my class, in addition to two computer stations.
Finally, I wanted to understand the psychological nature of room color. After exploring the wheel psychologically, I decided on blue and green. Blue because it encourages communication, trust and reflection, and green because it instills restoration, reassurance and peace (Psychological Properties Of Colours).
Why is this so important? Why is an educational technology masters program requiring me to look at classroom design? “In a pilot study by the University of Salford and architects, Nightingale Associates, it was found that the classroom environment can affect a child’s academic progress over a year by as much as 25%” (University of Salford). With the ability to impact students so greatly, it is critical that teachers take design into account. Students will spend roughly 12,000 hours in a school building from k-12, it is up to us to make each of those hours safe and meaningful.
Friedman, T. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as Much as I.Q. Retrieved August 12, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html?_r=0
Psychological Properties Of Colours. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2015, from http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/psychological-properties-of-colours
Rayneri, L. J., Gerber, B. L., & Wiley, L. P. (2006). The relationship between classroom environment and the learning style preferences of gifted middle school students and the impact on levels of performance. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50(2), 104-118. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/62104522?accountid=12598
Study proves classroom design really does matter. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2015, from http://www.salford.ac.uk/built-environment/about-us/news-and-events/news/study-proves-classroom-design-really-does-matter
Trung, L. (2010, August 24). Wanna Improve Education? Demolish the Classrooms. Retrieved August 13, 2015, from http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662178/wanna-improve-education-demolish-the-classrooms
Flickinger, Brad. (2012). Student_ipad_school [Online Image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/56155476@N08/6659996469/