In my initial GAME plan, I had two main goals. The first was to do a much better job of engaging my students in researching and solving real-world issues and authentic problems. Our portfolio assignment for EDUC6713 is a unit plan based on a problem-based learning activity. In a series of three lessons, this unit integrates digital tools and resources, requires online collaboration among the students, and culminates in a digital story produced by the students. By using the GAME plan process in developing this unit, I believe I am making good progress in reaching the first goal. I also believe that there will not be a point where I can say that I have done everything required to achieve that goal. Since technology and the "real" world are constantly changing, the process of engaging students in these types of activities will be ongoing.
My second goal was to create a learning environment in which all students can use technology and their individual interests to become fully engaged in their own learning. The GAME plan process will allow students to set their own goals, determine the actions they should take to reach those goals, monitor and manage their own learning, and continuously evaluate and extend the progress they are making towards their chosen goals.
Of the two, the second goal will require much more planning and effort on my part in the early stages. Once my students become comfortable with using the GAME plan, they should be working harder than I am in the classroom! Middle school students do not like to think for themselves. Their preference is for the teacher to tell them the precise steps they should take to solve a problem. My preference (and goal) is for them to take the time to analyze a situation, determine the information needed to find a solution, and develop a strategy to solve the problem. The GAME plan provides a clear path for them to follow as they become independent thinkers and learners.
As a result of what I have learned in this course, I am now using more technology-based, real-world applications in my instruction. I am also providing more authentic assessment options. At the beginning of the second semester, I will introduce the students to the full GAME plan as a key component of the learning process. As with anything that requires more work for them, this change will probably be met with the usual resistance. My hope is that they will see it as a way to have more control over their own education, rather than just something that creates more work. It is important that they buy into the process for it to be successful. By providing a technology-enriched learning environment and more assessment options that allow them to pursue their own interests, the students should be willing to take more responsibility in the learning process. That, after all, is my primary goal as a teacher.