Embracing the New Direction of Education

April 2017

If I had to describe my experience at Kells Academy in a few words I’d say that: it was a major learning experience for me. I began my student teaching internship at Kells Academy with a very traditional frame of mind, due to the way that I, myself, was educated. Teaching math meant that students would take notes, complete a worksheet on the concept they had just seen and then eventually be evaluated on their capabilities to reproduce and respond to similar questions. While I still respect and hold some traditional beliefs about education, my time at Kells has allowed me to expand my horizons and realize that the implementation of technology does not mean that I have to stray completely away from my traditional beliefs, but rather that the two could coexist and work quite well together.
By being able to have the core components of my lesson already set up in a Notebook file, on the smart board, I, nor my students, had to waste time copying down questions, which would then leave room for distractions and the students getting off task. Not only did this assist me, in terms of classroom management, but it also facilitated students’ learning, as I was able to display visual and interactive representations of the concept they were learning. Being able to use interactive websites, such as Kahoot, classes were able to become much more engaging and meaningful, as students were more invested in the lesson, due to the fact that they knew they would likely be evaluated shortly by participating in a Kahoot. Not only did students enjoy being able to partake in such interactive activities, but without even knowing it, these activities allowed for the concepts to be reinforced. I was also able to gather data on students’ level of mastery and the areas which would need improvement and further explanation. In addition to this, I really appreciated the Kells portal system. Many times in the past, I have had students come to me saying that they were not able to complete their homework as they had forgotten it at school the night before, or I have had students come to me in a panic saying that they lost their notebook, which had everything they had learned all year. The portal system completely alleviated these issues and made students accountable for their own learning as they had access to all course material, at any time, just at the edge of their fingertips. By consistently having classes of less than 20 students, I was able to give each student a sufficient amount of one on one time in order to meet their specific needs. This coupled with the email system, which allowed students quick, constant and direct access to me or any of the resources used in class, I believe that all students were able to have their specific and unique needs addressed and met.
While I cannot control the classroom sizes in other educational establishments, something which I will definitely be taking away from my time at Kells Academy is the ability to not shy away from the new direction in which education is going, but rather to embrace it. I believe that my new found appreciation for technology in the classroom and the skills I acquired in order to appropriately employ this technology have allowed me to become a better teacher, who can meet the needs of the students of today. On a final note, I am very grateful that I now have a digital copy of all of my lessons, resources, and assessments which I could easily alter and use in my further educational endeavors.
Finally, I am very grateful for the cooperating teachers, Mrs. Ghanem and Ms. Ungureanu, which I was assigned for my time here at Kells Academy. Both teachers were very supportive throughout my entire experience and their expertise taught me invaluable skills: how to plan and organize lessons, how technology can be a huge asset in the classroom, where to find interactive resources which can be used in the classroom, how to accommodate students with different needs and learning styles etc. I am grateful for their patience, encouragement and for them giving me the confidence to venture outside of my comfort zone.

Erika Savage, Student Teacher