Throughout this course I have been exposed to many new perspectives and aspects of social justice. More than any other assignment however, the field experience and group work is what was really significant for me. It was by no means a simple task but creating our own set of social justice objectives took a good amount of research and collaboration. The goal was to come up with a set of objectives so that anyone who read and followed them would be effectively enforcing a socially just classroom and/or work environment. Working with group members made this experience much more effective in that we were able to bounce ideas off of one another and suggest small changes to each others objectives when necessary .
What I thought was the most difficult aspect of the group work was to come up with educational games that could help others understand ELL learners while also having a content connection. This really tested me as a technology professional and a teacher in general as I had to get creative to make some tools meet the criteria. Meaning that while I did find some games that fit the bill and should work great in a classroom, I also found some great tools, not meant to be games, that could be implemented as such for an educational purpose. I think the rest of the group also found finding just the right games to be difficult as well but overall we came together and were able to help each other finalize our list of games.
The last aspect of the group work, making recommendations on the lesson plans for EDU 577 students, was what I enjoyed most. It was interesting to see what the other students had in mind in terms of implementing lesson plans that incorporated social justice aspects. All of the lessons I reviewed were very well done and I was impressed with some of the ideas used. I really just tried to work off of their pre-existing ideas to enhance the lesson with technology that lead into social justice components. The rest of the group also had some excellent recommendations which I may even try to use in my own classroom.
Our group almost always interacted by using the group discussion board and using google docs to help streamline all of our ideas and contributions. I thought it was a great way of doing things and it helped to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. Even though we all had different things to do, I could always pop into the google doc if I had some free time to add some feedback or post one of my games or lesson recommendations. Everyone seemed to work together efficiently and I don’t think there were any conflicts whatsoever. Everything really operated in a professional manner and I think our final products showed that.
Overall, I always believe that group work is an excellent way to foster higher level learning. I believe that students who truly care about what they are learning are usually excited to work with others who feel the same way. As a math teacher and a future technology professional I have gained some invaluable insights on social justice and education in general, not only in the past 4 weeks but throughout the entire course. I hope to take what I have experienced and share it with both my class and my colleagues to continue to improve as an educator and spread good practice to others.