Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Made It! Reflections from my first Master's course: Concepts of Educational Technology

Reflection #1:
As I complete my last week of EDLD 5306, I am pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed being a student again!  As far as what outcomes I expected from the course, I knew I wanted to learn more about how to integrate technology into the classrooms.  And this course gave me so many simple, yet effective ways to do that.  I also wished for affirmation, I suppose, on my belief of the importance of technology integration.  I found myself, so often, shaking my head “yes” to the articles I was reading and the videos I watched.  I actually learned so much more than I envisioned.  It wasn’t just about simple tools to use, but also about things that benefit a technology leader: online safety, data assessment, ethics, public relations.  I am so pleased that the actual outcomes not only aligned with what I envisioned; they exceeded my expectations.

Reflection #2:
The course outcomes are definitely relevant to the work I will be doing.  I have the awesome opportunity to split my day between teaching and performing duties as a campus technologist.  So, not only will I be assisting teachers in the integration of technology, I will be able to practice the same concepts within my own classroom!  What better way to determine whether a specific technology is applicable and effective than to use it with my own students.  I believe this will benefit me and my position because I will be able to evaluate the appropriateness of the concept along with the teachers using the same concept.  It will also help me iron out any issues that might arise to save others time and frustration.  I also believe that my principal will look to me to assist her in encouraging technology integration because of the research and data the course provided.

Reflection #3:
I suppose I was looking for a “quick fix” for technology integration.  So many teachers (I used to be one of them) believe using a PowerPoint for a lesson or having students type an essay using a word processing software is integrating technology.  While this is definitely a beginning, I was hoping to find a way to help our teachers begin integrating technology into every lesson, every day.  Fortunately, I learned some tools to begin not only using, but also sharing, immediately.  But probably more importantly, this course taught me that it will take time to fully integrate technology into each and every classroom because technology integration is not just the use of technology -- it also involves something even bigger:  it will require a mind-set change (and stepping out of a comfort-zone) on the part of teachers to begin implementing collaborative learning where technology use is its most effective. 

Reflection #4:
While I was successful in carrying out all of the assignments, I definitely endured some frustration.  My login information didn’t come until Tuesday evening. Gone were 4 days of working on the assignment.  It was the last week of school for us, so an event every night took away the rest of those weekdays.  On Saturday morning, our family left for a nine-day vacation.  Luckily, we had wifi at our first destination.  When I went to submit (albeit last-minute!), error message.  It finally submitted.  At our second destination, we had “free wifi” but it was awful! So, I purchased an AT&T MiFi, and had issues using it with my MacBook. I made a desperate last minute dash 20 miles to the nearest HotSpot to join the required web conference. Yikes!
Other than a Java upgrade I needed to see my Animoto video, everything since the first two weeks has been great!

Reflection #5:
I am a Guardian!  At least according to Keirsey’s Temperament Sorter. I try to do what’s right while staying within established parameters.  This will help me in dealing with others who may fall into a different temperament. I also learned that my MIs are interpersonal, kinesthetic, and finally self/intrapersonal.  While I agree with the first two, I don’t necessarily agree with the last because I don’t prefer the trial/error approach to learning new things.  
My strong leadership skills are organization and communicating, but I need to learn about resolving conflicts and project budgeting. Technology is my strongest area, but I could use some help in understanding the differences between and the fees involved with freeware, shareware, and commercial software and which site licenses our school holds.  I also need to learn more web publishing skills, and, thanks to EDLD 5306, I have learned more about Web 2.0 tools!

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