Where did this spring semester go? I feel like it was just yesterday I was introducing myself to our class, learning to deal with the redundancy of deleting several of the same emails because I refused to change my settings on Moodle, and getting over the nervousness of actually interacting with people I’ve never met. I’ve certainly stretched my boundaries so far in 2014, and I could not be more thrilled to have this creative outlet to share my thoughts and projects while being guided through more rigorous theories of educational technology.
I’ve felt strongly for a while that an iPad is not just an iPad, but rather an instructional tool that allows the users to perform just about anything. Being able to harness that power into enhancing one’s curriculum is something I’ve set out to try and do even before this class. While I teach technology, I focus on core skills to develop technology independence; when I work with teachers, I start to see those skills come alive through the use of other various technologies. I’ve learned in this course more resources to aid in student accountability and creativity that will allow them to continue to build that independence outside of my classroom, while enhancing the curriculum for other teachers. The only way I’ve ever built a website prior to this course was through HTML. Weebly has turned out to be just an awesome resource to build and share resources. I’ve already turned a few other teachers onto its ease of operation and I hope to work with teachers next year in implementing it into their curriculum. Through this, students would have the ability to have an online portfolio and a place to share their thoughts with family members, or people outside of their classroom. The Pete & C conference I attended earlier this spring showed me that other districts are using this type of forum to demonstrate student work, and in discussing it with the students presenting, they loved creating it. Making student work more authentic through the use of blogs or websites is a push I’ve been trying to make, and I think Weebly, as simple as it is, could be that facet that students could excel with.
That same theory of student independence and authenticity is really what drives me and the development of my projects. I’ve tried to make several of them interactive, allowing the creator and the readers to connect on a digital level. It means that spelling needs to be spot on, design needs to be comfortable, and students really need to double or triple check their work before it’s published. While having students complete these types of projects within my schools is a challenge, hopefully the resources that I’ve built up will spur initiative in the future to create projects like I’ve done.
Prior to this class and EDTECH 501, I knew nothing of the AECT standards. Matching my projects to these standards made me realize that there was more to focus on than just delivery of information. Designing, planning, utilizing, managing, and evaluating are critical skills for any educator. The challenge is narrowing down the resources available to fit a specific need, and that’s where these standards come into play. I’ve now completed projects to fit every standard, which has given me, I believe, a more well-rounded vision of how technology should be utilized in schools, AND why most have difficulties with using technology. It’s not easy to understand networks or data collection.
Through this course, I feel I’ve become more confident in my leadership abilities. I’ve only been teaching technology for the past year, but have used it in my classroom as a building substitute for a while, almost becoming a “rogue educator,” because at times I’ve done lessons in my class that were once reserved for technology teachers. Because I’ve been in the classroom and now have more of an integration specialist role, I feel that this course has given me more practice with theory, the “why’s and how’s” of integration. In my own classroom, and with my team of technology teachers, I’ve been trying to push for a more integrated model. Instead of using the same typing program for several years, why not allow some of them to blog? I know that I’m on the right course. Once I joined Twitter, my eyes started to open up to some of the best practices and trends in education. I love that these courses are emphasizing some of those models because our professors are also on Twitter and see changes in education happening too. Having 140 characters explained in a course with many other resources has given me a tremendous advantage that I love to share with my colleagues.
I’ve never liked self-evaluation. I hate determining how I’m doing or how I’ve done because I hate talking about myself. I strive work with teachers and integrate everyday, so a class like this was perfect for me to make myself better. I loved it. There were definitely a few projects that I could’ve done better, but I feel that I brought some good things to the table in this course. As far as a blogging grade, I was excited to have more opportunities to write. I’ve been trying to reflect more on my teaching and what’s been going on, and this program has given me that opportunity. I’d give myself a 60/70, only because I always feel like I could write better. As far as a class grade, I’d be satisfied with a 90%. While my themes may be a bit quirky for some, I enjoy what I do and believe that things need to be fun. I’ve been able to find connections with Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, and still successfully link them to my projects. If what you’re doing isn’t enjoyable, it’s not worth doing, and that has been my practice for a long time.
I wish my classmates the best of luck in their endeavors and hope to work with them again soon in other courses! We are all now part of each others Professional Learning Network. Let’s continue to learn from each other outside of our classes.