Ed Tech 541: Parting Thoughts

Part I – Reflection

As I reflect upon my learning over the course of this semester in Ed Tech 541, I know that the journey I traveled was one that encouraged me not only to learn about the subject at hand but about myself and my beliefs regarding the integration of technology.  In regards to integrating technology specifically I have learned: that it is easier to build a course website than I initially thought (thank you Google sites), that sometimes it takes me more time to decide on the aesthetic design of my presentation than it does to create the content, that I enjoy working outside my comfort zone of ELA and quite prefer connecting to social studies, art, music, and PE but science intimidates me and math downright terrorizes me.  I learned that I can, in fact, create paperless assignments that my students will enjoy and benefit from despite my preference for hard copy low tech options.  I learned above all, that to successfully integrate technology into a classroom, a business, or any other environment the integration must be well thought out and purposeful.  Just because the technology is there does not mean that it is being used successfully and efficiently

Theory regarding the need of 21st century learners to have 21st century skills supported the bulk of my assignments for this class; even if those 21st century skills are ever changing and we don’t quite know which skills are students will specifically need on their journeys into the unforeseen technology future.  Despite the various paths our students may one day take, the four Cs will always be beneficial for students to have in their repertoire of skills.  Critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration are skills that have long proved to be necessary for success in our world, but as we forge ahead into a dynamic word made ever so much bigger and more diverse by technology, the ability to transfer these four skills from in person interactions and activities to those that may take place on a wider more global scope will become necessity for students to maneuver along their educational journey and daily interaction.  It was with this foundation in mind that I created the majority of my products.

Mastery of the AECT standards were demonstrated in the following ways:

Standard 1: DESIGN – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics

  • Through research and reflection regarding a wide scope of technology integration resources including but not limited to: multimedia presentation tools, spreadsheets and docs, video, internet, social networking, technological games, content specific, and adaptive and assistive technology I was able to increase my understanding of successful implementation of these methods as well as the principals that support their successful integration.  This was demonstrated by successful creation of products that could be used in the classroom but moreover in my blog reflections in which my internalization and transfer or these principals was explored and connected to the products I was creating.

Standard 2: DEVELOPMENT – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • As my project for this course began to come together into one that could be used, as a whole, or in parts I demonstrated mastery of of development of instructional materials and experiences by using print lesson plans and creations via Google Docs, audiovisual products using video clips and various other multimedia products such as an ebook via storybird and an interactive poster via Glogster.  This entire unit was created using Google sites making all the materials computer-based and as they all support a dual theme of the stories we tell and connect these to disasters there are various levels of successful technology integration demonstrated by the project.

Standard 5: EVALUATION – Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles, theories, and research related to problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

  • Each individual lesson plan created for this course required me to understand my target audience, internalize the intended learning targets, identify how learning would be assessed and evaluate or anticipate any struggles learners might have on this path.  In order to create effective and useful technologically integrated products these activities had to be built on a strong structural foundation of principal, theory, and research.  This is again, where I utilized the four Cs of 21st century skills and what I used to evaluate the effectiveness of my lesson plans and the overall long range planning of my unit.  This was demonstrated by the individual assessments that were integrated into each lesson but also the unit as a whole as it could be presented to students in any order, strengthening their storytelling ability and disaster content knowledge, with any one of the lessons serving as the student’s summative assessment for both the standards presented within the unit and the content used as the vehicle for teaching those standards.

As a professional this course has challenged me to design assignments and implement technology for content areas outside my specific content of expertise.  This has fostered my growth as a professional by helping me to see myself not only as an English teacher that can successfully incorporate technology into her curriculum but also as a mentor to others in various content areas that wish to successfully integrate technology into their curriculum.  This is not an area that I feel I have enough experience with yet to label myself an expert, as I would my content area, but through the course work I’ve completed in this class and the learning opportunities I’ve engaged in through reading and reflection I believe I’m on the path to become a solid resource for those around me who wish to increase the productive use of technology in their courses.

My teaching practice has been impacted through my completion of this course by pushing me outside my paper and pencil comfort zone.  I’ve long used my classroom set of iPads as a resource for gathering information and exploring the web however I know that there are so many ways that I could more effectively be using my technology.  Through the activities I created during this course such as my collaborative Google Doc assignment where my students can experience a lesson in which they work on ELA standards regarding the identification and utilization of resources via the web and in addition to the standards they can also develop their 21st century skills of collaboration and communication by their involvement in completing a shared Google Doc.  Moving forward I realize that I’ve been reluctant in using technology because of the skills my students lack when attempting to do so.  Rather than succeeding to these obstacles I now know that these lack of skills is a learning opportunity, a chance for my students to not only increase their ELA skills but increase their 21st century skills while doing so.  In my district this opportunity could prove to be a key element in future success for my students as many of them do not have this technology or access to such experiences outside their school day.

Part II – Self Assessment

  • Content
    • When reflecting upon my blogs for this course I believe the content of these posts to be outstanding earning the full credit for this portion of the rubric.  In each of my blogs I presented rich content that exemplified thorough analysis of the topic demonstrating my personal insight regarding the subject at hand.  Furthermore, I connected each topic to my own personal experience as an educator, a real life experience I’ve encountered, or connections to other aspects of the course when applicable.
  • Readings and Resources
    • For this category I believe my performance to fall between outstanding and proficient. In each of my blogs I referenced either the course text or additional material proving my use of resources for the thoughts I presented.  Sometimes I included references to both the course reading and additional resources but not every time which is why I do not feel that my performance equates to that of outstanding.  However, I did in fact use APA citation when referencing resources in a manner that was more than the “no or limited use of APA style reference” .
  • Timeliness
    • All of my postings were made and each of them were submitted “on time” for their respective week.  However, many of my posts were submitted Monday evening which did not leave my peers much time to respond to them during the course of each module.  For this category I would rate my performance to be that of proficient. 
  • Response to Other Students 
    • I responded to two posts for every module and in each response I made a connection to something the author had written and how I found it insightful, useful, resourceful in my own study and/or classroom.  I completed all of these responses on time for each module.  Because of the depth of my responses and their timeliness I rate my performance in this category as outstanding. 
  • Numerical Totals 
    • Content                                      70/70
    • Reading and Resources          17/20
    • Timeliness                                 15/20
    • Response to other students    30/30
      • Total Score                       132/140

References

National Association of Elementary School Principals: Serving all elementary and middle-level principals. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from http://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryfebruary-2012-technology/technology-integration-new-21st-century-learner

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