In Bloom: My Final Reflection on EdTech 541
Part I: Course Reflection
I learned so much in this course that I am not sure where my reflection should begin. Because I want to be a Technology Integration Specialist I put a lot of effort into the course work. Having a high interest in the course and the content obviously helped as well. At the start of the semester I thought I knew a lot about integrating technology in the classroom– boy was I wrong! There was a lot more to learn—and there still is. Perhaps that’s why I love this area of study.
What I value the most about this course is that it breathed life back into my teaching! As an old dog learning new tricks, I really appreciated the challenge presented by the assignments and projects. My greatest fear as a teacher is that I will become ineffectual in the classroom. This course reassured me that my passion and joie de vivre is still very much alive, and because of this, I can still be effective in the classroom. Thank you!
Furthermore, because the assignments (ShakeIT 2.0, Poetry in Motion and Assistive Technology) were so challenging, I learned how to problem solve more effectively, especially if I really wanted to make something work! For example, I wanted to create a thematic approach (Poetry in Motion) for my poetry unit but I wasn’t sure if the theme could be “stretched” across three different lessons while meeting necessary curricular outcomes! Bringing in other areas (P.E., Music, and Art) really pushed me to my limits and beyond also. I think I met this challenge head on, and created practical yet engaging lessons!
The theories introduced in the course text and assignments helped me improve my teaching practice as well. The procedure for adopting technology is much clearer now and I consider it every time I use technology to introduce a concept or support an assignment. What I truly have embraced is the focus on lessons and “interactivity”, and the impact this has on students. I have developed other lessons for my ELA and Media courses and have consciously focused on making them more interactive for the students while encouraging less dependence on the teacher. This has been a hard road to travel but completely necessary as teaching practices must change in order to meet the needs of 21st century students.
Another area I knew very little about was Assistive Technology and its use in Special Education. Having the opportunity to explore this area has opened doors for me because it encouraged me to have conversations with the SPED coordinator and SPED teacher in my school. I have to be honest I never talked about educational issues with them before. Now we are working on adapting my Rotten Poetry Anthology assignment for a specific group of learners. I tell you this is an exciting time for me. Instead of fearing the unknown, I am embracing it!
Of course the assignments and projects I have completed address the following AECT standards: Standard 1: Design (1.1 Instructional Systems Design, 1.2 Message Design, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner Characteristics), Standard 2: Development (2.1 Print Technologies, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies) and Standard 3: Utilization (3.1 Media Utilization, 3.2 Diffusion of Innovations). However, for me the final project for this course is more than the AECT Standards it addresses, or the curricular outcomes it meets! Now that the course is done, the final project truly reflects my transformation from a fruitless tree—to a tree in full bloom. Amen!
Before I sign off I must add that the encouraging feedback from my instructor and my classmates also pushed me to work harder and prepare more! The student exemplars were always helpful and often encouraged me to take risks. I intend to take what I have learned here and build upon it as a Technology Integration Specialist.
Part 2: Performance Assessment
Content (70/70) – Outstanding
I appreciated how the assigned topics went hand in hand with the projects and assignments. One often supported the other! The topics were informative and always encouraged me to learn more about the issue or topic being explored. When I started out I knew very little, if anything, about the topics assigned but, by the time I was done, I felt I had gained a lot more insight. As a result, I put quite a bit of effort into exploring and discussing each topic! Furthermore, I always tried to find an image and/or hook that suited each piece, or my position on the topic. I experimented with different organizational methods and often connected the content to current issues or real life situations. (FYI: The work here actually affected–for the better–my learning log entries for another course as well.)
Readings & Resources (20/20) – Outstanding
Throughout the semester I used the course text and other resources to support my position or the information presented. The text often cited other works which encouraged me to look elsewhere as well. The course text was practical and very helpful. I am keeping this invaluable resource close by! Other staff members have asked to read it (because I reference it all the time in conversations).
Citing sources became a natural part of the process and my in text citations definitely improved as the semester progressed.
Timeliness (15/20) – Proficient
Early on in the course I was able to post most entries on Saturday which allowed others to respond earlier or more quickly. As the semester progressed and “juggling” work and school became more challenging I often had to post the entries on Sunday nights. Even though the posts were made before the deadline, it still made it difficult for some to respond early. I certainly appreciated the feedback and hoped that I did not give the impression that I did not by posting on Sundays. I actually wished there had been more time to “converse” with others because “talking” about issues really helps one see more clearly!
Responses to Other Students (30/30) – Outstanding
No matter how hectic things got I always responded to other people’s posts. I often responded on Sundays (usually after I posted my entry) or Mondays. I always took the time to fully respond to others by noting the people’s strengths and encouraging their point of view. Also, I would, when appropriate, ask clarifying questions so the person could delve deeper.
I really liked seeing what other people thought and where they stood on certain issues. This process encouraged me to accept new perspectives too. Quite often, in fact, it enabled me to see things in a new light. I love that! Some of my classmates were an inspiration to me, and pushed me to improve my own work. For that, I am ever grateful.