EdTech 501 Reflection

Wow. I feel like I have come a long way from 7 weeks ago. I remember that I felt pretty good about assignment #1 (making the blog) and then assignment #2 I immediately began to panic. Many thoughts ran through my mind…”What I am doing? I haven’t written a paper in 2 years! Is this really how I want to spend my last 7 weeks of summer? Am I doing this right? What the heck is this RSS thing? WHY APA!?” etc. I questioned whether I was in way over my head and if I could really handle this class…let alone the whole program. The challenges that I faced were related to the initial “I haven’t used this tool before or am unaware of this type of technology…so I probably won’t do well.” This was my mindset in the beginning and I was not as confident with technology as I was when I signed up for the course.

I believe the turning points was during the RSS in Education assignment. I remember exploring Feedly and thinking how cool it was! I even texted some of my friends about it and shared my “how to use Feedly” video! At that point I began to relax a little and really see the big picture. I was learning new technology and could use this stuff right away in my classroom!

I found it was quite easy to communicate with our instructor Anthony Saba (thank you!), and also our classmates. Many times a question that I had was already posted by someone else. This was a great way to overcome the challenges that I faced. By communicating through Google + I received timely and quality feedback and assistance with the questions that I had.

Not only was this a great way to overcome the challenges, but it was a great way to just communicate with one another. I believe that this collaboration is rare, especially in an online class. I think we were very lucky to have this open communication. In the beginning, we were “required” to comment and give feedback to a certain number of people. As the class progressed, it became natural. I found myself getting excited to see other peoples’ posts and ideas! It was also encouraging to receive feedback from others on my own assignments. I really hope to work with some of these classmates in the rest of my EdTech courses!

The artifact that I feel was my best was my EdTech Graphic. When I saw this assignment I was super excited to begin (weird, I know). I took my laptop to Panera and sat there for a solid 3 hours making it “as cool as I could.” I probably could have thrown something together in less than half the time, but I love making artifacts that allow you to be visually creative. While doing so, I got to explore a new tool (Piktochart) and share it with my classmates! I am excited to (eventually) make this a poster in my own classroom!

In my school, I plan to show students and staff members how to use Piktochart, share my new knowledge of Google Docs, Feedly, Voice Thread, etc. I have learned about several new tools and ways to use technology. I am very excited to use the tech tool that I explored, Kahoot! in my classroom this year as well. I have already shared some of my knowledge. A friend of mine is student teaching this semester and is working to flip a computer technology class. I was able to help and let him know of the site Screencast-O-Matic that was used!

Finally, I thought I would give a little advice for future students taking this course. Please keep in mind that this was the first EdTech Course that I took so I was a little overwhelmed from the start!

  1. Start early and stay organized! Even if it is just reading through the plan for the week, it is good to know what is ahead and many of the assignments are VERY time consuming (maybe it was just me…)
  2. Collaborate! Use your instructor and classmates as resources. Everyone is willing to help!
  3. Read all module steps and assignment rubrics carefully! There are many parts to each assignment and the rubric is very detailed, letting you know  exactly what you need to do to get the most out of the assignment and receive a good score as well!
  4. Don’t get too discouraged or give up. We have all been there! Stick with it!
  5. You may think you are very tech savvy in the beginning, but there is SO much more to learn! Embrace it!

I really enjoyed this class and am looking forward to the rest of my classes in this program! Thanks to everyone who was along for the ride! Here is a nice summer smiley pic because I am one grad class down and have one more week left before I have students!

sun

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EDTECH Definition Graphic

EdTech

Click on image to enlarge.

According to Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary, “Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008).

This was by far my favorite assignment. I LOVED being able to create an info-graphic and used the site Piktochart. This tool allows you to modify free templates or start from scratch and create your own. It was very easy to navigate and had many icons, images, shapes, fonts, colors, etc. to choose from. I ended up spending a lot of time creating my info-graphic because it was fun to be creative and I wanted to make my graphic so that I could post it somewhere in my own classroom! I will definitely be using this site again. I also added a QR icon and code, using goo.gl/ so that anyone that views this graphic from Piktochart will be directed to this post. This was such a fun assignment and I really enjoyed being allowed the freedom to create from our own perspective, however we wanted!

I created this image by breaking down each part as I read. My take on the definition is that it is a journey. That is why I chose to use the winding lines that lead throughout the definition. There are so many parts to the definition, and I tried to use visuals and fonts that I felt uniquely represented each part. Even though it is a journey, I believe all parts are related in some way and build off one another.

Reading the first chapter of this book really clarified the definition of education technology. The authors did a great job of clearly defining each sub-part. Before taking this class, my idea of educational technology was using computers or devices as a part of learning and it was a very broad and vague picture. Now, I see that it is so much more. The definition is all about finding the best ways to not only use our knowledge to teach students, but also how to do it in an appropriate way that will promote life-long learning.

Technology is constantly evolving, and in my eyes, a journey as well. The graphic that I created has a light bulb at the end of the road. The reason why I chose this image is to show that the journey is never ending. Every second a new idea or advance in technology is occurring. While it is our duty as educators to keep up, at times it is necessary to take a step back and look at the big picture. In this case, breaking down the definition really provided clarity of what educational technology truly means. By creating this graphic, I will always have a visual to remind me on days where I get caught up in the newest devices and trends. Although these are important aspects, the bigger picture and definition of educational technology show the key essentials.

School Evaluation Summary

I really enjoyed this assignment because I was able to take a closer look at the technology plan of my school as well as explore and break down the areas that are more advanced and the areas that need improvement through the Maturity Model Benchmarks Survey. I was very interested to read our district technology plan that I did not even know existed! It was encouraging to read the positive goals that the district has in place for technology in the future. If given the opportunity, I would have liked to talk to our Director of Technology to learn more about a long-term plan since it seemed only a short-term plan has been communicated to the public.

I am interested to read what other people have to say about their school’s technology use and plan. I am very lucky to teach in a school district that a majority of the areas scored in the “integrated” or “intelligent” level. I know this is not always the case and I would have liked to have compared this to the district that I taught in last year. I know that the other district would have scored lower in most areas.  It is amazing to me to see the differences in technology integration that takes place in different school districts only miles away! This just shows that the digital divide has become more apparent than ever.

I am excited to see what will come for our district in the next few years! I feel as though the district is very open to embracing new technologies, it is just a matter of finding the funds and ways to train the staff to be able to use these technologies positively in the classroom. Students will be using technology for the rest of their lives and it is our duty as educators to prepare them by incorporating it into our daily lessons.

Please note that a pseudonym has been used in both the School Evaluation Survey and the School Evaluation Summary.