In reflection, it is evident how much I have learned and used these resources to catapult changes in the classroom. Each course was significant in providing the tools necessary to take my innovation plan from idea to action. Although I have spent an enormous amount of time developing and implementing my innovation, I discovered how each piece of this program fit together to provide an opportunity not just to learn, but to make real changes in my classroom.
Concepts of Educational Tech
In the first course, I learned the importance of the growth mindset and anything is possible if you are willing to work hard. This was the most important course to begin this program because without understanding how to fail forward, I might have quit the DLL Master’s program. I learned that although writing is not my strength, that doesn’t mean I can’t learn how to improve these skills. Also I realized the importance of learning through choice, ownership, voice, and authentic learning (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, & Cummings, 2018). To grow as a learner is not easy but through these challenges real learning exists.
Applying Educational Tech: Portfolio
I learned how to create an Eportfolio, but more importantly why an Eportfolio is an essential part of learning. I now have the ability to show a community anywhere around the world, all the work I have completed to assist them on their own learning journey. Understanding the importance of collaboration and working with professional learning networks not just to consume information but produce ideas. We don't have to depend on colleagues within our school or district for ideas, we can use technology to access information anywhere.
Leading Organizational Change
I discovered that to accomplish a goal, I would need to stay focused on my WIG (Wildly Important Goal) and set a solid plan of action (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012). Once that plan was set I would need to be aware of all the factors involved and to stay focused as to not get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day activities. In addition, recognizing the significance of not just your goal, but how to use conversations to build relationships and further opportunities (Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, & Switzer, 2012). The most influential leaders are those that can build relationships by challenging conversations and situations. Learning how to stay focused on a goal, while leading others through building relationships is key.
Disruptive Innovation Introduction
This was by far the toughest course, but most rewarding. I recognized the positive reasons why disrupting the classroom through innovation was necessary (Horn & Staker, 2014). I developed an innovation plan to transform my classroom and use technology effectively to create a student-centered environment. In this course, through research, I discovered the positive aspects of blended learning which would allow students choices providing students differentiation, and increase students learning.
Create Significant Learning Environments
This course provided a solid foundation and understanding of the importance of providing students with the necessary tools to succeed in an effective learning environment. I recognized my learning and teaching philosophies and how to implement these philosophies into action. I became aware that it is imperative to develop unique experiential courses including real-world hands-on activities instead depending on worksheets and assessments.
Digital Learning in Local and Global Contexts
This course provided the much needed to time to research and build on my previous literature review. This course gave me the opportunity to comprehend relevant research that had been conducted regarding the positive effects of providing content videos for students to acquire knowledge. I was able to discover that student engagement was prevalent when videos were short, included the instructor, and engaging. This course provided the information necessary to revamp my blended learning model and increase student’s engagement.
Assessing Digital Learning and Instruction
I learned how to appropriately research and gather information based on my innovation plan. I realized that the most effective action plan was to use both qualitative and quantitative information to gather the most accurate results in the blending learning model. At the end of this past academic year, I gathered results through assessments, student surveys, and observation to uncover the effectiveness of blended learning. This research provided concrete measurements of the increase in students learning based on this model.
We often take for granted the endless opportunities that technology has provided us, but with that luxury, comes responsibility. This course gave me the necessary tools to understand the importance of digital citizenship and how to share the legal, and moral obligations when using technology. Anyone using technology needs to be aware of how to appropriately and effectively use technology without violating laws, or negatively impacting others. Although this course was extremely important in understanding digital citizenship, the structure of this course included tedious assignments with few options for choice.
Resources Digital Environment
This was one of my favorite courses, where we had the opportunity to prepare a paper for publication. I wrote a blog about the past year's experience of transforming my classroom using free resources. This course allowed me time to reflect on the benefits of creating a student-centered environment, which led to increased student engagement, increased students behavior, and improved teaching methods. Although I was rejected by a few educational websites, I will continue to attempt at publication. I believe that the resources I used and methods put into place could benefit many different educational settings.
Instructional Design Online Learning
Developing a course through a learning management system, was fairly easy because our district implemented Canvas a few years ago. I used this course as an opportunity to take the much needed time to build on the courses I have already developed. I focused on my STEM (Science, technology, engineering, math) course, where I was able to find resources, videos, and games, that related to the Civil Engineering Unit. I then transferred the information to Canvas which provided students access to the engaging activities.
Effective Professional Learning
I believe this is a necessary course for all education majors. Professional learning is an important area of education that needs to improve. Often educators are taking a few courses in the summer with no follow-up or support, which makes it challenging for teachers to implement new ideas. If teachers were provided support, appropriate exposure, enough time, provided modeling of the method and appropriate content, professional learning would be effective (Gulamhussein, 2013). Unfortunately, most teacher training lacks these principles and teachers are often unable to put new methods and ideas into practice. I developed an action plan, with the support of other colleagues to provide support for teachers training.
This was an incredible course, and not just because it was my last class. This course gave me the much-needed time to reflect on how implementing my innovation plan and using COVA (choice, ownership, voice, and authentic learning) brought life back into my classroom. Using effective technology, and providing a student-centered environment, allowed me to take on a facilitator role. I took pride in the fact that little by little students no longer depended on me for the answers. It was refreshing to witness students learning how to problem solve and truly thrive as independent thinkers. I now have hope that I can leave the classroom to teach others not because of frustration, but because of my newfound passion to provide a better classroom environment where students are offered genuine learning opportunities.
Harapnuik, D. K., Thibodeaux, T. N., & Cummings, C. D. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning Opportunities. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=7291 Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2014). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1118955153 McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press. Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high. Columbus, OH: McGraw Hill.