The most eye-opening part of this course was putting myself back into the position of the learner. I have taken graduate coursework before and I do consider myself a learner, but online learning was new to me. There were times in the beginning when I experienced frustration and questioned my ability to continue as a distance learner. I realized that, as much as I liked the flexibility of online learning, I was more auditory and verbal than I thought. My comfort level eased when I received written and video feedback. I was also given the advice to try listening to any online reading material using Read&Write for Google to meet my auditory needs. It worked for short passages, but it wasn’t completely fluent which became an issue when it came to complicated sentence structures.
After I figured out how to “do online learning”, I did experience all of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) skill sets mentioned above: creating, collaborating, researching, thinking critically, using technology, and practicing digital citizenship. These skills do activate a different part of the brain when one is asked to make their own meaning as opposed to receiving information and reassembling it. This helped me connect with all the times my students have sighed in exasperation about wanting me to just tell them the answer!
Honestly, trying to decide on my best artifact was like trying to pick the best movie of the year. Each assignment asked me to create something new and different. Instead, I opted for describing what I learned most from each artifact.
Learning Log: I have blogged before, but the learning log showed me the benefits of chronicling your learning. I would like to move towards digital portfolios in the classroom so this was the perfect practice for making that next step. The creation of a learning log encompassed all of the ISTE skills listed on my poster above.
Professional Ethics: I chose to dig deeper than simply reading an educational technology report provided by my district. I interviewed one of the key team members involved in my study of ethics. This reminded me of the importance of conversations. There was a lot of good work that I learned from the interview that wasn’t incorporated into the board report. My district came out looking much more forward-thinking as a result of this interview.
Digital Divide: I appreciate any opportunity to express my learning visually. Haikudeck was new to me and I liked the simplicity of it and the fact that it forced me to get to the root of my message which meant I needed to know my subject matter very well. In addition, it helped me focus on my storytelling ability which is a huge asset in the classroom.
RSS and Content Curation: This assignment helped me rethink the purpose of the email inbox and realize the benefits of content curation. In the age of information overload and the need for prioritization, this is a huge timesaver.
Annotated Bibliography: What I liked best about this assignment was the realization that there is a lot of great research that exists in the field of educational technology. This assignment was a good test of flexing my brain in a way that I would not have pushed it myself. The assimilation of that much information was very challenging and I now have a basic understanding of how to use the APA style to communicate with other professionals who rely on this structure.
Technology Trends: The value in this artifact will be in the application of a new teaching and learning approach in my classroom. I have played around with blended learning, but this artifact helped me create a model that might help me improve and personalize my math instruction. It was great to collaborate on this assignment because the peer feedback did refine my product.
Educational Technology Graphic: This artifact was fun and challenging. Once you see an accepted definition of a term it is difficult to erase it from your head and define it in your own way. At first I wanted to make an infographic in the perfect way that you can achieve with technology. Then I discovered that I still had a mental block about personalizing the definition. I loved rediscovering the power of creating something from a blank sheet of digitized paper! This creative process helped me solidify my thinking about educational technology.
Finally, this course helped me understand that you can’t mumble, talk, or shout your way into guiding others into the exploration of educational technology- you have to live it with them. As I continue to explore technology in my classroom and during professional development, I hope to inspire and mentor others to find a new spark in their teaching practice through educational technology.