Posted by: edtechceo | March 13, 2012

Reflection #2 – The close of my EdTech Ed D class

As my Educational Technology class comes to a close, I have been asked to reflect on my experience in the course.  Below is my reflection.

  • What attitudes, skills, and concepts have you gained from participating in the course so far?
  • What have you learned in the course that you will not forget tomorrow?
  • How will you apply what you have learned to your teaching and future learning?

This reflection may be a bit different from others’ reflections of the course.  They may reflect on Twitter or Diigo, VoiceThread or Google forms.  However, it is not the tools in the course that has made such an impression on me, but on watching my colleagues and myself learn about and use these tools. 

In some ways, I have learned more about Educational Technology from the Community Questions Discussion Forum on our wiki than through using any of the tools.  In this forum, I was able to see what types of questions people had about technology and using it.  I was also able to work with many of them in person to hear both their frustrations and jubilees as they attempted to master the tools and skills.  This course lead me to see how people learn to use new technology tools: some become frustrated and overwhelmed immediately, some need very specific directions, some just want to play, and some take the tool and run with it!  It helps me to learn how to differentiate in my job as Technology Coordinator.

The online format of the course itself was also very eye-opening, as we are beginning to explore the use of online and blended formats for teaching professional development courses.  My own reaction to this type of learning environment was surprising to me.  I normally am a very independent learner.  I like to go at my own pace and in my own time.  I hate being put in teacher assigned groups.  I thought that an online course would be ideal for me.  After taking the class, I have found that the format makes it much more difficult for me to remember deadlines and directions.  Of course, these are only a click away, but for being a person who normally prides herself on her memory (especially in academia), this was a bit disconcerting for me.  I also found where that there were times when I would just rather talk in person rather than type, although normally texting and email are my favorite forms of communication.  This was particularly true when working in groups.  The group dynamic is hard to mimic in text alone.  It is more difficult to see if someone really likes your ideas or if they are just trying to be nice.  It is also more difficult to try keep brainstorming going, because you might be on a role, but you aren’t getting feedback because of the asynchronous of the format, and then the brainstorm may go in a completely different direction when you are not able to give feedback to others.  This will be important for me to remember when helping to develop our own online and blended courses.

I hope to continue to use this blog to reflect on Educational Technology and my role with it.  Writing at once every two weeks will be a challenge for me to begin with, but I think it will be worth it for me in the end.  I’m glad that this class started me out on this project.

Posted by: edtechceo | March 8, 2012

Blog Post 4 – Choosing a Tool

John Spenser, in his blog, TeachPaperless, suggests asking a series of questions when deciding on a Collaboritive Grouping Tool.  From those questions, he took multiple popular Tools and showed where they would fall on a Collaboration Grid.

I really liked this idea.  I wrote:

This is great example of thought process.  Really, when any of us choose to use a tool, we need to think about the function and format of what we are trying to do before using the tool.  One of the most exasperating things for me is when someone chooses a tool because it is trendy or something they already know how to use, and then are frustrated that it can’t do everything they want it to do.  Your graph is a nice visual representation of how people SHOULD choose between tools.  I also like the questions that want people to consider.   Do you think there are any other major questions that people should think about when choosing tools?

Posted by: edtechceo | March 1, 2012

ICE Presentation

Well, today I presented at ICE for the first time.  I was super-nervous.  Anyone who would say “don’t be nervous” hasn’t seen the “Rate This Session” link on the ICE app.  I admit it, I want my session to be useful.  I think was useful for at least a few people.  About 5 people came up afterwards to talk to me more in detail about what I presented, and they seemed eager to try it themselves.  So, I think I can consider it not a failure. :-)  Here is a link to my presentation “Collaborative Research Paper Wikis.”  Scroll down to find my name.  If you have any questions or want more information, just let me know!  I will be posting more soon about what I am seeing at ICE.  It really is my favorite conference to attend.

Posted by: edtechceo | February 16, 2012

Blog Post 3 – Mad Libs and 1-to-1

In her post, “Why the (__noun__) won’t save/revolutionize education”, Sylvia in her Generation YES blog writes:

“We’ve all heard how (__noun__) will save/revolutionize education. But unfortunately, it’s not going to have the expected impact. Some may use (__noun_) in an exciting, creative way, and will be able to say that their students are engaged at a new level. But many implementations of (__noun__) will be thoughtless, with opportunities for even minor impact buried under a host of systemic issues that can’t be solved by going shopping.”

I responded:

“Nice points. As our district has been looking to go 1-to-1, we have tried to be device agnostic, not basing our discussion or decisions on one device. Still, there many times when the “__noun__” slips into conversation, depending on which noun camp someone is currently in. I can see how difficult it is to make decisions about 1-to-1 without a device, but I also sometimes feel like 1-to-1 is our “noun”. It has become that because it is the placeholder in which many our hopes for the future of technology has been placed. I still feel that we are acting appropriately and truly thinking out the plan, not just jumping into it, but if we have trouble containing our excitement about certain nouns and we are purposefully containing our excitement, what happens to districts who cannot quell the urge to use the next big NOUN?”

As we move towards 1-to-1, I’m not as concerned about the device and not as excited about it.  What excites me is what teachers will do when rethinking their lesson plans and methodology, when they begin to think about what is the most important aspects of their classes, when they are excited to teach.  This is when I will say, ” (__INTERJECTION__)!!!”

Posted by: edtechceo | February 16, 2012

Reflection One – helping others with technololgy

For my doctorial program, I need to reflect on our current class on Educational Technology.  Here is my reflection.

  • What attitudes, skills, and concepts have you gained from participating in the course so far?

Even as someone who loves tehcnology, I know that I don’t know everything out there.  There are so many resources that it can sometimes be overwhelming.  In fact, I stopped using Twitter in 2009 because it was giving me too many great suggestions that I couldn’t figure out how to process it all!  Through my participation in this course, I have found a renewed interest in finding resources and going beyond my known PLN.  I’m exctied to meet new people, and I am learning to balance the influx of input.

  • What have you learned in the course that you will not forget tomorrow?

I have learned that there are tons of resources available for 21st Century Skills and how to apply them to today’s world of assessment.  I have also learned of many resources for a 1:1 initatives.  These may seem like little things, but I might not have taken the time to look at these resources if it had not been for this class.  Now I have the ability to use these in my job every day.  That’s pretty cool. :-)

  • How will you apply what you have learned to your teaching and future learning?

This morning, I gave a presentation to new teachers about technology tools.  I was able to use much of what I have learned in this classes to help inform that discussion.  I started by coming up with key areas of instruction and learning (assessment, creating scheme, organization, etc) and then gave about 10 technology tools to help in those areas if there is a gap in instruciton in that area.  The teachers were excited, and so was I.

Posted by: edtechceo | February 16, 2012

Blog Post 2 – Technology to increase learning

In his blog, Education with Technology Harry G. Tuttle, Tuttle recently posted “Learn not be engaged in technology.” An example of what he means follows:

“Also, an “engaging” activity may be for students to create a video showing an understanding of a play  in their English  class. The students  can be fully attentive to the project but if they focus on sword play instead of the plot of the play, their engagement does not end up in learning.”

I responded with:

“I agree with your post. So many students become so enthralled with the process of using technology, that they forget about the learning. However, I believe the same thing happens with teachers as well. They often get so caught up in the next “neat thing” that they forget the reason for using the technology. When I use technology in my classroom, I make sure that I can assess what the students learned, not just what picture they found. By looking at what new connections they are making in their knowledge, that’s where teachers can see real learning though technology taking place.”

Educational technology must be so much more than using technology.  Without a purpose, technology creates more problems than it solves.  With a purpose, technology becomes a transformative tool.

Posted by: edtechceo | February 2, 2012

Blog Post 1 – So What?

I was recently inspired by a post on the blog 2Cents.

“My point is this. What should we, as educators, really care about? Is it just what students can recall at the end of the year or the course? or is it what they can do and whom they will be 20 years later?

If it’s the long haul that we are about, then I wonder, as we write our final exams for the students in our class – or end-of-year state tests, shouldn’t we be willing to ask ourselves, “Can I reasonably expect these children to be able to pass this test 20 years from now?”

If the honest answer is, “No!” then we’re just playing a game.” “

 

I responded with:

I completely agree with you that we need to think about what we truly want students to take away from our classes.  It is not about the information, but about how they access it and what they can do with it.  Twenty-first Century Skills echo this ideal, but you are right in saying that our assessments do not.  I think some people are afraid to engage in these types of assessments because they don’t feel confident in their own skills as an assessor or because a multiple choice test is just “easy” to grade.  As the educational world shifts from the idea of grades to mastery of skills, I’m hoping more people will understand the value of application rather than regurgitation. 

 

To elaborate on this, I believe that the shift in the country from homework and organizational skills counting as a large portion of final grades to summative assessment and skill mastery counting as the major portion of the grade sets up the ability to really look at how students are applying knowledge.  Skill mastery does not mean knowledge mastery.  Technology should give us a way to help demonstrate and assess this skill mastery using knowledge gained not just from the teacher, but from the entire world. 

Now that would truly assess a student’s ability to be successful.

Posted by: edtechceo | January 30, 2012

Vulnerability and Visability

I enjoy reading blogs.  I enjoy commenting on blogs.  I have even contributed to blogs since 1999 (is that before they were called blogs??).  Yet, I have never had my own blog.  Honestly, it has been too personal and visable to me.  I also tend to wonder why what I have to say anyone would want to read.  Yay for insecurities!

And yet, here I am blogging.  Yes, my Ed D program may be the catalyst for this, but it is a kick in the behind that I need.  As an educational technology professional, I should be reflecting in a collaborative community.  My plan is to not only blog as needed for my class, but to use this opportunity to face my fear of visability and worthiness. 

So to begin this journey, I will start with a public declairation of the purpose and goals of this blog.

Purpose: To reflect on education and educational technology.  These are my personal views and do not reflect the views of my employer.

Goals:

  • Blog once every two weeks. 
  • Connect to other bloggers
  • Always blog with a purpose in mind
  • Use this as a model for others and to help me help them

With a lot of luck, I will be able to stick to these goals, and I will continue to grow as an educator and a Ed Tech leader. 

With a little luck, I won’t have a panic attack everytime I hit publish that I forgot a comma.

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