Saturday, March 31, 2012

ET8050 Week 5, Part 2 Course Reflections #5

What did you learn from this course…about yourself, your technology and leadership skills, and your attitudes?

My first graduate course has taught me so much about myself, my technological and leadership abilities, and my attitudes toward technology and education.  I am so proud that I was able to overcome my fear (somewhat) of posting online and that I actually have a blog now.  This was something that I would never have done on my own.  I worked extremely hard each week to accomplish the tasks that needed to be done.  I thought I knew a good bit about technology, but this course has been a real eye opener.  I have so much more to learn and I can’t wait to see want is coming up in my next class.  I have always been able to help teachers at school with the technology and now I have so much more stuff to show them.  I am excited about my job again because of this new journey I have chosen to take and can’t wait to see what else I have to learn.

ET8050 Week 5, Part 2 Course Reflections #4

Were you successful in carrying out the course assignments?  If not, what prevented or discouraged you?

I feel very satisfied with my performance on the course assignments in my first graduate class.  It was very challenging figuring out how to manage my time as a mom, teacher, wife, and now student.  I do have some growing to do on some activities (like writing reports and summaries), since it’s been nearly 20 years since I’ve been the student.  Self-reflections have also been a challenge for me.  I am not very comfortable writing about myself and/or my views and posting them online for others to see.  I usually keep quiet and only tell a select few my inner thoughts about things.   Having said that, this course has changed that a little, I am getting a bit more comfortable with the discussion board and blog postings.  The evaluations done in week 1 taught me a lot about my skills as a technology educator and they have grown through this course.  I can’t wait to see what more I get to learn as I progress through the rest of the curriculum.

ET8050 Week 5, Part 2 Course Reflections #3

What outcomes did you not achieve?  What prevented you from achieving them?

Time Management, Time Management, Time Management.  This is my biggest issue with doing everything I need to do in my life right now.  We were warned when the course started to watch out for this problem.  I have been able to complete everything needed throughout the course, but sometimes I have been working past when I wanted things to be done.  I do have to admit that I am a procrastinator with a lot of things.  This is a very hard habit to break.  Throughout the last five weeks, I have learned though that I can’t be that any longer--at least not regarding my class work.  I need to start right away each week to get everything accomplished.

ET8050 Week 5, Part 2 Course Refections #2

To the extent that you achieved the outcomes, are they still relevant to the work that you do in your school?  Why or why not?

The outcomes of this course have been tremendous.  I have gained so much knowledge from the articles, videos, and activities regarding how technology should be handled in the 21st Century classroom.  The assignments each week have given me many ideas to use in my classroom.  I have already started planning a few activities to do with my students soon.  I have also learned so much that needs to be down at my school to help implement technology in an effective way to produce the critical thinkers we need for the future.  Many of these ideas are in my internship plan and principal competency plan which will allow me to improve my performance at work, my co-workers performance, and my student’s performance. 

ET8050 Week 5, Part 2: Course Refections #1

What outcomes had you envisioned for this course?  Did you achieve those outcomes?  Did the actual course outcomes align with those that you envisioned?

I really had no idea what to expect starting to work on my master’s degree.  I was extremely nervous the first week, not knowing how I would deal with school, work, and family.  My goal was to make it through the course with an A or B on my work, still spend quality time with my family, and learn some new things I could do at work too.  I believe I achieved all of these.  My family has been wonderful and supportive during these past five weeks.  My scores on assignments have been much better than I thought I would do since it’s been so long since I had to do homework of my own.  I can’t wait to try some of the new activities I learned (like Wordles) with my students after testing is done. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ET8050 Week 2 Assignment, Web Conference

         I had my first web conference!  I wasn’t too sure about it at first, as I had never used a webcam before.  (I know--hard to believe that I’m working on a master’s in educational technology and haven’t used a webcam.)  I thoroughly enjoyed being able to put faces with the names I’ve been seeing online.
          It was a very informative meeting.  I learned a great deal about what to expect during this journey to get my master’s degree.  I feel a little more confident that I can handle this.  The two components (field-based activities and course-based assignments) should keep me pretty busy, but so far I have managed my time pretty well to get things done.
          I am looking forward to learning a great deal about technology through this experience and can’t wait to incorporate what I can into my classroom.

ET8050 Week 2 Assignment, Part 4: Creating and Posting a Slide Presentation

ET8050 Week 2 Assignment, Part 3: Blog Posting # 3 National Educational Technology Plan

        The National Educational Technology Plan will make a huge impact on our students and their education if we can get the plan enacted in the educational system.  It covers five essential areas:  Learning:  Engage and Empower, Assessment:  Measure What Matters, Teaching:  Prepare and Connect, Infrastructure:  Access and Enable, and Productivity:  Redesign and Transform.       
          In Learning:  Engage and Empower the provide experiences that mirror their daily life and the reality of their future.  Students will gain these learning experiences both in and out of school.  Assessment:  Measure What Matters suggests that we begin moving away from assessments that use print, mouse clicks, or word processing/writing to assessments that “capture examinees’ strengths in terms of the qualities that the assessment is intended to measure.”  (Transforming American Education:  Learning Powered by Technology-Executive Summary, p. 15) Then use this data for continuous improvement with the skills and subject matter.  Teaching:  Prepare and Connect suggests educators, working individual and in teams, will be supported by technology to enable and inspire effective teaching methods.  Infrastructure:  Access and Enable will be designed to allow learning when and wherever it is needed for both educators and students.   Productivity:  Redesign and Transform’s goal is to improve learning by coming up with more efficient uses of time, money and staff.
          Employing these essential areas into the school system will cause a shift from traditional teaching methods to a 21st Century model that will allow “critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication to be woven into all content areas.”  (Transforming American Education:  Learning Powered by Technology-Executive Summary, p. 9) The major issue I see with incorporating these into education now is funding.  There will need a way to provide students and teachers (as well as other educational stakeholders) with access to the information and data 24/7.  The infrastructure needs personnel to make sure everything is there that is needed and that it is working correctly, and professional development will need to be worked for everyone.

National Education Technology Plan Executive Summary, Retrieved from

Saturday, March 10, 2012

ET8050 Week 2 Assignment, Part 3: Blog Posting # 2 District Technology Plan

         My school district’s technology plan’s purpose is “to improve student achievement through the effective use of technology as an enhancement of the teaching/learning process and record keeping/reporting procedures” (Terrebonne Parish School District Technology Plan, 2007). There are four action steps aimed at achieving this purpose:  Strengthen Leadership, Improve Teacher Training, Support E-Learning and Virtual Schools, and Encourage Improved Access and Technology Usage. 
          In order to strengthen the leadership, the parish shares information with employees on grants and other funding opportunities, professional development opportunities, provides time for employees to attend workshops and/or conferences.
          Improving teacher training is provided with professional development opportunities at the school, parish and regional level.  They receive grants to provide trainings such as INTECH and Tech Train.  Online K-12 database resources, online lesson plan resources, and lesson planning tools focused on integration of technology are available also.
          E-Learning and Virtual Schools are offered to both students and employees.  Employees can utilize online professional development through companies such as Pearson Connected Trains and Renaissance Learning.  Students have access to software that can be personalized to their individual learning needs in grades K-12.
          Improved access and technology use is achieved with internet access, training opportunities and sharing of information regarding funding opportunities, and integrated data systems.
          A majority of the evaluation methods to track our action steps occur annually.  Our strengths in the plan are that the district offers a network manager at each site, a comprehensive academic computer program at all schools, access to automated TLC programs in all libraries, and gigabit bandwidth to all classrooms.  Our major weaknesses that need to be addressed are that the network was set-up for one computer per classroom, the number of obsolete computers still being used that need to be replaced, and self-assessments are not done on a regular basis.
          Funding is aided by E-Rate funds and District sales tax monies.  These are enabling us to upgrade the network, bandwidth, and electrical so that we can move toward creating Model Classrooms in as many classrooms as possible to help us achieve our purpose of “improving student achievement through the effective use of technology as an enhancement of the teaching/learning process and record keeping/reporting procedures” (Terrebonne Parish School District Technology Plan, 2007)

Terrebonne Parish School District Technology Plan, April 2007.

ET8050 Week 2 Assignment, Part 3: Blog Posting # 1 Technology Assessments

          It seems like everything is being assessed in education today.  Students are being assessed constantly on what they know.  Teachers are being assessed on how well the students are learning.  Administrators are assessed on how well their school performs.  Technology needs constantly must be assessed because technology is always changing.
          We test how much students know about the curriculum and how well teachers teach it, but it is time to start assessing how much they both know about technology.  An educators’ technology leadership knowledge and skills are a valuable tool that they can use to entice their students to strive for their best work.  What is the best way to assess this knowledge and those skills is something that school districts are going to have to start thinking about.   In my district, employees must take a technology proficiency self-assessment online.  This data is used in the school and district end of year technology survey, but I don’t believe it’s used for anything else.
          Assessing a students’ technology knowledge and skills should be done by the teacher at the beginning of the year/semester, so that the teacher can design lessons that will challenge students.  By knowing what the students can do already, the teacher can adjust lessons and activities to either incorporate the skills they already know or teach new skills that will help the students perform better in the 21st century classroom.