Monday, February 20, 2012

EDLD 5306- Course Reflections

Before beginning this course I was worried about what type of job I could acquire with this particular Educational Technology Leadership degree. I was worried about having the time to commit to a 150 hour internship. To say the least, I was worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Then, after several personality assessments in the first week of the course, I realized that’s just what I do; I worry. And that’s fine with me. Worrying can be beneficial. It pushes me to persevere, to overcome, and to have a constant reminder that I am strong enough to get through anything! I envisioned that by the end of this course I would gain knowledge of ways to improve instruction by integrating technology. I imagined I would learn about state technology standards and appropriate assessment of those standards. In the end, I was knowledgeable in all of the previous and more. I gained knowledge in examining and supporting the campus technology infrastructure, modeling the use of Web 2.0 tools, and even made some friends along the way.

While discovering new technology tools and brushing up on some familiar ones, I have actively implemented these innovations into my current job to a great extent. I am no longer in a public school, but through my teachings with the Dell Powering the Possible Launch Pad program, the incorporation of these tools has been very beneficial to my students and colleagues. I have shared my knowledge with others and will continue to educate others on the importance of technology integration. The Web 2.0 tools, legal and ethical issues, learning strategies, and e-communication are all relevant topics that I use every day in the workplace. I read the RSS feeds for educational leadership and technology that we subscribed to in week three and added more that were more applicable to my current occupation. The copyright and security issues that were discussed in week four were presented at just the right time. A few days after I completed the week four assignment, there were some issues with copyright policy that arose at my workplace. My supervisor asked me to plan and conduct training on legal and ethical use of materials for my co-workers. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and helping others define the grey area that sometimes exists when people investigate copyright policies.

Even though I have been immersed in the conceptual framework of instructional technology, I still feel there is one vital outcome that I don’t believe I experienced to its full potential. I had a very hard time securing a site mentor. Looking back, I know that I worked diligently to procure a mentor who would benefit my learning and leadership experience. I thought that after I had found a mentor during week two, I would have plenty of time to get to know my mentor and really sit down and plan activities to improve my inadequacy of leadership experience. Life’s constant reminder that not everything goes as planned derailed my ideal mentor experience and left me at square one during the last week of class. As I frantically contacted every school I could think of and searched for a new mentor in an unfamiliar area with a fast-approaching deadline looming overhead, I worried that all my hard work was for naught. Finally, I read what seemed to be a sanity-saving email from a wonderful mentor. It was bumpy for a while, but it seems that everything has turned out better than I hoped. In the beginning, the workload seemed daunting. There was a lot to do in a short amount of time. I believe that the key to success in this class, and others, is to spend a lot of time on the assignments and never wait until the last minute. I knew coming into this program that I would spend more time with my computer than say, pots and pans, tempting new books on my kindle, or my beloved reality TV. I have always been a fan of online learning and completed many online courses as an undergraduate. I was not at all surprised by the assignments and I was prepared to work ahead and spend a lot of time at home behind my desk. I believe that I was successful in every assignment. Even though there were a few snags in my plan, I didn’t let them affect the quality of my assignments. I know that some classes will take even more study time, but I believe in the result.

This course taught me so much more than just standards and concepts. I learned to evaluate what I was doing in my career and what I hoped to accomplish in the near and distant future. I am conscious of how I can improve learning and training by integrating technology. I have faced challenges in my work and within myself. For the most part, I like to complete tasks on my own. I usually detest a group project where I have to depend on strangers to complete tasks that influence my performance. I can’t say that I am anywhere near over this just yet. It is on my list of interpersonal skills to improve through my internship experience! I enjoy working with people and I thrive when I am challenged to assist others, I just don’t enjoy putting my hard-earned grades in their hands. I have chosen many activities that will challenge me and provide more leadership roles and I look forward to pushing myself to add an entire page of impressive skills and accomplishments to my professional vita.

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