Saturday, June 25, 2011

EDLD 5306 Course Reflections

When EDLD 5306 Concepts of Educational Technology began, I was wrapping things up for the year in my own classroom. Honestly, I can’t be certain what I was envisioning about my own education because I was still completely immersed in the education of my students. However, I did have a vision of what outcomes I thought would result from the Technology Leadership masters program. I felt this coursework would help me understand technology well enough to assist others in the implementation of 21st century skills in their classrooms. Without a doubt, I have started down the right path to accomplish this personal goal. In these fast-paced five weeks, this course has definitely taught me so much more about technology than I knew before, but I’ve learned a great deal more than just technology skills. I’ve come to understand there’s considerably more to being a technology leader than just understanding those skills.

For years, I have considered getting my masters, but until I discovered Lamar University’s Masters of Education in Educational Technology Leadership, nothing seemed like the right choice for me. I didn’t just want something to help me further my career in education. I also wanted coursework that would benefit my students as I worked toward completing that degree. This program has already helped me achieve a small part of these goals. The articles and books I have read, the videos I’ve watched, and the discussions I’ve had with members of my cohort have given me ideas to use in my classroom in the fall. These are ideas I believe will help to engage students on my campus as a result of bringing 21st century skills into the lessons. It has also been helpful to learn that my district is in a relatively good place when it comes to the technology we have available for our use. We still have room for improvement, but we’re better off than many other school districts.

Fortunately for me, I was raised by parents who taught me to see the glass as half full (to use an old adage). Although I wanted to know everything immediately upon completion of this course, I realized EDLD 5306 gave me a great start in the right direction for becoming an educational technology leader. As a result of this coursework, I have learned about so many different resources that are used by those in this field. Quite often, I have told my own students that a really smart person doesn’t necessarily know everything, but a really smart person knows where to find the resources to get answers that can be used to solve problems. So, I don’t know everything (yet), but I now have resources at my disposal to help become a technology leader.

As I worked through EDLD 5306, there were days when I thought I must certainly be the most incompetent person in the cohort and possibly in the world! The first week I thought I might have made a mistake as I sat up late on Saturday and Sunday nights trying to finish the assignments because I had been so busy all week trying to wrap up the school year with my own students. I may never have been as grateful as when someone asked during the first web conference if anyone else was overwhelmed. Oh my, how the typed responses did fly. It seemed as though everyone in attendance felt the same way. It was almost strange how knowing others were just as frustrated as me somehow made things better. That almost seemed a bit twisted, but this common burden will all shared started the camaraderie that helped me get through the course successfully as I completed first one assignment and then another.

This course taught me about technology tools I had either never heard about or never used before, such as Web 2.0 tools, LAN, WAN, wikis, blogs, embedding videos, Animoto, and more. Learning about those things was exciting, especially since I have sons who are digital natives. It was fun being able to tell them about the tasks I was completing as the course progressed. I also learned more about myself. I realized I still have a lot to understand before I can be a successful technology leader. That understanding will come as I work through the remainder of the program. I enjoyed the opportunity to help others which made me believe I have the right mentality to be a good leader. Maybe most importantly, I realized that my attitude is healthy. I was desirous to keep moving forward even when challenges seemed insurmountable.

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