EDU 5352 Instructional Technology—Reflections
I knew that I would be learning about using technology in the classroom. As an
instructional leader in my school district, I have been on the front lines of the battles
that go on between the Curriculum and Technology departments. It’s a symbiotic
relationship, yet they often try to work independently of each other. I thought this
course would provide future directions for both areas. It would give me some useful
ideas about integration so that I can help move my district in the direction that will most
appeal to students and teachers alike.
Although this course was labor intensive, I benefited from completing the
readings, creating the blog, activating the hyperlinks, and uploading the assignments,
I also benefited from the lectures and the round table discussions. In completing the
work, I improved my own technology skills, and I set some goals for working with our
Technology Department. I feel that I have some research-based information to share
with them, and that they will respond positively. So yes, this course aligned with the
outcomes that I hoped that I would gain.
As a tech mate on my campus, these outcomes are relevant to the work that I do at
my campus. One of our campus plan goals is to integrate technology with instruction
and to increase campus communication with students, parents, and our community.
Learning about blogging, wikis, RSS feeds, Google docs, moodle and other discussion
boards provide tools for collaboration, communication, and integration. These tools are
familiar to our digital natives and can help them power up at school. I was truly a
novice learner with most of these tools. My digital immigrant persona was alive and well
as I worked through the assignments of this course.
The quick pace of the course prevented me from experiencing my new learning
at a deeper level. I wanted more than a survey approach. Of course, I can return to
the readings and technology tools after the conclusion of the course, and I will do that as I
complete my work as a tech mate. My tech mate responsibilities require that I teach
others what I have learned, and I want to become more skilled before I try. The course
was limited to creating a blog. It would have been great to have created both a wiki and
a discussion group too. I’m going to have to try these out on my own. Ideally,
technology tools should be integrated into every course offered. It should not be a
stand-alone course. Blogs, wikis, discussion boards and groups could be created in
each and every course of the Educational Leadership masters program.
Beginning this course during the Thanksgiving week holidays was a challenge.
We traveled to New York and stayed through the weekend. In addition, the number
of responses required on the Discussion Board were excessive. I can certainly understand
responding to each article and responding to a classmate’s work, but 24 responses were
too many. I feel that the quality of the responses waned, and the rush to get them
completed left little opportunity for complete absorption. The discussion board
requirements also took away from focusing on the assignments.
I learned that the world of technology waits for no one. The train has left the
station and you either get onboard or you get left behind. Regardless of the drawbacks,
we must recognize the benefits and figure out how to make it safe, secure, and applicable
to our classrooms and campuses. I am willing to jump in and I will stay with new
learning until I master it. I learned that I’m pretty good at it. I certainly am not afraid
to get to it and just push those buttons. Digital natives are driving the train, and I’m
getting on now.
Blogs can be huge in education. They are the connection to a global and digital
world. Traveling through blogs is open and unrestricted. We just have to think
creatively about all the different possibilities for using them. They can bring professional
development for teachers to the desktop, and they can open doors to students who may
not have access any other way. They can be a great communication and learning tool.
blog postings can be available to absent or distant students. They can connect students
to experiences unrestricted by travel. They are wonderful tools for communication
during a crisis, like the Swine flu. They can announce important events, Swine flu shots.
They can provide information about rezoning meetings, a popular topic among parents.
When districts or campuses are considering new initiatives, they can get feedback from
Steps should be taken to prepare and inform all bloggers about the risks and
hazards that come right along with blogging. Personal information should never be
provided. When students or teachers post online, they should be taught to protect their
personal information. They should be taught cyber ethics, and they should be warned
about cyberbullying. They should be provided with procedures to follow if they
encounter any of these situations.