Week 5 Reflection Assignment


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Week 5 Reflection Assignment

  1. 1. Running head: WEEK 5 REFLECTION ASSIGNMENT 1 Week 5 Reflection Assignment Jennifer Nall Lamar University
  2. 2. Week 5 Reflection Assignment Envisioned and Realized Outcomes for Course When I first began this course I was excited and anticipated enjoying the learning. The name of the course, Instructional Leadership, led me to believe that I would be learning about best instructional practices and the role and responsibility the principal has as the campus instructional leader. I did not understand upfront that this course was solely focusing on technology. Once I understood the implications of the course I was looking forward to learning about new technologies and how to use them in the classroom and leadership. Through the numerous readings each week my knowledge of new technologies grew. The readings provided me with information to brainstorm on the new ways I can use technology in my job as an instructional coach. While initially I was not thrilled about having to create a blog for this course, I appreciated the experience. I am anxious for my school district to adopt blogs and other communication technologies to enhance learning. Relevance of Outcomes Most of the learning that occurred for me during this course is extremely relevant to my current position. Because I am one of two elementary instructional coaches for ten campuses in my district, technology plays a huge role in my job. I am constantly using simple technologies to communicate with teachers and principals on a daily basis. Learning how to blog and the versatile uses of the blog has made me want to start a blog or a moodle to enhance teacher learning and collaboration of best practices within the district. Not only would this technology help classroom teachers, but it would aid the other instructional coach and me in an on-going needs assessment.
  3. 3. Learning about open sources was new learning for me. Having no prior knowledge of open sources, I found this technology quite intriguing. I immediately used Google Docs to send large documents to a teacher I have been working closely with all semester. The following day when I went to check on her, she had accessed the documents and printed them, making herself a resource notebook. Outcomes Not Achieved I truly believe the biggest outcome that was not achieved in this course was true online collaboration. While the “Last Byte” protocol is excellent in theory, having to read and respond to the excessive number of articles each week became a chore. I did learn throughout the course and have already used much of my new learning. However, I believe the quantity outweighed the quality which truly inhibited higher levels of learning. Time was a huge issue during the duration of this course. I spent more time worrying about the number of postings that I had to complete and where and how I posted assignments on the blog, not on the blog, etc. that there were many times I was not focused on the learning, rather on “let’s just get it done!”. I think some of the learning was also limited in this course with outdated articles. Many of the articles we read were four to five years old. In technology, this is ancient. While many of the technologies are still applicable, I feel that there are many other technologies that could have been presented, along with actual strategies we could have learned to return to the classroom and immediately implement, even with many of our limited technology resources at our campuses. Course Assignment Completion Completing course assignments was challenging. The first two weeks of this course were extremely overwhelming and frustrating. The work for this course was not intellectually challenging, rather overly time consuming and disorganized. Probably the most frustrating aspect
  4. 4. of this course was the discussion board. During the first week of the course three completely different explanations were provided for completing the discussion board requirements. While I was able to complete all assignments on time and successfully, I do not feel that the requirements of the assignments and discussion boards were realistic for working students. One requirement of this program is to be employed full-time with a school district. Balancing a full-time job during the final weeks of the fall semester, a family, and the course work was overwhelming to say the least. This course should not have required 20 hours of work per week to complete assignments and discussion board requirements. Again, the work became about quantity not quality. New Learning I learned a tremendous amount regarding different technologies that I can use to enhance my leadership skills. Using blogs, online trainings through Blackboard, and other technologies to enhance communication among all stakeholders in the school community will only improve my ability to become an effective leader. There were many times throughout this course that I had to check my attitude. On several occasions I had to leave my attitude and opinions behind and just get to work on the task at hand. I also learned that I currently strive to use technology to the best of my ability to enhance my job, my teaching, and my communication. As I reflect I think about the technologies I use daily that make my job easier. Many of them I have learned how to use on my own and several I have learned since taking this course. One of my favorite tools I learned about through the readings was the use of Google Docs and Google Presentations. As stated earlier, the Google Docs has already been extremely useful in communicating different resources across campuses.
  5. 5. Value of Educational Blogging / Concerns of Blogging in Education Blogging allows learning to continue 24/7 outside the realm of the traditional classroom. The most concerning aspect of blogging in public schools is access. Blogs from Google or Word Press are blocked through most of school servers. While I understand why these sites are blocked, districts must find an alternative. Canyon ISD is researching using Synergy which is similar to Google for blogging, documents, and presentations, but can be controlled through the server and with the help of the Chief Technology Officer. If this technology is brought into the district I am excited to see what kind of learning our youngest students can do with blogging. As a primary teacher I am curious as to whether younger students could use blogs in place of reading response journals. Not only could the teacher easily read and respond to the reading response journals more easily, other students could easily access each other’s blogs and learn from each other. Blogging also allows learning for educators to continue 24/7. Many teachers are members of active discussion boards or blogs in order to provide themselves with on-going professional development. As a school leader, a principal can effectively and efficiently communicate announcements or new learning to staff members through blogs as well. Outside the school building, educators are using blogging consistently. It is proving more difficult inside the building for the same reasons students do not have access to blogs. Blogging with Stakeholders Teachers could effectively use blogs to communicate with parents in an open forum method. Pictures of classroom events and happenings could be posted. Student work could be scanned and posted on the blog to share with parents, grandparents, and other community members.
  6. 6. Principals could use blogs to communicate with all parents, community stakeholders, and other interested parties. A blog would also be a good tool for the PTA. Title I schools have many parent involvement requirements and blogging could assist in continuous communication to meet some of these requirements.