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  • 1. I. Your Name and Degree Program Sarah D. Tolson M.Ed. in Educational Technology Degree Program University of South Carolina Course Portfolio EDET 755 – Design and Evaluation of Information Access and Delivery Summer I 2014 II. Research and Practice in Distance Education Goal 1. To be knowledgeable about research in aspects of distance education and the use of telecommunications in educational and other settings. EDET 755 has helped me become more knowledgeable about the current research in distance education through many of our activities and assignments, from the readings we have discussed, our narrated presentations, our CourseSite online course that we developed, our research synthesis, and research synthesis narrated presentation. All of these assignments have encouraged us to access our background knowledge, research distance education, challenge each other to topics, and apply our knowledge to these assignments. These assignments have helped me grow as a teacher because I can apply aspects of what I’ve learned about distance learning to my classroom, such as working toward flipping my classroom. Another assignment we completed was a South Carolina EdTech 2014 Conference Presentation Proposal, which allowed us to take our experiences from our Educational Technology courses and, in my case, classroom teaching experience, and design a course to share with other educators to help them implement more technology into their own classes. Designing a presentation proposal helped build my confidence to work with peer teachers with technology-integration. Goal 2. To critically evaluate examples of distance education implementation in educational and business settings. The greatest opportunity we had to evaluate distance education implementation in the educational setting was when we did our group course evaluations. By evaluating educational courses on the web, using a rubric, we were able to explore examples of good aspects of design, as well as discover weaknesses in design, to design, develop, and implement our very own distance education course: STEM 123: Full STEM Ahead CourseSite. By reflecting on my experiences, previous Educational Technology courses, and putting the knowledge I learned from research into practice, my group and I were able to develop a fairly effective course and implement and integrate research-based design elements and strategies. This was also beneficial because I can implement many of these same aspects into my classroom, whether in the
  • 2. traditional brick-and-mortar setting, or adding these aspects through the use of technology. I was able to visit my next classroom in Florida over the weekend, where I was surprised to see that there was a lack of technology in the school and classroom. Since then, I have already began researching ways to get more technology into my classroom. Prior to finishing this reflection, I completed a request on DonorsChoose to begin establishing a class set of Chromebooks. As I achieve this goal, I can implement more and more aspects of what I have learned in this course and my experiences from the Educational Technology program. Goal 3. To construct effective delivery of courses, topics, or training by using existing CMS tools. As I stated previously, this course has helped me establish some familiarity with CMS tools, such as our CourseSite course STEM 123: Full STEM Ahead. This assignment was important because we continued researching CMS tools and different tools for distant learning course development and then implementing what we learned directly into our Full STEM Ahead course. This assignment also helped me gain confidence in my web-based design skills. It was important to me to learn this, because I can apply these same aspects into my classroom, especially if I flip my classroom and my students would be actively engaged in online education. III. Summary I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in EDET 755. Dr. Smyth has challenged each of us to reflect on our experiences, research educational trends and strategies, and apply everything we have learned to relevant projects and assignments. In these projects and assignments, we have been able to collaborate with other students, who challenge us to look deeper at ourselves, our experiences, and our beliefs. By collaborating with others, we have been actively engaged in our learning. We are able to encourage each other to learn about different aspects of Educational Technology, even if we apply what we have learned to different situations or grade levels. I have enjoyed learning about designing online educational courses, as well as continuing to research additionally on my own. I can take everything I have learned in this course, and, more importantly, my entire M.Ed. in Educational Technology experience so far, and apply it to my classroom. As I stated previously, with my moving to Florida and beginning in a new school, there is not much technology available in the school. My Educational Technology experience has helped me gain enough confidence to implement more technology into the school-- from creating requests and writing grants for technology for my own classroom, to aspects of technology that could be used school wide, starting some type of technology
  • 3. club for students, and/or providing professional development for teachers. Although I can still be considered a relatively new teacher, with only three years of experience under my belt, and have not completed my M.Ed. in Educational Technology (although I am halfway!), I have enough experience with integrating technology, and confidence (although I’m still learning!) to jump right in and take a technology lead at my new school. I believe this will be an integral part of my job—especially since we have seen the research that explains the benefits of technology-rich education for digital natives. As David Warlick stated, “We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” At the same time, however, it is important to remember that “technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important” (Bill Gates). As educators, it is our responsibility to do our very best to meet all the needs of our students, and technology is a fantastic tool that we can utilize to help us achieve this overarching goal.