Nancy Seidensticker EDLD 5352 Instructional Leadership: The Technology Link Week 5 Assignment Course Reflections The learning outcomes I anticipated from participating in this course were to be able to get a stronger understanding of technology in general and how to integrate into the daily school lives of students at Page MS. I also anticipated learning how to align curriculum with technology, the technology standards, and how to use Web 2.0 applications for both my professional and personal life. Being a digital immigrant, I was a little apprehensive with the content of this course. It is not so much the technology itself, it is when the technology doesn’t work and then I get stuck or lose something in cyber space that lights my fuse. As I read over and reflect on my anticipated learning outcomes I think that I did a pretty decent job. I created and posted to a blog which I had never even considered doing, I wasn’t even sure I understood what a blog was. I feel pretty confident that I could not only create a blog on my own for students and colleagues to use, but I would actually enjoy academic communication via this route. I feel like I have learned a lot about technology integration in the classroom, now I need to translate my learning to the teachers in my school. I am about to move into a district wide position and plan to create a blog for both my AVID and GT teachers respectively and try to get this more technology into these programs. The best part about my moving into a district position is that I can take my new learning and reach teachers all over the district. At first I wanted to make a difference in technology at my campus because that is where my influence was, now I can reach elementary, middle, and high school teachers. I can also work with Campus Instructional Coordinators at all levels to engage in blogging and maybe even test the waters of a web conference. As I am able to reach out to Campus Instructional Coordinators and engage them in technology then they can go back to their campus and share their learning, or just give it a try with their leadership group and then slowly spread it out to the teachers. I don’t think a long explanation of why we need to integrate technology into the classroom, I think by merely engaging people in technology will help sell it into the classroom. There are a couple of outcomes that I did not achieve during this course. I had really hoped to get into podcasts. I have heard a lot about them, seen them being used at another campus, and would like to engage our students in creating their own podcasts about content. These student centered activities have endless application in the classroom from an assessment piece, peer teaching, and/or review. Just imagine what is would do for those kids who hate to write. When a student can articulate what is going on in his/her head learning is cemented. Then they can transfer what they know to paper if need be. I can already hear “TAKS teachers” commenting on the fact that this does not match how students are tested. My argument would be that if we allow our student to engage verbally with their thinking and understanding then learning is happening and can be applied to paper later. I also was unable to attend any of the web conferences with the course. With my hectic schedule and being out of town for seven days, I was just not available. I would have liked to participate and get a feel for it, but I will have other opportunities to log on to a web conference and I can sign up for professional learning opportunities in my district on how to create a web conference. The course assignments were not difficult to carry out, they were just extensive. The only time I had a problem trying to submit any of my assignments was the last word document into my blog. I got the assignment to finally post, but I am still not sure how it happened. I will probably have the same challenge with this assignment. Maybe I will look up a tutorial on YouTube! I must admit that I have used YouTube as a tutorial on several occasions and have found it to be very easy, user friendly, and incredibly helpful. The directions on how to use slideshare were perfect for my Power Point, but it did not seem to work the same for word documents. I also had a bear of a time with my discussion group. I posted all of my discussion quotes from the readings the week of Thanksgiving, which was certainly my choice. My group members felt it was acceptable to post on a Sunday night between eight and ten-thirty at night. This was incredibly frustrating to me and it really made me angry. This is a part of the course I would recommend changing because it is not fair for a student to be dependent on another student to post for a good grade. The reading was a lot, but it was worthwhile, the having to post to other students’ quotes was painful. It was also never explicitly stated to post your blogs so other students can respond. I got my blogs from a friend and Facebook! I have learned that I am not patient and get very frazzled when technology does not work as easily as it should or as easily as some people make it seem! I have also learned that technology is not as scary as it seems when you first get started. I am sure I looked like a crazy person reading a set of directions over and over again before pushing any buttons. Then I would read the direction step-by-step and pride myself as each process worked. It was very gratifying the first time I posted to my blog. I am also a little impressed with my knowledge and vocabulary around technology. I feel more confident in asking the right questions and using the correct terminology about technology. I can actually keep up with a conversation between my sister and bother-in-law who are both quite the techies! They keep kidding me about my immigration into the new world! I can certainly say that I look forward to continuing my journey and learning more and more about technology integration into the classroom and my personal life. Blogging is a great way to get information to a lot of people readily. One of the values that I see with integrating blogs into the classroom is for students who are absent. You can post your daily assignments and agenda to the blog and both students and parents can check to see what was missed and expected for the next day of class. The fact that you can post a Power Point to the blog is wonderful. Students can use this as a review for a test or go back and look at their notes to make sure that they got all of the information down. For a child with special needs it is like having the lesson repeated over and over again, and the parents of this child can see what is being learned and help by reinforcing the concepts into the daily life of the student at home. Blogs can also be used as assignments for students. Instead of a paper/pencil exam, students could post responses to a blog. It is a great parent portal for questions. I love for parents to be involved with students learning and if technology is the key, then let’s get it going. The concerns about blogging in the context of education are few that I can see. I have a lot of concern about blogging outside the realm of education, but if the technology is being used and checked regularly, I don’t see how very many mishaps can take place. I guess the one way that blogging could be a problem is if a student is posting negative and/or inappropriate content under a pseudo name then that might be a problem. But you know I watch CSI and those types of things are traceable! (Haha). The other danger that comes to mind is predators. If a predator is trying to target a certain group of students then having a school blog might make students susceptible to being cyber bullied while simply trying to engage in school business. This could be monitored fairly easily with the teacher constantly checking the blog and by educating the students about cyber bullying and when to report suspicious activity on the web. It all goes back to teaching safety with the Internet. There are so many school stakeholders that need a multiple of different information at different times which would make blogging the information easier to get out to whom needs it. The school could set up 3 different blogs to accommodate the needs of different stakeholders. There could be a parent blog that contains general calendar information, policies, and a place for them to ask questions. Another blog could be about special events only, and maybe a blog about community resources available to them. This would be a very discrete way for parents who need assistance, but who don’t want to talk about it with school personnel, to obtain services. A school blog would also be useful to district personnel to keep us with what is happening at each campus if a protocol was put into place for what is expected on each campuses blog. Vice Versa, the district personnel could put out a blog to keep campuses abreast of what is going on. Blogs are great because you can put information out for people who are interested and it has a place for questions or responses. I think it is a great way for stakeholders to keep in touch easily.