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Narrative for master of education portfolio

  1. 1. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 1 Narrative for Master of Education Portfolio: Curriculum and Instructional Technology Colleen Ites Iowa State University Curriculum and Instruction Distance Program Master of Education in Curriculum and Instructional Technology 2008-2011 Cohort Portfolio 2 April 2011
  2. 2. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 2INTRODUCTION: “I shall be telling this with a sigh - Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference” ~ Robert Frost While Frost and I likely interpret this poem differently, as I reflect on my time in theCohort I find myself returning again and again to this quote. American education is now at acrossroads with two choices for the future: teaching students the kind of mind-skills and corecompetencies necessary to thrive and survive in an uncertain future, or following the skill anddrill of basic information found when standardized assessments control instruction. In 2007several important events occurred in my life. I had returned to work after the birth of mydaughter, I read Thomas Friedmans The World is Flat, I had a practicum student from ISU whoworked in the CTLT, and I saw Karl Fischs and Scott McLeods "Shift Happens" on YouTube.All of these items together helped me decide to apply for the Master of Education CIT program. At the time I did not see how all these items were related, but I had begun to feelsuspicious of the push toward standardized assessments found in education and felt there had tobe more out there for my students. The birth of my daughter increased my desire to give mystudents (and her) the best academic and societal survival skills possible. The ideas found in TheWorld is Flat addressed those other skills I felt necessary for student success beyond the skillsthat allowed students to have high test scores. Friedmans ideas instead spoke of empowering
  3. 3. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 3students to become active and cooperative participants in their own education. This seemed tobe the beginning of that something more out there for my students. As a committee member on the State of Iowa Teacher Quality Enhancement Reading andWriting Team I helped host a teacher symposium at Upper Iowa University. During thissymposium UIU President Dr. Alan Walker presented "Shift Happens" on YouTube andexpressed his experiences with these flat world ideas at his multi-site university. Part of my jobduring this symposium was to catalog student reactions to research samples of the QuestionAnswer Relationship (QAR) reading method; while some students did not take the processseriously, others seemed to appreciate the ability to share feedback with the program and have avoice in the process. The part I found shocking was the number of students who wrote theiranswers using TXT or IM language; there was an assumption that this translation would beacceptable in a school setting. It was my first realization that these digital natives were trulybilingual and needed to be taught the appropriate ‘when and where’ their second language wouldbe acceptable. This discovery seemed to solidify my decision to find an M. Ed program thatwould allow me to cultivate these skills in myself and help my students do the same. That school year I began to research programs that would utilize these skills, but as a newparent and full-time teachers and coach, I didnt think I would find a program where I coulddedicate the time necessary to really fulfill my new-found passion for teaching. That spring Ihad a practicum student who told me about the Curriculum and Instructional Technologyprogram at ISU that taught teachers how best to implement technology and encourage studentproblem-solving and independence. When she told me that it was an on-line / on-campushybrid, I felt confident enough to inquire about applying. I had begun down the less-traveledroad and was uncertain where it would lead.
  4. 4. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 4 My own educational journey had many twists and turns, and my undergraduate years hadnot been academically successful. I was a top-level student in high school, but I was lacking insocial and emotional maturity. After learning that you couldnt just memorize and repeatinformation in college classes, I began to drift in the academic program at my university. Ientered college with aspirations to be a language arts teacher, but eventually I left that field for adegree in business writing. Eventually I graduated and spent six years working in finance beforereturning to earn my teaching endorsements. Because of my previous experiences in college, myentrance into the Masters program at ISU was nerve-wracking; I didnt know if I had theknowledge and drive to cut it in this type of program; I feared what lie down that less-traveledpath. The educators and staff at the CIT were welcoming but firm: you would need to leaveyour comfort zone in order to succeed in this program. For many in the Cohort, leaving yourcomfort zone involved working in a truly cooperative environment (where the whole was morethat its parts combined) and putting yourself out there on the Web in word, image, and sound. Asa Cohort we became very close and shared in both joys and sorrows together: one membersmarriage, the birth of babies for three members, the miscarriage of a baby and loss of a parent fortwo other members, and the creation of an adoption family for another member. Instructors wereactive participants on-line and in the classroom, giving advice and bouncing ideas off studentsand each other. Students build a trust-based environment together to create and implementexciting and cutting-edge ideas in classrooms and school districts across the country. As theCohort progressed I found that I was no longer afraid of not making the cut and instead lookedforward to working with my peers and re-learning how to learn. My journey down the less-
  5. 5. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 5traveled path was no longer frightening and instead encouraged me to push my thinking and trynew things in the classroom that I would never have imagined previously. As I enter into the final phase of the Cohort I view it with a sense of melancholy. Theenvironment we have created has fostered support and encouragement for all involved. I woulddaresay that we are unified in our desire and drive to change education for the better as a resultof our time at ISU. I will greatly miss this environment, as it has been both encouraging andnurturing over the last three years, but am now committed to creating this type of virtualenvironment for my future students and colleagues. The less-traveled path has given me thetools, the knowledge, and the desire to make my students education one that will give themsurvival skills for school and beyond. And that, truly, has made all the difference.PERFOMANCE INDICATORS / ADAPTED NETS STANDARDSSTANDARD 1: Technological ApplicationsBest classroom practices using technology: Teachers plan, design, and implement innovativeuses of technology that have implications for learning. This standard speaks to the evaluation process teachers need to address while developingtheir own curricula. To me the most important part of this standard is "innovative uses oftechnology that have implication for learning." In CI 511, Technology Diffusion, Leadershipand Change, we read a book by Larry Cuban titled Oversold and Underused that greatlyaffected me. In this piece Cuban addresses the way that society has assumed that by purchasingthe latest and greatest in technology equipment schools will be more tech savvy, and why thisisnt true. In explaining a case study of teacher Alison Piro, I was struck by her belief abouteffective technology use in the classroom, "... through the use of computers students candemonstrate their knowledge and show whether they reach the school standards teachers have
  6. 6. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 6set. Computers, however, are not appropriate for all projects" (2003, p.70). This deep analysis ofnot just what the technology can do but how it can best aid learning was a key element in myown attitude toward instructional technology. Up until that time I had simply thought of atechnology integrationist as someone who would show fellow teachers a variety of technologiesand how they could be used in their rooms, but the evaluation of those technologies had notstruck me until I read the Cuban book. In every course of the CIT M.Ed program students were required to create and implement newor emerging technologies into their own classroom practices. This hand-on process forcedstudents to leave their comfort zone and to see the implications of the planning andimplementation processes involved in utilizing a variety of technologies within the classroom.The final essential component of this process was a reflection on these implementations. Myreflective paper from CI 505 with Dr. Ann Thompson was published by ASCD Express. ASCDis formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and organization thatadvocates “best practices and policies for the success of each learner.” (“History andMembership,” 2011). ASCD Express is a bi-weekly newsletter distributed to ASCD memberswith updates and discussions on current topics in education. My article discusses a variety ofways to efficiently integrate technology into classroom instruction and assessments, skills thatwere taught by both ISU instructors and my peers within the Cohort. Drawing on the idea ofstudent and teacher as co-learners, I synthesized the collective knowledge of the Cohort into anorganized primer for other teachers to use when integrating technology in their own classrooms. Taking my own advice, I began to look at technology integration not as a teacher but as alearner. In my own classroom over the last three years students and I began to collaborate onbest ways to integrate technology into our instruction. Without using the term constructivism,
  7. 7. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 7students seem to understand that they deepen and internalize their knowledge if it is created bythem instead of given to them. Using this, along with their own multiple intelligence andlearning style surveys, students create a personal plan for integrating technology. For example,if a student is a visual learner and who has high visual / spatial intelligence, he may choose topresent his monthly book report using PowerPoint or Meanwhile, his femaleclassmate who has a high mathematical / logical intelligence and is a tactile learner may chooseto use the Scratch programming language to create a game of the plot from her free readingbook. Both are equally valid and the projects are scored using a topical rubric. The bonus is thatby using this process the students take ownership of their own learning, are vested in thatlearning, and play to their strengths, giving them a greater chance of success in (and a betterattitude toward) school (Cuban, 2003, pp. 69-70).STANDARD 2: Technology Planning and IntegrationCreating technology infused learning environments through appropriate technology uses:Plan and integrate technology effectively in learning environments and experiences. This standards greatest importance is in considering the best use of technology to createeffective learning environments. This speaks to the digital divide between digital natives anddigital immigrants, as proposed by Marc Prensky. Digital natives often have a greaterunderstanding of what technologies are out there, but digital immigrants often can step back andsee the best ways to use those technologies. Often the natives are students while the immigrantsare teachers: by working together they can develop effective learning environments (Van Horn,2007). These learning environments also speak to Bransfords learner-centered and community-centered environments, where students must feel motivated to work on developing their ownknowledge as well as a community of knowledge within their own group to show their ability to
  8. 8. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 8meet the standard of learning required. The teacher must then serve as a guide to this processand not as a knowledge expert instructing the process. For CI 515 Action Research in Education I developed a plan to implement Google Appsas a LMS (learning management service) with my eighth grade students to more efficientlyresearch and develop comparative MLA research papers. As an instructor I needed a learningplatform that was flexible in time and place. I also needed one that could adapt and changebased on individual student needs. Finally, as a teacher in a parochial school I needed anapplication that was very cost-effective (and if possible, free). After working with a group ofstaff and committee members in my building to research this, we purchased a separate domainname and created a Google Apps for Education account. I created a step-by-step unit ofplanning and instruction and implemented a study with a pilot class of eighth grade students.The results of this pilot study found that when given guidance for the entire process andparameters to fulfill, the use of Google Apps for Education can be an effective LMS for grade 8students. The multiple applications found in the Google Apps made the process invaluable as anLMS. Students used a webpage to create a form that everyone used to enter their thesis, whichallowed them to break into groups based on their thesis content. These groups then splintered offto create webpage summaries of research on content about their specific topics. They also gavethe internal documentation and citation for each resource. Students then created outlines fortheir papers utilizing these webpage summaries, making me a collaborator and their contentgroup peers viewers. We all gave feedback (mine directly on the document, peers on a wikipage) to the outline to make it as complete as possible. Each student then created a seconddocument as their working draft. I again was a collaborator and the student then choose any
  9. 9. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 9three students from the same content area to be viewers for feedback on the document. Thestudents utilized the summary web pages as support for his / her arguments and used the internaldocumentation and citations for the working draft as well. This working draft became thestudents final draft, with the submission being electronic only. My grading was done by a rubricwith comments, which I digitally attached to each paper. Comments were added by myself andothers outside and inside of school, utilizing the anytime, anywhere learning aspect of GoogleApps, and the problems found with compatibility issues were non-existent as long as a studenthad Internet access outside of school. Throughout the process students kept journals on their use of Google Apps and their ownresearch. There was a Calendar for all students as well as one for each content group; these wereposted on specific web pages for instant viewing during the process. Students also utilizedCalendars to schedule homework for other classes and extracurricular events. As a Google Appsfor Education account, all advertising was eliminated and the student addresses and documentswere locked away from the general Web, ensuring a safe digital environment for students.Students overall gained a greater sense of ownership of their work by using Web 2.0 skills andby working collaboratively with peers. Feedback between students and teacher was deeper,more specific, and much timelier in the Google Apps environment than in the typical classroomenvironment. Feedback among students regarding their work was more content-driven andfocused than in group edits done outside of the digital environment. While grading and parentcommunication was still kept using Edline (the school grading and communication software), theuse of Google Apps was far and away a success. After I reported out on the use of Google Apps to the school board the board voted tohave the technology committee implement Google Apps availability for all students in grades
  10. 10. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 103-8. This process will be implemented starting in the middle school with grades 7-8 and thenmoving down to include grade 6, grades 4-5, and eventually grade 3. The next study beingcompleted by the technology committee will test the viability of using Google Apps forcommunication among all staff to replace Microsoft Outlook and other aspects of the OfficeSuite. I plan on implementing a program similar to the study for use with the school staff toinstruct the teachers in best ways to utilize the Google LMS as motivation in student learning;this key element is necessary for all learners - digital immigrants, digital natives, on-line natives- to experience a successful digital educational environment (McNeely, 2005).STANDARD 3: Social, Ethical, Legal, and Human Issues in the Use of TechnologyTeachers understand the above issues and use that knowledge as a guidepost in their use oftechnology in schools: Teachers understand social, ethical, legal and human issues surroundingthe use of technology in schools, and use that understanding to guide their practice. In my mind this standard will be the most difficult for education to achieve over the longrun. The idea of equity or fairness is so broad and easily manipulated that educators must givedetailed attention to the diverse nature of the physical and digital environments found in schools.Student populations come from a variety of social, cultural, gender, ability, and socioeconomicstatus groups: when utilizing technology in schools all these items need to have equal weight inthe decision-making process. If a student is from a society where photographs are not to betaken, it would violate that students cultural norms if she were required to participate in a videochat or to create a video podcast as an assignment. If a school is struggling to cover basic needsfor its student population (such as food, general building conditions, or cold-weather clothing) afund drive to improve technology may not be the next best step. And finally, if a developing orthird-world country has spotty resources or limited funding to give students the basics of
  11. 11. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 11instruction, being paternalistic and deciding what is best for the population without taking intoaccount that populations cultural, human, and societal needs is creating a system designed tofail. On both the American and international fronts, the ideas of digital equity, the digital divide,and the impact of technology on globalization are constantly changing, yet still have an impacton American education today. I addressed several articles and Friedmans The World Is Flat in amidterm for Dr. Patricia Leighs course CI 577: Historical Perspectives on Technology Equity:Implications for Policy and Practice. In this paper I argued that America needs to bring aboutimmediate and necessary changes in order to meet the needs of a globalized society, but thatthese changes must be tempered by the humanistic needs and resources available to all. I alsobring up the question of digital equity as a basic human right in an ever flattening world. In developed countries the assumption that give them the technology and their scoreswill improve is another way that the human aspects of instruction are ignored. Technology mustbe viewed as a tool for instruction, not a magic 8-ball for learning. As with any tool, when usedproperly it can assist in completing a job in the best way possible. Conversely, a tool misusedcan do more damage than if it were not used at all. Students from impoverished areas (bothurban and rural) often are given technology to benefit or improve their learning, but often thetraining for teachers, the upgrades and updates for technology, or the time needed to bestimplement these technologies is not given. If a school is on the watch list for NCLB theirgreatest concern will be to improve test scores in order to continue to receive funding. The ideaof working to implement ELMOs or SMARTBoards into classroom instruction will take abackseat to the greater concern at hand. This stance is not wrong in and of itself, but the beforeimplementing new technologies these kinds of factors must be taken into account.
  12. 12. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 12 Student access to technology in their homes, community, and schools must also bedirectly addressed. Previous knowledge and experiences with technology must be addressed forall educational stakeholders: students, staff, parents, and the community, especially whendetermining appropriate technology usage guidelines. The expectation of Internet access outsidethe home for instruction and communication must coincide with the socioeconomic status of theschool population, an issue that often occurs when discussing the digital divide. Schools need tolearn how to adapt and change instruction and homework expectations regarding technologyusage to meet the needs of students inside and outside of school. This critical element must alsobe considered when determining technology funding for schools and districts. I felt strongly enough about this issue that I chose to create a podcast on it for CI 501:Foundations of Instructional Technology. In the course we addressed several issues of moralityregarding technology usage in the class, including Pojmans moral philosophy. These ideas ofethics, culture, gender, ability, and copyright spoke directly to my own concerns as to the truedefinition of the digital divide, and as I have worked through the Cohort I have taken particularcautions to be aware of and not infringe upon these issues in my own practice (Ites, 2008,“Pojmans moral philosophy: moral responsibilities in education”) . As a classroom instructor Ihave also actively worked to make my students aware of these issues as well. The final hurdle to overcome regarding these humanist issues is that of copyright. I haveworked with the Diocesan schools regarding how to define appropriate copyright requirementsfor technology infusion. Within my own classroom students are instructed in these copyrightissues and must incorporate them into their own created projects (Ites, 2009, “TechnologyExploratory Websites”). Students then take this incorporated knowledge and re-teach it whenworking with younger students in the building. By showing students the requirements for
  13. 13. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 13copyright regarding mixed media resources, there has also been an increase in student awarenessregarding copyright and plagiarism regarding the written word on the Web. As more and moreinformation becomes fused with other divergent information through the Web, this issue willneed to be continually addressed and adapted.STATNDARD 4: Research and AssessmentUsing research-proven technology infusions for effective research projects and assessments:Technology-infused classroom-based educational research projects that use effective assessmentand research strategies. The bling factor found when technology is infused into education is a double-edgedsword: it can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing of technologys bling factor is thatbecause it often appeals to multiple sense simultaneously, it can involve students lives outside ofthe classroom, and it can be a more efficient and enjoyable method of instruction, many peopledecide to support the use of technology in classrooms today. On the flip side, becausetechnologys latest and greatest often seem to hold potential for improving educationalinstruction, educator and administrators often overlook research-proven studies regarding the useof technology in specific classrooms. Often the marketing for new technologies show positiveresults from a limited and homogenous group of students used in a pilot study. While opinionpieces about the use of technology are prevalent, it becomes more difficult to find action researchstudies completed with specific groups utilizing specific technologies. This lack of attention tothe finer points of technology diffusion can cause school opinion leaders and change agents tobecome ostracized from their colleagues. If the new technology has high expectations that arenot grounded in hard fact research, these technology innovators may likely be blamed for the
  14. 14. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 14failure of the technology to meet the collective expectations of those in the schools (Rogers,1995, p.22-30). As I have completed my own mini-research projects during the course of the Cohort Ihave seen this change agent as bad-guy idea come into play. As with most successfulenterprises, the successes are quickly forgotten while the failures loom large for long periods oftime: to use an old adage, bad news travels twice as fast as good news. For the class CI 515Action Research in Education I learned the best ways to develop and implement an effectiveresearch project in schools. Using the Mertler’s text Action Research: Teachers as Researchersin the Classroom and Mills’s text Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher theprocess for effective action research was laid out for me. Mertler’s text gave excellent visualaids and graphic organizers showing the step-by-step processes necessary for effective actionresearch as well as real-world action research projects done in the classroom. This breaking-down of the process into smaller organized units allowed for me, as the developer, to payattention to detail, look for possible problems and create contingencies, and know how to designand what to do with all the data once it is collected (Mertler, 2009, pp.125-135). Mills’sextensive use of example projects for success and failure were critical to the ways in which Ichose to create and implement my action research project on using Google Apps as an LMS withgrade 8 students. In Chapter 4 Mills also showed the problems and pitfalls found when theresearcher allows bias into their data creation and collection (2007, pp.84 -97). Mills alsodedicated Chapter 7 to showing how action research can have a positive impact on educationalchange: how to use the results of classroom-created action research to transform and developbest practices in instruction. The subsection on challenges facing teacher researchers wereexcellent reminders that as a researcher I must remain conscious of the possible results of my
  15. 15. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 15action research project: a lack of funding or resources, resistance to change, admitting to difficulttruths, and interfering with others’ professional practices all have implications both professionaland personal for the action researcher. The author also gives eight conditions for creatingeffective educational change, sort of a cheat-sheet for best ways to implement the results ofaction research (Mills, 2007, pp. 151-158). While I utilized all aspects of the action researchprocess in both texts, these best ways to implement the results were perhaps the most helpful tome. My school had asked me to create and complete my specific project, and planned on usingthe results of the project for technology changes in the following school year. I had more ridingon this paper than just a grade: my professionalism with my colleagues and administration aswell as with students and parents needed to be impeccable. This guideline given by Millsadvised me on potential problems and – most importantly – gave me potential solutions. While the process was not without hiccups and setbacks, I would consider the overalloutcome a success. Because of the extensive planning I learned in the CI 515 class I had alsodeveloped contingency plans to deal with those hiccups and learn how to gather the datascientifically without emotion. I paid specific attention to the skills and ideas given in Chapters4 and 5 of Mills text and Chapter 6 of Mertler’s text. These chapters dealt with the specificconsiderations necessary in data collection and the most effective methods to analyze andinterpret data (Mills, 2007, pp.69-110; Mertler, 2009, pp.140-164). While trying to plan andinterpret data without involving emotion, I also tried to keep in mind the ideas presented inWagners The Global Achievement Gap. Chapter 5 in Wagners text centered on studentmotivation and the how to use that motivation in the creation of life-long learners. Since Iwanted to show my students easy ways to create effective collaborative groups, I took theexamples given in Wagners text (both good and bad) to heart in designing this project (Wagner,
  16. 16. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 162008, pp.167-206). As a result of the data created and gathered during this project, thetechnology committee has proposed to the school board implementation of Google Apps forEducation as a communication and collaboration tool for all students in grades 3-8 (Ites, 2010,“Action research in the cloud: …”). The success of this project also prompted a request for futurestudy regarding the effectiveness use of Google Apps for Education as a communication andscheduling tool for the school faculty and staff.STANDARD 5: Instructional Technology LeadershipTeachers serve as peer innovators with their local and national peers: Teachers provideeffective instructional technology leadership to peers within schools, districts, and nationally. I have not had much chance to serve as a leader or sounding board for technology issuesto teachers outside of my own Diocesan district, but within the Diocese of Des Moines schoolsand, specifically, St. Theresa School, I have had many opportunities to guide my colleagues inthe implementation of new technologies. I am currently in my ninth year at St. Theresa Schooland have served as the teacher coordinator for the technology committee for the last six years.During this time I have been asked to share information with teachers that looks to the socialdynamic of the classroom, the instructional style of the teacher, the learning style of selectedstudents, and the culture of the school. In the past I have been the liaison for use of JacksonEdline and GradeQuick instruction to teachers in grades pre k - 5. I have also assisted ourwebmaster in the design of teacher Edline web pages to coincide with the overall design of theschools website. The final step in this process was to work with those teachers who were moreadept at Edline at utilizing the Moodle WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) mode ofdevelopment to coordinate or improve the information posted on each teacher page.
  17. 17. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 17 For the course CI 511 Technology Diffusion, Leadership and Change I had theopportunity to incorporate the ideas given in the texts Oversold and Underused by Larry Cubanand Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers. Both texts stressed the important of well-planned systems for diffusion of new technologies in schools, and both also stressed that thedifferent stakeholders within the schools (digital immigrant teachers, digital native teachers,administration in both areas, students, and parents) need to be approached first at the level wherethey are most comfortable, then later challenged to implement the newly proposed innovation.While previous attempts at new technology innovations had taught me (albeit the hard way) thatthere was not one size fits all way of supporting a new innovation within a school, these textsshowed the best ways to innovate to each of the different adopters found in a school. As a result the professional development plan I created was designed to bring all facultyand staff members to a minimum standard of knowledge and use of a variety of technologies,including ELMOs, SMARTBoards, and LCD projects and laptop computers. I decided the bestmethod of implementation for these innovations was to have monthly face-to-face meetings andmonthly journal posts via Google Apps. There would be early innovators within in each gradeband chosen to be both instructor and resource for that specific innovation. The resident expertin each grade band would lessen any sense of fear or jealousy that would likely occur with lateadopters or laggards, and would also reduce fear in those who where technophobic. Also, theasynchronous reflective journals shared within each group would serve as an additional form ofcommunication: as a support for those adopters who were nervous about the process and as away to check on growth toward the adoption of the new innovations. The final element would befor at least one peer to view a lesson taught with classroom students utilizing at least one of theinnovations (Ites, 2010, “Professional development plan …”).
  18. 18. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 18 As I come to the end of the Cohort this specific course and the information I learned havebecome very valuable to my current work with not just students but also colleagues. Theconscious decision to treat these very divergent learning groups differently must be made inorder to aid the success of new innovations in schools today. In order to ensure a successfulimplementation of new technologies the trainer must also be flexible, supportive, and willing toprovide as much emotional support as knowledge support to teachers. All of these ideas are theresult of the information I have taken from the texts used in CI 511. This need to take intoaccount the emotional needs of all stakeholders within technology integration added newspeedbumps to the less-traveled road. These speed bumps forced me to slow down, be cautiouswith my decisions, and be careful where I tread; they are not large enough to stop my overalljourney. Final reflections ME PAGE "It doesnt matter where you live, its what you do with your life that counts." ~ "Red" McManus This was one of my grandfather’s favorite sayings and is one that I have tried toaccomplish every day. My time in the Cohort has been both a struggle and a challenge. I havelearned to truly structure my time and plan for contingencies. My personal experiences usingtechnologies have been enriching, forcing me outside of my own personal comfort zone andteaching me the best ways to push others to expand their own technology skills. My courseshave showed me the most effective ways to differentiate technology use for all stakeholders ineducation. I have developed close personal and professional relationships with my peers andprofessors in the Cohort, and now look forward to sharing my knowledge and understandingwith my own students and colleagues in the future. American education is currently at a
  19. 19. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 19crossroads and I feel ready to guide future students to become effective world citizens regardingcontent knowledge and collaborative learning skills. I also am ready to show them the best waysto utilize technology in both areas. As a teacher of technology and language arts, I live in both worlds regarding high-stakestesting and instructing students in collaborative problem-solving processes. As I wade throughthis process I have worked with students to develop more efficient and effective methods ofinstruction and assessment, including the use of combined spelling and vocabulary root wordbooks, creation of presentations for all-class novels, use of Google Docs to create on-line tests in grammar and collaborative research units, and small group creation of summativegrammar assessments. All of these have an impact on my own teaching and life-long learning,as well as on the lives of my students. I am still continuing my journey down that road less traveled, but now the path ahead isnot dark and foreboding, but instead full of rich and exciting future endeavors. There will bevines across the path designed to trip any passersby, but the trees will be there for support andguidance. Those supports, the skills I’ve developed throughout the Cohort, will continue toguide me to the end of that road less traveled, if there is an end to find. Perhaps it will be thejourney itself and not the final destination that will make ‘all the difference.”
  20. 20. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 20References:Cuban, L. (2003). Oversold and underused: computers in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Ites, C (2008, July 11). Pojmans moral philosophy: moral responsibilities in education. Colleens blog CI501. Located at philosophy-moral.html.Ites, C (2008, July 11). Technology integration: the next step. Hosted at Located at, C. (2009, March 19). Effective ways to integrate technology. ASCD Express. 4(12). Located at, C (2009, Sept 23). Technology exploratory websites. Classroom instruction materials hosted at Located at exploratory-websites.Ites, C (2010, July 11). Professional development plan for innovation of new technologies. Final for Dr. Niederhauser in CI 511 at ISU. Located at, C (2010, May 1). Action research in the cloud: using Google Apps as a learning management system in grade 8 classrooms. Located at, C (2011, March 4). Shifting sands: globalization and digital equity. Hosted at Located at globalization-and-digital-equity-ites-midterm.McNeely, B. (2005). Using technology as a learning tool, not just the cool new thing. In D. G.
  21. 21. NARRATIVE FOR MASTER OF EDUCATION PORTFOLIO 21 Oblinger & J. L. Olinger (Eds.), Educating the net generation. Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE. Located at arningTool/6060.Mertler, C.A. (2009). Action research: Teachers as researchers in the classroom (Second ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.Mills, G. E. (2007). Action research: a guide for the teacher researcher (Third ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.Prensky, Marc. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. MCB University Press, 9(5). Located at %20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf.Presnky, Marc. (2001) Digital natives, digital immigrants, Part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon. MCB University Press, 9(6). Located at %20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf.Rogers, E.M. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations. 4th Ed, New York: The Free Press.Van Horn, R. (2007). Web applications and Google. Phi Delta Kappan, 88(10), 727-792. Retrieved from Academic Search Elite database 18 March 2010.Wagner, T. (2008). The Global Achievement Gap. New York: Basic Books.