Lessons Learned

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When I decided to enroll in the MAET Program, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  Even if I had formulated expectations in the back of my mind, I know CEP810 drastically exceeded them.  Technology has always been my passion.  It’s something that I enjoy, something I consider my strength, and something that excites me.  CEP810 not only taught me how to better incorporate technology into my pedagogy, but also gave me that much more confidence in my profession.

The lesson over the importance of learning versus understanding was eye-opening from the beginning.  I reevaluated my integration of technology, constantly asking myself, “Are my students learning from the technology supplemented, or are they exploring deeper understanding of the content?”.  Not only did I ask myself this question with technology integration, but in every aspect of lesson planning.

Building a stronger Professional Learning Network has been such a blessing.  I felt as though I had a solid PLN prior to this course, but the exposure with Twitter and other MAET peers is AMAZING!  An endless supply of resources and help is at my fingertips wherever I go.  I finally feel like I have access to people who share a love for educational technology just as I do.  People that are receptive to new technologies, using them in the classroom, and promoting student achievement in doing so is such an awesome feeling and outstanding group to be apart of.

CEP810 has changed my life for the better.  I know it sounds very cliche, but it’s true!  Without the Getting Things Done tools, I would be much further behind in the classroom, and in life in general.  I am constantly adding things to my Springpad, a tool that I absolutely adore and have shared with my coworkers.  It has changed my whole mindset of doing things.  I now rely on the two minute rule; if it can be done in less that two minutes, I do it! It’s amazing at how much I used to put off and how that overwhelming feeling is becoming less and less.  I have re-purposed Springpad as well for it to serve as my lesson plan folder that incorporates all resources I’ve created and uploaded, or that I’ve found via the Internet.  Never before would I have known about Springpad, or have the ability to think of it in a different way as a classroom resource.

For a technology-minded individual, I didn’t realize how my mindset affects my ability to choose meaningful technology integration and serve as a supplement to my content.  My mind was opened even more so, and my eyes see more clearly the process when choosing different technologies to enhance student success.  I am more apt to try things that I normally would not have.  I have broadened my horizons and escaped my technology teaching comfort zone.  I am equipped to fail, but even more equipped to adapt and improve after failure.  This course has given me that mindset.

TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) might have been one of my very favorite projects, of all time.  I could not believe the similarities and relationship I found between TPACK and integrating technology in my classroom.  I have been looking for things to re-purpose and adapt ever since.  I’ve seen the angle that I need to be looking at, using tools for things other than what they’re meant for.  Intertwining pedagogy, content, and technology is now one principle in my classroom, rather than using each as a separate entity.

My practice has already been impacted by this course since I started in September.  I’ve implemented new resources and a new approach to tech integration.  My kiddos just recently wrote their very first blog post over a book they read.  I would not have considered this prior to this course, but have gained the backbone, knowledge, and resources available to incorporate meaningful integration.

My students are blogging for the first time thanks to CEP810!

My students are blogging for the first time thanks to CEP810!

I’ve been a forever fan of YouTube in the classroom.  Until this year, it was blocked by our server.  I now have evidence for it’s many uses and it’s ability to promote learning.  How?  I used it personally to teach myself to play the piano!  The Networked Learning Project definitely made an impact on me as a learner and the resources I choose to assist my teaching in the classroom.

Questions and/or struggles that still remain are that of the students finding, using, and implementing credible sources during a project.  It’s very difficult to have the Internet as a resource that is readily available and explaining to my students that not everything is true or valid.  Also, when they find those credible resources they need to give credit to the owner.  Creative Commons will definitely assist in this by providing resources that are licensed for use.  The Copyright and Fair Use lesson definitely explained this touchy subject in a more concrete way.  I also wonder if I will be able to create an epidemic of tech integration in my building among my peers.  I want them to catch the virus and be itching to incorporate technology in a meaningful way rather than being dismissive of something “new” or innovative.

As a person who enjoys learning, this course has re-ignited that ability and enhanced the meaning of lifelong learner for me on so many levels.  My hunger for learning is even stronger; looking at tweeted information and articles, constantly checking my RSS feed, and following new blogs are just a few items that fuel my appetite.  I’m constantly adding new popples to my Popplet created during the early weeks to visually show my PLN.  I know as I continue on this MSU journey, it’s only going to expand even more.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds and the transformation I go through as I embark on this adventure!  What an amazing start CEP810!

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