Final {CEP811} Thoughts

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Sadly, this is the final week of CEP811.  As the course comes to a close and I begin reflecting back on the past weeks, I can honestly say that this class has pushed me outside of my comfort zone more so than any other course I’ve ever taken, which seems like a lot at this point!  I learned things I had never been introduced to previously, created things I didn’t think I could, and added to my educational technology toolbox by taking a variety of new resources with me for implementation in my classroom.  The course has been a roller coaster based on emotional attachment to my MaKey MaKey, frustration when things weren’t working in a particular assignment, and accomplishment at the end of the day when I overcame obstacles and barriers to achieve my goals each week.  Wow, what a ride!

After deeply engaging with Maker Education throughout the past few weeks, it is definitely something that excites me.  The innovation to curriculum that the Maker Kits themselves bring into the classroom are extraordinary.  They push the boundaries of what traditional teaching practices, classroom setups, and student work looks like within the walls of the classroom, but they also push the creativity in the mind of the teacher, me!  I do see myself using the Maker Kits in my classroom.  I have already begun the planning process for their implementation next semester based on the lesson plan I created and modified in this course.  I’m anxious to see how the students respond. With the lesson plan I created around the MaKey MaKey, it encourages creativity, collaboration, and innovative thinking, something that I think my students lack in English Language Arts.  The MaKey MaKey kit could be the spark to that creativity that some students may need to push through their traditional thinking, much like this course did for me.

In order to gage the Maker Kit implementation’s effectiveness, I will need to evaluate the process asking myself and my students a variety of questions.  Questions of such that relate to creativity, problem based learning, peer collaboration, experiential learning, and the ultimate, enjoyment and enthusiasm of the students participating.  Obviously, the first time these kits are implemented, things won’t go perfect, but based on the learning atmosphere alone, I can grasp whether or not students are learning for understanding, broadening creative thought, and engaged in meaningful exploration.  Although I honestly feel as though the Maker Kits may be more easily integrated into a Science classroom, I’ve never been about taking the easy road.  It will take lots of effort to effectively bring them into my ELA classroom, but I believe the rewards will be far greater once it is all said and done.

As I reflect back on the last few weeks for me personally, without sounding too cliche, I can honestly say that I have grown as an Ed Tech integrator and as a person.  There were times when I felt like I excelled, where things came easy to me.  Then again, there were times where I struggled, frantically trying to make my work perfect.  During times of frustration when I was challenged and things weren’t working for me, I had to evaluate my work through the process, not just the end result, and step away calling it “good”.  Like the MAET Evaluation Philosophy states “Alternatively, you may already feel quite proficient with a wide range of technologies, but are taking this course to develop your tech skills even further. Rest assured, this is also the course for you. As adult learners, we are most interested in your growth — and you will be evaluated on the basis of how far you go, not on the basis of where you started,” I feel as though I brought something to this course, but took even more away from it.  I’m a better educator and Ed Tech integrator now, than when I started.  Isn’t that what learning and success are all about?

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Photo credit: CC By Paul Foreman, 2013 http://www.mindmapinspiration.com

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