As I wrap up my first semester of the MET program, I am more certain than ever that I made the right decision in choosing this program through this university. This course in particular, Introduction to Educational Technology, was an excellent starting place that provided me with many challenges and opportunities for growth. I learned so much from the assignments in this course which really helped me understand the many benefits of earning a master’s degree in this field. The initial challenges I faced were learning how to manage my time effectively; it’s been a long time since I’ve been a student, and I’ve certainly never been a student while also holding down a full-time job and raising children. I also had to refamiliarize myself with conducting academic research and the technical details of writing research papers with proper citation formatting. I had to learn to dedicate blocks of time to certain responsibilities in my life – I focused on the kids when they were awake, then spent time doing coursework at night after they were in bed. I found that it was also immensely helpful to rely on my classmates through Google Plus and the course discussion forums for support and feedback. Making those connections really helped me in times of frustration and uncertainty, and I’m very glad that I put myself out there sometimes and asked questions or asked for help when I needed it.
Reflecting on the assignments for the semester, I am actually quite proud of all of the work I’ve done, but if I had to choose, the one I am most proud of is the Tech Trends assignment in which I created a Project-Based Learning lesson plan. The reason I chose this is because I actually was able to use it in my classroom right away and it was a major success. The assignment was a lot of work and took quite a bit of time to put together, but it was something I was able to actually apply and see the outcome of, which was exciting. Many of the assignments in this course have caused me to rethink the way I teach and the way trends in education are moving, and I was eager to apply a new approach. My students were excited and engaged in learning across curricular areas, and I even received compliments from other teachers and staff on the project. Seeing what I’d learned about in theory become reality was a really important achievement for me.
There are many things that I plan to do in my school as a result of this course, but one of the main things is a direct result of our last assignment, the school evaluation summary. In that assignment, I uncovered a significant discrepancy between the technological resources available to teachers and the way those resources are being used. I was really saddened by this, so I plan to find ways to encourage other teachers to start using what we have, even if they’re afraid. I want to foster an open-door policy for teachers to visit each others’ classrooms to learn from each other in authentic, realistic, and hopefully inspiring ways.