It’s interesting how quickly this semester flew by for me. When we began in August, I was heavy in the process of moving my family to a new state. The challenge of not having internet for 3 weeks while enrolled in online courses was very taxing. Aside from the packing/unpacking and mess of living in a disorganized environment, I somehow managed to keep my head above water. My professors were both understanding and accommodating to my unique situation. I spent many many MANY hours sitting in the parking lot of the city library so I could use the free wi-fi to get assignments done and turned in.
Despite the scattered feeling I felt when the semester began, I am very proud of what I have accomplished. I took “Introduction to Graduate Studies” at Weber State University in Utah a few years ago. I was worried that this class would be a duplicate of that class and therefore a waste of my time. I am extremely grateful to have been able to go through both courses though because I feel that WSU got my “feet wet” and gave me the confidence I would need to start this program here at Boise State. At WSU, we spent an entire semester just on APA style of writing and I am so thankful for that experience. I feel I am a better writer and have the ability to do better research because of what I learned through that class.
EdTech 501 was a great class. I learned a lot and the assignments were fun and challenging. I loved that there was so much opportunity to make the assignments applicable to me and in my goals as an educator. The assignments became very personal and individualized and I know that I will use them in the future.
As part of my reflection process, I have been asked to answer four main questions.
What challenges did I face in this course? Not having internet for the first 3 weeks was definitely the most challenging thing I faced this semester. I like to be very organized and have my head 100% “in the game” and it was very difficult to be moving to a new state, registering my children for 3 new schools and adjusting to life in a new place. Keeping all the normal family drama at bay and staying on top of my coursework was difficult in the beginning. Another big challenge I faced was not being employed. Having to create artifacts for a career I am not presently in was a bit difficult. Thankfully I have worked in an elementary school in the recent past and had some experiences to rely on as I created my projects. Knowing I won’t be able to work until Fall of 2016 (due to some health issues with my son) will definitely be a reoccurring challenge I face as I continue through this program.
What strategies or other creative resources did you use to address these challenges? To address the challenge of moving I simply had to hunker down and work through the night sometimes to get assignments done. I spent the first few weeks unpacking and getting kids settled into schools so my days were very full. I found quiet peace as I sat in my car at the library parking lot doing homework. It was a very creative solution to no internet access and I wasn’t arrested for stalking. Win – win! The other thing I did to help myself was to stay in constant contact with my professors. As a teacher, I know that when a student brings an issue forward and needs accommodations, we are more than willing to help our students succeed as long as it isn’t left to the last minute. Both of my teachers this semester were equally as accommodating. I had to get very creative with my last assignment for 501 because I am not in a school setting right now and this is a brand new town and state that I am living in. It was difficult to even comprehend how to make this last assignment work until I was given the option to create an alternative project. This was of great help to me and I believe it turned out to be a wonderful project.
Which artifact do you feel was your best and why? I am actually quite proud of all of my assignments. I believe the last one, the alternative assignment, might have been my best work. I had so many pieces and parts to make it work and I am very fired up about pushing it out to the members of my community to use and try. I created it with the mind-set of a parent and I feel I accomplished the goal of making one central location for online educational games for my kids. I am very proud to have that website now set as the homepage for my young children’s web browsers.
What is one thing you plan to do in your school or business as a result of this course? I have a mentally ill child who is a junior in high school. Because of past experiences, I am unable to leave him home alone at this point in time. I am actually quite relieved I can finish the entire M.E.T. program without having to work and get through it quicker but it does pose as a challenge for using real-world experiences to guide my studies. I may not ever do much with this degree, it will truly depend on my child and how involved as a parent I have to continue to be in his life as he gets older. I do believe that I have created some great artifacts that my friends and previous colleagues can use and share. I plan to forward all my hard work on to them so they can take advantage of it. I will also file it all away for the future in case I ever end up teaching online. Realistically though, just having this course available online has taught me a lot about how to interact with students and make online learning helpful and less frustrating. I love that communicating with peers and teachers is so simple.
Overall I believe this semester has been a success and I am relieved to have built the confidence I need to move forward with the classes I will be in next. Online learning is definitely a good option for me to learn and I have so enjoyed the process.