This reflection may prove to be a little vague as I am not currently in a teaching position. My experience in education involves small group reading instruction for 3 years and student teaching 6th grade a year ago. My “inclusion of educational technology in practice” doesn’t apply as much to me as it would to an active teacher.
Student teaching in a sixth grade class with full access to iPads was interesting. Many times it was a great blessing and others a great curse. The administration carefully calculated the number of copies made and was trying to trim the cost of paper, thus wanting us to use the iPad for as many activities as possible. While I felt confident in my teaching and using the iPad to further our learning experiences, I was not prepared with how adept and sneaky the students were in finding ways to be off-task. There were definitely challenges and behaviors I had to address simply because of our use of technology in our classroom. Thanks to a re-visit to the Acceptable Use Agreement, we were able to tame the issues we had in that regard.
I loved being able to control my SmartBoard through the iPad app, collect real-time data on knowledge and understanding through quick quiz apps, and just bring a little interactive learning on all fronts through the iPads. I loved that some of my students had the ability to listen to soft music, which helped them to write better. I loved that students could collaborate and work together to solve problems with other students in the school or around the world because they had such a powerful communication tool in their hands. I loved that we could research anything, on any topic, and learn through virtual field trips. I especially loved that I didn’t have to know everything. If I wasn’t sure of something, we could look it up together. I loved that my students knew and understood that even teachers don’t know everything.
In the future, I hope that I can take my knowledge of technology and pass the love and knowledge on to other teachers. I don’t know what my working-future looks like at this point. My family life is a too uncertain at this time to make definite career plans right now. If nothing else, I would love to volunteer more and teach teachers how much power and potential technology can have in their classrooms. Perhaps I will work with the PTA to raise funds for more devices, or maybe I will volunteer myself for simple presentations at professional development of faculty meetings. Regardless, I have knowledge and it is my duty to share it.
I have been told before that I can get a little “passionate” about the things I love when I am teaching. I have been teaching others how to digitally scrapbook for about 7 years now. I always teach voluntarily and I love my hobby and the skills I know that I have. I love teaching so combining the two elements makes me a little excited. My true excitement and passion comes when I see others embracing the things that I love and their feeling confident in themselves to do it on their own. I know that in the future I will be able to transform my passion for teaching digital scrapbooking into teaching about how to use technology in the classroom. It is a great and rewarding experience for me and I love sharing it with others.
If I am never able to work outside my home again, I know that my decision to even earn this M.E.T. degree is going to influence many of my friends and family members. I was the first in my family to ever go to college. I will be the first to receive a Master’s degree. I am raising four children, 3 of which are teenagers. I have proved time and again that whatever we put our minds to we can accomplish. I never would have imagined that I could write code for a website but I proved through EdTech 502 that I not only could do it, I could do it well. I didn’t just prove it to myself – I proved it to other 42-year-old moms that anyone could do it. I would link my newly created websites to my social media and other mothers would be amazed. I hope that even if I am never able to work outside my home, I hope that my courage and believing in myself will rub off on others and give them the hope that it is never too late for learning. It is never too late to embrace technology; it is never too late to realize the powers that lie within each and every one of us.