CEP 811 and Maker Experiment #3 Reflection

In my final blog post for my CEP 811: Adapting Innovating Technologies for the classroom, I am reflecting back on the eight weeks I have been in class and how I have professionally and personally grown. It was a quick eight weeks, but have learned a lot and excited to pass along my newfound knowledge. In addition, my goal is to continue on in the Masters of Arts in Educational Technology Program at Michigan State.

Professional Assessment & Evaluation: 

The draw to MSU was the offering of the Educational Technology Certificate program and increasing my knowledge in the area of educational technology. There are educational technology programs offered through Universities here in Minnesota, but they didn’t have the appeal nor the classes offered at MSU. The format of programs offered weren’t flexible nor was there an option outside of a Masters, if I wanted to pursue educational technology as an interest, I would need to give up my weekends again. I was not willing to do that.

The Maker Education was introduced to me during my CEP 811 class. Prior to this class I had never heard of the maker kits and will have to admit, when I first read about them I was intrigued. Since I teach high school special education, I can see where Maker Education could fit into the current high school curriculum, but as far as fitting it into what I currently do, it would add more to my classroom this is needed. Would my students benefit, of course, but it would have to come from their science classroom.  Squishy Circuits could be used in our Applied Physics class. I think it would be a great addition as it could lend itself to the curriculum and enhance the learning process in the Applied Physics class, as it is hands on.  Squishy Circuits would also allow students to be creative in creating their circuits; this also would hopefully increase student knowledge.

Things I can bring back to my colleagues as we begin a new school year are numerous. The first thing would be to introduce the TPACK framework to colleagues and encourage the integration of pedagogy, content and technology knowledge (TPACK).   I feel it is important as my district embarks into the world of educational technology; there is much more the TPACK framework can add to the development of my district’s technology and existing ideas.  Assistive Technology is a passion of mine and what CEP 811 has given me is more tools to build on my existing AT tools.  My goal is to have students be comfortable with what they are working with so once the graduate they will be able to confidently operate assistive technology.  Another goal is to consistently use AT in my classroom. It is a challenge to adapt materials for student use in the classroom and too often AT is implemented incorrectly due to either lack of skills of the teacher or not enough time to do so. (Wilson, Brice, Carter, Fleming, Hay, Hicks, Picot & Weaver, 2011). The later is true for me and I want to change that with the start of the a new school year. I will be using the UDL wikki as a reference tool as well as to pass on to fellow teachers. There are websites I am already using so it was great to get some validation on what I am already doing in my classroom.

Personal Assessment & Evaluation: 

Personally I have grown a lot in my first two classes at MSU. There was so much that I learned and gained from my first two classes in the MAET program here at MSU. I had a technology background coming into the program, or so I thought. My first eight weeks in the program were spent getting over my shock of how much more I added to my knowledge based regarding educational technology. It was an exciting shock as there are more tools out there that I can use in special education as well as in general education. I was excited after that first class and the excitement continued to grow through the second eight weeks. I will have to admit, I struggled the second eight weeks as I struggled through my new learning. In the pas things, in regards to technology came easy to me and very rarely struggled. If I did struggle I could usually figure things out in a short amount of time. The second eight weeks, I found myself struggling more the usual and frustration really began to sink in, but with encouragement from my classmates, I began to make it through things.  It is a challenge to take an online course, couple that with it being summer time and there were challenges in their own right. I will have to admit in my previous graduate school experiences, the high standard of academics hasn’t been that high. Here at MSU, I feel I am getting an excellent academic experience, I had to overcome the challenge of the high standards quickly and I am grateful for that. I have always appreciated high standards in my life, it is what I expect of my students and would hope is expected of me. I appreciate what MSU has given to me in my first eight weeks of experience with my online classes and I look forward to what MSU will give me as I continue in my MAET program.

References:

TPACK (n.d.) Retrieved August 20, 2013 from http://www.tpack.org

Wilson, C. H., Brice, C., Carter, E. I., Fleming, J. C., Hay, D. D., Hicks, J. D., … & Weaver, J. (2011). Familiar Technology Promotes Academic Success for Students with Exceptional Learning Needs. Online Submission.

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