EPortfolios · Technology in Education · Digital Leading and Learning · Education · Professional Learning · Innovation Plan

A Hero’s Journey

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Welcome to my hero’s journey! I first learned about what a hero’s journey was in some literature class in college. As an English teacher, I have studied a variety of hero’s journeys and have even taught the idea to many students. I have encouraged students to write their own fictional hero’s journeys, and I have also asked students to find the true hero within themselves and to write about a journey through which they were the hero. It is through this idea that I have found myself to be the hero of my DLL journey. I had a “call to action”– my need and desire to learn something new and important due to my boredom and frustration. I had MANY obstacles in my way– my newborn baby, the WHIRLWIND of life and teaching, and the opposition and resistance to change. Finally, at some undetectable point, I met the climax, where everything seemed to fall into place, and I could see the accomplishments I had achieved. I had researched, learned, read, created, planned, and succeeded in the beginning of an amazing revolution. The pieces of the puzzle started to land right where they needed to, and at the end of this program I can confidently say that I am a leader in my school community. I have been given the resources, skills, and confidence necessary to start a revolution in my school, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. 

In addition to reflecting on my journey in generics, I also wanted to take a moment to see if I REALLY had, in fact, accomplished all of the learning goals of each and every course. I went through each and every goal and found an artifact that I think best represents my accomplishment of effectively achieving that goal. Below is a chart which either visually, verbally, or through a link, depicts my learning of each and every goal in the course. This was a difficult task because with each course I feel I learned in a variety of ways, and choosing just one artifact for each course was a challenge.

 

EDLD 5302
Learners will take ownership and agency over the learning process and incorporate learner choice and voice in designing authentic projects that use technology innovations as a catalyst for change in their organizational setting.

 

 

In this first course, we were asked to practice using some digital tools in way that would be useful in our classroom. In this artifact, I created a lesson  plan in which my students use Twitter as their assessment instead of a typical essay.

 

 

EDLD 5303
The learner will prepare and submit an eportfolio that demonstrates their mastery of the learning outcomes for previously completed professional development work (Apple Distinguished Education, Microsoft Certified Educator, Google Certified Educator, EDLD 5302, etc.).

 

 

In this course, we created and designed our ePortfolios, a task I didn’t realize was going to have such a profound effect on my learning process.

 

 

 

EDLD 5304
Learners will be equipped with tools to be a self-differentiated leader who can address the inevitable resistance to change that will occur when launching innovative digital learning initiatives.

In this course, we created a 4DX Strategy Plan which we used to help develop our innovation plan of implementing ePortfolio use in the high school.
 

EDLD 5305
Learners will identify technology innovations and embrace them as opportunities rather than challenges and proactively use those changes as catalysts to enhance their institution or district’s learning environments.

In this course, we began brainstorming the timeline of our innovation plan. The timeline has changed drastically over the course of the program, but we have a set start date now (August 2017) which will set in place the motion for the rest of the plan to commence.

 

 
EDLD 5313
Learners will identify and incorporate constructivist theories to create and implement significant digital learning environments.
 
In this course, we learned how to use the philosophy Understanding by Design to help map out much of our ePortfolio course. At this point, we have changed our plan to eliminate the ePortfolio course, but the planning and research completed for this might come in handy in the future of our ePortfolio implementation is successful!
 

EDLD 5314
Students will analyze and assess global educational technology innovation projects to determine what worked and what could be done better and apply those lessons learned to local innovation projects.

 

In this course, we did a ton of research to assess what global trends exist in technology use. We created a Prezi which will be used to present the information to our colleagues during the early stages of our innovation plan implementation.

 

 

EDLD 5315
Learners will be able to assess the instructional impact the implementation of their innovation plans have on creating effective digital learning environments.

 

Here, we completed an action research project, which was most helpful in finding out the true needs of our district and students.

 

 

EDLD 5316
Learners who work in the area of educational policy and practice will be able to navigate the emerging educational and legal challenges of a knowledge society where most K-12 students are deeply immersed in online communication, having grown up as “digital natives.”

 

 

 

One of the most important, yet often overlooked, areas in the realm of technology use in the classroom is copyright law. In this course we researched the elements of digital citizenship and ethical copyright use.

 

 

 

EDLD 5317
Learners will examine a variety of digital environments and other digital resources to effectively communicate with others the practical implementation and the pedagogical value for educational use.

 

In this course, we examined the importance of a variety of digital resources. We learned how to become active members of PLNs and even submitted our first articles for publication! My article is possibly going to be published on ISTE, so instead of posting it here, I have included the link to my digital resource reflection.

 

EDLD 5318
Students will apply constructivist learning theories and instructional design principles in the development and delivery of an online course utilizing significant learning environments through selected course management tools.
We created an entire course that our colleagues will take part in. There are three phases to the first year of our innovation plan, and Kelly, Ryan, and I each headed a phase to conduct in a Schoology course.

 

 

EDLD 5388
Learners will effectively apply an innovative teaching practice by collaborating with colleagues to evaluate their impact on learners and design and model authentic professional learning (PL) activities that are active, have a significant duration, and are specific to their discipline.

 

 

In this course, we created our complete professional learning course that all teachers will eventually take part in as part of our innovation plan.

 

EDLD 5320
Learners will synthesize their knowledge, skills, beliefs, and values gained through their digital learning and leadership experiences and present a comprehensive plan on how they developed into digital learners and leaders that can identify and promote innovation, create significant digital learning environments, and lead organizational change.

 

 

In this video, I summarize my journey from beginning to end.

 

 

What worked?

In this program, many things worked. Having the ability to choose my own path worked. Creating my (our) innovation plan worked. Even discussion boards worked! (Miraculously). This was a long 18 months, but it was probably the most effective 18 months of instruction I have experienced since college. I already had completed a master’s degree in education (M.ed.) I had also completed 30 credits of random graduate credits in a variety of areas in education before starting the DLL program. I was worried it was going to be just something to go through the motions on, as I had done with my other post-graduate work, but it turned out to be so much more.

What could I do better?

There’s a ton I can do better on a daily basis. I am currently working on being PRESENT in my life and what I am doing. When I completed the readings for this class, I was usually preoccupied– simultaneously watching the videos to save time or interspersing my reading with grading papers. I realized I do this too often. I decided recently I no longer want to be a chronic multitasker. When I put all whirlwind options aside and really focused on the course work, that’s when I got the most out of it and learned what I needed to. So, I want to do that better in all areas of my life. I want to keep my phone away while playing with my son. I want to focus on lesson planning during my prep period at school instead of planning dinner for later. This program somehow brought me to that realization, and I am grateful for that.

What lessons have you learned?

I have learned that learning truly is eternal, which is the tagline of my ePortfolio. Sure,I may take a break when the class ends on Sunday, and enjoy the rest of the summer home with my son, but when the school year begins and we set our innovation plan in motion, I will know that the work will never truly be “done” and that we will continuously have to complete more research and more activities to help propel our classrooms into the future. Because technology is ever-changing, there really is no true place to rest. That is why we need this revolution– Ken Robinson is correct— we can’t just adjust what we have. We need to start from scratch and we need it to be done in a way that we can continuously reinvent the wheel so that we and our students can keep up with the world and its innovations.

Where are you looking to anticipate change?

I am looking to anticipate change primarily in my own classroom first, and then in my building later. Hopefully, then, it spreads to the middle school and trickles down into the elementary schools.  I hope our state government changes the way students are assessed for proficiency. And I hope that I am allowed to continuously change the way I teach our material.

Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?

Wow. Well, I truly hope so. I definitely wasn’t at the start of this program. And now… well, now I am confident that I have the skills necessary to do it.

 

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