Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Metaphor for Doctoral Candidacy

Twenty eight days. A short time and a long time for writing a candidacy paper. A metaphor would be helpful I believe in describing that period for synthesizing my thoughts about the candidacy question and writing the paper. Previously I gave the doctoral journey the metaphor of being lost in the rainforest. It is, in some ways, an incredibly enriching experience but I also worried that I would be lost in the thick of the rainforest forever by taking too much time to “study” or “read” when I should in fact be moving forward with a plan to find my way out into the open again. I knew it had to be a balance of experiencing the exquisite richness of the opportunity while not staying to sample too much. My brain has been in overdrive during this process as I read and studied deeply every article or chapter that would help me frame my thinking.

Moving into the candidacy period, I was tossed in the river to complete white water rafting without a guide since I was not permitted to seek advice during this time. My life jacket would be the background reading and papers I have written and the paddles my ability to think and write as each day passed. Yes, I have some experience (through my course work and writing) so I could manage to take on the rapids but I really needed to be attentive to successfully manoeuvre myself down the river without crashing or capsizing. The raft was moving quickly and I knew there was little opportunity to rest. There were moments in the journey where the rapids were only level one or two but at times much higher. I had to decide whether to take the raft through one section or another so constantly reviewing and editing. As the time tumbled so did my raft. Finally at day twenty eight I came into a calm section. It’s not the end of the journey since the candidacy oral, the research process and the dissertation lay ahead but for the moment I can rest a little and calmly paddle without the continuous pressure of managing the rapids.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer of Change

Thinking about the journey of this summer, the theme would have to be "summer of change." I had spent other summers reading novels that I thought I could use to stimulate my high school students to read. This summer I read about educational technology, e-learning, universal design for learning and assistive technology. The structure of the course kept the intensity going to find out more. I know that I am only at the beginning of this journey but I am amazed about how much I have learned in the two week residency followed by two weeks of research and reading. I am always reading. When I don't have access to a computer, I will print an article or take a book with me. There is so much to know in the field of educational technology and its very exciting. I finished the draft for the educational technology paper today. It's interesting because now I know more than when I was putting everything together and almost wish that I could start over on the paper, but due dates arrive and there is only so much time. I am interested in following up by reading other articles that I discovered during the process of writing this paper.

As I read what researchers are saying about universal design for learning, I considered how this could impact my own teaching as I return to school this fall. Although I was already cognizant of curricular restrictions and had created broader opportunities for learning in my class, I have a firmer grasp of this concept that will influence my planning.

Throughout this process, I learned about CAST which is the Center of Applied Special Technology, a resource that will be valuable in this journey.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Literature Review

Hi Classmates,

My literature review will consider the question "What is universal design for learning? What are the current trends in UDL?

Please let me know what you think?

Thank you. You all inspire me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reflections on Two Weeks

Now that I have been here two weeks, things are starting to settle a little, or at least my stomach has calmed down. I feel like I have been "timewarped" through an incredible learning journey. I came here without knowing anything about a wiki (other than pulling up wikipedia from time to time). Geo-everything is being synthesized into my brain because of the reading that I did for working with my group on creating a Wiki about Geoeverything/Augmented Reality. Check out our group project: Geo-Everything / Augmented Reality

I am anticipating unprecedented growth in my learning as I proceed through this journey. To be honest, I have had a few flickers of apprehension about whether I had the "right stuff" over the past week. My family, a consummate support, cheered me on when I made comments about my brain being overfilled with information, theory and practical applications. I can see that I need to dig in and build my capacity for using the technology. A doctorate in Educational Technology is 90% about the education and 10% about the technology which is about where my profile is when I think about what I know about education and what I know about technology.

I am reflecting upon my teaching practice and the positive impact taking this program will have on the teaching and learning that happens with my students. Educational technology is an integral component of developing learning environments that work. I do not want to be left behind.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Out of this World

It was forty years ago this week that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin climbed out of the lunar landing to stand on the moon. It made me reflect on how they were sent there with the best that technology had to offer at that time. This race to the moon "hurried up" the development of appropriate technologies to support this venture. These developments allow us to move forward at the rapid pace of technological change today. This week, two Canadians, Robert Thirst and Julie Payette met on board the international space station which is the first time two Canadians will be there together; another historical moment. Technological advances has created incredible innovation that will enable those in educational technology to build capacity in many learning environments. (Januszweski and Molenda, 2008)

Hurry Slowly

Listening to Dr. Crichton speak about the philosophy of "Making the Case for Happiness, Simplicity and Being Nimble" was inpsiring. It spoke to the heart of the matter literally. In development research projects there are guiding principles that need to be considered. Advice that she gave about making a decision quickly, but taking the time to ponder and consider direction with care in critical to success. She spoke of her work which was fascinating. I met Dr. Crichton when I first explored the Ed. D program. She capitvated me at that time which is one of the reasons I followed up on this dream. Dr. Crichton obviously has a great respect for people who participate in her research. I like how she talked about using the digital recordings to gain a perspective beyond the flat response of a transcription. She would be a role model in terms of the gentle manner in which she interacts with those around her. I will be revisiting her presentation to further reflect on what she had to say.

I like the quotes she included in her presentation including:

"Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler" Albert Eistein (1879-1955)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Exploring Research for Literature Review

Dear Classmates,

Assistive technology is creating new opportunities for students with learning challenges. In my own world I have been trying to push assistive technology to be used in a fluid manner. Right now it is disjointed and inconsistent. An analogy would be having a student go to the learning lab to use their prescription glasses instead of having their glasses everywhere...frustrating and isolating.

The question I have is " What is happening in secondary education with incorporating assistive technology to support challenged learners."

I would welcome your input since I have cobwebs in my brain about framing appropriate research proposals. Thank you for your help.