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.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Educational Technology

After finishing four days in the program, I have to say my brain is completely saturated. I am enthralled with the presentations that I have seen over the past couple of days.

I was thinking I had a fairly clear idea about what educational technology was about. On a personal level when I think about educational technology, I am coming from the perspective of a teacher in a high school. I see it as an understanding of an evolving field that gives teachers an insight into how to use technology to create opportunities for effective learning in the classroom to engage students in meeting their individual learning needs by making activities more meaningful. It is about taking learning outside of the typical structure that is unfortunately still a part of the many classrooms; read this text and answer questions.

The definition is only part of a broader perspective for all that is encompassed in this area. It is a field of study that keeps redefining itself as the rapid changes occur. As we move forward with new developments in this field, seemingly on a daily basis, this definition will likely be refined. People could not even imagine some of the resources we have available to us today. The technology used twenty years ago that was cutting edge has now become obsolete. To be relevant as a teacher, it is important to understand the impact of educational technology on learning. “Curriculum and pedagogy must drive technology use.” (Jacobsen, Saar, Friesen, 2008) This is a critical perspective in a classroom setting because of the expectations for curricular outcomes in particular subject areas.

The presentations from Dr. Gail Kopp, Dr. Qing Li, Dr. Sharon Friesen and Dr. Michele Jacobsen dramatically broadened my perspective about this field.

The Affordances in Second Life for Virtual Patients by Dr. Gail Kopp demonstrated advances in technology that I was not even aware of in my role as a high school teacher. I printed the draft of her research in order to further review.

I had read Dr. Li's paper, Instructional Design and Technology Grounded in Enactivism: A Paradigm Shift before I attended the class which made me more prepared for building on previous knowledge. Dr. Li's ideas about enactivism stimulated thought and discussion around learning in the classroom. Having us use Scratch confirmed how students were able to use hands on technology activities to enrich their learning, build motivation and instill confidence. She simply gave students three principles of Physics that they needed to use in the creation of games. It was engaging and fun. The benefit was students were using the Physics in a meaningful way which would be more likely to transfer to other learning.

I had also read Dr. Friesen and Dr. Jacobsen's presentation on One on One is About Personalized Learning Not Laptops which was most closely linked to my area of passion of making a difference in schools using educational technology. Their research showed how educational results improve as technology is imbedded into learning in a meaningful way. Teachers and students need access that is consistent. Their project demonstrated that allowing students to use laptops that could be taken home and integrated effectively into their activities promoted more opportunities for growth then when students have only partial access.

What a full four days. I feel like I need time to sythesize all of the information presented this week in order to speak in a coherent manner about it. I was so fatigued today that I can barely remember taking the train home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am finally here!!! After stewing about pursuing this Doctor of Education for a number of years I decided it was time to “take the bull by the horns.” I chose to specialize in educational technology because it has created change in how educational programs can be delivered. I believe that strengthening my expertise in this area will ensure that I can better facilitate learning in my high school classroom where I support students with unique challenges such as learning, behavioral and sensory disabilities. Technological innovation is changing the way education is delivered and opening up possibilities that could hardly be conceived even a decade ago. I want to continue to be relevant in the delivery of my program. Studying educational technology seems to be a logical route to address this concern. I am advocating for the use of assistive technology throughout my school to promote individual student needs. I look forward to building my own capacity in this area and providing leadership to others as I research how educational technology influences growth in learning opportunities.

After just two days in the program I can already see that I had assumptions that were not entirely correct. I hardly thought it possible that my brain could be so full of new information in such a short period. Let the journey begin......