Discussion Posts

EDLD 5303: Applying Ed Tech Portfolio

 

Week 1 Discussion – Eportfolio – Getting Started

After reading through the posts for this week’s discussion, one thing stood out to me. Research found that most students did not keep using their portfolio after class ended due to lack of time. Harapnuik (2018). I really think this is interested, as I have been “working” on creating an ePortfolio for the last several years. The reality is, I don’t believe that it is a lack of time, I believe that it is a misconception of value. Typically, a teacher that sees value in something will pursue it. This is the primary reason we are all working toward our next degree. The same thing happens when we create lesson plans. I know that I have had many lessons that are stellar, and some that felt as if I was phoning it in. This is because I felt there was more value in some areas than others. So, how do you find the value in your ePortfolio?

I believe that we need to first create the work for ourselves. Over the years, I have amassed quite a bit of information, perhaps even too much. My goal was always to make life easier for others by organizing all of this, and putting it out there for the world to use. The reality is that I’m not going to create an effective site by planning it for others. I need to set this up so that it is something that I am inspired by and will continue to use. Allowing myself the creative freedom to setup the site the way that I would like to see it will not only keep me motivated to update it, but that passion should show through as others use the site.

My goal is to not only use this as a way to highlight the information that is learned in class, but to also provide resources that can be referenced in regard to design. I may be working toward a masters in Educational Leadership, but I truly believe that creativity is a key aspect of all learning. Finding inspiration in design and justifying design choices is the same as justifying any other body of work. I have stated this in the past, and it is a main concept of the COVA model. Education is not about the final outcome, but the freedom to learn in your own meaningful way and justify those decisions.

 

Reply:

I completely agree with your perception on the issue of time for an e-portfolio actually being a “misconception of value”. I have an internal struggle on the value of the eportfolio. I value it professionally, but not necessarily personally.

It is good to see that you have a goal in mind for you e-portfolio. That is definitely one of the first steps that we all need to take. I want to really start to believe that my e-portfolio can be a place for educators to come and gain useful knowledge that would be able to help them in some way. I can see myself ultimately posting a section for “tech tips” in the future for my eportfolio. I look forward to seeing how your eportfolio develops over this course and the ones to come.

Reply:

Tech tips would be a great section to have. Teachers that are tentative towards tech would truly value videos made by you or organized playlists that would save them time. If you are willing to use your knowledge to collect and sift through YouTube, then they will be so thankful.

 

Reply:

Thank you for the affirmation on tech tips. I did peruse through your YouTube and saw the tech tips. This is definitely something I will want to do for the future 🙂

 

Reply:

Aaron, I agree with what you are saying about time versus value. I think that we are specialized group of people that enjoy the “tinkering” that an eportfolio allows. Like you, I have had my own eportfolio in many different formats and products throughout the years. I think that those of us interested in Technology Leadership have a desire to share with others new and exciting things in education. For me, the last class and this one have already challenged me because I am thinking beyond the scope of what I have always known and trying to determine how I see the future of my eportfolio growing and morphing.

 

I love that you are going to add the design portion to yours. The aesthetic of things is really important to me. In fact, I didn’t realize that graphic design was something I was so interested in until you shared that TEDTalk in our last course. I don’t have any strong traditional art skills, but digital art like fonts and web design have always been something I was interested in. I can remember taking a digital literacy course that required us to write and code an online “choose your own adventure” story, and I spent way more of my time focusing on making it “pretty” than I did on the content. This is something I need to recognize about myself, and I need be sure that I’m not just making things look nice but also giving quality content.

 

Reply:

Aaron,

I agree with the misconception of value.  At my campus, I think it’s a mix of both.  I have a hard time convincing other teachers to see the value of a portfolio or even using technology for that matter.    

From reading the last section of your discussion and the previous replies,  utilizing the idea of Tech Tips to include those teachers at any campus who don’t feel like they have the confidence for technology would be such a great idea!

 

Reply:

I’m glad to know that the there are many of us that are on the same page regarding a tech section. I agree that we are a unique group, and because of this we have shared interests that will allow us to expand on our knowledge to share with each other as well as our colleagues.

 

Autumn. I’m glad you enjoyed that video. I certainly don’t have a traditional view of education and how it should be perceived and I think this is illustrated in much of the work that I post and the people I follow. I believe that we have spent too long following what someone published in a book about education as opposed to looking at other professions to inspire us in our own field.

Reply:

You are absolutely correct in your theory of creating a site that inspires you to continue to creatively keep it moving forward. After reading all of the comments from all of you, I have to remember that first and foremost my eportfolio is for me. The keyword being “my.” The concept of building this portfolio is intimidating, but as educators, the learning doesn’t stop for us. We need to continue furthering our education like you said through what inspires us, and we need to create through multiple avenues in order to learn authentically in a meaningful way.

 

Week 2 – ePortfolio Groups – Pecking Order

Margaret Heffernan talks about a concept called “Social Capital” which is the interdependence among one another that builds trust. It’s interesting to me to think of a team environment in this way, but it makes complete sense, and is the reason behind team building activities. It’s somewhat surprising the difference you can immediately see between a campus that holds all of their professional developments working on the nuts and bolts and one that takes the time to get to know each other. I believe this is one way that Elementary schools excel over secondary. Many secondary schools may have 150 employee’s vs 20 and it is much more difficult to get to know each other. However, if you take the time to learn about each other you will develop trust. I have worked in environments before where we would have “pot luck” meals, or scavenger hunts around the school. This wasn’t meant to only be a fun activity, but was meant to allow you time to get to know each other without focusing directly on the work at hand. It was evident to me that in these environments we were able to grow closer as a school community.

You can see these practices in place on virtually every successful team as well, but we tend to overlook its importance in practice. A superbowl winning quarterback knows exactly where to throw the ball before the wide receive gets there. They trust each other to do the job. In a school environment, we should know each other well enough that we can trust the ball is going to be there when we put out our hands.

One of the most helpful things I have found at my school is to come in early or leave late and simply speak to people outside my department. I must admit that I am somewhat introverted, so this was a challenge at first, but as I begin to reach out to one person I find others join in to the conversation. I can now assist my students and peers in my department by answering questions where I may not have direct knowledge, but know where to find the answer.  I can trust that if I reach out to someone that I have made that connection with, I will receive the assistance that is required.

  1. Heffernan  (2015, June 16) . Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyn_xLrtZaY&feature=youtu.be

Reply:

I didn’t even think about how it is a smaller amount of elementary teachers on a campus in comparison to secondary teachers.  I also like how you mentioned having pot lucks at schools.  I was not really a fan of pot lucks, but I can agree that it brings at least 3-8 teachers at a time to be able to sit and talk.  Even if we are not eating the same food, it makes us start a conversation, which as a result building relationships.  I would like to present the video to my coworkers so we can strengthen our relationships.  Grade level teams have strong relationships at my school, but we need to work on cross grade levels getting to know each other.  I like your analogy about football, but it also goes back to getting to know each other.  If I dont know my co workers then I wont know their strengths and be able to get help if that area is my weakness.

 

Week 3 Why Use an ePortfolio

There are many reasons pointed out in this week’s readings regarding why and how we can benefit from an eportfolio. I believe one of the most important is to give myself a voice. Many of us have spent years developing ideas, lessons, and resources, and having an easy to navigate site will allow greater efficiency and organization of our knowledge. Creating this online resource will also allow others on our campus to benefit as we will be able to share and collaborate more easily. I have also found, while researching various portfolios, new contacts both in and out of education to follow.

One notable person to follow is Aaron Lawrence of aaronlawrencedesign.com. He is a UX designer, and I’ve become inspired by some of his work. It’s important to remember while creating your site that it must be easy to navigate. this is where UX (User Experience) comes in to play. Fortunately, we live in a world where there are many great templates available, so you can still have a great website without needing to start from nothing.

I also believe that our own ePortfolio provides a great opportunity to showcase future student work. Students can create their own sites and as you begin to incorporate the links onto your own site you will continue to build out a collaborative learning network. This may be easier at the High School level as students can then take their site with them and continue building on it through college.

Reply:

Aaron,

I agree that we have all spent a lot of time developing a portfolio of lesson plans, assignments, projects, etc. but I think that through this class, I have really learned the importance of an eportfolio for self growth and reflection. As an educator, building my protfolio has forced me to look at the way and why I do things. Through this process, I have been introduced to so many different people, educators, and innovators, that I sometimes feel like I am in an information overload. It has been so helpful to gain feedback from those that have been through this journey with me, and I feel like we have all collaborated well together in order to showcase our beliefs, reflections, and resources.

 

Reply:

Aaron, I like your thoughts on us being able to use our ePortfolios to give ourselves a voice. I follow many people on Twitter and other social media avenues and now realize that they must have started somewhere too. I am starting to like the idea of the ePortfolio better than most social media platforms. We will be able to house and archive a lot more things in any type of media that we find it in. I am using WordPress so I get the templates and the user experience side of it. I think that if I am going to get a following I really have to consider the user experience a high priority. I want to keep people on my site and not lose them because they get lost or any other number of reasons.

 

Reply:

Aaron, I love all the graphic design resources that you share. Are you making a graphic design tab in your ePortfolio? I never realized how interested I am in graphic and digital design until we got to this part of the program. I think I have always been toying with some website or page as long as I had access to the Internet. In hindsight, I am wondering if I would have made a good social media marketer.

Do school districts have a person that is responsible for the online story, look and feel of the district? Or is that just part of the technology department? It seems like that would be such a great job!

I really like the site you shared. It’s visually interesting. While for me the layout is a bit crazypants, I found myself lost in all the content, so I think it’s a win win. Are you planning on doing something unorthodox in terms of design? Or will you keep it more conservative? I feel like conservative appeals to the most people (especially since not everyone is really hip to an ePortfolio), but I, also, like the risk-taker side of the untraditional.

 

Reply:

I absolutely plan on having quite a few Design related resources, but as of right now, I am using a word press template and recoding some of it to meet my needs. I simply don’t have the time to create a site completely from scratch. This may be something that I do in the future though.

 

I have found this process to be quite a bit more challenging than I expected, because I am looking into the future. I want my site to be something that I can use many years to come, and have the flexibility to expand.  As I have looked at platforms other than word press, you seem to be locked into their creator/host. While this is initially easier, I worry what will happen when I run into something that I can’t do. I don’t want to recreate the entire site later because I didn’t set it up right in the beginning. There is a lot of new technology I am learning/relearning about in regard to this.

I could honestly create the site that meets the requirements of the class and program fairly quickly using one of the easier builders, but I feel that I would drop it after the class, and that’s just not what I want to do.

Speaking of requirements for the class. I can say that one thing I will turn off is comments after the class. I don’t want people to be able to leave feedback and personal opinions directly on the site. This will invite spam and other potentially unwanted/unfiltered posts. I believe that the contact form is the proper way for someone to comment on a site. I could also see a forum being setup as a future option.

I’m also trying to add a spam filter/authentication for the contact me section. (think of recaptcha). I don’t think my site will get hit hard with spam initially, but I have no doubt that over time it will be something that will need to be addressed.

Who Owns an ePortfolio

The discussion this week is one that is a bit of a circular argument. The idea behind an ePortfolio or a website is for the individual to have a place to represent themselves and a place for free expression. The argument of ownership arises when a grade (or any type of rubric) is placed on to the project. This immediately takes it from “something I get to do” to “something I have to do”. I run into this often with my own students, and have stumbled on it a bit with my current site. One example of this is the comments section. It is believed that there should be a place for a comment on my site so that I can solicit feedback. In my opinion, I don’t want a comment on posts. I want people to contact me if they have a comment.

It’s interesting that we are on this topic this week, as I was just having a conversation with my students today about taking ownership of their own work. I am very thankful to teach in an environment that allows me to not only adapt easily to the students, but have real and meaningful conversations about their work. I had an assignment that was “due” today, but I realized that while they completed what was asked, they didn’t gain the experience from it I wanted them to have. My class is currently broken up into small groups, and I was able to sit with the group leaders and come up with a solution to better engage them into the project. Allowing them to take control of their own learning and develop the future of the assignment is key to their engagement.

The other aspect of ownership also revolves around free thought. I typically go against the norm in education as I don’t like to actively follow the well-known educators and their models. I prefer to interpret the educational process on my own, and have genuine conversations with my peers and students to develop a flexible curriculum. Ultimately, this is probably creating more work for myself than I should, but I believe the students appreciate having an active role in their own learning. This is the same as the active role that we are taking in developing our portfolios.

I have said this many times in the past, and continue to say this to my students and my peers. Education is not about the grade, or the end product. It’s about the journey and the process you take along the way.

Reply:

Aaron, I am curious, did your students just stay within the requirements of the assignment? Was there a rubric given to them? After your team leader meeting, what do you think the main reason was for them not engaging and going further?

I agree with your comments about not only following the mainstream experts or those that are more well known. I like to keep a pulse on what the “disruptor’s” are up too also. It really makes you examine your own current practices and is very eye opening when you internalize their arguments. Keep moving down your path.

Reply:

Aaron, I am curious, did your students just stay within the requirements of the assignment?

Initially, they stayed within the requirements, or what the believed the requirements were, but did not gain the experience I wanted them to have. This came down to a miscommunication on my part and an understanding on their part. So, when we met together, I was able to clarify the project and relate it back to previous assignments that we had this year as well as previous years. This allowed them to gain a better understanding of what they should expect to gain from the project.

Was there a rubric given to them?

No. While, I have a rubric because the district wants us to have one, I rarely share it with the students. If I did this, it would greatly hinder their creative freedom. I do provide a rough outline of expectations and we have one on one conversations about what they are accomplishing throughout the process.

After your team leader meeting, what do you think the main reason was for them not engaging and going further?   

I’m not sure what you’re referring to, but I think you’re talking about the first time we met. This really just came down to a lack of communication on my part. They were on the right track, but still hadn’t pushed themselves to where I have seen in the past. After our conversation, they had a much better idea of what they should learn and were able to produce better results when checked the following day.

My classes run one of a couple of different ways. The intro classes get the same projects each year, and while they have the freedom to create on their own, the projects teach them what they need to know for future assignments. I start my class off with a bit more structure, and then slowly give them more freedom with each project. By the last project, I expect them to make their own decisions and justify them to me. I do my best not to guide them unless they are way off.

My advanced classes, have quite a bit of independent work. All projects are either based on real work for real clients that need design work done, or projects that are typically completed at the college level. I keep in contact with various universities throughout the year to ensure that my students are prepared the same as a college senior. If I can keep that level of rigor on them while in HS, they will have a much easier time in college. I have had many students come back from college and thank me for forcing them to think creatively and take ownership. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I get a handful of students every September and then a few more in May.

Reply:

Thanks for the clarification. I thought that it would have just come down to a miscommunication. I have a whole new understanding of rubrics after these first classes. Your classroom flow is great, seems like it allows you to check in with your students more than a traditional class period.

 

Reply:

i am torn in between what to do on the comment section.   I like the idea of having conversations to see others view points.   However with the comments being public  you never know what people will write.  i like the idea of disabling the comments to where they can reply to only you.  I like that you were being honest and saying that your students didnt gain from the assignment, but thats also a learning experience for us as teachers.  Some lessons just dont go the way we planned  but we can fix it for the next assignment/project.  i really like what you said its not about the grade but the journey.  I will definately use this when I get in my administrative position.. hmm school moto lol thanks Aaron for sharing your thoughts.

 

EDLD 5302: Concepts of Educational Tech

 

Week 1 Power of Growth Mindset: Collaborative Discussion

It’s important to keep an open mind in any career. Growth mindset allows you to ask what’s next? “yet”. What is the next great thing? It’s not just about making change just for change sake. Many people, especially in education, are stuck in their same old routine. They have a fixed mindset and are resistant of new options. They think, why fix what isn’t broken. I believe it is important to remember that it’s not about fixing what isn’t broken, but exploring all possibilities. I will never be one to come in and flat out tell someone they are wrong. I will ask if they have considered exploring additional options. I watch many Ted talks regarding design and pushing the boundaries. There is a designer, Aaron Draplin, that has made his career continually asking what’s next. He will always make changes to those things that he knows have been successful. The one thing that he does is that he is not afraid of the change. He will reflect and move forward with what works. This may not be considered a traditional “professional reference”, but it’s inspiring as this is the key of a growth mindset. It’s about starting off and continually pushing yourself toward your own dreams and vision.  We have to remember as an educator, that there will be many people telling you what does and doesn’t work, however, you have to learn on your own terms. What is it that you believe is successful? Can you justify your decisions? Education in general needs to be run as many fortune 500 companies. We are in the business just like any other. Our product is educating. Our clients, students, are constantly evolving. It is important to always hold on to the successful pieces of the past, while looking years in the future. If you try something and it’s not successful that’s ok. This is a key aspect of learning.

Below is a link to one of the TedTalks with Aaron Draplin. I will say, it is not something I would normally share as there is some explicit language (do not watch if you are offended easily), but his idea of always looking for the next big break and not limiting yourself is a key component of growth mindset.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PMK1M7ZxJc

This thought process is also exemplified in the graphic in the discussion. Look for challenges, push yourself, overcome obstacles, reflect and grow.

Draplin, A. (2014, May 14). Making it in the little leagues: Aaron Draplin at TEDxPortland. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PMK1M7ZxJc

Reply:

Aaron, THANK YOU for sharing that TEDTalk. I needed a Thanksgiving week pick me up. Aaron Draplin is a very funny and real man! I made my husband sit down and watch this one with me. Draplin has a great perspective on how to tackle the next task. The way that you called students clients is something that I had never thought of. Students really are our clients, and education is our business. If more administrators and leaders had this perspective, I think that there would be a greater shift in the way that education functions.

 

Reply:

I have definitely witnessed the concept of  “don’t fix what ain’t broke” within my content area. In all honest, in some places of technical trade skills, this concept is fitting, however, this concept, paired with a lack of growth elsewhere for the trade, company, or personal goals, then there is definitely an issue. Change can be scary and it 100% our job as educators to lead the charge for change, especially if we are expecting our students to go through this same process. In fact, *SPOILER ALERT*, there is a concept about learning that I found to be very interesting in Chapter 7. I won’t reveal it here, but it definitely further adds to your point of us educators, being in the business to adapt to our clients, the students. Thank you for sharing and I do hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Week 2 Impact of a Growth Mindset: Collaborative Discussion

The most important goal of technology integration in my environment is to abandon technology in the beginning. This may seem contradictory to what many others want to do in their class, however my classroom is a computer lab in an BYOD district. My subject is graphic design, where students must rely on their own creativity. Much like the current class that we are enrolled in, I spend a significant portion of my time trying to “unteach” what has been drilled in to students since elementary school.

Students expect to be asked a specific question and respond with the correct answer. This is not the way creativity works, but is what is expected in a typical classroom. I have often said that you can watch the love of education for most children die off throughout elementary. In General, students enter their first year of school excited an eager to learn. They have no limits set in front of them, and feel they can accomplish anything. This is the premise behind Growth Mindset. Then, we as educators, put out that fire. It may not be completely our fault as we have “standards” to maintain. I would question, why are those the standards, and more importantly, why do we force children to all fit within the same mold?

Once a student reaches my classroom, they have lost all ability to think on their own. I ask them to create a design, and the first thing they do is get on the internet looking for the answer. I spend time teaching them that it is ok to come up with your own answer. It’s not right or wrong, it’s your thought. I teach students to expand their understanding by justifying decisions, as opposed to giving me an answer I want to hear.

Students begin to regain this freedom of thought as the year progresses, and this then transfers directly into their assignments and how they use technology. They begin to understand that the technology before them is not there to give them an answer, but is a method in which they can create on their own.

I believe this thought process falls in place with UDS as well, specifically why we are learning in the first place. It allows students to self-reflect, and gather information based on their own experiences. They can develop questions for any task, and once their own knowledge is exhausted, they can then turn to the technology they have available. This will now enhance their beliefs as opposed to telling them what they should believe is right or wrong.

Reply:

Aaron, I feel like your post responds to all the fears and struggles that I am having with the freedoms that this course is offering. For me there has always been a safety in the “right answer,” but I think you are completely on target when you said that is not how creativity works. I had never really thought of how often I turn to technology for that “right answer” I am seeking. My husband (also a teacher) and I often talk about how students don’t really need the information that we used to provide them because it is now simply at the click of the button, but instead, education in this century is about teaching students how to solve the problems, access the information, and do something critical with it. Your point challenges me to think about even this belief from another standpoint. I have spent so much time focused on getting students to integrate the technology that I haven’t pushed them to grow without it. I am hopeful that I like your students am able to regain my freedom (and put aside my fear in this next series of courses). Thanks for your post and your thoughts!

 

Reply:

Aaron,

Your entire post spoke to me.  The first thing that jumped out as I read your post was your classroom is a computer lab within a BYOD district. Do students have to bring their own device to your class, or do you have an actual computer lab with district provided devices? I am fortunate to teach in a district that supplies a Macbook air to each high school student for a usage fee of $50 per year.  However, even though high schools are 1:1, their computer labs/classroom for IT classes have the latest iMac computers for students to utilize with professional software.  Our middle school campuses, while not 1:1, have numerous computer carts available for teachers to use.  Our science and social studies teams each have 75 Macbooks per grade level.  As a result, I am fortunate to have 25 Macbooks at my disposal each day.  I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have access to this technology.  

I also agree with your thoughts regarding student creativity. I have taught at both the elementary and secondary levels.  Early elementary students are eager to learn and curious by nature.  We destroy that by forcing everyone to fit into the same mold.  By the time students get to middle school, many lose their zest for learning.  Many students at this point have significant learning gaps and begin to shut down.  Others are afraid of making a mistake or not getting an A.  As students enter high school, the disparity between these two groups is even more significant.  

In my opinion, many of us as teachers spoon fed our students with step by step directions and detailed rubrics (as was the expectation), but in the long run it may have actually hindered their growth, independence, self-confidence, and creativity.  Once they enter high school, many struggle with self directed learning and the rigorous curriculum.  

 

Reply:

I have a full lab of computers, and the students also have the ability to bring their own devices. Many do this, as they have less limits on their own device as opposed to what the school provides. I ultimately care about the students receiving the best experience. If that can’t be done with the equipment we provide, then I encourage them to utilize their resources.

 

It’s refreshing to see others that understand my point of view regarding pushing students to a certain standard. It reminds me of the irony of differentiated instruction. We are to deliver information to different students in different ways, but the goal is to get them to the same result. Why? Not all students need to get to the same result. They need to get to A result, and justify their reasoning and process as to how they got there. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that in some classes, Math for example, there is a specific answer that they need to get to. Even in math, they can still get there in many different ways. Our educational environment has become too restrictive based on “standards” we must achieve. Technology integration can enhance learning, but it’s far too easy to seek the instant gratification, and simply use tech to get the answer without understanding the process.

Week 3 Introduction to the COVA Learning Approach: Collaborative Discussion

The COVA learning approach is all about freedom. This is not only the freedom to learn, but the freedom to teach. It is a learning approach, that while new to me, has been something that I have been doing in my classroom and in education since I started over ten years ago. I have a somewhat unique background having gone to school as an ART student, but working in the IT industry. This allowed me to understand structure and it’s importance, while having the growth mindset to work within the flexibility of what can be seen as ambiguity.

I teach these freedoms to my students and my peers daily. I believe it’s important to understand that there are many different technologies and options in general when it comes to completing a task. I want to be known not only as someone that can help guide you through the process of finding your own answer, but to be able to provide adequate opportunities for growth in the area of technology.

This class in particular has challenged me to reach out and explorer new technologies.  We have a very helpful group on facebook that is willing to post the different things they are trying. I appreciate seeing these new options, and exploring how they can be integrated into my classroom, and how I can help my peers integrate into their lessons as well.

Reply: Hello Aaron!

This class has been very unique and I have learned a great deal about the COVA model since we began looking at it this week. I agree that the general consensus for the COVA model is all about freedom, as long as the student is embracing a learning opportunity. It is interesting to see what we, as educators, have been doing with at least a small portion of this model already. However, this new depth of knowledge should definitely help us all to grow and create new kinds of lesson plans for our students in the future. I find that our group is extremely supportive of one another as we all progress through this journey. I also came from the industry of IT and programming. We definitely have some differing perspectives than those teachers who may have been with education from college. I look forward to seeing your work as we progress into the next stage of this class and beyond. 🙂

Reply:

This is my first time hearing about COVA as well; I didnt think about it til you said it.  It is freedom for educators to teach as well.  I agree when you said its different technologies to accomplish a task.  Thinking back on this assignment, we all are using different ways to accomplish this assignment as I see our peers posts what tools they used.  It is helpful for me to step out of my comfort zone and use technology and also bring it back into my classroom with my students.  I want my students to know that its not a “one-way”, but several ways they just have to get out there to explore.  Self-reflecting on how I teach ensuring that I give students severals different options to solve a problem.  This is why I like students to share how they completed tasks to help others.

 

Reply:

Aaron,

This is the first time that I have heard of COVA, but I embrace the ideals that it stands for. This class has definitely challenged me in ways that I have not been before. It has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone in order to create my growth mindset plan and manifesto. It has also made me look at the way I teach my students. I am someone who loves guidelines, structure, and check lists. This class has forced me to put those aside and take my learning to a whole new level. It has made me think about some assignments I give my students, and as an English teacher many of them I have boxed my students into a boring and bland way of learning. Although some things will be hard to change, I have seen other ways I can implement the COVA method into my teaching. I appreciate on our groups Facebook page that we can post our assignments and collaborate with each other through feedback. It has been a great help to see different technology programs others have used, and it has given me ideas to help further my own personal growth and learning.

Week 4 Learning Networks: Collaborative Discussion

 

Aaron Kennedy Adobe Education Exchange https://edex.adobe.com/ This is a place where educators can come together to share ideas utilizing Adobe Products
Aaron Kennedy Texas Computer Education Association https://www.tcea.org/ The best benefit of TECA Membership is the yearly convention. This conference is a week long and has classes all day each day covering every topic you can imagine in Technology. It’s a great place to go and learn about new technology as well as pick up some tips regarding tech you are already using in the classroom. You can learn from professional trainers, company representatives, as well as other teachers.
Aaron Kennedy friEdTechnology http://www.friedtechnology.com/ I first met Amy Mayer several years ago at a conference. If you ever have a chance to attend one of her training sessions, no matter what it is, go to it. She is full of energy and provides an amazing way to link any technology to your curriculum.

 

These are three of the learning networks that I utilize frequently. The most helpful by far has been TCEA. This has allowed me to make contacts with educators and trainers from around the country. While it isn’t an official learning network, I often find myself emailing and calling those educators to bounce ideas off of them. For example, through TCEA, I met and educator in Washington that is very knowledgeable in adobe applications. This was the first year that my students were beginning to get their certification in Adobe, and I was able to reach out to him for study tips and guides to aid my students. I believe a learning network is much more than just a place you can go to get and give information. It’s personal connections that you can make with others and resources you can share so that when one of you needs assistance, you have an immediate connection. This is no different than a professional network outside of education. When I was in IT, I had a group of system administrators that I was in constant contact with. We were all Microsoft certified, and were able to utilize each other efficiently. I also encourage my students to do the same thing within the classroom. They can use each other as resources as they build their own network of contacts.

Reply:

Aaron, I would love to know more about your experience becoming Microsoft certified. I taught for five years in an Apple district, so I became an Apple Teacher. Now, I have moved to a PC district and am still learning what options Microsoft has to offer me differently. I am glad you shared the Adobe Education Exchange because it looks like something that I would be interested in perusing.

 

Reply:

There are several different types of certification you can get for Microsoft. The most common in education is Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This basically certifies that you know how to use the office products. My certifications were on the Tech side using the Microsoft Certified System Administrator path. Prior to education, I spent my time in the IT industry, and these were the required certifications for the role at the time.

 

Reply:

TCEA is wonderful! I had an opportunity to attend their conference one year, and I learned so much from it!  I, too, have made many contacts with other educators through attending or presenting at conferences who I later reached out to or vice versa. I am always so grateful when I get a chance to attend a conference.

friEd Technology looks awesome!  I started following them on Twitter!  I love how there is a daily post called The Fried Technology Daily! Thank you for sharing this!  I have already found many things I want to learn more about just from perusing this site.

Reply:

I love being a member of TCEA! I joined last year on a whim because my Multi Media Specialist wanted me to to go to the conference, and I had to join in order to receive a cheaper entry fee. I ended up having a blast, and I learned so much about new products and different programs/activities to use in my classroom. I was able to bring back a lot of information to help my teachers in my department. I was also able to gain some contacts, and that is one reason I chose this masters program.

I joined the Adobe Education Exchange that you mentioned becasue I am always interested in learning new programs, and I feel like Adobe is a frontrunner for programs used in the classroom. I am really interested in digging deeper into this and learning new things.

 

Week 5 ePortfolios: Collaborative Discussion

What is my Why? That’s a loaded question, but one that I think about often. Why do I do what I do? At one point it was for myself. I wanted a change in my professional life, and thought teaching was the answer. Then it became a need for the kids. There was something they were missing that I could provide. Then, the why became “to prove the kids wrong”. What I mean by that is to take those kids that always thought they had nothing going for them and show them what they could do great. This is why the COVA model has worked so well in my classroom since I have been teaching. I just didn’t realize I was using it. I want my kids to be free and inspired, as opposed to trapped in the same routine.

This class, and the COVA model, as well as the ePortfolio, has really helped me regain a handle on my creativity. As an art major in college I had a very forward thinking and free mindset. I then spent many years in the IT industry, and had to work within the same space and routine. Luckily when I started teaching I regained a little of that freedom, but it wasn’t until this class that I began to see how this can be applied in areas outside of my classroom.

This is the most valuable lesson from this class. How to utilize my own knowledge and beliefs to empower other teachers. I have really loved seeing all of my peers in this class develop their portfolio as well as post in the discussion threads.  

Reply:

I agree that the “why” part can be a loaded question. I always grapple with how to express my “why” both coherently and succinctly. For me, I believe that the kids have to be the most important part of the equation, and I agree with you that the COVA framework is something I already use within my classroom. I offer freedom and options as often as possible for students to show evidence of learning. One of our units at the beginning of the year is all about finding your unique voice, so I think the COVA Learning Approach terminology has fit quite nicely.

Seeing your work has been awesome throughout this process. I have really appreciated knowing I could get a quality opinion from you or another classmate. I will be interested to see your ePortfolio grow in 5303.

Reply:

Aaron,

I love how you pointed out the Why can change over time as it should.  As we change and evolve as an individual so does what drives and motivates us.  My Why has definitely evolved as well!

I agree this class has afforded us numerous opportunities to be creative again and to play as we learn!  At first, I was so nervous about the fluid nature of this course, but I have grown to welcome and embrace it!  It is nice to not be confined and restricted as we have been in our prior courses.  I am excited to see where we go from here!