Ed Tech 504: Final Reflection

Ed Tech 504:  Final Reflection

Kim Hefty

“Education is everybody’s business – the individual, the organization, and the nation state” (Gokool-Ramdoo, 2008, p.13)

Answer the four questions below in your reflection:

1.      What were the most important things I learned this semester?

The most important things I learned this semester were the details and variety of different learning theories. Honestly, I haven’t thought about theories since I completed my first graduate program almost 23 years ago. Initially I was drawn to constructivism.  As I poured deeper into my research, throughout the semester, I realized I am truly a social constructivist. The application of social constructivism resonated with me both personally, as a mom, and professionally. The social constructivist approach to education accommodates both the necessity of social interaction in learning and individualist nature of modern learning. In response to the recent shift in technology and educational pedagogical trends, I believe that educators should use social constructivism as a guide to expanding student-learning possibilities while also encouraging the use of online learning communities to foster collaboration in order to meet the modern student’s full spectrum of needs.

2. How was my teaching (or thoughts about teaching) impacted by what I learned or experienced this semester?

My thoughts about teaching were significantly impacted by the research that I have done throughout this semester. After taking this class, I feel that I am more knowledgeable about a wider and broader spectrum of learning theories.  Now I can more clearly see the connection between theory and practice.   I also have a more defined personal definition of technology.  I am able to connect modern technology to the learning theories and instructional practices that I most closely identify with.

This course has helped me realize that the roles of both the modern teacher and of the modern student are changing.  Teachers need to construct environments that provoke and challenge students.  Students must actively seek out interactions and reinforcement.  In order to accommodate the modern student and utilize new technologies, educators must utilize social constructivist theory of learning to promote the success of the individual through the utilization of online learning communities.   Educators must constantly be exploring emerging theories, such as Transactional Distance Theory, to challenge both themselves and their students.

3. Did I (or will I) use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching, training, or professional practice? If so, how?

I am not a traditional classroom teacher.   I work in connection with and collaboratively with the local school district; but I do not work for the district.  Instead, I work for my students and parents.  I have created is a hybrid online course where only an online course exists.  The provider of the curriculum has developed an outstanding curriculum but high school students often do not have the internal motivation to stay on task or work at an appropriate pace.  The district is financially supporting students taking online courses and wants to ensure the students’ success.  What I have developed is a model for supporting both the online curriculum for both the student and the district.  The district has actually taken my working model and has begun implementing it district wide for all students.  The success rate for high school students has gone from 50% to 90% in just one year.

Through my research on constructivism, social constructivism, and emerging theories such as TDT, I have discovered many valuable application ideas and ways to put the theory into practice. I have also discovered new ways to apply educational technology to these learning theories.  I have learned how various technologies used in the classroom can fit into a constructivist classroom to create more efficient learning experiences for the students.
4. Select three of the projects/assignments you created/wrote in this class and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects/assignments demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

Three of the projects that I created in Ed Tech 504 illustrated my mastery of AECT Standards were:  Module 2 Learning Theories paper, Module 3 Annotated Bibliography, and Module 4 Synthesis Paper. My personal participation in this course demonstrated mastery in Standard 3:   Learning Environments – Ethics or Standard 3.4. I used Moodle to access the course and submit assignments, and adhered to the course requirements such as academic integrity and APA citations. The peer review process demonstrated Standard 4 Professional Knowledge – Collaborative Practice. Standard 5:  Evaluation: I demonstrated research mastery on all the projects, but specifically by collecting and organizing research materials for the learning theories paper, the annotated bibliography, and the synthesis paper demonstrated.  I utilized and mastered technology across all of the AECT standards:  design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation to complete all of the projects and the other activities in this class.  Retrieved  from: http://www.aect.org/standards/initstand.html.

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