17 August 2013

Life-long Learning

I have just finished co-moderating the #satchatoc Twitter Chat that takes place every Saturday morning. Today, we were discussing Educational Grit - how we show it, encourage and reward it. It made me reflect on the last year and in particular, on my achievements with my first M.Ed Unit.

Teaching full time in a new school as well as being a mother, wife and runner is tough. Add on to that the need to model life-long learning and my cup really runs over! However, I just got the results back for my first module of my M.Ed and I am so pleased.

After not studying officially (other than online and PD stuff) for almost twenty years, the learning curve was steep. Add onto this, the expectations are high. 80% is the what is accepted as standard and only a B grade! As a high achiever who cuts myself no slack, I was seriously worried I would not live up to my own high ideals never mind my university's expectations. How could I get 90% and the As I have received my whole life?

The learning outcomes for this unit were to:
  • Articulate how characteristics of particular technologies can be used for maximum educational benefit. 
  • Demonstrate facility with basic applications software, including word-processing and multimedia/hypermedia 
  • Evaluate instructional software for its appropriate inclusion in the classroom environment. 
  • Analyse the impact of audio, visual, and print components of electronic communications. 
  • Design standards-based units (instruction and assessments) that integrate use of various educational technologies appropriate for a specific subject and student developmental level. 
  • Identify and articulate key issues in the application of technology in the educational process, including issues of equity, student safety, and copyright. 
  • Strengthen communication with school-related audiences through use of technology. 
  • Use technology resources for professional growth. 
  • Use self-assessment strategies to strengthen instruction and student learning.
Assessment were varied. My first formal essay was a steep learning curve. We had to review an educational software application appropriate for our respective grade level and subject. This review was worth 15% of my final grade. I got 86%, a B. OK, but I must admit I was disappointed. Read 'Future of Fiction' to see my comparison of iBooks Author and Inklewriter to enhance narrative writing.

Our next essay was a detailed and critically annotated lesson plan outlining how technology will be used to advance student learning in the subject. We also had to analysis and reflect on the theories behind our lesson plan and technology integration. This was worth 15%. For this I got 90%, an A - at last. But only just.

Next, we put our learning into practice. After researching other sites and critically analysing them, we had to create a website for our own classroom along with an analysis/reflection essay explaining our choices in content and design and how it would enhance learning based on theory. This was worth 20% and I received 97%, an A for sure :) Look at my website HERE.

Our final written piece was a essay reflecting on all our learning. It was based on interviews and lesson plan analysis where we considered effective strategies of technology integration, obstacles to successful integration, and potential approaches for overcoming the obstacles. This was worth 30% and I got 95%, another A :) Read 'Technology in the English Classroom: Black Box or Black Hole?'

Online Participation took the form of discussions about different technologies as well as various group-projects based on extensive readings. For this alone I wrote over 30,000 words! I received a mark of 99% - definitely an A! You can read some of my posts from this on my M.Ed page.

I still have a very long way to go but I am pleased with my results. These are the result of hard work but also support from my PLN and tutor. I learned first-hand the value of feedback in helping develop and advance my writing. Learning myself enhances my teaching not only through what I am learning content wise but also through the process of actually being a learner. I am excited about learning more to be a better educator.