Thinking back to my first course in this program, I recall so much fear, confusion, and frustration! I remember thinking to myself and having MANY conversations with my husband trying to figure out “what in the heck do they want?!?”. It seems like yesterday that we were tasked with creating a self-reflection of our past, present, and future leadership. The reflection itself seemed easy enough, but what did they want me to turn in? What was I supposed to submit? Dr. T told us that she would prefer us not to simply write a paper. But what did they want? I have always been so wrapped up and concerned about the grade I was receiving, that many times I missed out on the major part of the true learning experience!
I ended up creating a PowerPoint presentation with voice-over. I was familiar with PowerPoint already, so I started out in my comfort zone, but I had never used the voice-over feature. It was easy enough to figure out, but then came my next task. How do I submit this? How do I get this PowerPoint presentation from my computer to theirs? In that very first assignment of our first class I also learned how to use YouTube and convert PowerPoint presentations to movies, and upload them to my channel to obtain a simple link to my presentation. I was able to copy and paste that link into my assignment document, as well as upload my presentation on my e-portfolio. Looking back, I now realize that this assignment was a very juvenile submission compared to my work later in the program, but this also shows how much I have grown and how far I have come!
Hindsight 20/20, if I were given that assignment now, I would breeze through it with no issues. The only problem I would have now, is deciding on which new platform or tool I want to use the most! I had to convince myself to quit worrying about what they wanted, and start focusing on what I wanted and needed to do to express my ideas, thoughts, and scenarios. I have learned to use various resources to create amazing infographics, videos and games to use in the classroom! We are always talking about how children learn in a wide variety of ways, and we need to start accepting that and adapting our teaching styles to reflect that, but we also need to adapt our adult learning styles! There is no way a black and white assignment would be beneficial to the variety of learners we have in this program, and thankfully, our professors have realized that. Each and every instructor we have had has encouraged us, and ultimately made us, create assignments that are personal, unique, and specific to us and our jobs!
I was originally excited about promoting change within my organization, but fell in a slump for a while. I had many personal issues come up, I was overloaded at work, and had been rejected by a few co-workers when talking about change in general. Fortunately, I realized what was going on, took a step back, lightened my load and regained my confidence. I have learned new ways to initiate change to help alleviate and reduce the resistance. I have learned small things to help trick people into change by making them realize that even though it may be a slight increase in work up front, it will ultimately pay off and help make your job easier, increase student engagement, and improve student success in the future!
Throughout this program we have gone through course after course led by some extremely talented and motivational instructors who truly believe in the material they are teaching. As I complete each course I gain a new sense of motivation and inspiration to push forward as I venture out to change the world! Unfortunately, these experience are a lot like the “church camp experience”, we get fired up for a great cause, we are surrounded by other individuals who share our same point of view and similar ideas, and we learn all of these new techniques, theories, and strategies to use to try to make an extreme difference; however, when we return to our normal, everyday work routine, we are slapped in the face with reality and must conquer the resistance of negative coworkers, peers, and administration.
Lucky for us, we completed several sections in this program preparing us for how to deal with this type of scenario and the importance of Leading Through Crucial Conversations. I have learned a lot about e-portfolios, their benefits, various styles, options, and advantages from platform to platform. I have completed Literature Reviews both by myself and collaboratively as a group documenting the importance f e-portfolios and the statistics of what has worked, what did not work, and what could be changed to make improvements. I have built my e-portfolio and plan to continue using it after completion of this program. The more research I do, the more benefits I find for e-portfolio use in the classroom. I am currently experimenting with my first cohort of student e-portfolio users, and I am beyond excited to see the results and hopefully begin full implementation next semester!
I have learned that there will always be lose ends, there will always be room for improvement and growth, and there will always be at least one negative attitude.
The important thing to remember is to never give up and do not let yourself become too frustrated or overwhelmed. Always remember, these innovation plans are a work in progress and we will be making continuous changes based on the students’ needs. Once I have several e-portfolio user groups graduate from our program, I hope to track their progress as they enter the work-force and communicate the positive impacts this project has on their educational experience as well as their job placement!
When I get ready to begin my next innovation project, I will definitely keep in mind that everything is not going to be completed at one time. There is no way to sit down and start and finish an entire innovation project in one sitting. These things are continuously changing, evolving, and hopefully improving as technology and the workforce demands change.
I am currently working on transitioning my classes into as much of the COVA approach as possible. Some information and material I teach has to be taught the matter of fact way, but even then, I am working on exciting, engaging activities that we can use to help students learn in various ways. For my classes where I have the ability to transfer ownership to the students, I am working on that in full force. I love seeing the initial look of shock on students’ faces when I tell them I do not care what they turn in, but it has to cover __________.
My ultimate goal is to continue to improve and change the way that I teach today’s students to help close the gap of our continuously advancing technological world compared to our rather static educational system. I believe this master’s program has set an incredible example of this, and I hope that I can be the same type of positive influence in my educational setting as all of these instructors have been to me. I will leave this post with one of my favorite videos that has inspired me to do the best I can to help change the way we teach the students of tomorrow!
Royalty Free images received from graphocstock.com
I just sued the school system. Prince Ea. (September 26, 2016). Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://youtu.be/dqTTojTija8