Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Taking It to the Next Level

I am often guilty of piling on myself...taking on more than I am sometimes able to handle. While some people my age would take satisfaction in just completing college, I chose to delve into another unknown by beginning work towards attaining my Masters Degree in Educational Technology in January 2015. There were days when I questioned my sanity as to WHY I would want to jump into the cold icy waters of such an undertaking. After all, I'm active in my school with PBIS, Class Adviser, Key Club Adviser, and frequent spectator/volunteer at extra-curricular activities. If my daily schedule wasn't already packed to the gill, why would I dump this on my plate? For the past nineteen months, this question was frequently brought to the forefront as I sat in bed at night wondering if I was really up to the task.

Throughout the process I did everything I could to eliminate any source of negative thinking, focusing instead on the quality of learning that was taking place in my life. There were countless numbers of scholarly articles assigned by my instructors, each requiring a personal writing reflection. I recall one of my assignments involving the dismantling of my laptop computer, identifying the component parts and how they interacted with one another. One bad move could erase some valuable files, much less damage the overall functionality of it. For the first time in my life, I authored a grant proposal for a set of chromebooks and supporting software for assessment. While I personally HATE asking others for money, it was a necessary part of my education. In-between I constructed my first eBook, developed a Professional Development Plan (a/k/a PDP), Instructional Design Plan and Rubric, an online version of my Global Studies classroom course, Mobile Device Integration Plan, Class Technology Coaching Philosophy and Implementation Plan...and everything else.

Throughout the duration I experienced six different but uniquely qualified instructors. Each maintained the highest of standards, communicating in a professional manner. There were weeks when I aced assignments when I was challenged to dig deeper into my thinking. Deadlines were met on schedule, all while developing syllabi and teaching two new courses for high school students. In my professional career of 31+ years in business there were numerous other times when I undertook similar challenges, but none as fulfilling as this one. As I prepare to enter my fifth year of teaching, this new certification has sparked a new passion and intellectual curiosity for integrating new technology into daily lesson planning. While the bump in salary is nice, the experience of watching students using new skills will be very rewarding. My newly completed graduate work has revealed an exciting pathway to the future of public education!