I chose to use Weebly and Blogger for my TE 808 website and blog because I had used both for another class website and was very familiar with them plus they are free.  I was easily able to add new pages to my website and blog for this course without having to create a new ones. Both web tools have been very easy for me to use and easy to modify as I need to add information or make changes to current information. I have learned that you can use your own website or blog to share a variety of information that is important to you as a tool for helping others who may have similar interests.  I plan to continue using Weebly and Blogger as a place to share things I’m learning or experiencing in my education, job, and life in general. 

The most challenging part of maintaining my website and blog has been finding time to adequately update and add important information or to delete unnecessary information.  As I began adding information for my current class I found pages on my site and blog  that were quite outdated from last year and I had to decide to either update or delete entries altogether.  Those housekeeping tasks take time but can be very vital to the success of your website and blog.  As a web user, I tend to steer away from sites that have outdated material or information.    

The most beneficial part of creating my website and blog was that it helped me to think more intentionally about who I am as a professional educator and person in general.  As I added entries to my site and blog I had to analyze whether or not they reflected me as a classroom teacher, employee, or person.  I also had to creatively think about how to feature myself so that it aligned to my values and accomplishments in life. 

I learned a great deal from viewing my classmate’s websites or blogs. I found that there are a variety of skill sets and experiences when it comes to teaching.  I also learned that there are many differences in the way we all present ourselves.  I realized that some of my classmates are very comfortable with using these web tools to communicate with the world about their profession. 

I hope to continue using my website and blog in the future.  I may have to delete pages or information so that it doesn’t become overloaded but I do plan to use it to help me house things that are important to me. If I do have a blog or website for my class it will be a different website than this one because I would like to keep them separate. I see a lot of value in having a blog or website for students and their parents to access whether it’s for learning about events and projects in the classroom or for communication purposes.  Last year I was able to co-teach a blogging class with our technology director at school.  We helped students to learn about blogs and to create their own blogs.  We had weekly assignments where they had to add posts, pictures, videos, etc.  They were also required to communicate with one another through blog posts and replies as this is important to the value of blogs.  It was a really great class and the students have continued with their blogs even after the class ended. 

 
 
Action research has had a positive influence on my teaching and professional development.  Before this course I wasn’t sure how to effectively handle problems in my practice of teaching.  I would usually talk with my colleagues about the problem or find articles in journals or online that would help guide me towards resolving the problem.  Sometimes the solutions I found were helpful but often they were not because they seemed to be quick fixes rather than systematic strategies that have been researched.  After having completed my own action research project about my own real problem, I feel more confident that I could use this approach to help resolve problems in the future. While I don’t think it would be wise to filter every classroom problem through this research process, I know I will be able to implement action research when necessary.  I found great results when I used action research to help me discover if assistive technology would help my ASD student to grow in his writing skill.  I was able to conduct the research in a few weeks and found that my student did grow in his writing ability by using assistive technology, the iPad and Clicker 6, to support his writing assignments.  Because of his success with writing during the project, I plan on using assistive technology in not only writing but other content areas as well.  I learned so much about my own teaching through this project and look forward to incorporating it into my classroom in the future.

As a result of taking TE 808 I have learned that as a teacher I am beginning to understand the value of being a reflective practitioner in the classroom. I understand that as a teacher you need to not only recognize problem areas in your teaching or classroom but you need to try to understand why and how these things happen.  You also need to observe, evaluate and find new strategies or approaches to apply to the situation.  I also learned a lot about time management through this course.  I found that I had to re-organize my time to be able to balance 2 grad classes, working full time and having time for family as well.  Being in this course helped me to balance keeping up with all the demands without burning out.

After taking this course, I was reminded of the value of looking at students individually.  While we can make general assumptions about the students as a whole class it’s a good practice to look at students individually. This helps you to see the growth they’ve accomplished or the difficulties they’re having in a more isolated way.  By seeing students as individuals you are able to focus on finding ways to support them that are productive whether it’s for enrichment or re-teaching. 

TE 808 is an introductory course in the MATC program but because of scheduling issues for me, it is the 4th course I’ve taken in my program.  This course has helped me to see the value of creating a schedule for due assignments (if one isn’t provided).  Having this schedule in our course truly helped me in my efforts to stay on track with meeting deadlines.  It has also helped me to see the value in trying to manage your time wisely.  By breaking down the action research paper into smaller portions throughout the semester, I was able to complete the larger paper by the end of our course without having to do a lot of work at the very last minute.  I hope to be able to implement this scheduling strategy in my next MATC courses.

The most challenging part of this course has been being able to dedicate adequate time to assignments.  I am currently taking another course, working full time and a mom of four children.  While I have sincerely enjoyed the course and the assignments, I worked hard to keep up with course readings, forum postings, action research project assignments, TED videos, web 2.0 tools, and scheduling peer feedback.  I have spent more time in this three credit hour course than I did in the other three credit hour courses I’m taking or have taken. I had three educational technology courses last summer which gave me great exposure to implementing technology in the classroom so I felt like that part of TE 808 was a little bit of repeat but I’m glad that I already had exposure to the web tools.  The most beneficial part of the course was being able to conduct the action research project.  I enjoyed being able to identify a problem and analyze it while attempting to find solutions to the situation that would benefit me and my student in the long run. I also enjoyed giving and receiving the peer feedback. Having another set of eyes look at the paper was really helpful.   

If a MATC colleague was going to take TE 808 I would tell them that they should be ready to take on a semester of work as they will need and want to dedicate their time and energy to focus on the action research project.  I would encourage them that the work is not difficult if you follow the syllabus and schedule and utilize the forums on Angel for support.  I would also advise them to test out the many web tools they learn about in their own classrooms.  Overall, they should be encouraged that they will learn a lot about becoming a reflective practitioner in their own classrooms. 

 

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    I am enrolled in the MATC program at MSU.  I am also a full time mom of 4 kids and 1 black lab.  This blog will reflect a mixture of posts about both school and family. 

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