Reflections


      I am not very good at looking back and reflecting on where I have been.  I am usually too busy trying to figure out where I am going next.  This has been a wild ride for me, especially with the trials Katrina brought.  That said here goes. 
       I backed into a Master's.  After taking classes to be recertified, twice, I was hired for a job I was not certified for.  I then took the necessary 18 hours for that certification.  This gave me enough hours for a plus 30.  The only problem was that I did not have my Master's and none of those hours were in the right program to transfer. So I started looking for a Master's program I would enjoy while expanding my field of knowledge.
I originally entered this program on the recommendations of two fellow teaches at my school.  One was finishing her master's the other her plus 30. 
       I was interested in learning enough about computers that I would no longer need to constantly ask my teenage sons for help.  Their method of showing me how to fix things I messed up was to do it for me.  Then they expected me to remember what they had done.  Amazingly, the first class, ETEC 644, with Dr. Bitner had me doing things they now ask me to show them how to complete.  My husband was of no help other than to buy me Web Design for Dummies.  He tries.
       My only non-techie courses were EDF 600 Research, with Dr. Devaney and EDF 607 Educational Philosophies.  Although not an ETEC class 607 seemed like one as Dr. Adams taught it 100% online. I did learn a lot from both of these classes.
       Dr. Adams was the instructor for most of my classes.  She has been an influence for change with me.  I was surprised at how much leadership is emphasized.  When I started I knew there was a lot of instruction on technology.  My first classes with her were 630/665.  Here is where I first learned of the leadership role I am to play.  After these classes I went back to my school and planned and offered several training sessions.
       The next semester I was to take 650 with Dr. Hancock, unfortunately this class didn't make.  I was able to transfer to 645 with Dr. Adams.  If only we had any idea what this was a precursor for.  Dr. Adams had to cancel the first class due to family obligations.  Katrina canceled the next several weeks.  This class and the camaraderie of the people involved were my lifeline in the weeks after the storm.  To some extent I feel we are still dealing with the repercussions of Katrina. 
      In 645 again, I was on my own at home as none of the men in my family had used most of the software we needed.  Power Point was the only exception, but I seemed to know more about it than they did.  My students enjoyed the web quest as an extra credit project over the Christmas holiday. 
      Finally in the spring of 2006, I got to meet Dr. Hancock.  At first he scared the life out of the entire class.  We were used to Dr. Adams and a more laid back, hands on approach than he was talking about at first.  Things worked out well.  I learned a lot of things I never knew I would need, but have used since then.  Some times he got so excited about what we were learning it was infectious. 
      In the summer, I got to know Dr. Fulwiler as well as taking an online class with Dr. Adams.  This time I was able to help my instructor as Dr. Fulwiler was new to SLU.  So new that he started the day before classes started. 
This was an elective that is usually taken before any of the other tech classes.  Originally this was waived for me as I had taken Intech through my district.  I did learn a few tricks I had never used before.  This was the first time I used th virtual classroom in Blackboard.  I am using the quest I created in this class with my students over spring break as an extra credit project.
     My summer class with Dr. Adams was web mastering.  Again software no one else in my house had ever used.  Instead of creating only new pages, I updated existing pages while creating pages for courses that had not originally required them as part of the course work.  Composer makes creating and editing pages much easier than writing the HTML code.
      Fall 2006 brought Leadership for change and starting my action research project.  In this class I had to take a hard look at myself.  First was the analysis of leadership skills.  Not only did I complete the surveys suggested, but I surveyed my fellow teachers for their opinions of my leadership.  I was amazed by some of the comments.  The thing that I will use for the rest of my life is the competency journals.  Just thinking about them has helped me to resolve issues in both my personal and professional lives much more satisfactorily. 
I have truly enjoyed my research project.  The cooperation and support of my school community is a highlight of my teaching career. 
      The readings for Evaluation of technology research were very interesting.  I had heard of paradigms but had never tied them to my life before.  The phrase “the medium is the message” and the name McLuhan were familiar.  I was amazed at how accurately he describes out technological advances at such an early time in our history. 
       Healy brought home the need to be sure the technology used in our classrooms is developmentally appropriate and enhances teaching not overshadows it.
      The last 3 years have been wild at times, but I wouldn't have missed the people I met and relationships that have formed during this time.