Did I Get to Where I Was Going? Reflecting on My Master’s Degree Journey
Any time someone embarks on a long journey, such as getting a master’s degree, it should be done with clear goals in mind. When I began working on my degree, I set several goals, some technology-specific and some not. Since I will be completing my Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) in December 2018, I am reflecting on my original goals to see whether I have accomplished them, or whether I still hold them as goals.
My original goals for the program were to learn to thoughtfully incorporate technology into my classroom, to learn to use technology as a tool for adapting lessons for diverse learners and to figure out ways technology integration can be done equitably for students from diverse socioeconomic and language backgrounds. I teach in a university town where students come to us from many socioeconomic statuses, from countries all over the world, and with diverse educational needs. I saw technology as a tool to help ensure an equitable education for all my students as well as a tool that my students would need to learn to use skillfully.
I saw technology as a tool to ensure an equitable education for all my students.
These goals still apply to my teaching practice. Although I have learned a great deal and met many students’ needs through technology, I am still striving to make technology ever more meaningful and useful in my classroom. Because each student who comes into my classroom has unique needs, and because of the ever-changing nature of technology, I think there will always be more to learn and more to do.
I have attained many incremental steps along the way toward each goal. The MAET program has not only shown me tools and techniques for helping my students in specific and relevant ways but I have also gained a professional learning network of educators and learned invaluable methods for finding new ways to help my students.
Changing Career, Growing Goals
As an educator, I am constantly meeting goals, changing goals and adding goals. When I first wrote my three original goals it was as an elementary school art teacher. I now teach engineering and technology in a project-based learning environment. While my original three goals remain, I have also added goals along the way. Some additional goals are to continue to explore different ways for students to demonstrate their learning through project-based digital assessments and to help students develop computational thinking skills.
My fourth- and fifth-graders often work in small groups at their own pace. Technology tools have helped me to have a dialog with those students even when I do not have time to meet with them every class period. And through my research class, I learned multiple strategies for helping struggling students gain the computational thinking skills necessary for participating in our technology-driven society.
Looking Back, Looking Forward
I expect my goals to continue to morph over time. The MAET program has given me specific strategies for goal-setting and goal-checking. And I look forward to seeing how technology continues to impact my students and me.
All images on this page were created by Sarah Van Loo.