As I sit here, this is the first day of my graduate work at Boise State and I couldn’t be more excited…and also nervous. Looking back the biggest event that has brought me to this point was my participation in a long-term professional development program called Powerful Learning Practices (PLP). In this program, educators are exposed to the great many technologies that are available in the world (and are continually being added to the list) and, more importantly, how these technologies are changing the face of learning in this still young century. I can still remember the first day of the PLP program when I had to assess my use and understanding of web 2.0 tools. It was an easy assessment. I had no idea what that term even meant. Once the web 2.0 door was opened to me, I quickly understood that this was much more than a way to add flashy technology to my Biology class, but rather it was a new world of education in which each student’s individual learning takes center stage and the teacher’s role becomes more of a coach and guide.
Since concluding the PLP program, I have been working to incorporate as many of the ideas into my teaching as I could. It has been a struggle though. A combination of my inexperience, the traditional mindset of my students and the overwhelming tasks on my normal plate as a teacher kept me from getting as in depth as I wanted to. Through Twitter, I managed to link up with many talented teachers and educational technology specialists around the world. I have incorporated Voicethread lessons in my classes and have even gone so far as to create and produce video lectures so that I could “flip” my Pre-Algebra class. I have found very useful sites such as Classroom 2.0 and the The Flipped Class Network. Over the past year, I have done my best to share these ideas with colleagues and have talked with the school’s Headmaster about expanding my role to that of a guide for my colleagues into this world of educational technology. The only real problem that I saw was that while I had a plethora of enthusiasm, I lacked any substantive experience and training in the field.
So, here I am. The first day of graduate school at Boise State University as I pursue a Masters in Educational Technology. My very clear short term goal is to learn as much as I can about Educational Technology. I want to become a voice at my school and a source of inspiration and support for my colleagues as they learn the potential benefits that technology can bring to their student’s learning. The long term is a little less clear. While I certainly want to embrace any professional opportunities a Masters in Ed Tech may bring me, I am hesitant to leave the classroom entirely. Ideally, I will end up with one foot in each world. I will have an opportunity to support and teach colleagues while also having a classroom that gives me a space to use all that I hope to learn.