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Reflections

When I first began my journey through the Ed Tech program, I have to admit that I was overconfident in my abilities. I have been the one that everyone comes to with technology questions. If I didn't’t know the answer, it was pretty easy for me to search through the help section of the software we were discussing or to go online and find the answer. I was never really challenged with technology. All of that changed when I started in Ed Tech in the fall of 2011.

The first major lesson I learned was that I was not the big kid on the block. I quickly learned that I did not know everything. My first major challenge was Blackboard. I was familiar with Moodle, but navigating Blackboard was very interesting. I was also introduced to ADDIE. I almost gave up when we started with ADDIE. I was behind almost everyone in the class because I have been out of the classroom for a long time and people were using acronyms and theories that I had no experience with. My saving grace was that I refused to give up, and most importantly, I was put into a team with people who I have formed a lifelong bond with.

My peers and the relationships we have built has been an unexpected gift and benefit of going through the Ed Tech program. This has been a very powerful and emotional experience for me. I did not think that the social interaction in an online class could be developed to the degree that has been done in our program. I had taken classes online before where interaction was minimized. Even in my traditional classes, the main emphasis was on the teacher/student relationship. Here we were encouraged to interact and learn in groups. It was vital and very much appreciated. I learned from my professors, but I also learned and gained experience through the interactions with my classmates. I have built relationships that are meaningful and lasting.

By the second semester, I had settled down and was genuinely enjoying my experiences. I was more comfortable with ADDIE, using the tools we needed for class, and meeting the demands of work and class. I also started learning my next biggest personal lesson. I had the habit of thinking bigger than I needed to. This semester was very important because in it we learned about the need to constrain yourself. This was demonstrated in the creation of PowerPoint presentations. Many people, myself included, often put too much in their presentations. This semester taught me that in many cases, less is more.

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Maymester and summer school were interesting. It was a lot of work packed into a short span of time. I have never been good with time management. I work better under pressure. With the speed of the Maymester and summer classes, I have come to appreciate the need to plan for projects better and work more efficiently. The classes also started building on prior courses and expand my understanding of the underlying theories in online education.

Fall 2012 found me further refining the lessons I had been taught already. I was learning how to incorporate what I learned into real world applications. I started having conflicts though with what I was learning and my duties at work. The changes I was making to my PowerPoint and databases for work were not completely understood. I also had trouble getting my coworkers to try new things. This gave me real world experience again with obstacles that I will face in creating and implementing technology in school/work.

Spring 2013 has been exciting. I am almost through with my journey. I am learning and further refining my skills. In reflecting on my experiences, I think I would have interacted more with my peers outside of my groups than I have. I am seeing some great examples of other’s work and I feel I could learn more from my peers. I am seeing a lot of growth in my work and my classmates, especially from those first attempts in our early classes to now.

All in all, I have learned not only the lessons needed to complete this degree, but I learned a lot about myself. From my first attempts to create Flash animations, to my portfolio webpages, I have come a long way. I have learned to manipulate images, design instruction, use different learning theories, create online instruction, and use many different tools. More importantly, I have learned that I have a lot to learn and that it is okay to ask others for help and the importance of creating relationships with my peers. Not only have I grown through this experience and through my interactions with others, but I have helped others in return.


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