Final Reflections

Interaction: When a semester’s worth of material is suddenly in one’s hands, it is like Christmas for a teacher, and that is what this course has been for me. I learned how to stop making lessons in isolation and produce a full set of materials that use technology but also play off existing course concepts, except students now have more options to attack classes. In this case, I also discovered that Advanced Placement English, even having to follow a tight standard, could be a place where educational technology approaches can be more than a supplement to instruction.

AECT Standards:
Standard 1 (Design) was key to this particular course, and I truly felt I not only got to be creative, but also got to see all four pieces of the standard in place. Having fully completed lessons ready to use (some of which have already been implemented), it is easy to see mastery of the concept in that the final product is useful to students.

Standard 2 (Development) was also covered, primarily with audiovisual, computer-based and integrated technologies. I was able to become much more comfortable making videos for lessons, to the point that I could add one of my own without fear and trepidation.

Although not always directly in place, Standard 4 (Management), resource, delivery, and information management was essential, as many of my own lessons involve more than a week of instruction.

Standard 5 (Evaluation) is not directly tied to these lessons either, but since I plan to implement (or already have), it is important to review what works and what does not. In addition, because of my new tool kit, my planning for the rest of the school year has changed significantly.

Standard 3 (Utilization) is clearly a part of these lessons: Our lesson plans even called for the use of “relative advantage”, “forcing” us as educators to truly consider whether the lesson is of value to our students, not just to our creative urge.

Professional growth: This is my 23rd year, but this has rejuvenated my excitement for course design and also given me a few more options professionally to seriously consider. I also feel like I have the right tool kit to train other teachers how to use what is not only immediately available to them, but also to start looking. It is fun to watch teachers who are relatively new to the field suddenly find their own new toys under the education Christmas tree. I now have a place where teachers can immediately go to for models, and also, it will be a place for me to add new lessons as I develop them in the future.

Teaching practices:  For a long time I was not certain if Advanced Placement courses were going to work well with what I learned, so I had developed courses for either adult learners or overall. However, thanks to what I learned here, I can see that no matter the course, educational/instructional technology practices can be a benefit. It has rubbed off on my students as well, who love to play so much they continue to surprise me with what they do. I have found that I use “traditional” testing much less than I ever have in the past, yet I feel my students have lost nothing in the process and in increasing cases are gaining more than in the past.

Theory: I am of the constructivist approach, so much of my project designs are building/scaffolding approaches where students start with base/existing knowledge and continue to build on these concepts until they are not only adding dry wall, but wires, plumbing, plaster, paint, wood floors and tile. The idea is that although at the end of the unit, everyone will have a house, the house may look different. Some students may have a one-story, others a split-level, or a mansion. Ironically, the houses may look different than what the student initially thought they could build, thanks to the idea of allowing theory become a project-based approach with different tools (Prezi, mind mapping, Evernote, video, etc.) available.


Personal Blog Rubric

Content: 69/70 (Outstanding): Based on comments from my peers, I feel I have provided rich content and also present ideas that others may not have considered. It was also nice to see some of my peers share or add thoughts that I had not considered, but the context was indeed clear and identifiable with real life situations.

Readings/Resources: 18/20 (Outstanding): I have used not only the text but also some other resources for my posts, which I feel is important when blogging (this is the journalist in me talking as well). There were times when I feel I did not add as much as I wanted due to time constraints and a busy schedule, but I do not intend to stop blogging and actually intend to increase my public blogging now that my course work is done.

Timeliness: 20/20 (Outstanding): I believe all of my blogs were up Saturday or Sunday, giving at least 24 hours for them to be viewed. I do not think any of my blogs were posted on the actual day they were due.

Responses to other Students: 26/30: (Outstanding): This is an area where I hope I contributed well but sometimes wonder if I could not have been more encouraging or added more conversation. Most of the time, however, I posted directly to a student’s blog versus the course commentary area, so that my peers’ post could have a little weight added to it. Maybe it is I, but there is something nice about a comment on something that has posted in such a public arena, especially when it is positive. I do know I managed to look at two and sometimes three peer posts and also, even though the fatigue of the semester was kicking in, offer a little deeper insight in the last two or three blog activities.

Final Numerical Grade: 133/140 (I have a hard time with a perfect score, because there is always something more I could have done or contributed). (See rubric chart below for more details)

Criteria Outstanding Proficient Basic Below Expectations 

70 points

Rich in content, full of thought, insight and synthesis with clear connections to previous or current content and/or to real life situations made with depth and detail. Substantial information, thought, insight and analysis has taken place with some connection to previous or current content and/or to real life situations but lack of depth and detail. Generally competent in summarizing learning, but information is thin and commonplace with limited connections and vague generalities. Rudimentary and superficial regurgitation of content with no connections and/or completely off topic.
Readings and Resources

20 points

Readings (from course text) and other resource materials are used to support blog comments. APA style is used to cite references. There is some reference to readings and other resource material. No or limited use of APA style references. Little if any reference is made to readings an other course materials. Readings and resources are not mentioned.

20 points

All required postings are made early in the module to give others time to comment. All required postings are made but not in time for others to read and respond. Some or all of the required postings are made, but most are at the last minute without allowing for response time. Some or all of the required postings are missing.
Responses to Other Students

30 Points

Two or more substantial posts with at least one detailed response made to address another students’ post. One or more satisfactory posts with at least one satisfactory response made to address another students’ post. One satisfactory post with a brief response to another students’ post. One brief post or no post at all and no response to another students’ post.