I have become a life-long learner and I hope I instill this in my students and working to complete my third degree in the last 6 years is a reflection of this. However, I do not stop just in course work. Learning comes in many ways. In developing my skills as am Instructional Technologist, I look to find various paths to broaden my horizons in this field. Several conferences over the past two years have provided insights to instructional strategies, new tools to use and being an eye opener to many the impact technology has on the learning for today’s students. The last two years I have attended two conferences: Georgia Association of Technology Educators Conference (GAETC) and International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE). The ISTE conferences was held in Atlanta this past summer was an incredible experience.
In attending these two conference, the biggest impact to me was interacting with young students at poster sessions displaying how they have used technology in their learning and to display what they have learned. One in particular was a group of elementary age students from Mexico. The school had students creating a town farm using a CAD design system which was environmental sound including creating power from solar and hydro resources as well. The students were able to show the programs they were using but also created a video program reflects and showcasing their design work and the beginning stages of their work. This is authentic learning at its best. Gandhi said it best “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As a Fulton County educator, I have been blessed to be a part of two great programs. One was the Technology Leadership Forum, I first began my quest to integrate my former life working in technology with education. I was able to interact with incredible resources such as Tony Vincent and attend my first GAETC conference. Today, I a member of Fulton County’s Vanguard Team which is further developing my skills as an Instructional Technology educator and coach to my peers. I am further extending my learning through the use of the Sanderling we are using for learning and coaching plus various professional learning sessions throughout the year. I will be coaching at least 4 peers at my school and hope they will improve my learning as well in technology and as a coach.
As teacher, “we must talk the talk but also walk the walk “to show our students the importance of learning and it does not end when school ends.
I began my journey in earning my Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Technology degree in June 2013, I had hoped by this time I would have completed this journey. However, sometimes in life bumps are put in place to make the journey more meaningful. As I complete ITEC 7500 and my portfolio, I am able to reflect on this journey as I review the artifacts of my work and learning. In creating reflections of my work I can note my areas of strengths and weakness and are they still the case. How have I grow farther in my understanding in mastery of the ISTE standards and becoming an Educational Technologist.
As I continue to grow as an Educational Technologist and Coach, the evidence of the tremendous work and mastery of the ISTE standards in my portfolio will continue to be sources for me to refer back to and reflect for improvement. Along with the standards, the completion of my Capstone Project provides evidence of my understanding and support in the growing trends and changes in education in how it relates in the vast world of technology. My push as an educator to blend these two worlds together will provide the rigor, relevance and real world learning the students of today need.
In completing this program, I have been able to grow as an educator in ways many of peers have not and I am supporting and developing this shift in education.
Christa Evans Heath