Learning is an integral part of my day. Personally, I seek ways to maintain my mind health by reading and consuming information from various sources without which my days would seem just empty. Nevertheless, rare is the occasion when one can live their 24 hours without learning anything new, be it by reading and studying, be it by word of mouth or necessity to perform. Engaging in the MAET program has been an optimal use of my, quote, free, unquote, time. Truth be told, teachers have limited time for themselves. When we’re not grading or planning, we’re thinking about a million other ideas that we can add to our planning and/or instructional time! Consequently, a wise choice is in order for our after school hours.
There’s no denying that double work hours can jeopardize one’s sanity sometimes, but there’s also a certain confidence that gets added to the mix: If one is able to deliver their assignments diligently AND perform their work duties by combining those newly acquired abilities, they have finally gotten all aces. In that, CEP 811’s syllabus has made me feel like a Jack of all trades. By producing authentic pieces like StAIR, or working hard to accomplish an optimal WebQuest, I made sure that I was creating material for my own world, in the most authentic way. I am the one who’s taking advantage of additional professional development, but my students, my target audience, benefit from the resources that I create directly. Nothing can make my experience more meaningful, since I can also reflect on any possible problems during the application and review my work. And isn’t this exactly what we ask from our students?
Another personal big hit from Adapting Innovative Technologies in Education has been the UDL principles. By going through that session, I had another boost in confidence, for it seems that I am doing things right! Making changes to the curriculum to benefit all learners is such a necessary step for all teachers. Actually, both the UDL and the TPACK frameworks set an authentic premise for teachers who work with technology and who are walking towards a tangible 21st century experience. I hope I can influence my coworkers positively about this much needed reasoning at any given chance.
I believe that the technology integration that I have been able to achieve in my classroom is excellent in spite of the lack of resources. My students fill me with pride when they they extend what I taught them and demonstrate that they are entirely able to go further. Some time ago, as I reported my contentment about a student’s incredible showing of tech skills and going far beyond my requests, a friend of mine who’s a Music teacher, Mr. Jay Carlin, made a definitive remark about this very feeling that resonated so well with me. He said: “I learned a long time ago to accept the fact that while I might be more of an “expert” in a particular discipline than my students are, my students are simultaneously experts across many disciplines — especially collectively. Allowing students to make choices about their own education is incredibly powerful.” Hence the reason why I try my best to offer choices in my class projects and assignments. They may be 11 or 12 years old, but they have a voice that is waiting to be heard.
I can honestly say that my professional goals are being met, one by one, upon advancing in this program. My work has never been easier: the automation that many of these MAET suggestions brings to my classroom is unparallelled. I feel lucky to have found my path in teaching and learning. For the future, I envision being able to offer my skills and assistance to my fellow teachers, transforming their paths like I did mine.