EdTech 504: Reflections

Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology: Final Reflective Journal 

What were the most important things I learned this semester?

The most important piece of information that I gained from this course was the need, as an educator, to understand educational learning theories and their application in the use of educational or instructional technologies. It is important to not only understand foundational theories about also emerging theories and how these relate to the evolving ed tech field. I learned that it is important to stay up-to-date with learning theories and the research surrounding these topics with relation to the digitally changing classroom or educational environments. As a technology instructional coach, it is important to guide teachers in technology implementation for increased powerful learning experiences rather than implementation for implementations sake. It is essential to understand how students learn and how these technologies have changed and added to this with their own theories.

How was my teaching (or thoughts about teaching) impacted by what I learned or experienced this semester?

As previously mentioned, I am a technology instructional coach. I have the pleasure of working with classroom teachers to plan and implement technologies into their practice and lessons when most appropriate. This course continued to strengthen my beliefs in the power of connectivism and communities of practice. Over the last few years, I have really come to witness and believe in social networking for students and staff. I hope to continue to train and share the best usages and practices with regards to these tools, which can often be labeled as not educationally pertinent if one does not understand emerging educational learning theories.

 Did I (or will I) use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching, training, or professional practice? If so, how?

I have already begun to use what I have learned in this course for a few summer Tech Talks I will be doing for local teachers. As I prepare to create these teach talks I have always added the goal or student outcome with regards to the training topic, however now I will also add information on the learning theory behind the possible “why”. It is important that teachers know the why behind their decisions for integration within their classroom.

Select three of the projects/assignments you created/wrote in this class and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects/assignments demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

Learning Theories Paper: This assignment had me trace the lines form a major school of thought to theory then to its major contributors and finally the application of this theory.

AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Peer-reviewed journals were used to develop our understanding of learning theory and a particular major school of thought.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Critical thinking and analysis was needed of researched materials to argue applications of the theory at hand.

 Annotated Bibliography: For this bibliography, we were to research peer-reviewed articles around a similar educational technology and learning theories theme. I choose to focus on the Web 2.0 tools and the theories of constructivism and connectivisim.

 AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Peer-reviewed articles were referenced and cited with ties to the theme of connectivisim, constructivism, communities of practice and educational technology/Web. 2.0

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Each peer-reviewed bibliography entry was to be critically critiqued. It wasn’t simply a summary, but rather an analysis of the author’s work and research that made up the bibliography.

 Synthesis Paper: This final paper was an opportunity for me to showcase learning theories related to educational technology. I focused on the need for increased research around emerging learning theories, like connectivism, and their implications for the digital classroom.

 AECT Standard 1.2 Content Knowledge-Using: I was able to focus my synthesis paper on Web 2.0 and the theories that support this collaborative environment, but also reflecting on the need for increased research.

AECT Standard 1.3 Content Knowledge-Assessing/Evaluating: A major component of my paper was assessing social media and the theory of connectivism. This topic shows my interest and understanding that student engagement increases with learning that occurs socially.

 AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Research for this paper took into account past, present and future learning theories surrounding educational technology and Web 2.0 tools.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Using peer-reviewed resources I was able to assess that more research is needed so that educators will be more apt to integrate digital technologies with the use of learning theories in mind. The synthesis paper was not  summary paper, but rather an evaluation of theory and implications for educational technology in learning environments.