Final Course Reflection

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Audrey Wilson-Youngblood
SLIS 5720
Blog Post #4
Final Reflection
I began my exploration as a new teacher considering technology integration with an eagerness to “get it right.”  Oftentimes, I became frustrated with myself and my students when a lesson or project that centered around technology failed.  My many attempts at MovieMaker, for example, left me disenchanted with the possibilities of digital storytelling.  However, curiousity and perseverance prevailed as I hesitantly but patiently continued to seek and try resources and instructional technology.  After several more years and a change of position, I gained back some of the confidence I’d lost.   Like the pre-service teachers in Daniella Smith’s (2010) article, “Making the case for the leadership role of school librarians in technology integration” who “lacked the knowledge to link Web 2.0 technology to classroom activities” I, too, needed to find a support system that allowed me to collaborate with other teachers seeking to effectively integrate technology into the classroom. 
In my initial technology assessment, I commented on my strength as a professional development leader and the knowledge of specific technology tools I gained while in a coaching position.  It was there that I realized how important embedded professional development is even for “digital natives [who] need instruction in how to transition to teachers who use advanced and assistive technology in the classroom” (Smith, 2010, p. 619).  As a professional development team, we spent most of our time demonstrating various tools, but we failed to provide support for teachers as they sought to integrate the them, “moving them from structuralism to student-centered constructivist activities” as Smith discussed with pre-service librarians (2010, p. 620).   Due to the structure of our position and limitations of our roles, little to no follow-up training was available for teachers.  Now I am validated by the importance of a “supportive infrastructure that includes support for teacher initiative and involvement” (Smith, 2010, p. 620).
                         I’m now able to reflect upon the type of campus leader I hope to become.  As a “transformational leader” I will work with campus leadership “to empower school stakeholders such as teachers, community leaders, parents, and students, which serves numerous purposes [creating] long-term reform” (Smith, 2010, p. 621).  To facilitate the creation of a “shared vision” I plan to initiate a library advisory committee.  I see an opportunity for the committee to not only consider the new direction of the library as an information center, but also to pilot a “Bring Your Own Device” project.  By allowing students to bring and use their own devices, teachers can bypass much of the headache our campuses lack of instructional technology or outdated technology often causes.  My role as a leader and instructional specialist will be to support teachers as they seek to integrate various Web 2.0 tools into their instructional practices.  Several products of this course including the blog and website will enable me to provide “on-demand” professional development supporting the work of this team. 
                        As I look ahead, I continue to gather the numerous tools we’ve explored in the course and utilize my new Diigo account to bookmark, organize and synthesize information I come across so that I can then share it with others.  I find RSS feeds to be particularly useful and have subscribed to sites such as digitalshift.com and digitalis.nwp.org, both of which are platforms for educators to share, discuss, and collaborate on topics related to digital literacy and the integration of technology into the learning process.  I’ve found and subscribed to a number of blogs, which refer me to even more blogs and sites.  Most importantly, I’ve discovered a network of colleagues who are my teachers and who will continue to share their resources and experiences.  Some of these colleagues are organizing into a digital committee on my campus.  Other colleagues are part of national communities of learners and educators. 
My learning experiences in the course allowed me to move from confidence to efficacy as a teacher who integrates technology.  My goal for myself was to broaden my knowledge of various tools.  Like the pre-service librarians my “confidence seemed to be closely aligned with [my] knowledge of technology tools” (Smith, 2010, p. 626).  I now feel that not only have I gained more knowledge than I anticipated, but I also have numerous resources to continue to explore once the course is over.  I relate to the pre-service librarian who wrote, “I try new technology more readily.  I am not afraid to fail if it helps me learn to succeed” (Smith, 2010, p. 624).  I’ve come to understand that where technological integration is involved, learning is part of the struggle. 
Daniella Smith, (2010) “Making the case for the leadership role of school librarians in technology integration”, Library Hi Tech, Vol. 28 Iss: 4, pp.617 – 631.  DOI:  http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:2199/10.1108/07378831011096277
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