Connecting and Communicating Ideas

My digital journey reflection began on August 22, 2016.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and enrolled in graduate school thirty-one years after graduating from McNeese State University with a B.S. degree in Business Education.  Throughout my teaching career, I have experienced many changes in the way I present course material.  Fortunately, in my field, I have always had access to computers in my classroom.  In my opinion, technology was merely a tool.  Since being enrolled in a Master’s Degree program in Digital Learning and Leading, I am learning a new approach to engaging students through the use of technology.  I would like to propose that we make learning more meaningful and exciting by adopting the Blended Learning method.

I believe that the Blended Learning method can be incorporated into a classroom and ignite a fire throughout the entire campus.  Although this method is quite different from methods used over the past thirty years,  we all want what is best for our students.  Students today have been raised with technology and some are more technologically advanced than their teachers.  Why not provide our students with information, but deliver the information in a more energizing and effective manner.  We can provide this information in a technology-rich environment that is familiar to our students.

My vision is to move to the Blended Learning model in my Graphics Design classes by learning from the students, providing more opportunities for collaboration, ownership, and voice in student projects and assignments.  Blended Learning will allow our students an opportunity to perform classwork and projects online either at home or in the school setting.  Through a combination of videos from various institutions, virtual meetings with speakers, online notes from teachers, and online assessments, I believe our students will become better learners.  I know that my students have varied digital skills, but they do not really know how to express their work in a meaningful way.  I want to help them shine and be successful, learn from each other, teach each other, and teach me all at the same time.

In my graduate courses, some of my assignments consisted of creating presentations, participating in discussion boards, finding online resources to use in the classroom, and sharing ideas with others about the Blended Learning model.  I am implementing some of the resources and models in my classroom and have experienced a significant change in the way my students are learning and retaining information.

My innovation plan began with reading books, articles, blogs, and journals.  I developed a rough outline, a letter to my administrators to introduce my plan, a short video on my innovation plan, and a literature review.

I would encourage you to read some of the books that I have read or am currently reading:

Horn, M. B., Staker, H. (2014). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. John Wiley Sons.

  • “Educators who loved the ideas presented in Disrupting Class now have a field guide to making it work in a real-world school, with expert advice for making the transition smoother for students, parents, and teachers alike.  For educational leaders seeking more student-centered schools, Blended provides the definitive roadmap.”  Retrieved from Amazon.com.

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., & Swizler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: tools for talking when stakes are high. (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill New York, NY.

  • “The first edition of Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene and revolutionized the way millions of people communicate when stakes are high.  This new edition gives you the tools to prepare for high-stake situations, transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, make it safe to talk about almost anything, and be presuasive, not abrasive.”  Retrieved from Amazon.com.

Patterson, K., & Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change, Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.

  • “Change your company.  Change the lives of others.  Change the world.  An INFLUENCER leads change.  An INFLUENCER replaces bad behaviors with powerful new skills.  An INFLUENCER makes things happen.”  Retrieved from Amazon.com.

Covey, S., McChesney, C., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. Simon and Schuster.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start With Why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. Penguin.

Pink, D. H. (2011). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Penguin.

Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset: The new technology of success.New York, NY: Random House Publishing.

Friedman, E. H. (2007). A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the age of the quick fix. Church Publishing, Inc.

Finally, through collaboration with other students enrolled in graduate school, I am able to exchange ideas through discussion boards.  One of my favorite videos to watch during this course was by Sir Ken Robinson.  I would encourage you to watch this short motivational video.  It solidifies my views on Blended Learning.  Our students deserve an innovative change.  Through Blended Learning in my classroom, I am confident that students will learn more effectively, be actively engaged, learn educational technology skills at a faster pace, and be more successful.

Sir Ken Robinson‘s YouTube video.

For more information about my Innovation Plan for Blended Learning can be found on my blog.

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