This page serves as a digital journey synthesis that began nineteen months ago. My experiences and assignments have varied since I began this journey. As you scroll through the various assignments, keep in mind that this journey was a process that will show my audience the various pieces of the puzzle. My goal is to provide some research, examples, and proposals that will aid my innovation plan for incorporating blended learning in the classroom.
First, you will see below the visual representation of my digital journey synthesis on YouTube. I have also created a link to my synthesis in Keynote below.
Next, is my learning manifesto presentation in Keynote. I really enjoyed the challenge of this lesson. We were asked to dig deep and look for our true passion:
- Why are we doing what we do?
- How have we evolved throughout our career?
- What is right or wrong with education and what can we do to enhance or fix it?
- Identify emerging issues related to digital learning and leading.
I created a reflection that I called my Learning Manifesto. This was my very first attempt to use Keynote with a voiceover. I was extremely nervous (still am) about submitting this as an Evidence of Learning. When I think of evidence, I feel like it is something that can be held against me. Nonetheless, it was required. Playing the presentation and actually hearing myself speak brought back a memory from long ago. Do you remember when you recorded your very first voice message that was on your old-fashioned answering machine?
My Digital Reflection assignment required me to travel down a very long road. I graduated high school in 1981 and college in 1986. My very first teaching job was actually teaching typing on electronic typewriters! I have definitely seen changes in technology – loving every moment!
This assignment was one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors that I have encountered in over 15 years. I traveled the world between the years of 2000 and 2007. While overseas, I taught technology in Saudi Arabia for three years and worked at a prestigious hospital in the legal department. In order to fully appreciate my journey with digital literacy, I must emphasize where I have been and how far I have traveled. Click on Digital Reflection for the details of how I got started and how far I have progressed.
As I reflect on my journey in the Digital Learning and Leading program, many thoughts and ideas run through my mind. When I was initially introduced to the COVA process, my entire life changed. Choice, Ownership, Voice, and Authentic Learning is a great way to incorporate blended learning into my classroom. After teaching for over twenty plus years, it was very refreshing to not only learn the COVA & CSLE process but to actually model this process in my classroom. I truly feel that this approach will not only engage students in authentic learning but will also transform the way that educators teach and learn.
The students in our district were born in the digital age. It is time to make a paradigm shift and teach our students in the way that they know how to learn. Most veteran teachers that I know use technology as a tool and some are even scared to use technology for fear of failing in front of the students and administrators. We can make it safe to fail forward without the fear of being embarrassed or ashamed of mistakes. The students need to learn how to fail forward also. If we model that behavior, encourage them by letting them know that they are not there, YET. If we want our students to be successful after high school, we must embrace a Growth Mindset (Dweck). In today’s fast-paced world, our students need to learn the skills and develop a passion for life-long learning. We must model that we are never too old to learn. Just think, this could create a new culture of learning in our community. Take a look at my big hairy audacious goal through my Professional Learning Go and Show blog.
Throughout this program, we were encouraged to create a significant change in the way that we learn and teach. I was not accustomed to having the freedom to create my own plan. But, based on the current needs of our district and my current level of knowledge I created and revised a new and innovative way of learning and teaching. My Innovation Plan was a plan to make learning fun and authentic. It was a way of rejuvenating both the teachers and the students. I am so grateful that I have an audience that will listen to my ideas and help our district move forward in the digital world.
Various assignments asked us to look at our plan and see what worked, what did not work, and what could be done better. Here is a look at my Reflection of Innovation Plan. My professors guided us through various methods to create a plan, influence others to join our venture, and learn how to fail forward.
The discomfort of change. I remember years ago hearing a principal telling us that in Saudi Arabia change is a constant. After living there for seven years, I totally understand the concept. It occurs all over the world, in our professional lives as well as in our personal lives. Fortunately, my professors introduced me to 4DX. Take a look at how it changed my world and how it can change our district as well. Our future relies on the way the next generation can manage change in the digital age.
Learning from our students is a must if we want to be able to understand their world. Being able to adapt and adjust is a mindset that can change the way we think. Learning from Leaders is crucial to surviving in this society.
So why am I doing all of this research and learning new methodologies? What drives me to work full time and attend graduate school full time? Here is My Why. What encourages you to get out of bed each day and go to work? Do you love what you do? Are you making a difference? We can all do this, one day at a time, one student at a time, and one heartbeat at a time.
Another portion of our research in this program was to find new tools and technologies that we can incorporate into the classroom on a daily basis to keep our students engaged. I created a digital presentation that showcases some of the digital tools that I have found to incorporate into my classroom. Digital Learning & Leading Journey Synthesis Assignment
I have created this Digital Learning & Leading Journey Synthesis page with links to my past findings, my current research, and my love of learning. I encourage you to find your WHY, create a BHAG, monitor your digital footprint carefully, be a good digital citizen, fail forward, change your mindset to a growth mindset, and be innovative in your journey. Just remember, there is always room for change because we are not there, YET! When faced with deadlines, illnesses, teenage drama, and even fishing tournaments, I have to remind myself that I am not there YET. It is ok to be wrong, just turn that into a positive learning experience for everyone involved. Teach our students how to look at the big picture and start with the end in mind. Encourage creativity and ownership in projects without losing sight of the big picture. Finally, I want to encourage my students to become life-long learners and share their excitement when they learn something new. If a student is interested in the subject, they will find a way to learn. I have been able to offer some good advice to my students this year based on what we have learned in this program. I have pushed them to step out of their comfort zone and keep pushing forward.
I think the biggest lesson that I learned throughout this program is to win over the influencers through Patterson’s (2017)) method. Secondly, I have changed my mindset to a growth mindset and have shifted the way that I interact with my students. Instead of telling them no, you’ve done this wrong, I now say you are almost there, you can do it, WE are not there yet. I have seen the change in confidence of struggling students by using the not there YET method. I have also learned to attempt the not there YET method with my administration. I have struggled with a few who just don’t understand this method, but I keep telling myself that WE as a district are not there YET.
I think that our district superintendent has a clear vision of how to promote our community and reach out to the parents to get our students more involved in learning and growing and having FUN. That was one of my goals with my plan, to create significant learning environments that are engaging and FUN.
I have also learned that there will always be roadblocks and we just have to stick together and find new ways to overcome obstacles. I am a better listener now at school because I am trying to find the WHY with my students and my co-workers.
My next innovation project will focus on what we have learned. How do we influence others? How can we capture hearts? Learning by design, having the end in mind then working backward. Remembering that people learn differently and try to hit the masses based on where we are and where we are going. Failing forward, living in the whirlwind, shifting gears, measuring outcomes, start small and be willing to make changes along the way. Accepting other people’s points of view and always be a life-long learner. Keep reading and learning. Share knowledge and kind words of encouragement along the way. Reach out to other students in this program and ask for input and offer suggestions. These are just a few of the strategies that I will incorporate into my next innovation project. Just take it one student at a time, one day at a time, and one project at a time. What’s next for me? Creating a DLL program in my district for student and faculty use. What is the first step? Have a conversation with the director of technology explaining the learning network that is provided through the DLL program at Lamar. Will it work for our district? Can we utilize the professional development opportunities that the Lamar DLL program offers? I will gather information, establish communication between district administrators and Lamar DLL professors, and get ready to introduce COVA, CSLE, and distance learning throughout the district.
Thank you to all of the professors at Lamar in the DLL program who have encouraged, inspired, and pushed me out of my comfort zone to be a better learner and leader. Thanks to my family for supporting me throughout this journey. My friends are truly awesome for understanding my frustrations and yet celebrating my successes. God guides us to the right places at the right times, introduces us to the special people in our lives, and gives us the courage to move forward and persevere. It is time to persevere and move forward – our students deserve this!
Dweck, Carol S., (2008) Mindset: the new psychology of success New York: Ballantine Books.
Patterson, K., Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., (2017) Influencer: the power to change anything. Highbridge, 1st edition.