When I initially applied to the Master’s of Educational Technology (MAET) program at Michigan State University I wasn’t sure what to expect out a masters program. But, I knew with a fair bit of certainty what I wanted. I’d like to reflect on how my goals have evolved (or haven’t) over the course of the last year and a half.
One of my main goals for the program was to be pushed to grow. I wanted a program that would challenge my thinking and stretch me academically. In addition, although I wanted to learn about educational technology, I mainly wanted to learn how good pedagogy could be enhanced by technology. I had gone through a phase of trying a lot of new things (in part because I was a newer teacher) in a short amount of time. I wanted to do less “throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks” and more “this is a good pedagogical move and technology can enhance it because…”. I wanted a shift towards developing tasks that integrated technology in a way that helped students understand mathematics at a deeper level. My final goal was to become a leader in educational technology in my school and my district. Although these goals still largely apply to me today, they’ve certainly evolved.
My goals haven’t completely changed, but the way my goals (and the process of reaching them) manifest themselves going forward will be different. For instance, my goal in regards to technology integration is still to have it driven by pedagogy. My approach to this is now more driven by the design process and the Technology Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework than it was prior to the program. Prior to the program I would’ve agreed that creativity, for example, was important to teaching but failed to realize how valuable it is on a day to day basis and how it fit into the design process. I also didn’t realize how crucial the design process could be to teaching. As I go forward I feel like I have a systematic process that I can utilize in addressing problems I run into. This means that my goal hasn’t changed much, but the way I go about reaching my goal now has direction and is more focused.
Another goal that has remained the same but changed in the way I view it, is my goal to be a leader in technology. I used to think that being a leader in edtech meant that you had to be on the bleeding edge technologically. I now see that, although there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s more valuable to me to keep an eye on the bleeding edge than to actually be the person there. I now have a more educated lense through which to view the latest trends in educational technology. This lense changed my view of edtech leadership in that I no longer desire to be the person that knows all the newest stuff. I now want to be the person that leads from a place of effective technology integration and creative teaching in general. In other words, I’d rather be a leader in effective teaching that also knows a fair bit about edtech, than a leader in edtech that also knows a fair bit about effective teaching.
As I write this I’m realizing that the last paragraph sums up most of my goals going forward. After going through the MAET program I feel as though I have the right mindsets, tools, and connections to reach my (slightly revised) goals. Although they haven’t changed much, my they feel less like they’re floating out in the abyss and more like something I can accomplish to some degree each day.
(Here is a PDF of this post.)