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Letting go of the reins: Final thoughts on CEP 810

As my third course in the MAET program, CEP 810 has been the most immediately applicable to my practice. Perhaps it is the timing of the course–I began my coursework just before returning to school this year, so the content was fresh in my mind and I had 150 test-subjects at my immediate disposal. Timing aside, however, it is clear to me the extent to which this course will affect my teaching far beyond the beginning of the school year.

As a BYOD school (bring your own device), I have been struggling to meaningfully integrate technology in my classroom. In years past I have had access to computer carts or labs and could assign technology-driven tasks in any unit. With BYOD, however, I am now trying to manage 30 different technologies, from phones to laptops, in a single classroom. At first, I was discouraged. Through my work in this class, however, I have discovered that it is not the technology that should be driving the task, but rather, the technology should lend itself toward the task’s completion. In other words, rather than asking my students to ‘make a video,’ I should be designing a task asking students to create a product for a real-world audience, and then let them drive the manifestation of the project with technology available to them.

One of the other realizations that I had as a result of this course was the vast array of information available at a moment’s notice online. While I always knew this to be true, I had not previously considered it in an educational sense (beyond research assignments). When my students don’t know how to do something in their personal lives (pass a level on a video game, blow up marshmallows in the microwave), they watch YouTube videos to figure it out. Why, then, do they not consult the online community for help in utilizing Google Drive or adding video clips to presentations? By forcing myself back to novice-learner status, I began to re-imagine the way that I present information to students and the tools that I ask them to use on a daily basis.

While I am clear and confident in my role as a learning-outcome designer and facilitator, one aspect of educational technology still eludes me. When it comes to assessing students’ work in which multiple pathways have been offered, I struggle with consistency in grading. It will take some time to develop appropriate rubrics (perhaps asking my students to weigh-in would be helpful here), but assessing the use of technology is still one of my struggles.

Overall it has been a productive semester in which the course content has been immediately applicable in my practice. I can only hope that future semesters are as meaningful and thought-provoking.

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