How Far I Have Come as a Digital Learner

My first semester of the DLL program was a major shift in my way of learning. After experiencing learning in a traditionally instructor-led courses I was challenged to experience learning using the COVA approach (Harapnuik, 2015) with project-based learning using a personally authentic plan. I am an early childhood educator and based on my passion to teach this age group, I chose to develop an early literacy curriculum for the learning center I am currently employed by.  My course of study included examining personal learning networks I participated in. At that time, I had a few that I was familiar with such as, Facebook, Twitter and Khan Academy. Currently as a result of this program, I participate in Edtopia, EdWeek, TeachingChannel, and MindShift. The discovery of these learning networks, has help me in my self-directed learning. I am more aware of current trends that are in education and I have been able to get resourceful information to help me in my classroom.

This was preparatory for guiding me into understanding what my learning philosophy was. I realized that I ascribed to the constructivist theory of learning, where the learner constructs new knowledge from things they have previously learned.  We examined the TPACK framework and saw how by incorporating technology with instructional content, learning is enhanced. We also looked at various blended learning models such as the flipped classroom, station rotation, and flex model (Horn, 2014). I chose to use the station rotation model for my curriculum because in early childhood we use learning centers and the concept allows students to rotate around the learning environment. We also explored unsuccessful and successful plans that were implemented to gain knowledge of what was successful and what did not work in some of these models. This helped me to plan for infrastructure, such as internet access and determining how and what kind of devices would be used in my plan.

From these examples I was able to plan projected vision and goals of my innovation plan. From there, my course design was created using UbD method (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). I formulated a preliminary plan for my course. I was able to construct this from using research that I had done for my literature review of using technology to teach young children. I also, was able to glean from the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) some software applications that were approved by them for teaching literacy.

We then transitioned into studying how to influence change within our organization using the influencer model and 4DX from The 4 Disciplines of Execution (Covey & Hulin, 2012). I was able to devise a strategy of how to influence the administrative personnel to allow me to start plan and with the 4DX design a plan using small components to begin to implement my innovation plan. This would include professional development for the instructors on the use of technology in the classroom prior to implementation of my plan.

After that, I reexamined my curriculum plan to include more specific instructional tools that would be used in the learning environment. These were based on my literature review of strategies to include technology in early childhood instruction and the use of assessment tools. These helped me to also formulate plan to integrate technology. Because our plan included the use media images and printed text, we were made aware of the legal considerations of content we may use by looking at the copyright laws (U.S. Copyright Office, 2012). This section really opened my eyes to the protection that is given to written print and images.  This was especially helpful because with the internet being used in the constructing of my curriculum I know my rights and the rights of others in authorship.

The section on digital citizenship was a very important to me because it help me understand the importance of teaching digital citizenship within the instruction. Educating students about responsible use of technology is a must. Also, making sure that you have a positive digital identity and your personal use of technology is examined regularly. The legalities that students should be aware of to help safeguard against cyberbullying (Hinduja & Patchin, 2015).

At this time I was able to secure internet access for instruction and a small amount of devices to setup a beta site to field any adjustments for my plan by convincing my administrators of the benefit of my plan. My professional development for my teachers will begin the summer of 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year. My innovation plan is currently in the pre-assessment stage determining which students will participate in the small beta project we are planning. Throughout this process I have evolved into a learner who is aware of the usefulness of technology in educating myself and others. I am planning to fully implement my plan by the end of 2019. I recognized having smaller components to my plan will help in successfully using my plan, and I need to give ample time to reflect and adjust things that do not work. My experience in the DLL program has been life changing because it has caused me to change the way I learn and teach.

To capture my experiences I have created the following presentation as a final illustration of my DLL experience. I must say in retrospect I have met some pretty awesome students and professors that have shared great ideas with me and given me encouragement along the way.

 

References

Covey, S., McChesney, C., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: achieving your wildly important goals.New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Fink, L.D.. (2005). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Retrieved from https://www.deefinkandassociates.com/GuidetoCourseDesignAug05.pdf

Dwayne Harapnuik. (2015 May 8). Creating significant learning environments (CSLE) [YouTube]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ-c7rz7eT4&feature=youtu.be

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

Patterson, K. and Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design 2nd edition. Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyperbullying. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

U.S. Copyright Office. (2012). Copyright basics. Retrieved from https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

 

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