Capstone: Synthesis of Applied Digital Learning


EDLD 5303 Apply Educational Technology – ePortfolio:

This was the course that started my journey of digital learning at Lamar. I can remember being both terrified and excited about the thought of creating my own ePortfolio. What started off as a way to organize my work for the next year and a simple way of turning all of my assignments in, has turned into something that I enjoy doing and truly see the value behind it. This one site has helped develop a sense of who I am as a learner and leader.

EDLD 5313 Creating Significant Learning Environments:

The COVA framework is not something I took to right away. I definitely had to ease myself through the book and the process. Reread the book a handful of times!  My first course felt like a free-for-all. No one was telling me what to do or how to do it, just that it needed to be done by a certain date. Absolutely hated every minute the first couple of weeks of this program! Had I known then what I know now I think I might have despised it a little less. Dr. H. did a phenomenal job at implementing COVA without really telling us what he was doing. Freedom to choose what we were doing, what it looked like, and how we were going to do it. I realize now that without having the freedom to do those things, I wouldn’t appreciate the time it took to get here nor would I feel like I really accomplished anything. 

The importance of allowing others to have choice, ownership and voice throughout their learning experiences is monumental in their journey. I recently reflected on implementing COVA in my education career as well as with my students in my class. Having it implemented throughout this program just helped solidify how much growth can come from it.

EDLD 5302 Concepts of Educational Technology:

About 12 months back as I began graduate school I wrote for the first time about Growth Mindset and created a plan for what that would look like implemented with my students. As I’ve recently reread Dweck’s Mindset I’ve been able to really pull pieces and connect them to my innovation plan implementing ePortfolios in the classroom. In order for it to be a success I needed to help move my kids from a mindset of cannots to just not yet. 

Society is built to praise ability and views of intelligence. This makes it extremely difficult to try and shift our students from those areas that aren’t helping them grow. Grades are what our students hold on to. How can I get them to associate a not so great grade, in their opinion, with the idea that they are making connections. Shifting to a growth mindset mentality  this year means that my students are hearing praise for effort and progress. I have poured more into acknowledging their growth and journey of learning than I have the pass and fail labels.  I can see the progress they’ve made and giving them the tools to search for that growth and focus on the importance of learning has definitely put them on a different path. 

EDLD 5305 Disruptive Innovation in Education:

This program brought about a project of innovation that would be proposed, introduced professionally and  implemented in our school setting within a year’s time. My Innovation Project (updated) focused on ePortfolios in the classroom and eventually became ePortfolios in our science content areas. The ultimate goal is to include my innovation plan in all core subject areas.This journey over the last 12 months has almost forced me to embrace technology innovation as an opportunity to enhance the learning environments for our students.  My original literature review focused solely on ePortfolios as a whole and did not dig any deeper into specific content areas or age groups. SInce I began implementing, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit the piece that I wrote and reflect on how it was going with my students.

EDLD 5315 Assessing Digital Learning and Instruction:

One of the key things I revisited was that I wanted to find data and research that would support ePortfolios in science content with my 5th grade students. The Action-Research Study (outline and literature review) was written to assess the instructional impact of ePortfolios in a science classroom as a tool to enhance our student’s content reflection. This plan is very similar to the process that my students go through when conducting science experiments. It follows an identical path of the scientific method and allowed me to collect data, analyze the results and make adjustments where they needed to be made. The plan helped bring my updated literature review enhanced with research to support science implementation, full circle with a plan of how to move through the process.  

EDLD 5389 Developing Effective Professional Learning:

Knowing that my long-term goal is to have ePortfolios in each of our 3rd-5th science classrooms, I knew I would be tasked with providing professional learning to our teaching staff. I’m fresh to the teaching profession and the only professional development I have been given has been your typical sit and get, regurgitate if you’re lucky, and then move on to the next PD. This method doesn’t work well for myself or any other teachers, so I knew that whatever I was planning to present needed to be engaging, offer ongoing support, and most importantly something that the teachers felt they could do. The Professional Learning Plan I designed is meant to help prepare teachers to implement ePortfolios and give their students the space to have voice, choice and take ownership of their learning. 

This plan has been and will continue to be modified and adjusted before presenting to our staff this summer. The foundation created will provide our campus educators and administrators with a schedule of the process, opportunities for usage observation and a timeline for full implementation.

EDLD 5304 Leading Organizational Change

Throughout this program here at Lamar, I have gained amazing leadership qualities and new strategies necessary to lead organizational change and encourage deeper learning using ePortfolios in my classroom.  I learned to manage resistance to change and solve any conflict when launching the program, why it’s imperative to grab their attention with our Why, and develop a deeper understanding for how change can be made school wide. Capturing their heart from the very beginning will hopefully offer some comfort to keep moving forward as our plan gets more challenging.  I will combine the 6 sources of Influence, the 4DX strategies and the opportunities to have crucial conversations while implementing our program school wide.

EDLD 5320 Synthesis of Digital Learning and Leadership:

5320. Capstone Synthesis. Or as I like to call it: A year long Reflection. The people I have met going through this program have become lifelong friends. Spread all across the state, each one has a different outlook on education and what we can do as educators to begin fixing our broken system. I’ll  be forever grateful for the mentoring they have provided and the steady flow of knowledge that flowed through each and every one of our meetings. 

I’m so proud of the work that I have put into my innovation plan and how much it has grown from just a side project to get me through grad school to something much more profound in my classroom. I was apprehensive about starting a master’s program solely online and skeptical that I would take anything of value away from it. This program ended up being the perfect fit for where I am in my educational journey and personal life. The best part about the program was that every course and assignment built off of and used the work done prior. Nothing I created felt like it was a time filler or pointless. Every aspect of it was authentic and relevant to where I was with my innovation and professional journey. Knowing that pieces would fit together to create one large innovative picture made me value the work I was doing.

In the future, I would like to move the innovation plan of ePortfolios out into my entire district. I’m thinking this would require me adding someone other than just myself to the team. The ideas are there, I’m just struggling with what that would look like conceptually and how to get started on something of such a large scale. I love that I have loved learning about new resources and trying new programs.. It’s because of this that I am so eager to share that with others. When it feels relevant and doable in a classroom, teachers are all in. Knowing how these pieces all work together makes me certain that my campus and district would soak it all up.

I have learned that I can accomplish anything if I believe it has value and it’s engaging. I have learned that my leadership qualities have been in hiding and have slowly developed into a leader that’s willing and ready to share how much growth and perseverance can change a person mentally and emotionally. I have also learned how important it is to surround yourself with not only like-minded people, but people of different backgrounds, life and professional experiences and most importantly, perspectives.