Note: I have provided below a description of the various courses I took to earn my Master of Arts degree, and what I learned. I appreciate the flexibility of my program and the help of my advisors in completing this degree within a non-traditional schedule.
Teacher Education 802 (TE 802)
Reflection & Inquiry in Teaching Practice I
This course was taken during the fall of my student teaching internship year and focused on taking knowledge from one classroom to another. I learned to look at the data that supports different teaching practices to validate the basis on which they are formed. I was able to look at the most effective teaching strategies for my subject area and student body. I used my knowledge of best practice to design a unit plan that would increase student choice and involvement in their learning. I then reflected on the success of this unit, and whether it could be improved.
Teacher Education 803 (TE 803)
Professional Roles & Teaching Practice II
In the spring of my student teaching year we spent time investigating how relationships improve student performance. Teachers need to find out who their students are so they can connect with them and better relate their content to their lives, this makes relationship building essential to effective practice. Teachers fulfill a valuable role in the community, so making connections is very important. I spent time attending some of my students’ extra-curricular activities to help show them that I care about their lives outside of my classroom. I realized that relationship-building could be the difference between success and spectacular failure.
Teacher Education 804 (TE 804)
Reflection & Inquiry in Teaching Practice II
This course extended the learning from part 1. I investigated more effective teaching practices, while recognizing that not all practices would work in all classrooms. I also spent more time looking at the intersection between engaging lessons, classroom management, and relationships. Because more engaging, relevant lessons had a positive correlative effect with improved classroom management, I spent time looking at ways to make lessons better. I then had time to reflect on the success of my lessons from each of the intersecting angles.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education 810 (CEP 810)
Teaching for Understanding with Technology
Instructors: Powell & Galang
This was the first course specific to my Master of Arts: Educational Technology program. This course took a deep dive into what learning for understanding really means, and when it is a good idea to use technology. This class introduced the Technology and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework for thinking about integrating technology into classrooms. This framework has informed all my technology integration steps following this class, and has been a major influence on my success in this area.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education 811 (CEP 811)
Adapting Innovating Technology to Education
This class took a look at what makes a technology an educational technology. I learned that educational technology does not have to be labelled that way to work in a classroom, nor does it have to be digital. White boards and markers would still be considered educational technology if they help students understand their content better. This means that teachers can be incredibly creative in adapting technology for their classrooms. This could include incorporating Maker Kits into our lessons and classrooms, which I took the time to explore over the course of this class.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education 812 (CEP 812)
Applying Educational Technology to Issues of Practice
Instructors: Dillman & Stone
This course guided me in solving wicked problems through the lens of questions. I read Warren Berger’s book A More Beautiful Question to investigate the best ways to ask and consider questions, and then applied that knowledge to practice in my classroom. I discovered how questions can not only help me address classroom practice, but all aspects of teaching, and life goals as well. I considered technology only inasmuch as it would assist in solving my wicked problem, as appropriate for the TPACK framework.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education 800 (CEP 800)
Learning in School and Other Settings
Instructors: Houtman & Sloan
CEP 800 was an exploration of learning and how it happens whether it is in school or out. Starting with learning gurus Piaget to Vygotsky, I was able to see how learning can happen in a variety of ways and settings from metacognitive to socio-cultural. I also explored how student identity can play a part in how and where a student learns, particularly in how they view themselves as learners. Lastly, the learning gap for math between school and out-of-school environments was looked at, in the hope that I can close that gap with more authentic learning experiences in my classroom.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education 822 (CEP 822)
Approaches to Educational Research
This class was an interesting look at how to properly conduct research so that results are valid and all ethical issues have been addressed and considered. I learned about all the different requirements that come into play when you are conducting research with people, and especially minors, as happens in educational research. I was able to design a study of my own, beginning with the questions of study and what is already known on the topic as covered by other peer-revied research papers, and then through a carefully designed research plan. This knowledge and experience made me a more informed and critical reader of research myself.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education 805 (CEP 805)
Learning Math with Technology
As a math teacher, this was one of my favorite classes. Technology and secondary math education often seem to be at odds, so it was refreshing to take a look at this subject specifically when looking at technology integration. Math teachers of all age groups came together and shared resources, tips, and tricks that can be used in a math classroom to increase engagement and understanding. I was able to research and explore new resources to use when designing 21st century lessons specifically for my algebra classroom.
Counseling, Educational Psychology & (CEP 807)
Capstone Portfolio Course
The Capstone portfolio course is an opportunity to reflect on the learning journey I have taken, and prove my learning by integrating the pieces into a cohesive website. This gives me a chance to consider all the ways I have changed over the course of the Master’s program, and how that has affected my teaching. It also gives me the opportunity to showcase some of my best work in a meaningful format. I appreciate how the learning I have done through this program has been directly applicable to my practice, and my future career.