Over the last 15 arduous months I have been in the middle of a mad scramble to get everything done at once. I have described my daily activity as putting out one fire at a time hoping that nothing burns down before I get to it. To say that I have been overwhelmed is not nearly adequate, but somehow I have been able to keep my head above water and find myself at the end of this journey looking back. I have completed the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program through Michigan State University, and it has been incredible. The courses stretched my professional skills beyond what I previously assumed possible. The passion that I experienced through colleagues, instructors, and professors fueled my drive to push beyond a minimalist approach to coursework. Furthermore, the carefully crafted program built upon itself to develop a depth and breadth of knowledge that is an asset to me professionally and personally.
The first course for the MAET program was CEP 810: Teaching for Understanding with Technology. Coming into the course I was eager to explore the technology side of the program. I got plenty of opportunity to do just that, but even more significantly I began to understand the role that technology could play in learning. Before CEP 810 I had a desire to use and play with technology for technology’s sake. I had no real schema for applying it effectively to pedagogy. The instructors for the course were able to convey a passion for learning that went beyond the course work. Rather than a list of activities and lectures to complete I was invited into a world of exploration and learning. That passion was contagious, and my colleagues and I quickly developed a community of learning that continued to grow and stretch one another. In CEP 810 I was able to develop a PLN. A PLN stands for a Professional Learning Network. Using tools like Twitter, Facebook, Zoom, and Pinterest I have been able to connect with educators all over the planet. The process opened my mind to the larger world of education and the collective wealth of knowledge available to me. During CEP 810, I was also introduced to the concept of TPACK. TPACK stands for Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge and was developed by Dr. Punya Mishra and Dr. Matt Koehler at MSU. While studying the framework I developed an understanding of the balanced role that technology plays in education. This was perhaps the most significant shift in my thinking during my time in the MAET program. Technology can be a powerful tool when used appropriately. As a technology enthusiast I am prone to chase the latest gadget or software. That enthusiasm can be a great tool for change, but with the TPACK framework I have the skills and mindset to apply that enthusiasm constructively. It has given me the mindset to put learning first and discover the technology that will best support that learning.