Reflection Paper
Shannan Muskopf

My goals for technology have evolved and changed as a result of this coarse, however some core elements remain unchanged. I still visualize a learning environment where students use technology to supplement their lessons, where the technology will enhance learning, and improve overall student achievement. I have also incorporated other elements into that vision, based on some of the principles we have covered in this class.

I have come to realize that a vision statement is important as the cornerstone of the technology plan, but in order for it to be effective, lots of other elements need to be considered. This course has helped me realize areas of concern, and issues to overcome if the vision is going to work.

For instance, discerning overall attitudes about technology is important if you are going to overcome fears about the integration of technology. Trying to “force” technology on teachers and students is going to be ineffective, as well as handing a teacher a computer or computer labs and just expecting them to go with it. Assessment of the overall attitudes of the staff is important for determining what obstacles need to be overcome. The needs assessment tool we developed in the earlier lessons gave me a better idea of some of the things we are dealing with. I read through many assessment tools and was surprised to see things being judged or questioned that I had never even thought about. I have always felt comfortable around computers, and it never occurred to me that some people would not only not feel comfortable, but have no desire whatsoever to integrate new technology into their curriculum. Realizing the attitude and culture in which the technology is going to be incorporated is important in developing the technology plan.

One of the most useful aspects of this course was the development of a technology plan. In fact, I was so pleased with my own plan that I offered it to one of the principals at my school, as well as a print out of other plans (examples given) in the hope that this might move my district’s technology goals forward. I learned that a long term plan must be established that includes specific goals or stepping stones for individuals to advance along. The development of a technology plan was extremely helpful for forcing me to really thinking about what steps must be taken. I started this course with a shortsighted idea that if you give teachers a few workshops and a computer, that they would be on their way toward incorporating technology into their classroom. Now I see that this is a long term project, that requires more than just a 2 hour workshop, but will also require tracking, encouragement and follow-up.

I was also surprised to learn the number of resources that are available for teachers and school districts on the web. The grant writing section itself wasn’t as helpful as the links that I found that branched from many of those sites that pointed to freebies and available grant money. The next time I fantasize about having some new technology in my classroom that is way beyond my school’s resources, I know where to start looking.

Overall, I think the course was excellent and very thought provoking.. I’ve been thinking about things I could do right now to improve the technology plan that is in place at my school, and ways to get other teachers involved in it. If I had any complaints about the course, my main one would be the textbook. I found the reading assignments from the book to be fairly useless, and really did not appreciate that way the book was written. I found the websites and web articles much more useful reading, the articles I read from the web had things that actually applied to me and contained practical solutions to problems.