There and Back Again: Goal Statement Reflection

It is hard to believe that one short year ago I applied to Michigan State University's (MSU) Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program. The initial statement video that I created during the summer of 2013 is linked to the right. It details my goals and aspirations in my Master's program of study, as well as ways I wanted to further my learning and skill in the teaching profession.

 

I started at MSU by taking my first online classes for the Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology program the spring of 2013. The experience of learning online was totally new to me, but fit well with my independent and inquisitive style of learning. I was also finishing my first year as the English language teacher at my elementary school. At times, tackling

Original MAET goal statement video - Summer 2013.
Also on YouTube.

Reeve, D. (2014). Middle-earth. Link.

a new teaching position as well as pursuing an advanced online degree seemed like too much for me to handle. I learned much that first year about scheduling my time, planning ahead, and utilizing every available free moment for homework and projects. After taking my first certificate courses, I knew that I wanted to pursue my Master’s degree to deepen my knowledge about technology and learning. When creating my specific goals for entrance into the program, they mainly focused on learning how to use specific technology tools for learning, as well as an interest in further expanding my knowledge of the psychology of learning and motivation. Upon reviewing my statement from last year, I found my goals for improving my teaching to be fairly vague and difficult to practically measure growth. My professional and career goals were focused on pursuing a technology consultant position at a school or corporation. Even though this is still an interest of mine, I have found a home at my school and would now find it very difficult to leave. It is my hope that as our corporation continues its technology trend that they will require technology coaches in each building, giving me an opportunity to stay in my current building while moving into a technology position. On the other hand, I am very interested in further exploring the ways in which technology can help me in my current position as the English language teacher.

 

Despite some of my initial goals for learning being quite vague, I feel the MAET program has helped me to make progress toward expanding my knowledge of technology, learning, and the ever-changing teaching profession. When I was able to choose my own topic, my assignments and projects in the MAET program were focused on better understanding how technology could help me better support my students and their unique academic needs. This is evidenced on my Showcase page. While taking my MAET classes, I continued to teach and I just finished my second year as the English language teacher. My corporation recently went 2:1 with iPads and the MAET program has given me specific skills for helping my colleagues incorporate these new tools into everyday learning. Some of my student’s favorite apps are VoiceThread and Dragon Dictation. The use of technology has opened up the possibilities for learning, increased interest and engagement on the part of our students, and has encouraged student creativity and personal expression. I want to use any and all tools available to support student learning and their success at my school. To this end, my desire to expand my Tech Tuesday teacher professional development workshops is still an interest but was not possible this past year because of time constraints. Now that I will be finished with my degree and have less homework to worry about I will be able to focus more of my effort on using what I learned in the MAET program to maximize learning for my students, as well as increase my role as a technology leader in my school.

 

 

My work throughout the program has given me a glimpse at the always-growing body of knowledge surrounding technology and education. The work I have done in the MAET program has only scratched the surface of important issues concerning technology, learning, and the 21st century skills that my students need to be successful in school and in life. This is an ongoing process of learning, reflection, and growth. By watching my video, it should be evident that I have lived a life dedicated to learning and education. Even as my graduate work comes to an end, my love for learning remains constant. The great thing about finishing my graduate degree is that I now have a story tell, something meaningful to share with others. My journey of learning may not be over, but this chapter is coming to a close. I chose ‘There and Back Again’ as my title for this essay because I see Bilbo’s journey reflected in my own. At first, Bilbo didn’t know what he was getting into. He doubted himself and at several points along the way he wasn’t sure if he would make it out alive. With the help of his friends and his own wits, he made it home with incredible experiences and memories. It is my hope that my journey of learning continues far into the future, but that I always return home to share my experiences with those around me. 

© 2020 by Sara Galbreath. 

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