A little over a year ago I applied to my dream school, Michigan State, with a desire to pursue a degree in Educational Technology. I recently reflected back on the goals that I had back then, which can be boiled down to two basic desires. The first was to “work through individually and collectively towards a vision for Educational Technology at my school that will provide all stakeholders with what they need to drive instruction and learn effectively.” While the second was to “build a network of individuals that I can assist and who can assist me when questions arise about the best way to help kids learn using technology and when not using technology might be for the best.” If I were to put it into one sentence, I wanted to be the best Technology Director I could be for my school.
Now, as I work on my eleventh class at Michigan State, I find that my goals have morphed a bit. Now, if I am being honest, I want to be a creator of content that will help teachers that struggle with technology to gain confidence and a desire to use technology not out of requirement but because they can see how it will help their students (and themselves) be successful. I relish the opportunities that I have to help teachers in this way. Additionally, I have a deep set desire to work with tech-savvy teachers to expand their bag of tricks, not to have the glitziest lesson, but to have a repertoire that they can utilize to have the best possible tool to teach their content with the end goal being student achievement.
So, what has happened over this last year and some change? I have to admit that part of the transformation has been due to my experiences at work. Those are the aspects of my job that I have loved the most. With that said, that passion was born out of what I have learned at Michigan State. TPACK revolutionized how I saw technology usage. Rather than technology being a starting point, it became just a tool that is utilized only when it helps pedagogy and never to distract and transforms reluctant tech users into people that at least see its value. The Stanford Design Thinking model has transformed how I see the creation of content for teachers as well as helping others to learn. Now, the focus is on empathizing and then defining and working toward solutions rather than shoehorning what I thought into those around me.
Essentially, my focus hasn’t changed tremendously. I still want to help teachers help students. I still want to have a Professional Learning Network (PLN) that support and exhort each other, but those goals have morphed and developed into something more and to be honest a little less pompous. I’m sure my goals will always shift and slide throughout my career, but right now, this is where I find myself.