In January of 2005, I enrolled in Caldwell College’s Post Baccalaureate teacher certification program because it was my goal to have a career in education. By entering the program at Caldwell I had the opportunity to become certified and then apply those credits towards a Master’s degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction. I completed my student teaching in December of 2007 and I was halfway to my master’s.
I was not able to enroll for more classes right away because I had just been married, I was focused on securing a full-time teaching position, and I refused to take out more loans to pay for my education.
When the calendar turned to January 2010 I was teaching and earning good money. It was at this time that I began the ‘one class at a time, cash only’ plan (my clever name for it). I ‘eased’ myself back into being a student by taking a technology in education course. This class gave me my first taste of being a teacher who taught other teachers. Next to the professor, I was the go-to guy for the other students in the class. They appreciated my willingness to share my knowledge and teach them about technology integration. This was the reputation I developed in each subsequent class I have taken at Caldwell.
Through good times and bad, I have stayed the course and met adversity with dedication and the desire to succeed. My desire to focus on teaching teachers has become my passion. This passion is grounded in technology and how technology can and should fit into education.
Over the last academic year I investigated technology integration in a high school. I focused on the following research questions:
- How do high school teachers use technology to enhance instruction and achieve professional growth?
- What do high school teachers think they need in order to effectively integrate technology into their classes?
- How does the availability of technology impact a teacher’s use of technology, a teacher’s ability to integrate of technology into their classes, and a teacher’s desire to learn more about strategies for effective technology integration in a high school?
What have I learned from my research?
The data supports the need for improved professional development for teachers. Teacher’s want to integrate technology, but with out meaningful technology-related professional development and the time to explore and ‘play’ with technology tools, a teacher’s working knowledge will not increase. Teacher’s need to feel comfortable using technology and they need to be supported by technology personnel and administration.
I am two weeks from graduation and I feel the same way I did when I was preparing to graduate from high school and my undergrad experience. The feeling is overwhelming JOY, OPTIMISM, and EXCITEMENT.
Is there more for me to learn? Absolutely!
I welcome the next adventure because this is only the beginning!