A reflection on goals from the beginning of my master’s program
As I was sitting at the MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) conference in March 2012 waiting for Steve Dembo to speak, a woman sitting next to me sparked a conversation about the master’s program she completed at Michigan State University (MSU.) On the other side of me sat my mentor teacher, with whom I had been discussing choices for a suitable master’s program for myself. At the time, I was considering everything from choral conducting to school counseling. As much as I enjoyed using technology in my classroom and creating with technology, I had never considered a master’s in technology. It did not take long for the woman next to me to convince me to head downstairs to the exposition to get more information about the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at MSU. By the end of the weekend, I had told my mentor teacher that I had made my decision.
Three months later, I was sitting in Erickson Hall on MSU’s campus as a graduate student, blogging statements such as “I am very excited that I am connecting with experts in Educational Technology and colleagues with the same goal as me– to be able to reach more students through technology. I hope to keep connections open throughout my career with experts in music, music education, and technology to help me be the best teacher I can be” (My Social Presence, June 20, 2012).
The goal to reach more students through technology has been a large part of my MAET experience. The numerous online spaces I have created and understanding of TPACK (the marriage of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge) are indicators that that goal has been forefront and met in several ways.
Since there is such a focus on creating and maintaining personal learning networks in the MAET program, maintaining contact with my colleagues and instructors has been a central part of my growth. The combination of face-to-face and online time throughout the program enhanced the relationships that I established. Through Facebook, Twitter, and email, I can “phone a friend” any time and get advice and ideas from people whom I consider experts in the field of educational technology.
Looking back on those two main goals I mentioned in my first blog post of the program, I am amazed at how much I did not know I would learn! I did not realize that I would learn how to become a leader in educational technology. Since my goals were centered around my own work in my own classroom, the idea of being sculpted into a leader with doors open to new avenues may not have appealed to me. As a matter of fact, knowing that that would happen may have scared me away! I also did not realize how much focus would be on subjects other than technology. A focus on the understanding of learning shifted my focus from using technology to integrating technology.
In two months, I will be sitting in the Breslin Student Events Center, first as a graduate student and then as an MSU alum and a Master in Educational Technology. In this ever-changing field, though, I know that in order to truly be a Master, I will be making, meeting, and changing goals for the rest of my career.