I became a student of Kent State University during the spring semester of 2005 and over the course of my enrolment I learned more than I thought possible. While working on my associate's degree in computer technology and my bachelor's degree in computer science, I learned a lot about software applications, networking, and programming languages just to name a few. However, as an instructional technology student in graduate school, I mastered the use of technology as never before through the various assignments I have completed.
Aside from my college career, I am a website developer. I included information about my outside work that pertains to website design because I feel that those skills are additions to what I have to offer as an instructional technologist. In my spare time I have researched many different types of web applications that use database platforms to store information, which include blogs, forums, shopping carts, course management systems, wikis, and so on. Knowing how these applications work will not only add to my list of web development skills, they will add to my list of instructional technology skills as well. The ITEC program enabled me to add course management systems to this list of skills.
I had enrolled in the "Web Development for Educators" course hoping to learn more about web development, especially in terms of instructor sites; particularly those that incorporated a course management system. However, it turned out that this particular class taught basic XHTML and CSS for creating websites. I should have read the course descriptions instead of assuming that this class pertained to more. By the time the instructor and I both realized that I didn't really need this class, it was too late to drop and pick up a different class. All the other classes available to me were full. Regardless, this class turned out to be well worth it. The instructor allowed me to create my own culminating project based on what I wanted to learn. I chose to learn HTML5 and CSS3. My plan was to show the instructor what I had learned by creating an instructor website using HTML5 and CSS3 that teaches HTML5 and CSS3. My Introduction to HTML5 and CSS3 website even includes a course management system.
The instructional technology program at Kent has not only taught me about new technologies, I am learning how to incorporate them into lessons that can be used to teach others. The "Technology and Learning" course I took was a great class! We explored free technology tools for teachers offered online. This class also incorporated a semester-long final project that consisted of creating a website that analyzed a particular tool of choice. For my final project, I chose to analyze Zoho Show, which is only one free application offered by Zoho.com. Zoho Show is like Microsoft PowerPoint. I feel that my completed project titled "Zoho Review" can be a great tool for teachers who are considering the use of Zoho Show in their classrooms. My analysis explains Zoho Show in its entirety.
I really learned a lot in the "Computer Applications in Education" course. This particular course promoted a great deal of student inquiry and taught me how to incorporate technology into lesson plans in ways I would have never thought of. I have never even created a lesson plan until taking this class, therefore I had to research how one would set up a lesson plan. One of the projects I created was a lesson plan titled "Creating A Basic Web Page Using HTML" that incorporated student use of screen recording software. This particular project flipped the role of screen recording software in the classroom. Usually it is the instructor who records what he or she is doing on their computers to explain a concept.
Another project we completed for this course was based on technology and assessments. We formed groups of four that took on the role of the instructor by working together to create four discussion topics that centered on a particular subject. The subject we chose was "Online Learning." The discussions we came up with were presented to the class during our designated week. Each member facilitated one of the four discussion topics and evaluated each student's contribution to the discussion by grading them on a list of criteria. This was a great experience for me that I explain in more detail in my reflection for this project. I created a score sheet for our group to use when evaluating student participation. My particular discussion topic was titled "Online Technology Tools for Teachers." I chose this topic in hopes that students would share resources available to teachers. At the end of the discussion, I compiled a list of all tools shared by the students and then emailed them copies.
For the "Computer Applications in Education" course we were required to create two ePortfolios; an instructor template, which students can use as a guide for creating their own and a student sample. Each page of the instructor template is supposed to explain to the student what the requirements are for that particular page. I have been keeping an ePortfolio since I started college back in 2005. I consider it my main website, which not only showcases my college projects, but website work I have completed as well. I mention that website for the purpose of comparing it to this one. My main site just lists the projects I have created for college in the past. It drastically needs updated and it does not go into depth in terms of explaining my projects, their importance, or reflecting upon them pertaining to what I learned. By completing this graduate portfolio project, I learned the importance of selection, reflection, and structure. After completing this project and based on what it has taught me, I plan to apply dramatic updates to my main site so that it will showcase my own talents better and include informational resources, as well as tutorials to be used as an educational tool by everyone.