Flight Path

In the fall of 2008, after working as a mechanical engineer for 15 years, I decided to try out a new career in teaching. I put together my program applications and by spring of 2009 I was accepted into the PDP at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. After a 12-month whirlwind program, I finally received my B.Ed in August of this year.

In the spring of 2010 I anticipated that I would have temporary work in the coming winter. This, coupled with my new-found interest in learning about education, I decided to apply to the MET program at UBC. I am a keen user of technology and want to learn how to use IT wisely in the classroom, so the MET program seemed like a good fit for me. Secondary math and physics are my principal teaching subjects, and as anticipated these credentials helped me get a job with the Surrey School District as a Teacher-On-Call starting in September 2010.

Up to now I have had limited exposure to technology that would be useful in a secondary school setting. I have been running a Wordpress blog for several years, I put together an environmental math website using Drupal, and have experimented with using Moodle. As well, during my practicum I had students do a unit presentation using Prezi, along with the other typical computer related technologies used in the classroom.

I really have come into ETEC 565A, and the MET program in general, without preconceptions on what I will be learning. After covering some of the theoretical frameworks that educators can apply to digital technology and teaching, I am starting to develop some clearer ideas on what I can perhaps achieve in ETEC 565A. As I try to construct my own framework for learning, I would like to focus this within the context of 4 of ISTE’s NETS standards. I would like to learn how to inspire creative and innovative thinking, along with engaging students with collaborative tools that promote reflection. I also think it is very important that I improve my ability to develop enriched learning environments that speak to a student’s individuality. Finally, I want to be able to have a variety of formative assessment tools at my disposal to aid in both assessment and learning.

As for my own personal framework, I will try to work inside something I call the EPIC model (a stripped down medley of the Seven Principles (Chickering & Gamson, 1987) and SECTIONS (Bates & Poole, 2003).

Considering the above, there are some specific tools that I hope to learn more about. I would like to improve the way that I put together a Moodle site, by making it efficient and visually interesting if possible. As a side note, I’ve beta tested quite a bit of software over the years, and it is clear that visual presentation makes a huge impact on the user, regardless of the interface or mechanics. Clear, pleasing visuals help with initial engagement. Secondly, I am very interested in learning about formative assessment tools that can be added to something like a LMS. Ideally I would very much like to learn about “clicker” polling type devices as I believe these can be a very powerful formative assessment tool (Gauci, Dantas, Williams, & Kemm, 2009), but I’m not sure if this can be investigated during ETEC 565A. In terms of “I” in EPIC, I am open to whatever tools I come across during ETEC 565A. I look forward to learning about these tools by collaborative work with my peers. Finally, I also hope to learn about software and extensions that can help link various technologies, like Moodle, with mobile devices such the Blackberry, Android phone and iPhone. This could become a very advantageous aspect of the “P” in EPIC.

Works Cited

Bates, A., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education: Foundations for Success. New York: Jossey-Bass, An Imprint of Wiley.

Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. AAHE Bulletin, 3-7.

Gauci, S., Dantas, A., Williams, D., & Kemm, R. (2009). Promoting Student-Centered Active Learning in Lectures with a Personal Response System. Advances in Physiology Education, 33(1), 60-71.