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Learning to Speak the Native Tongue: My Immigrant Journey in Utilizing Educational Technology

Jessica N. Zamora EDUC 526: Capstone Experience in Digital Teaching and Learning Dr. Joanne Gilbreath Azusa Main Campus LiveBinder URL: March 3, 2014

Jessica N. Zamora Azusa Main Campus

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SECTION ONE: Introduction I remember coming to the end of the credential program and having absolutely no clue what would become of my career. Countless stories of interviews that led to no position made the job hunting process seem incredibly daunting. Moreover, I felt that after going through the credential program, I did not feel ready to have my own classroom. While student teaching helped me realize that teaching is what I was born to do, I still felt that something was missing. Sure, I understood that I would not be perfect at my craft, and that it would take a lifetime of learning and growing to ever realize that. It was due to this realization, in conjunction with my fear of technology, that I decided to enroll in the Digital Teaching and Learning Masters program at APU. After all, many of my colleagues from my credential program cohort would also be enrolling-it couldnt be that daunting, now could it? In Spring II of 2013, I decided to try the waters first and enrolled in EDUC 511 during my final module of the credential program. I didnt want to overwhelm myself, as I knew TPA #4 would be my priority during this time. I was also finishing up my student teaching. EDUC 511 was perfect because it was simply an introduction to the program, which helped me see that a masters in Digital Teaching and Learning would be the perfect fit after all! I decided to continue testing the waters and enrolled in 2 masters electives during that following summer. They were both online classes and were surprisingly easy to follow. My goals for pursuing my masters degree in Digital Teaching and Learning were to, as mentioned previously, continue to grow and learn as a life-long learner. I came to the realization that I was not ready for my own classroom. With the integration of new Common Core State Standards that were heavily reliant upon

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the effective use of technology, I knew I had to push myself as digital immigrant to learn the language of my students, who will all be digital natives. I knew very little about the program, but had heard nothing but positive feedback from students who had gone through it. They, like me, felt that technology literacy was something lacking in their lexicon. And so, I knew that if I was to become technologically literate, I had to challenge myself and continue my education. I didnt know there was such a thing as Web 2.0 tools, let alone how they impacted todays style of teaching and learning. Needless to say, there were no specific goals at the beginning of this journey; simply put, I had one big goal to become a technologically literate educator! Personal Growth Upon completing EDUC 522, the course that delves deeply into what Gardners Theory of Multiple Intelligences looks like in the 21st Century classroom, I walked away with a greater understanding of myself as an educator and learner. My personal learning style is based on the logical and intrapersonal intelligences. While I may have known this before, it wasnt until this past module that I truly realized what that meant in my own learning and teaching styles. As a logical person, I need structure and order. This includes receiving clear instructions from others. As an intrapersonal learner, I enjoy working independently. Writing my ideas down comes easily, versus having to speak in a group setting. I leaned that some of my students will share these qualities, while others will need instruction to be delivered in various other formats. It has been a true blessing to meet new people on this journey. I have met some colleagues that have become friends during my credential program. We continued together through the masters program and have gotten this far together with constant encouragement. I cant imagine having gone through the program without them. It is this sense of community that made me know I wanted to
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continue my graduate education at Azusa Pacific. My hope is that these friendships last for years to come. I know that they will continue to foster a sense of hope and encouragement as we begin to search for teaching jobs in the near future. During my time in EDUC 512 with Kristi Hernandez, I filled out a Spiritual Timeline. Not much has changed since then, though in these past few months I have felt myself drawing nearer to God during times of uncertainty. I know that God will be my Rock and guiding light during these next few months as I begin my job search. I must learn to trust fully in Him and know that His plans are and perfect and beyond anything I could ever plan for myself. The completion of my Masters in Education will signify so much to me not only on an educational level, but more importantly, on a personal level. I will be the first in my family to have graduated with bachelors and masters degrees. Though I have continued my education for a personal love of seeking knowledge, deep down, this quest for knowledge was instilled in me from an early age. My grandmother, a native of Cuba, only received up to a third-grade education. My educational career is dedicated to her. Despite her difficult childhood, she has always encouraged me to love school and get an education. She understood the power of an education, and has always wanted the best for me. So for me, walking across the stage on May 3rd will represent not only personal success, but bringing honor to my grandmother and showing her that her life has seen fruit in mine! Professional Growth I have seen a great amount of growth in my professional development during my time at APU. My credential program was foundational in molding me into the educator I am today. However, it has been during my time in the masters program that I have encountered the most growth. I have been stretched and challenged during this past year in ways I could have never imagined. Going into the program, I would have considered myself a digital immigrant. However, I recognized the
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need to become digitally literate and saw the Masters program in Digital Teaching and Learning as an opportunity to do just that. I find myself feeling more comfortable with technology, and now understand how essential it is in the 21 st Century classroom. It was refreshing to read back and reflect upon the things I wrote in my So What-Who Cares paper. I found that my educational vision has not changed, but has indeed strengthened over time. In my paper, I reflected on what it means to be an effective educator. While I spoke of getting to know my students, it wasnt until my time in Dr. Courduffs class that I really learned what that meant and looked like. Learning about my students intelligences and personal lives is important to me as a human being, but it will undoubtedly impact the way I teach. Though I also wrote about the importance of technology as a tool in the 21st Century classroom, I would add that it is a tool for affecting change in the classroom. Educational technology brings an aspect of creativity and collaboration never seen before in the traditional classroom. I would also add that Ive learned using technology does not make me a better teacher. It is how students use technology to create for themselves that which determines my effectiveness as an educator. Upon beginning the masters program in the Summer of 2013, I began working as a Teachers Assistant in an LAUSD school (where I did my student teaching). I am currently working in a 4th/5th combination class, where I focus primarily on working with a group of 13 fifth graders to teach Language Arts, Math, and some Social Studies. While this has increased my work load, I am learning so much along the way. I have had the opportunity to partake in several professional responsibilities that have made me grow as an educator-one of them being completing report cards for my 5th graders and participating in Parent Conferences. I have also taken advantage of my opportunities working at a school site and regularly participate in staff meetings whenever I can.
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Moreover, during my time in the Digital Teaching and Learning Masters program, I have seen my own professional growth and development as an educator. I have learned and have begun to practice several instructional strategies that integrate technology. One specific example is the use of Google Docs with my students. I recently set up a classroom Google account. Each student then creates their own Google Doc within a folder I have already set up. We just finished our Black History Month reports using this tool. I realize that the process of students creating their own Google accounts is more efficient; however, Im the first at my school site to even know about, let alone try anything with Google, so in the meantime, we will stick with this workflow! The students absolutely love being able to start their reports in the Computer Lab and continue to work on them at home. I also tracked when they were on and how frequently-to my surprise, they were going on almost every day and making edits to their reports. My comfort level with Google Docs grew in EDUC 515, with the help of Jason Seliskar. I was inspired by all of the things that are possible with Google, and cannot wait to continue my exploration with such an amazing tool. Ive also walked away with a deeper understanding of what the Common Core State Standards ask of teachers-to have students at the center of their own learning and to make students creators of content versus simply consumers. This foundational understanding is rooted in Blooms Taxonomy of Learning Domains. I try and model this in my classroom every day. We recently finished a chapter book and I want my students to demonstrate what they have learned in creative ways. My hope is to use iMovie on my iPad (learned in EDUC 514 with Bill Selak) to let students create book trailers based on the book we have just read. It may be a challenge, but students will have the opportunity to create something of value and experience technology in a rich and relevant way. Finally, I believe the most foundational and professionally-impacting lesson I walk away from this
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program with is how to incorporate technology to reach all of the multiple intelligences in my future classrooms (learned in EDUC 522 with Dr. Courduff). So often, it is easy to say that one is reaching the verbal or visual learner, but under Dr. Courduffs guidance, I learned what specific educational technologies bring about meaningful interactions with each of the multiple intelligences. As part of this capstone course, we have been asked to conduct an action research study. For this assignment, I have decided to focus on my ability to acquire saving habits that will last me a lifetime. Dr. Gilbreath showed me that I can begin by creating a budget with an existing Google Spreadsheet template. I have never been intentional about saving. As someone who will be graduating to face some student loan debt, this is a practice worth being intentional about and learning some basics that will carry into my adult life. My research question is: Will using a monthly budget increase my ability to save money for a rainy day and other high-priced items (Mac computer, trip to Europe, etc.)? While this action research study only analyzes my saving habits across 3-4 weeks, it is imperative that I begin with a willingness and intentionality to try. By doing so, I lay down the foundation that will hopefully stay with me for years to come. Though I am working as a Teachers Assistant right now, the same budgeting practices will carry over to when I begin working as a full-time teacher earning a higher salary. Technical Growth My technical growth during my time here at APU has been astounding. As a digital immigrant enrolling in a Digital Teaching and Learning Masters program, I often thought to myself, You must be crazy! Yet, I wanted to challenge myself as a learner and as an educator. At the beginning of the program, I knew how to turn on my laptop, connect to WiFi, and get on the Internet. In the past year, I have not gained much technical understanding of how a computer works or how to troubleshoot when I encounter technical issues. I have, on the other hand, learned
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to use technology as a resource and tool. I have learned to work with various educational technologies to benefit the learners in my future classroom. Some of these educational technologies include Google Docs (EDUC 515), Google Apps for Education (EDUC515), iMovie (EDUC 514), Numbers (EDUC 512), Keynote (EDUC 512), Webquest (EDUC 512), Weebly (EDUC 525), Photoshop (EDUC 517), Accessibility features on mobile devices (EDUC 522), Twitter (EDUC 515), Blogger (EDUC 515), among so many other amazing educational websites and applications! The list may go on forever, yet I walk away with the understanding I need to choose wisely among that list and know that I will forever be a learner in this field of digital teaching and learning. Life Long Learning Plan As someone who is said to have a masters degree that will be invalid within the next 6-12 months, it is imperative that I realize my role as a life-long learner. Educational technologies will see shifts, just as they have in the past century. In a year from now, we will be learning how to use and implement a newer, more efficient technology into our classroom. By realizing this, I am more prepared to face this future, however, not alone. I have learned that there are countless resources available for teachers who want to continue to learn and hone in on their craft. I have and will continue to attend educational technology conferences, including San Gabriel Valley CUEs annual conference, as well as more prominent conferences such as CUEs annual conference, as well as ISTEs annual conference. Bill Selak and Jason Seliskar also instilled in us the value of growing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter. I have found that simply going onto Twitter for even a few minutes enables us as educators to learn from other educators and experts in the field, whose passion is educational technology, and whom are willing to share resources. I dont know where I see myself in even one year. However, I do know one thing-I can never go back to being a digital
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immigrant. I have forever realized the importance and impact technology has on education and in the daily trenches of the classroom. SECTION TWO: History of Coursework and Course Evaluation
Name: Term: Course

Jessica N. Zamora Course Title & Instructor Name

Foundations in Digital Teaching and Learning INSTRUCTOR: Doyle Potter

LiveBinder URL: Term

Completed 864986&backurl=/shelf/my Comments/Suggestions Great introduction to the program. I appreciated writing the So What, Who Cares paper to then reflect upon in EDUC 526.

Key Skills Acquired Livebinders Academic Advising

EDUC 511

Spring II 2013

EDUC 512

Instructional Applications Productivity Software INSTRUCTOR: Kristi Hernandez

Fall I 2013

WebQuest Tabs Keynote

Kristi was amazingly patient in walking us through not only Microsoft products, but also Apple products (ex: Pages and Word).

EDUC 513

Digital Age Literacies INSTRUCTOR: Linda Muhlhauser

Spring I 2014

Still in progress

I would have appreciated less of a crazy workload for an elective, and one that is numbered so low on the course list.

EDUC 514

Digital Video in the Classroom INSTRUCTOR: Bill Selak

Fall I 2013

iMovie Lighting Garage Band Images

EDUC 515

Evolving Educational Technologies INSTRUCTOR: Jason Seliskar

Fall II 2013

Twitter Google Docs Google Sites GAFE

Bill was wonderful in teaching video, if you plan on going into the field of cinematography. It may just be that I am still uncomfortable with my level of understanding in this field. Jason threw a lot of information our way, yet not in an overwhelming format. He encouraged us to hone in on some tools and use them well.

EDUC 517

Digital Imaging INSTRUCTOR:

Summer 2013


Photoshop is a difficult craft to learn through an online class, yet Doyle was patient and walked through various steps in a slow

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Doyle Potter

EDUC 522

Learning in the 21st Century INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer Courduff

Fall II 2013

Multiple Intelligences Blooms Taxonomy Accessibility Features

manner. However, if you dont use it, you lose it! Dr. Courduff was amazing in walking us through the most difficult course in the program. We were challenged and grew as a result!

EDUC 525

Web Design INSTRUCTOR: Doyle Potter

Summer 2013


EDUC 526

Capstone Experience/ Digital Teaching and Learning INSTRUCTOR: Joanne Gilbreath

Spring I 2014

Action Research Study Still in progress

It was so much fun making my own website. Weebly is a wonderful resource I plan to use in my future classroom. However, I did miss learning about the embedding and coding aspects of web design. It would have been nice to be challenged in that way. This course has been such a rewarding experience, due to its heavy reliance on the reflection process. I have gained such an immense understanding of myself and my growth throughout the Digital Teaching and Learning program.

Evaluation of the impact of the Digital Teaching and Learning Program One specific example of a new instructional tool I have recently explored in my own classroom is the use of Google Docs. As mentioned previously in this paper, I created a single Google account, specific for my class. I then created a folder titled Black History Month Reports. I went on to create a Google Doc for each of my 13 students within that folder. Because my students have never worked with Google Docs and for the sake of time, I did all of this before even introducing it to my students. During our time at the computer lab one day, I walked them through Google Docs and explained to them what we would be working on. They then logged onto my single account (as I crossed my fingers that it would work). Each student, as directed, then found their Google Doc and began to type in the research that they had already found on their historical figure.
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To my surprise, the students grasped the concept quite quickly and were excited to continue working on their documents at home, because as we know with the power of Google Docs, your work may be retrieved ANYWHERE! The amazing part of it all is that students will now be able to view their peers documents and leave comments containing constructive feedback. I plan on using Google Docs and GAFE to their fullest potential in my future classroom, as the possibilities are truly endless. Program Evaluation My overall experience at APU has been a positive one. I completed my undergraduate work at APU and saw it only fitting to continue my education at such a fine institution. I have loved interacting with professors that truly care to see you succeed as person, but more importantly to challenge you to grow as a child of God. I was well-aware of the foundational values of this institution and am so glad that such were relevant in each of the courses I took during my time at APU. I walk away with such an appreciation for the humanity and humility I witnessed in each of my professors. It is what defines and separates APU from other universities. I could not have asked for a more perfect fit! The only area I believe can use some work is that of communication between undergraduate and Teacher Credentialing offices, etc. Because I started the credential program as an undergraduate, it was extremely confusing and frustrating to hear different things from different departments. I understand that it can be a difficult process to allow people to start the credential program as an undergrad. However, if you are going to continue to offer this option, please ensure that those in admissions, advisement, and front desk positions are well-versed in the issues regarding such a transition. It was also difficult to find out during my graduate studies that I would have to complete 3 additional courses to be able to

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graduate with enough credits. I just hope all of these miscommunications have been ironed out for future cohorts.

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