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The Weaving Together of Communication, Teaching and Technology

Like the practical imagery of a patchwork quilt - amassed from pieces of fabric and
thread, my life story includes useful snippets of memory stitched together by time. Securely
wrapped around me, I am comforted by these memories of what has been accomplished, and
lives that have been touched. However, with heightened anticipation, I find myself gazing into
the future; eager to greet what is yet to unfold. Possessing an introverts temperament, I seek
quiet time to problem solve. A secondary classroom teacher of natural sciences and visual arts by
profession, my recent thoughts are consumed with how modern technology is changing
communication within our society. Recognizing that these societal shifts are influencing my
classroom compelled me to search for greater understanding. Choosing to formally explore this
through the Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership program with Gonzaga University,
I have begun to weave together experience and lessons in pursuit of understanding.

As a young girl, the warm, humid days of summer were used up sketching the natural
world. Daily quests for the most ferocious looking beetle, vibrantly colored wildflower or that
uniquely formed tomato provided material for my sketchbooks. Blossoming under the tutelage of
Mrs. Engler, my high school art teacher, my level of skill became refined. While learning to
successfully employ the elements of art in designing pieces, I dreamed of being a professional
science illustrator. Asking her about the field, Mrs. Engler responded by telling me that
illustration was a highly competitive field to enter. What I heard her say was something entirely
different - I was not good enough. It took me many years and a bit of life experience to realize
the dissonance involved in that conversation; a conversation that altered my life journey I have
no regrets.

Entering Eastern Washington University as a non-traditional student, one of the first


courses I enrolled in was a Biology 100 lab. During this experience, I was filled with a deep
passion to learn and eventually committed my efforts to studying secondary education. One of
the most poignant memories of this time period came from the realization that what I most
admired about my favorite instructors, Professors McKean and Moulder and T.A. Corbin was the
love and acceptance they had for their fellow humans - particularly their students.

While serving small rural school districts during the past thirteen years, technology in the
classroom had been inferior until this year, my eleventh with the Mullan School District. Student
apathy about learning was building and becoming palpable - across the curriculum. Beginning
second semester 2016- 2017 school year with a classroom set of Chromebooks and my
principals support, I am leading the use of Google Classroom for our school. My students are
thriving in this technology driven learning environment; something I have not seen in recent
years. Asking students what they enjoy most, they explain remote accessibility to assignments,
comfort level with device driven assignments, and the removal of hand written responses as their
top picks.

Accepting that a learning platform such as Google Classroom is comfortable to my


students, learning innovative ways to implement this platform to best serve them, and
experiencing how those two points are enhanced by careful interpersonal exchanges has renewed
my passion to be in the classroom. Looking forward to the work I will continue while with
Gonzaga in the COML program, I am focused on understanding the role communication plays
both with and without technology in my professional life as an educator.