Master of Arts in Education - Goal Reflection Essay
My Graduate Road Trip
Approaching the completion of my Masters in Education feels a bit like coming home at the end of a long, adventurous road trip. Although these moments bear some unpleasant similarities (exhaustion, being broke), they are both equally filled with a sense of joy, fulfillment, and the excitement of new knowledge or experiences. Since I first began my graduate studies at Michigan State almost twenty years ago, it feels enormously gratifying to know that I have persisted through the trials and tribulations of this exceptional journey. A glance back to 2010 when I returned to teaching and the goals that I had when I entered my online MAED reveals that although my course has altered a bit along the way, I have accomplished all that I set out to do and more, and through the experience I have grown as a scholar, as an artist, and as an educator.
Although I came into the MAED program with a bit of tech savvy knowledge and experience in design, multi-media and video or audio editing, I did not expect to develop such a keen interest in the Web as a tool for learning. As I continued to expand my thinking about technology and learning within the Technology, Pedagogy And Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra and Koehler, 2009), I became fascinated by the power of the Web 2.0 environment and the multitude of affordances it offers to any modern classroom, regardless of domain, content area, or level of education.
Engaging in course activities exposed me to so many tools and ways of exploring or engaging with students in any subject via the Web, and I began to focus more of my attention on Web 2.o environments that are dynamic places for learning and sharing. These have become powerful extensions of my classroom that have allowed me to connect with students, parents, community, and other educators for the sharing of ideas and best practice.
As a member of a four-person staff, I wanted to be able to share my learning within my personal learning network at school. Not only has my coursework allowed me to expand my potential as an educator, but I have been instrumental in leading other staff as they seek to implement District technology initiatives through my professional development presentations, as a member of School Improvement Committee, and through my enhanced contributions to our team of teachers at the School of Performing Arts.
Just as every stop on a long journey impacts the experience of the whole, each chapter of my education and professional life has built upon my past experiences as it creates the foundation for the next chapter. As I entered my master’s program in 2010, I brought a diverse array of professional interests and experience in arts education together as I selected courses to complete my concentration in Technology and Learning.
Among other themes within my program plan, I wanted to explore the power of media, video, and other digital technology in the performing arts classroom. Throughout my program, I wanted to further develop and refine my ideas about the successful integration of technology into the teaching and learning process, while focusing it all through the lens of the arts classroom. It was important that all of my assignments and coursework be as relevant and application-based (related to my professional practice) as possible, and I consistently was afforded opportunities to integrate core program themes within my content area of performing arts, theatre and dance.
Although entering this Master of Arts in Education program required that I change my enrollment status at MSU from “life-long learner” to “graduate”----my passion for learning has been ignited with an even greater intensity as I near completion of my primary goal--to become more dextrous, wise, and creative in my integration of technology into the exploration of content with students. Founded in research focused on best practice and equipped with an attitude of playful exploration, my master’s program has brought me closer my most important goal while on this life journey--which is to continue stepping ever closer to the most self-actualized educator I can be. One might call me a “perpetual learner” now. It is my sincere hope that I will ignite a similar love of learning in my students, and assist them on their journey toward the actualization of their goals, dreams and selves.