Synthesizing my DLL Journey
When I started my DLL journey, I didn’t have an idea of what it meant to be a digital leader. I had taken online courses previously and learned how to use a lot of different technology so I figured I had the digital learning part down. I was wrong. The DLL program not only showed me what it takes to be a digital leader, but it also transformed me as a digital learner.
Throughout the last year and a half, I have learned a lot of information at a rapid pace. Each of the twelve courses that I completed provided me with tools and guidance in order for me to take my ideas and put them into action. Looking back through this ePortfolio that I have created, it’s incredible to see how much I have learned, developed, and implemented. A great deal of time was spent reviewing resources and sharing and collaborating with classmates and professors, and although it was A LOT of time, I am able to see how all of that time and experience has fit together to provide me with a wonderful opportunity to learn and make change happen.
I believe this course was the most important course to begin my journey with because I learned what a growth mindset is. This course helped to teach me what it meant to fail forward and to learn from my mistakes. I also learned the importance of creating learning opportunities through choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity. I created my learning manifesto, analyzed digital tools, reflected on digital leading and learning, and I created a growth mindset plan.
Within this course, I learned how to create an ePortfolio and why an ePortfolio is an essential part of learning. ePortfolios allow users the opportunity to show their work to any community across the globe. I reflected on the benefitsfor using ePortfolios, who owns the ePortfolio, and was given the opportunity to review others ePortfolios, all while building and creating my own ePortfolio. This course is what intrigued me to implement ePortfolios into my department in my school.
In this course, I was able to recognize positive reasons why disrupting my classroom through innovation was necessary. I began developing my innovation plan proposal to present to my administration, as well as my implementation plan to transform my classroom and curriculum in order to use technology more effectively. Through research, I discovered the positive aspects of incorporating ePortfolios among our special education population, which would provide students with choices over their learning. In order to pitch my ideas, I also developed a promotional video highlighting my ideas as well as the benefits.
This course provided me with a solid foundation and understanding of what providing students with the appropriate tools for them to succeed in an effective learning environment looks like. In learning about creating significant learning environments, I reflected on and produced my learning philosophy, learned Fink’s design for aligning outcomes, assessments, and activities, developed by Understanding by Design model, and reflected further on Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset.
In this course I learned about how to be a change agent through reflecting on the power of why. Determining what “my why” was was an important part of my continued journey through this program. As a learner, you have to know and understand what is driving you to continue to learn in order to excite and appeal to others within your organization. I also had the chance to learn about, and create, 4DX and Influencer Strategy plans to help facilitate change. Also, I looked at the importance of having crucial conversations with colleagues and I applied my understanding of how to lead organizational change to the high school where I teach.
The goal of this course was for learners to be able to apply an innovative teaching practice by collaborating with colleagues to evaluate their impact on learners, and design and model authentic professional learning activities that are active, have a significant duration, and are specific to their discipline. Professional learning is an important part of education that needs significant improvement. If teachers were provided support, appropriate exposure, enough time, provided modeling of the method and appropriate content, professional learning would be effective. Besides my initial course, I found this course to be very beneficial because during this course is when I felt like my innovation plan was beginning to take off. Here, I created a catalog of professional learning activities for my colleagues to participate in in order to learn about and take part in my ePortfolio initiative.
In this course, I had the time and opportunity to research and build upon my first literature review. I was able to review relevant research of global innovation and technological trends to write a second literature review that included this information. Initially, I found the amount of global information overwhelming, but once I was able to sort through the information, I found it be beneficial to me while I updated my innovation plan and created a presentation to demonstrate what I learned.
While enrolled in this course, I learned how to research and gather information related to my innovation plan. In learning about how to assess the instructional impact of the innovation plan, I realized an effective action plan would use both qualitative and quantitative information to gather accurate results. I completed another literature review, and created an outline and timeline to assess and further develop my innovation plan. At this point of my journey, I was more than halfway through completing the DLL program and I remember thinking how often I reviewed my innovation plan and implementation timeline in order to incorporate the new information and tools I was gathering with the completion of each course.
In this course, I was tasked with applying learning theories and instructional design principles while developing an online course and utilizing significant learning environments. I was able to create a full year online course using my school’s LMS, Canvas, for students in my classes to work through. The focus of the course is to introduce students to ePortfolios and to have students understand the importance of them. Students will be learning about ePortfolios while having them begin the process of developing their ePortfolios.
Technology provides us with many opportunities, but we must be responsible when given those opportunities. This course helped me to learn the necessary tools in order to understand the importance of being a good digital citizen. I recognized very quickly in this course that while my digital footprint was small, my abuse of copyright laws was pretty grand – unintentionally of course! This course also helped me learn how to share the legal and moral obligations when we are using technology – both as teachers and students. Through learning about digital citizenship, I was able to reflect on digital citizenship, the impact of technology, copyright and copywrongs, as well as cyberbullying, and apply this to my own classroom and my innovation plan as well.
In this course, I examined a variety of digital environments and other digital resources to effectively communicate with others. The course gave me the opportunity to explore a lot of digital resources as well as to create an outline, a pitch, and an actual journal article to submit for publication on the ISTE website. While I have not heard a response yet about my article submission, I am excited for their possibility of being a “published” author. I would not have thought at the beginning of this DLL program that I would ever have had the time to draft a professional article.
In this course, I synthesized my knowledge, skills, beliefs, and values gained through my digital learning and leadership experiences. In this final course, I was able to organize my ePortfolio, I reflected on my COVA journey, and I reflected on how far I have come with the implementation of my innovation plan. Those two reflections allowed me the opportunity to see how far I have come – as a learner, as a teacher, and as an innovator.
Looking back, it feels like the past 18 months have flown by. I cannot believe how much I have improved as a leader and learner. I may have entered this program simply looking for an easy way to earn credits, advance within my district, and hoping I would find a few resources along the way, but now I feel so lucky to have been a part of this program. There were times when I was ready to quit when the assignments and readings and LIFE were too overwhelming, but sharing and collaborating with my classmates gave me the strength to push through those moments. I can’t wait to share what I have learned so that I can help others become confident leaders within their organizations!