What worked, What could have been done better, and How to apply lessons learned
Developing a plan to implement a new initiative is not easy. I consider myself to be an excellent planner, in fact, I LOVE to plan and make lists and organize and alllllll those things! But with this specific task of developing an innovative technology program to implement into my building was a different type of planning for me. Through my coursework, I have learned a lot of information – specifically about professional learning, global research, and leading and initiating change – that will help me to update my innovation plan so that it aligns with the research that I have studied.
As a result of my research, I have decided to update my proposal. Instead of only implementing ePortfolios within our special education department, I am now planning on including our English department in the initiative as well. With the initial focus of the ePortfolios being for students’ post-secondary transition plans and interests, incorporating the English department feels like a natural fit. English classes in our high school focus a significant amount of time on reading and analyzing different types of text, as well as writing (both formally and informally) for different audiences. Combining the goals of our two departments will assist our students in developing stronger reading, writing, analytical, presentation, and reflection skills. With the change to my proposal in mind, I also updated my implementation plan in order to include the English department throughout the process.
In order to make my change as effective as possible, appropriate teacher training and professional learning is necessary. Through my graduate courses I have learned that there are many benefits to professional learning, including the 5 Key Principles. Incorporating these principles into the professional development opportunities that I have created and will be creating for our Special Education and English departments will ensure that the teachers have all of the necessary tools and knowledge to begin implementing ePortfolios in their classrooms.
Despite the adjustments listed above, there is still much of my original plan in place. It is my goal to still utilize my promotional video that I had originally created to assist me in explaining my “why” for my innovation plan. I also still plan to share and review my first literature review because it will be beneficial to show the researched benefits of ePortfolios to colleagues, administrators, and all other stakeholders. Continuing to reference and make changes to my 4DX plan will also help me initiate necessary change within my building in order for my innovation plan to be successful.
Besides research on professional learning, there is a plethora of research on technology integration from around the globe. I have organized my research into a presentation that can be viewed by district stakeholders who are interested in learning more. To broaden my perspective on technology integration, I explored important research through additional resources and compiled my second literature review. While allowing me to dig deeper into the reasoning behind my new initiative, this research also helped me to determine what worked, what could have been done better, and how to apply these lessons that I learned to my ePortfolio initiative. Based on the research I have gathered and the adjustments I have made, I have identified the following areas of focus which assisted me as I updated my innovation plan, and will continue to assist me in my future goals:
- Clear vision and support from stakeholders for the ePortfolio initiative
- Strong IT infrastructure and support
- Adequate resources for ALL students
- Proper teacher training
- Blended learning and redesigned learning spaces
- Student skills in using multiple devices in and out of school
- Continual support from new research
This information has helped me to redesign my original innovation and implementation plans to justify the change within my building. These changes will lead to more success for students and teachers. My overarching goal of developing life-long learners remains in place and I believe that my chances of achieving this goal has improved greatly with these new developments and supporting research.
I cannot believe how far I have made it regarding my innovation plan. My initial concept is now so complex and planned out. Initially, I began by identifying and addressing the need for ePortfolios with our special education department. From there I created promotional videos, research papers, and presentations to help our teachers prepare for proper and effective implementation. Every stage of this process has required reflection and revision (similarly to ePortfolios), and I am certain that these steps will continue even after implementation.
This learning process that we have been participating in has been incredible. Not only have I learned about how to effectively develop and run professional learning sessions (which is daunting in itself because teachers and professional development don’t often go well together!), but I have also learned what type of learner I want to be. I have learned how to learn based on the growth mindset and also know how to encourage and support this type of learning in my classroom. What worked really well for me during this process was collaborating with others. The collaboration helped me to step outside my comfort levels and depend on others in order to experience success. Without this, my plan may not have developed into what it is.
Looking back, I definitely could have done some things better or differently. If given the chance to repeat this whole process I would devote more time to reviewing the materials. Life happens at a fast pace, and at times, I struggled to concentrate on the information and research as much as I would have liked to. There is so much information out there that supports my plan for ePortfolios so finding more time to devote to sifting through it could only help improve my plan. I also would have spent more time on the presentations and videos. We have had opportunities to revise and improve our literature review papers, but we really only worked on each media product once. I wish I would have been able to devote more time to those. I truly feel that the only other thing I could have done better to have developed a better plan is accept the concept of COVA and self-directed learning sooner. It is clear that the most powerful way to learn is by using these models, and if I had embraced this from the very beginning, then I could have begun my learning process sooner.
During the beginning phase of my innovation plan, I will introduce and promote my ePortfolio initiative. Since an important step when trying to get others to make a change is to appeal to the heart, I will focus on that to really show how ePortfolios will benefit students and create a classroom that produces students with growth mindsets. All of this will be done through a variety of tools including large-group presentations, videos, interactive department activities, and research. These all display how much I have learned about implementing change. So often people try to make change occur quickly instead of doing it well. That is one of the most important things I have taken away from this experience: change takes time if you want it to last.
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