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Reflection Letter

Page history last edited by Jaime Villarreal 10 years, 7 months ago


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July 21, 2013


Dear Educational Technology Faculty,


My professional goals, first of all, consisted in obtaining my bachelors degree in mathematics with teacher certification at the secondary level and a minor in business administration in the fall of 1995.  I taught mathematics at James Pace High School for 14 years during which I also began the Masters program in counseling and completed 15 hrs after which I had to discontinue the program due to personal illness.  In the fall of 2009 I started teaching in Los Fresnos High School and during this time period I began to observe rapid changes in the educational environment in the area instructional technology and its implementation.  I was provided with many technology tools ranging from wireless graphing calculators, clickers and a mobi instructional tablet.  However, most of the tools I was provided with had not been used in the classroom at all or for only a limited time due to a lack of training and support in the implementation of technology into the course curriculum. My observations of poor implementation of instructional technology and an urgent need to engage students in their learning using technology driven lessons was what motivated me to pursue a Master's degree in Educational Technology.  In the fall of 2010 I applied, got accepted and began the Master's program using student loans but very excited to further my professional goals in a program that would make me a more effective teacher empowered with skills and knowledge to enhance student performance.  Unfortunately, even though I received two A's in my first two classes in the program I received a letter from the financial aid office that I would no longer qualify for my student loan next semester due to not meeting satisfactory academic progress in the total cumulative hours during my courses taken years earlier in the counseling program of which I had to withdraw.  Consequently, I was not able to attend the next semester due to lack of funding and had no other alternative but to place my professional goals on standby.  During the following summer of 2011 I received an e-mail notifying all district employees of the MSTTPA grant Masters Program in Educational Technology directed by Dr. Janice Butler.  I immediately made contact with Dr. Butler and she very willingly and resourceful guided me through several e-mails into the program and as a result my journey in the program took its course once again.


My experiences in the program have been very challenging and but filled with highly motivating learning moments that have re-shaped by perception of teaching role in a 21st century classroom and the immense power of technology to engage students in their learning experience.  I have learned that the essence of educational technology is not to base teaching on a technology tool in itself but to empower students to use technology tools in solving and presenting solutions within a problem based learning environment.  My learning experiences in the program have ranged form learning the definition of educational technology to identifying an instructional problem and designing an instructional solution within the application of project management skills.  I have participated in several staff development training sessions in which I have prepared teachers in how to use web 2.0 tools to improve classroom management and how to design a collaborating website to assist other teachers in curriculum writing.  In addition to learning how to use web 2.0 tools I have also gained valuable experience in presentation design, image editing and developing educational videos at a professional level using software such as Camtasia and Snagit.  The MSTTPA program has made my graduate studies more wholesome by providing us with tools such as a bloggie camera, a laptop and most importantly learning seminars that have allowed us to learn from many experts in the educational technology field.  I am very grateful for the MSTTPA graduate program for allowing me the privilege to be part of this innovative strategy to become, as one the seminar presenters stated "agents of change", in creating new technology driven initiatives within our current teaching environment.


The next step in my professional journey is to take what I have learned and apply it into my classroom keeping careful documentation while pursuing opportunities to share my knowledge and skills with other teachers and the results with administrators and parents.  I believe that in order for the administrators to buy into any technology initiative I must engage students and parents in its implementation.  Secondly, I must have a clear presentation of results that directly relate technology implementation to student performance.  Finally, I must be consistent and persistent in my approach within the campus improvement plans that relate to new implementation of technology into curriculum development.  


In conclusion I have learned the importance of continuous learning that is required in this field of educational technology and other fields as well.  If in my new professional journey the opportunity arises to obtain my doctorate I will gladly embrace it, but until them I will be very busy practicing what I have learned in all my courses, seminars and most of all the experiences of my professors.




Jaime Villarreal.





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