Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Educational Technology Student Reflects on Her Development as an Educator

By Mary Meadows, MA'93, MAT'08

 Mary Meadow's 3rd grade students assemble a robot.
As Curriculum Coordinator for Junior Kindergarten through Grade 6 at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School, I often reflect on my experiences that led me to this rewarding position. The evolution of technology and its role in education has piqued my interest from the early stages when the first floppy disk appeared. Recalling the fearful look of my colleagues gathered around staring in wonder at this small and unusual item with such powerful but unknown presence, I knew at that moment that technology would influence the course of education. I also knew at that moment that I did not want to distance myself from its influence because I was quite sure that it was here to stay and likely to have a profound impact on education.

As my career evolved with experiences encompassing elementary education and business, I continually found innovative ways to engage my students and colleagues in learning. Passionate about the use and integration of technology, I continued to strive to improve my understanding of its purpose in the educational realm. It was clear to me that the intentional and appropriate use of technology would serve to engage students in developing their own passion for learning. Striving to make sense of the quickly evolving technology and its relation to learning, I set out to engage in advancing my own education.

Students in Mary Meadow's robotic class program their robot.
Recalling my first meeting with Dr. Ralph Olliges as vividly as the first look at the floppy disk, I remember my reluctance to commit to years of study alongside an abundant career and family life. However, with careful encouragement and questioning Dr. Olliges convinced me that what I had set out to do was quite achievable given the passion and commitment that already sparked my enthusiasm surrounding educational technology. The program would allow me to channel my creative thinking and energies into projects related directly to the needs of my students in the classroom. Through formal and informal collaboration, online and onsite, I created, designed, developed, and implemented learner-centered and content-centered projects for use in the classroom while achieving a Master of Arts in Educational Technology.

Mary Meadow's 3rd grade students test their robot.
As Oak Hill’s Curriculum Coordinator, I work with the faculty, staff, and students to align technology resources with curricular goals, develop web pages, and coordinate opportunities for learning through global collaboration. I am currently in the process of developing and implementing a robotics program for the students at Oak Hill. Through various grant opportunities, students in Kindergarten through Grade 6 are introduced to robotics with age appropriate activities integrated with curriculum. Third grade students recently showcased their work related to their animal adaptations studies at the Midwest Education Technology Conference (METC) Student Innovation Station. Second grade students are busy developing adventure stories with robotic characters. These students are engaged in creative and collaborative work with each robotics unit closing with sharing of their work.

In an effort to reach beyond my school community, I serve as a member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) and as a Discovery Education Network STAR Educator. I am grateful for the influence that Webster University faculty has had on my career, not only influencing my knowledge and use of technology, but also the emphasis on creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

More information about the School of Education's programs, including the Master's of Educational Technology, EdS in Educational Technology Leadership, Mobile Technology in Education Certificate, and Online Teaching and Learning Certificate can be found on our website

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