I was born a Kentuckian, raised an Oklahoman, dipped in Latin America, developed professionally as a Texan, rediscovered my teaching genius as an X-pat in the Middle East, and expanded my virtual senses as an EdTech student.  So who am I?  With whom can I identify most? 

This introduction may not make an immediate connection to the task I have been given: “reflect on the findings (a report from the U.S. Department of Education, researching online instruction) and how they might inform your own teaching practice.”  When I thought about the idea of my “teaching practice”, I considered the analogy of my introduction.  Even though each place that I have been has either limited me or broadened me in some way, each of them have made an impression on who I am.  The same goes for my “teaching practice”, which has primarily been influenced more by the possibilities within my environment rather than my particular philosophy. 

The report from the U.S. Department of Education, concerning online and blended learning provides some interesting data.  I see, quite possibly, that within my future as an educator, that I will be making recommendations about educational programs or curriculum with technology integration.  In these circumstances, this data can support investments in technological enhancements within the educational process.  I work in K-12 education and there is not a lot of direct support in these findings that are related to this field.  However, the general results show that there is academic benefit to combining instruction of traditional face-to-face settings with an online element.  Administrators will likely be interested in this not only for the academic results but also for the fiscal advantage of delivering course content online.  Nonetheless, these are administrative issues, not directly related to my “teaching practice”. 

Currently, I have the opportunity to explore some blended learning methods with my students, whom attend my traditional style class.  The flexible school policy and the relative wealthy lifestyles of my students, provide them with the Internet resources for them to be able to complete assignments online (Ironically, these same factors reduce the overall level of importance on academic gains).  Additionally, Limited broadband infrastructure limits the use of multimedia tools.  Taking into account these matters, the referenced report has very little impact on my teaching practice because I have already bought into the idea of using online technology tools and I associate it with the way of the future of education. 

I know from talking to many of my EdTech colleagues, they are forced to work with virtual restrictions. Regardless of their philosophy of online education or their reflections on the report, their “teaching practice” is bound by organizational or legal restrictions. I see many of these situations as inhibitors to the educational process.  However, I see the possibility of entering this same scenario, as I am in the process of moving back to the USA and teaching there.  I too, will have to bend my “teaching practice” to the environment of my work place, the expectations of an administration, and the descriptions of my job.  By the time I figure out what these are, I won’t be thinking about this report from the U.S. Department of Education.

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