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Running head: GROWTH ASSESSMENT 1

Master of Arts in Educational Technology

Matthew R. Stroup

Azusa Pacific University


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I was a little apprehensive about starting any master’s program. I had a full schedule

between family life, duties at church, teaching, live productions and public service

announcements for the school district and keeping up with professional certifications. I felt like I

never had the opportunity to complete a master’s program; Enter, Master of Arts in Educational

Technology (EDTC) at Azusa Pacific University (APU). I investigated the curriculum and was

impressed by how relevant it is, especially in regard the direction I was moving as an educator.

When I realized the coursework is one-hundred percent online and focused on Christian values, I

was committed.

Personal Growth Assessment

I have grown personally through my experiences in online communities, social media,

web 2.0 tools and my walk with Christ. The first area of growth is my new understanding of

online communities. I have come to find that online communities develop into unique

connections with real people.

I had the pleasure of learning collaboratively through rich, thought-provoking online

forum discussions, with Dr. Bacer and our professors at APU as well as my cadre. An online

community creates a sense of companionship that is different than a traditional classroom setting.

I also explored social media in ways that I never thought I would. I created a Twitter account,

generated followers, and conducted discussions through blogs. My eyes were open to the

possibilities of how online communities and social media will support education in the future.

I also developed a sense of confidence as I became to be a real 21st-century learner. I

have learned skills and techniques using web 2.0 tools that transferred directly into my current

curriculum and life. I feel better equipped to prepare my students for their journey in a

networked world, having gone through it first-hand. I have already implemented online
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collaboration using Google classroom and other apps. As stated in the book of Proverbs “A good

man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” (Proverbs 13:22 English Standard

Version). I hope that my personal growth as an educator and my new-found confidence in

teaching technology online will positively influence my students as they become savvy 21st-

century life-long learners.

I was encouraged to grow in my faith starting in EDTC511: Foundation in Educational

Technology (Bacer, 2017). Weekly devotionals and time invested in the Word of God have

challenged me to stay true to my faith, trusting in Jesus. Studying scripture and engaging in a

faith-based conversation reminded me of why I entered education; to meet people at their needs,

as Jesus did. I hope to provide students with the skills necessary to lead prosperous and

productive lives. I hope that they will become providers for their families and communities. I

plan to continue a regular devotion to God’s word as I am grateful for the faith-based lessons I

have learned from scripture, my professors and cadre mates.

I am thankful for the newfound understanding of online communities, confidence in

teaching 21st-century teaching methods, web 2.0 tools and in my faith.

Professional Growth

In addition to personal growth, I have also grown professionally. Thinking beyond the

brick and mortar borders of the traditional classroom, I connected with the networked world. The

experience of designing a unit plan for a Global Learning Project (GLP), organizing my Personal

Learning Network (PLN) and collaborating on projects has contributed to my professional

growth.

After seven years in the private sector as a multi-media artist and proprietor, I entered

education as a career and technical educator (CTE). When I first started teaching, there was
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almost zero curriculum developed for digital video production. I taught hands-on production

through Project Based Learning (PBL). The EDTC524: Instructional Design and Development

(Wilson, 2017) course encouraged me to think about how to create high-quality unit plans using

backward design. When considering the bottom line of backward design, you are asking “In the

end, what should a learner eventually be able to do with this and similar content that matters.”

(Wiggins & McTighe, 2011, p. 48). Focusing on the big idea of my curriculum has benefited the

students understanding of how it is relevant and transferable to their future goals.

Another aspect of my professional growth dealt was my Personal Learning Network

(PLN). In an ever-changing technological world, it is essential to surround yourself with groups

of people that will support and guide the development of your pedagogy and career. Organizing a

PLN in EDTC527: Special Topics Enhance Curriculum with Online Resources (Bettger, 2017).

helped me understand and organize the connections I have through social media and other

networking practices. Classifying my PLN according to the various industry sectors enabled me

to structure my professional relationships and resources.

Collaboration and discussions in forums with my cadre was another area of professional

growth. Throughout our discussions and forums, my cadre mates would send links to

information and share their original thoughts. Their insight broadened my perspective as a

professional educator. The collaboration helped me to produce a better result than I could have

created alone.

Connecting like-minded individuals working together for the betterment of themselves

and the people around them is the future of education. I am happy to take part in this professional

collaboration using networked technology.


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Technology Growth

The nature of the EDTC online course structure has influenced my technological growth

as well. My skills were strengthened through the creation of interactive Portable Document

Formats (PDFs), spreadsheets, videos, websites, social media and web 2.0 tools.

I was pleasantly surprised by the power of Adobe Acrobat. I learned how to capture a

website into a PDF, known as Web-capturing. Web capturing was a new experience for me and

allowed me to have web references offline. Web capturing also safeguards students from

inappropriate websites and from being blocked by the district firewall. I will continue to use

Interactive PDFs in my classes.

As my technology awareness grew with each new course, I began to see how I could

weave the different aspect of each course together to create new methods of teaching. I learned

how to manipulate and customize cells using formulas to translate data into graphic information

on spreadsheets. I have been using these skills to review quizzes, engage student conversation

and adjust curriculum to garner success. I took the video production skills from EDTC521:

Digital Imagery for Learning Environments (Temple, 2017) and incorporated them with the

Professional Development in EDTC520: Managing Tech-Supported Curriculum (Silver, 2017) to

create Professional Development videos that are currently being used district wide. I combined

all of the technology skills from each course to develop a website and training materials for a

Global Learning Project.

The introduction of Weebly for web design inspired me to continue to develop my course

work for online distribution. It was exciting to see how advanced templated websites have

become more intuitive in recent years. Web 2.0 tools and social media were an area of growth

for me as I incorporated social media into websites. I created a Twitter account in EDTC517:
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Digital Communication (Bruzzese, 2017), which has opened my eyes to the potential for social

media in the classroom.

Using Sakai, a Learning Management System (LMS) and joining a Massive Open Online

Course (MOOC) has also inspired me to reach out into the world. There are some many other

web 2.0 tools, like Twitter, Voice Thread, Edmodo and Moodle that can be used to bring people

together to learn and grow. Having learned so many web 2.0 tools and supporting applications

has fueled my ambitions for the future.

Life Long Learning

I have always enjoyed the process of acquiring new skills and learning new ways to think

and do things. I have immediate plans to recertify as an Avid Professional trainer, as it has

lapsed, then I plan to complete training and certify as an Avid Nexis Professional technician then

complete training and pass the exam to become a Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician.

Much of what I do in the classroom depends on networking and switching. This past month we

updated the server in my classroom to a 124Tb Avid Nexis with Cisco switching. Completing the

certification courses will enable me to better support the students and district.

I am currently using Google Classroom as a lite LMS which works for now, although I it

would better serve my students to have a full LMS. After using Sakai and becoming familiar

with the management capabilities of an LMS I plan to expand my classroom to the world wide

web though Moodle. I will also incorporate Weebly web sites for the lessons, my global learning

project, twitter feeds and other tools into the mix. I don’t know much about administering an

LMS but I look forward to the challenge, I feel that it will be worth its weight in gold, or value in

bitcoins, once it is in place.


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On a spiritual level, I am looking forward to continuing spending time in the Word,

especially with my family. I don’t know what God has instore for me but I do know I am moving

into the future with a renewed sense of adventure. I will also try my best to let the character of

Christ shine through in the work that I do, striving to do all things unto the glory of God.

Conclusion

Having completed the EDTC program online, the apprehension has been replaced with

confidence. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but I was truly surprised and

pleased by what I have learned and the skills I developed. The process has been a journey of a

life time, I look forward to the opportunities and the doors that will open having gone through

the EDTC program at APU. I will be forever thankful for the experience I’ve had and friends I

have made during the past year. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs

27:17 New International Version).


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References

Bacer, K., Bettger, B., McMilan, B., Bruzzese J., Kwinn A., Silver E., Temple T., Wilson T.,

(2017). Online Master of Arts in Educational Technology. Azusa Pacific University.

Azusa, CA. Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu

Bacer, K. (2017). EDTC511: Foundations in Educational Technology. Online Master of Arts in

Educational Technology. School of Education, Azusa Pacific University. Azusa, CA.

Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu.

Bettger, B. (2017). EDTC527: Special Topics Enhance Curriculum with Online Resources.

Online Master of Arts in Educational Technology. School of Education, Azusa Pacific

University. Azusa, CA. Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu.

Bruzzese J., (2017). EDTC517: Digital Communication. Azusa Pacific University. Azusa, CA.

Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu.

Silver E., (2017). EDTC520: Managing Technology Supported Curriculum. Azusa Pacific

University. Azusa, CA. Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu.

Temple T., (2017). EDTC521: Digital Imagery for Learning Environments. Azusa Pacific

University. Azusa, CA. Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu.

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2011). The understanding by design guide to creating high-

quality units. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wilson, T. (2017). EDTC524: Instructional Design and Development. Online Master of Arts in

Educational Technology. School of Education, Azusa Pacific University. Azusa, CA.

Retrieved from http://sakai.apu.edu.