The Reality I Never Knew I Craved


When I first started the MAET program, or the Master of Arts in Educational Technology if you haven’t figured it out, I wanted to learn more about technology in the classroom, how to increase student motivation, and to be more independent. Happily, I’ve been able to do all of the things above, but now I’m facing a much more daunting task as I near graduation: I have to keep doing these things without having a professor “electronically” breathing down my neck!

Even though I say it’s daunting, I am still invigorated knowing that my graduation from the MAET program comes with great responsibility. Over the last 18 months I’ve become the “Tech Guru” in my building (even though I’m not the main technology teacher!), and really want to maintain that status. Therefore, I know that I’m going to have to keep up-to-date with the new and upcoming technologies gracing our lives, both in the classroom and out. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t get a teacher asking me to help with some other piece of technology that is in their personal lives: cell phones, laptops, email - you name, they’ve asked. And I’m proud to say I’ve helped every single one and am known as a dependable “Tech Guru” in my district. Just the other day my principal told me that the superintendent told her some nice things about me. When I asked what he had said, she smiled, “That you really know your <insert inappropriate word here> when it comes to technology.” I take that as a good sign! 

To get down to the nitty gritty, I plan to do lots of different things to maintain and advance my skills in the world of EdTech/Instructional technology. I find the most information comes, honestly, from my Google Reader. I follow over 20 EdTech blogs and they all have awesome information. I also have a Personal Learning Network (or “PLN”) that Dr. Punya Mishra encouraged during the summer of 2010. It’s important to me that I surround myself with educational technology like one surrounds themselves with blankets on a cold winter night. I plan to attend conferences: MACUL and ISTE are just to name a few. I will become a STAR Discovery Educator, and a Google Certified Teacher through their Google Teacher Academy. I’ve already made up my mind to pursue a Ph.D., after this MA I still don’t feel like I’m complete! And of course, I will continue to take formal tech-education courses, even if it does cost an arm and a leg. 

Now that THAT's over...
Without the MAET, I wouldn’t want to be the best “Tech Guru” that my district has ever seen. I wouldn’t have a personal goal to go to ISTE at least once in the next three years, or to get my MACUL registration paid for by presenting something exciting that's happening in my classroom, or to begin to hold formal technology classes at my school for teachers who want to brush up or learn from scratch. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of applying for a job at the local community college as a continuing education instructor for technology within the classroom (I did, by the way), or have been able to apply for a grant for an ActivSlate for the Promethean Board. The MAET program has given me so much more than just knowledge, they’ve given me the confidence in my abilities as an individual in the educational/instructional technology realm of education to go above and beyond my wildest dreams (which were minimal, at best, 18 short months ago). 

In 10 weeks I will walk across the stage, move my tassel from right to left, and receive a piece of paper in 8 - 12 weeks that has my name and degree on it. A piece of paper that, if I let it, will change my life forever. 

I now know that my goals were realistic before, but they weren’t what I truly craved as an individual who has a firm grasp on this EdTech “stuff”. Who understand the research when it comes to using technology, not just the HOW. Why we use it is so much more important, and something that I now have the drive to continue teaching to my colleagues, administrators, peers, anyone who will listen! 

But I want to take it to the next level. I want to influence those who are just starting out in their teaching career, those who have been teaching for 30 years but understand the need to change, and those who are in the middle who just may need someone like me to revitalize their career and motivation for teaching in this era of budget cuts and lack of support systems. I want to be the change you see in the world. Thank you, Mr. Ghandi, for inspiring my life’s work with 11 simple words. 

I leave you with this: In 15 years, if I can help 100 teachers implement technology in one aspect of the curriculum that they ALREADY teach, I can touch the lives of 45,000 students (higher if class sizes are more than 30). If I work in the university (after my Ph.D., which I’m already thinking about) I can touch 15+ times that amount, which is closer to a million than 0. 

See you in 15 years! And thanks for being a part of my PLN!

Kerry Guiliano