Professional Statement

Professional Statement

Angela K. Trunzo

The University of Tennessee

I have always had an interest in technology. When I was a child, I was fascinated by the 16mm film projectors my teachers used to show educational movies. I vividly recall the flap-flap-flap sound the film made when the machine was done rewinding not to mention it was a special treat when the teacher let us watch the film she had just shown backwards. Another memory from my elementary school years in the 1980s is about the less thrilling film strip projector. I say less thrilling because unless the teacher had chosen you to turn the film strip when the recording beeped you were stuck being an inactive participant watching the static movie with your hooded, sleepy eyes.

Today I’m on the other side of the student desk. I teach special education high school students English. I don’t show movies using 16mm film projectors – I show them on my SMARTboard or at the very least using a DVD player and a TV. As a 21st century educator, I have so many technology tools at my disposal it makes my head hurt sometimes at the thought of them all. It also makes my head hurt to think of all that’s out there that I don’t know about, which leads me to contemplate the type of professional I want to be at this early stage in my program of study.

Just as the name and definition of the instructional design and technology field has changed through the years, so will the way I define myself as a professional. Currently I see myself as a teacher and collaborator. In the next five years, in addition to teacher and collaborator, I’d also like to add the roles of coach, leader, manager, designer, and developer. In ten years? Perhaps researcher and scholar.

Whatever my role may be as a professional, my beliefs about teaching and learning and technology-based learning will always be focused on the most important person: the learner. Learners are in charge of their ability to learn, and, as an educator, my job is to work side-by-side as a collaborator. Robinson, Molenda, and Rezabek (2008) explain the constructivist view of teacher-student relationships best when they write, “They are coproducers of students’ learning accomplishments. Nothing happens until the students do their part of the coproduction. …The student is not a customer but a worker doing the hardest part of constructing new knowledge, skills, and attitudes” (p.20).  Members of my high school’s professional learning community also refer to this idea as students “owning” their own learning.

Moreover, I see technology-based learning as a way to more easily address individual learner’s needs and to engage and motivate diverse groups of learners. I use technology in my classroom in this way. One of the most popular pieces of technology I’ve used with my students is the SMART Response clickers. In general my students do not like to write much less take tests or quizzes. With the clickers I can design formative assessments and get and give immediate feedback. The students are motivated and engaged, maybe even a little competitive, and I am able to meet their needs more quickly and efficiently.

In order to be an exceptional professional, I must strive to meet certain competencies. I would like to stay in the K12 setting, so I have chosen to examine the International Society for Technology Education National Educational Technology Standards for Coaches, which includes six standards: Visionary Leadership, Teaching, Learning, & Assessments, Digital Age Learning Environments, Professional Development & Program Evaluation, Digital Citizenship, and Content Knowledge and Professional Growth.

The Visionary Leadership standard requires coaches to “inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment” (ISTE, 2011). I need to work on this standard. To me, this standard would be accomplished on a school-wide or district level. Graduate-level courses and more experience at my school will help me become more competent in this area.

The Teaching, Learning, & Assessments standard requires coaches to “assist teachers in using technology effectively for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction, and providing rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning experiences for all students” (ISTE, 2011). While I believe I have achieved this in my own classroom, I have neither formally nor regularly helped other teachers with technology. Any assistance I have given other teachers has been informally. Once I get a year of experience at my school, I will be able to contribute more to helping other teachers in my building.

The Digital Age Learning Environments standard requires coaches to “create and support effective digital-age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students” (ISTE, 2011). This standard is a relative strength for me. I am lucky enough to have a SMART Board, SMART Response interactive clickers, and a couple of student computers in my classroom, and I’m not afraid to try new technology. In fact, I am excited about being able to use a literacy suite of software with my learning disabled students when it comes time for them to write their research paper this semester.

The Professional Development & Program Evaluation standard requires coaches to “conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning” (ISTE, 2011). I definitely have a ways to go to become competent in this area. Again, I believe graduate-level courses will help me attain this goal. I would love to become more involved with how South-Doyle High School acquires and uses technology and supports its teachers who are interested in classroom technology, maybe even assisting our building level technology coordinator.

The Digital Citizenship standard requires coaches to “model and promote digital citizenship” (ISTE, 2011). I believe this standard is another relative strength for me. One idea that I can’t wait to try this year is using Skype in the classroom.  I hope to find another class outside of Tennessee to connect with and collaborate on a project.

The Content Knowledge and Professional Growth requires coaches to “demonstrate professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in content, pedagogical, and technological areas as well as adult learning and leadership and are continuously deepening their knowledge and expertise” (ISTE, 2011). I need to work on this competency. Once more, I feel graduate courses will help me sharpen my skills in this area.

Regardless of whether I feel competent in an area, I know I will always need to continue my professional development if I am to stay current with my content knowledge, and I have a number of resources to do so. As a Knox County Schools employee, I have access to a number of professional development courses related to technology. I plan to join the Tennessee Educational Technology Association and would also like to attend the summer institute. In addition, I plan to earn my Master’s degree in Instructional Technology. This goal may take me a while since I am working full time. I hope to take one class each fall and spring and two classes during the summer.  Ultimately, I hope to go on to be admitted to the University of Tennessee’s Learning Environments and Educational Studies Doctoral Program.

References

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2011). NETS for Coaches. Retrieved

September 1, 2012, from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-coaches

Robinson, Molenda, & Rezabek (2008). Facilitating Learning. In A. Januszewski & M. Molenda

(Eds.), Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. Lawrence Erlbaum. Ch. 2

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