When I began my DLL experience I knew it was going to have a profound effect on me, but I didn’t know how. With the remaining days of coursework in sight, I can finally see how I have become a digital learner and leader. When I began I had long dreamed of being a digital leader by attempting many projects in hopes I would become proficient at it. Even before starting the program I would have said I was skilled at most all digital learning applications, but something still wasn’t quite there. Now I can finally see that I’ve discovered it!
The DLL program provided me many opportunities and only through reflection do they start to manifest themselves into how they affected me. While I understood the technology side of education, I did not know how to properly use it to impact education. This was my greatest achievement in the DLL program, I now better understand how to analyze organizational needs, develop a strategy, and implement it to key staff. Before, I would have been comfortable being a instructional designer, but now I am confident in leading and developing programs to make significant organizational changes.
Many DLL principles and course goals went into developing my leadership abilities. One of the ways I was able to grow confidence in my leadership was through the development of my personal learning network. Through creating the ePortfolio and collaborating with my peers in weekly discussions, I was able to discover my voice held value and insight. I used these collaborative opportunities to learn about new educational technologies and innovative ideas. I shared my experiences with implementing technology and we were all able to grow as leaders.
Another principle that played a significant role in my leadership abilities was applying educational theory to my practices. I had long used proven educational practices in my instructional design, but did not know how or why these methods were effective, or not effective. Early on in the DLL program I developed my personal learning theory. A lot went into this: I analyzed how I was personally learning, applied research and development of the latest educational trends, psychology, and neuroscience, and collaborated with my peers to understand their unique perspectives. All of these influences culminated in my personal learning theory. While the development of my learning theory was significant, applying my personal learning theory to my instructional design was monumental. It allowed me to better understand factors influencing my learning environment and how to better design instruction to meet the needs of my learners.
The lessons I have learned while implementing my innovation plan are tremendous. I have come a long way since I began and I am excited to see how my journey will continue. In the following section I have compiled core DLL teachings and provided links to my work examples.
Designing an innovation plan can be a daunting task. However, through the DLL program I was given choice, ownership, and voice in my authentic project (COVA) (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, & Cummings, 2017). In addition to the COVA approach, I utilized a growth mindset in order to continuously learn and keep achieving my goals. Without these opportunities it is likely I would not have been successful in the DLL program.
One of the core components of the DLL program is learning to effectively plan. Planning is an essential part of instructional design because it creates a blueprint on how to achieve desired results. Planning was at the forefront of my development as I realized if I understood how to plan effectively I could apply it to essentially any project. A few of the planning tools that stand out most in my learning are the Three Column Table and the Action Research method (Fink, 2013) (Mertler, 2017). These projects resonated with me as they provide guidance towards accomplishing a goal, rather than strict adherence. By using these methods I am able to plan instructional designs and continually develop them to become increasingly more effective.
Another component of the DLL program was leadership, specifically through the implementation of organizational change. I was eager to adopt the principles learned through leading implementation as I saw myself as leader and hoped to become even more effective. Several key understandings jump out about leading organizational change, specifically the 4DX model and the Six Sources of Influence (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012) (Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, Switzler, 2013). These models helped identify key elements in launching successful organizational changes. In addition to these models, lessons on professional development gave me a unique insight into how to train and develop teachers to effectively adopt course websites (Gulamhussein, 2013).
I absolutely loved the DLL program because it gave me the opportunity to develop my instructional design. Instructional design involves many pieces, essentially all the elements of the DLL program, because it is learner centered. Being learner centered requires knowledge in content, pedagogy, and technology in order to effectively meet the needs of the learner. I combined these elements in my instructional design for teaching 9th graders World Geography. However, the principles and ideas used to develop this course can be applied to any topic and learner.
Watch the video below to discover some of the significant lessons I learned in the DLL program.
Dweck, Carol S. (2008) Mindset: the new psychology of success New York : Ballantine Books.
Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.
Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education
Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf
Harapnuik, D. K., Thibodeaux, T. N., & Cummings, C. D. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning Opportunities. http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=7291
McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution. New York: Free Press.
Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Godeassi, A. (August 30, 2017). Mapping the mind of a leader. Retrieved from https://bized.aacsb.edu/articles/2017/09/mapping-the-mind-of-a-leader.