Hello, my name is Amber Hoye and I’m a candidate for a Master’s degree in Educational Technology at Boise State. I currently work as an instructional design consultant and live in Southwest Idaho with my husband and an adorable Boston Terrier named Greta. This video serves as a reflection of my journey through the EDTECH program and a marker of the accomplishments I’ve completed. I’d like to share with you why I made the decision to pursue a degree in Educational Technology and some of the meaningful projects that have increased my knowledge and led to significant professional growth. I’ll also touch on some my goals for my future in Educational Technology.
Approximately two years ago, there were a lot of big changes happening in my life! I had just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism and started a position as a trainer in an Apple retail store. When I first started my position at Apple, we were a brand new store and I was fortunate enough to serve as the workshop coordinator for the store. Each morning, we’d open up the store two hours earlier than every store in the mall and provide a quiet space for customers to come and learn. Word about these workshops spread quickly, and pretty soon we were booked solid for weeks! I’m not normally much of a morning person, but the early hours didn’t seem so bad when they were spent helping participants of all ages accomplish their personal projects.
After a few months of hosting workshops, I moved into the full-time position as a trainer (or Creative as its known in Apple lingo) and began to facilitate one-on-one trainings and more small group workshops. This was my first exposure to full-time training and I quickly fell for this “marriage” of technology and teaching. I also began to take on the coordination of employee training at the store and developed instructional materials for both customers and employees.
After a few months without regular classes at Boise State, I found myself with a desire to continue my education. I wanted to find something that would help enable me to be a better trainer at Apple and eventually lead to a full-time career developing and delivering training materials.
One day, while looking through the Boise State Graduate Catalog, I found the Master’s of Educational Technology program. Reading through the course descriptions, I knew that, without a doubt, I had found the right program! I sent in my materials and was ecstatic when I received my letter of acceptance to the program.
Meaningful Projects and Courses in Educational Technology
The first course in the EDTECH program that I enrolled in was EDTECH 501: Introduction to Educational Technology. This was one of my favorite courses in the program because we explored so many of the facets of Educational Technology. The course opened up with the class exploring the definition of educational technology and moved quickly into the role technology plays in education.
One of our first assignments was to write about our earliest experience with Educational Technology. I shared my experience playing a game called “The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis” in my third grade computer lab. This reflective assignment helped to remind me of how educational technology shaped my own learning experiences and to feel very fortunate that I had grown up with computers in the classroom. These feelings helped me to understand a concept introduced later in the semester, digital inequality. Digital Inequality refers to the factors that create differences in access to: “equipment, autonomy, skill, social support, and purposes for which technology is employed.” What would my education and life be like without the widespread access of technology I received growing up? I quickly became an advocate for overcoming these obstacles and providing fair and reliable access to all students.
Final Instructional Design Project (EDTECH 503)
Nearly all of the artifacts that I’ve created in the EDTECH program have had real world impact in my career at Apple and now, at Boise State, as an instructional design consultant.
If I had to select one course that has made the most impact on my professional growth and career, it would have to be EDTECH 503: Instructional Design. Taking this course introduced me to the career path of Instructional Designer, something I hadn’t heard of before, but felt would be a great fit for my personal skill set. In the course, I became familiar with and mastered learning concepts such as the ADDIE model, assessment basics, and rapid prototyping. These skills have proven invaluable and provided me the foundation to be successful in my current position as instructional design consultant!
One of the most important activities that I complete on a weekly basis is the creation of instructional materials for faculty or professional staff. These materials often involve tutorials, practice exercises and sample instructional materials for students. I am so grateful to have created several learning worksheets and materials for faculty interested in incorporating these types of graphics into their courses in my final instructional design project. The project was themed around “Using Info-Graphics in the Workplace,” with the idea that the use of info-graphics can help to illustrate important concepts or data in a way that is both meaningful and easy to understand.
Within the finished project, an instructor will find all the activities they need to lead students through creating their own info-graphics including: three guided-practice sheets, a Photoshop “cheat sheet,” peer feedback form, and workshop post-survey. I used Adobe’s InDesign to create several of these materials and it’s a resources that I frequently use for the creation of training documents. These materials were initially created to be printed and used in a face-to-face course, but could also be used as PDFs on an iPad with an annotation app.
Next month, I’ll be co-leading a workshop on info-graphics and am excited to use the learning materials and surveys that I created in this course!
EDTECH 502 Home page and websites (EDTECH 502)
EDTECH 502: The Internet for Educators introduced me to the world of DreamWeaver and CSS and throughout the course of the semester I had the opportunity to create several webpages for information, assignments, and activities.
The EDTECH Home Page was created to be “launching” or “landing” spot for these sites. I had the opportunity to design and create the site using DreamWeaver and for the first time, created graphics using Fireworks. Creating graphics in Fireworks was challenging and overwhelming (so many tools!) at first, but I’m grateful that I took the time to learn the tool set, and it is now something I use regularly in my workplace. I’ve had the opportunity to create web graphics for our webinar series and other events and look forward to creating more in the future!
The site features a clean design that makes content easy to find, while still highlighting elements of my personality. While I’m choosing to use my WordPress Blog as a landing page for my final EDTECH course site, this page was a close second!
Tech Trends (EDTECH 501)
In EDTECH 501: Introduction to Educational Technology, I created a reflective essay on the Tech Trend of eBooks. While just beginning to gain popularity in the classroom when I wrote this article, eBooks were something that had been on my mind for many years. I selected to write this article to help bring awareness and interest to the use of eBooks and to explore options for trial and adoption.
This habit of researching and discussing trends in education is one of the most important strategies I have implemented since beginning the program. As an instructional design consultant, I work with faculty to find technology and tools that work well in their classrooms. Keeping up to date with the latest websites, apps, and hardware has enabled me to make relevant and innovative recommendations.
In addition, my colleagues and I in Academic Technologies are putting together an eTextbook pilot! It was so exciting to look back on this piece and see that some of my ideas and suggests had already or are about to come true. I’ve since use some of the facts and figures in this presentation to educate faculty about the growing use of mobile devices amongst students and important items, such as accessibility needs, to consider when adopting an eText.
EDTECH 541 Presentation Series, Including:
Adaptive/Assistive Technology Presentation
Providing accessible technology options has always been a passion of mine, so I enjoyed providing examples of the newest innovations in tools for those with special needs. In addition, prior to this assignment, I hadn’t thought much about adaptive technology. I enjoyed learning about tools that could be used to enhance the learning experience for At Risk and Gifted and Talented students. In my workplace, I have the resources from these activities on file for faculty interested in learning more about assistive and adaptive technology. I also frequently recommend these tools at workshops and work with vendors to ensure their compatibility with our LMS and other products.
Content Area Presentation on Art
Creating my Content Area Presentation on Art created in EDTECH 541: Integrating Technology into the Classroom Curriculum helped me to discover new web 2.0 tools that I can introduce to faculty. This site hosts a variety of digital resources including a YouTube video and Glogster presentation. Creating the Glogster poster was a fun element of this assignment and helped me to create accurate instructions for faculty/students who would be using the tool as well.
My Future in Educational Technology
Looking back on the artifacts compiled for my portfolio, I feel so proud in what I have been able to accomplish in the M.E.T. program. Through the course of this two-year program, I’ve learned about innovative technologies which I’ve paired with new and familiar pedagogies, development a skill-set around graphic and web design for education, effectively implemented assessments into my current projects, and further ignited my passion for education and technology. The program opened many training and design opportunities in my past position at Apple and enabled me to work in my current position as an instructional design consultant at Boise State University. Additionally, the courses in the EDTECH program have helped me to create materials that I can use everyday in my workplace from creating promotional materials to developing training documents to use with faculty.
I’m excited to see what the world of educational technology holds for me in the next few years, and if it is anything like the past two, I know it’s going to be a blast! I hope to continue in the field of instructional design and learn the basics of web app development. I’m very interested in creating interactive, educational materials and hope produce my first working material by the end of the year!
I’d also like to give a special thanks to all of the faculty and staff in the EDTECH department for all their support and feedback throughout my time in the program.