Self-AssessmentIn week four of the course, I was assigned to create a newsletter. It had been a while since I last created one so I was a bit anxious about whether or not I would remember how to make one. More important, I was nervous about whether or not I would be able to implement all four design principles, which are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity (Yearwood, 2009). Through the creation of this newsletter, I learned that implementing the C.R.A.P. principles is a sure way of creating a newsletter that looks respectable and not overloaded with too much information. I also learned that planning beforehand is key in order to ensure that a newsletter is appropriate for its target audience. In a technology class I had previously taken, I had been told to plan before making a newsletter and I held this to be very true; however, I was not given in-depth information as to what to consider in the planning stage. Upon reading the article “Planning Newsletters” by Annette Lamb, I learned that I need to consider my audience, the purpose of my newsletter, and conduct a survey in the planning phase if I want to create a successful newsletter (Lamb, 2005). Upon taking my old knowledge of planning and the new information I gained into consideration, I embarked in a careful planning period before actually creating my newsletter. I am glad that I did this because my careful planning saved me from spending a lot of time changing things, which is what I used to do before. The only thing that I would change to make this assignment better would be to assign it on the third week instead of the fourth. That way students can submit it the third week for feedback, make changes based on the suggestions given, and submit a final product the fourth week.
Learn as a LearnerAs I got started in creating my newsletter in Microsoft Publisher, I used a blank template. In my opinion, this requirement of the assignment is what led me to feel confident in my ability to create a newsletter because when I looked at the finished product, I felt very proud of how it came out. Most importantly, this made the newsletter unique to me and I was able to show my interests by using articles that pertained to my cause, which is the implementation of technology in the classroom.
Through the creation of this newsletter, I learned that am a visual learner. As I read the readings assigned for this project, I was very interested in the information each contained, however, I could not remember all the details. It was not until I was given actual examples of newsletters and their parts that I was able to make a connection between what I had just read, and what I had to do. This project allowed me to experience what my students feel whenever they are given information via text and nothing else. As stated in the article “Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners” by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, “students should learn through a variety of learning strategies, learning experiences, and perspectives” (n.d.). Differentiated instruction must be available to all students in order to ensure an equal learning opportunity for all.
Through the completion of this project, I was able to cooperate with my colleagues through the use of blogs, online conferences, and wikis. This was a nice aspect of this project because it allowed me virtually meet with my colleagues and share any questions that I had. This made the process less stressful because I felt that I had a support group that would be there for me during this process, which resulted in a carefully-planned and successfully completed newsletter.
Lifelong Learning SkillsThrough this activity and this course in general, I learned that learning takes shape in many ways, not just through the use of textbooks and educational journals. This will impact my future learning by encouraging me to seek out for different methods and tools for learning, not only for me, but for my students as well. Through this course, I have created a logo, a business card, and a newsletter, all unique to my persona. These products are not typically seen in classrooms today but they should because they would all cater to the students’ unique interests and needs. This course will encourage me to get together with other educators and teach them about the different educational tools that are available to them, and most importantly, how they can use these tools in their classrooms.
My past interactions and collaborations with my colleagues will impact my future learning experiences by opening my eyes to the world of online cooperation. The same way that Lamar students have constant online help through the use of discussion boards and wikis, educators should have this extra help as well. Unfortunately, the use of these tools is not very common at my district. By seeing how well I have been able to work with other Lamar students, I am motivated to help set up an online support system for educators in which they can share with others whatever concerns they have and they can help each other. This way, educators can enhance their knowledge of technology away from the school setting whenever they wish to do so.
As a lifelong learner, an issue that challenges me is the current budget restraints my district is placing in campuses all over. We are in a time in which everything, from paper to staples, is portioned. Therefore, the creation of a newsletter may be something that the district would not support. I would have to investigate what steps I would have to take to share a newsletter online, such as if more bandwidth should be obtained in order to support the extra visitors the school page would get, copyright issues when using school photographs, and other issues of this matter
In all, this class was enjoyable and I learned of different ways that learning can take place. I really enjoyed being able to create my own products and was able to determine that this hands-on method is the best way for me to learn something new. The same way that I was able to figure out which method of learning worked best for me by experimenting with different tools, students should be exposed to these as well. Only then can they, along with their teachers, determine which method of learning works best for them.
ReferencesLamb, A. (2005). Planning newsletters. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/sessions/publishing/planning.htm
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. (n.d.). Meeting the needs of diverse learners. Retrieved from http://www.netc.org/earlyconnections/pub/sec3.pdf
Yearwood, J. (2009). Basic design principles. Retrieved from https://lamar.epiclms.net/Learn/Player.aspx?enrollmentid=1580963