Part 1. Course Reflection

When I think back to what I have learned in this course, the biggest thing that stands out is an overall greater understanding of the multiple avenues, methods, and possibilities for integrating technology into any type of curriculum or subject matter. There were times when I thought to myself, how am I going to complete this assignment and stay within the content area of financial literacy? Yet time and time again I was able to think critically, look at all the Web 2.0 tools and technologies available, and come up with some sort of creative application for using them in a financial literacy lesson. I already knew going into this course that technology has the power to positively impact nearly every facet of education. Being able to sit down and actually create these positive impacts myself within an unconventional content area however really brought to light an even greater appreciation for educational technology as a whole.

In terms of professional growth I have unlocked new potential ways for using technology to promote financial literacy. While performing research for assignments, I also discovered a multitude of new internet resources that I have already been able to share with students and colleagues. As a result of this course my teaching practice has already changed as well. There are a good number of technology tools I wasn't aware of before this class began that I am now putting to use on a consistent basis. In particular my presentations have changed dramatically thanks to newly discovered tools such as Prezi, Sliderocket, PowToon, and several others.

Not only do I have a greater understanding on how to integrate technology into curriculum thanks to this course, but I have also increased my knowledge of cognitive, constructive, behaviorist  and connective theory to help guide the integration. These theories will play a significant role in appropriately adapting technology into my delivery of financial literacy education going forward. I have also come several steps closer towards mastery of the AECT standards through completion of this course. Practice of standards 1 through 3, which are design, development, and utilization, took place throughout the semester thanks to the project based approach to all our assignments. In particular I feel that Instructional Strategies (1.3), Audiovisual Technologies (2.2), Computer-Based Technologies (2.3), Integrated Technologies (2.4), and Media Utilization (3.1) were demonstrated in the majority of my assignments.

Once again I find myself at the end of a semester that has allowed me to explore new tools, gather new resources, and put me that much closer to my goal of earning a Master in Educational Technology from Boise State University. I will look back on this class fondly and continue to build upon the work I have created in it moving forward. 

Part 2. Blog Self Evaluation
Content: 60 Points

I would rate myself as proficient in this area. I feel that a good amount of thought, analysis, and insight was put into each posting. A strong attempt was made to relate both research and my own real life experiences to the topics given each week.

Readings and Resources: 15 Points

I included references to the text book or other additional research in nearly every posting. An attempt was also made to include links to outside resources in my posts that fit each topic and would be of use to my classmates and anyone else reading my blog. I also used APA style references at the end of each post as necessary.

Timeliness: 15 Points

Every post for the semester was made on time before the weekly deadline. However, towards the middle to end of the semester, several of my postings were not made until the last possible day. This unfortunately did not allow my classmates the appropriate amount of time to read and respond to my posts, which resulted in me receiving less feedback.

Responses to Other Students: 25 Points

My goal for each week was to respond to at least 3 classmates blog posts. In my responses I tried to identify the points they made that most engaged me based on a personal level. I tried to then build off my personal experience to expand upon the ideas being presented and hopefully promote further thought on the subject.

The computer I have been using all this week is my work laptop having been out of town at a conference, so for the purposes of this blog post I used it as my testing ground. The laptop runs Windows 7 enterprise so what I had available to me were the built in accessibility tools. One thing I found disappointing was how one accesses the accessibility features. You have to go through the start menu and into the applications folder, and then again into a sub-folder called “Ease of Access”. This seemed to be a lot of navigation to get to these tools for initial setup, and would be especially difficult for a user with disabilities.
One nice feature however, was the “Ease of Access Center”. Once you open this center the screen reader automatically starts up, giving you audio queues on how to proceed. Here you can setup each of the accessibility tools, as well as configure them to start each time you log on into windows with a user ID. I liked that the built in screen magnifier would dock itself to the top of the screen. From there it would magnify the location of your mouse cursor. You could also drag the mouse cursor around like a magnifying glass instead. The on-screen keyboard worked well but had very limited options, so I could see someone using a 3rd party product with more options if they needed something like this. I played with the high contrast settings as well, which was definitely an interesting change from the usual windows look and obvious how it could help people with certain visual impairments. Within the Narrator screen reading tool there was an option to echo a user’s keystrokes. This seems like it would come in handy for someone who can still use a normal keyboard but can’t perfectly see what they are typing on screen. They can get an audio confirmation of what keys they hit.

After a Google search I found the following link on the Microsoft website: It offers tutorials and guides for all the accessibility tools or functions built into windows. It is a great resource for anyone who wants to use them to their full potential. Overall it was interesting experience to use functions in windows that I would have otherwise never touched.