I’m currently finishing up my last course in the Digital Learning and Leading program from Lamar University. I’ll never forget the first course in the DLL program and the first assignment. We had to create a project, but the instructions were very limited. I second guessed that project so many times because I wanted to get a good grade. It was a stressful moment for me because I have always been the type of person to go above and beyond to get all of my points to earn a perfect grade. My professor just kept mentioning that we could choose how we wanted this to look, we could choose what to include in the project. I kept thinking, ok, but how do you want it? I need a good grade lady! I was terrified to submit that first assignment. This was my first experience with the term COVA. COVA gives the learner choice, ownership, voice, through authentic learning opportunities. It didn’t hit me until much later that the whole point of the assignments wasn’t for a grade, but they were authentic and things I would use later. Knowing now that I would actually use these assignments, I believe I would rework some of my previous assignments. It was interesting to see how so many of my classmates took what we learned in totally different directions, and we all created entirely different projects.
The COVA approach took me some getting used to as a student. I had to really begin to change my mindset when completing assignments. I had to remind myself often that I was not doing it wrong, and that I was focusing more so on how I would use this in the future as an instructional technologist. I had to think of every assignment as part of a job, and not as a grade. I began thinking of my e-portfolio as my living resume and not something a professor would grade. Once this became second nature, I began adding other things to my e-portfolio to help me reach my goals.
After reading all of the research I have read over the last eighteen months, I feel more inspired than ever to inspire change in my district. My district is currently moving to become a Google district. They bought several Chromebook Carts to begin slowly implementing in classrooms. We had to apply to receive a cart, and we had to complete multiple assignments to teach us how to use the Chromebooks and different ways we could use them in lessons. The main focus is to use the Chromebooks multiple times a day and not just use them to digitize a worksheet. I was able to share with our instructional technologists what I had learned in the DLL program, and how I had implemented blended learning into my first-grade classroom. Due to the knowledge I have gained, I was hired to host training on how I use blended learning in my classroom. I’m hoping they will look deeper into my innovation plan, and make the change happen on a larger scale.
I have been working on implementing a CSLE (creating a significant learning environment) in my classroom over the last year with implementing a blended learning environment. I have loved it, and my students have as well. I am constantly working on what works best in the technology station that will give me the best data to use during my face to face teaching period. I believe that is the toughest piece of blended learning in a younger elementary class, but it’s not impossible. COVA looks a little different in a lower elementary setting as well. It is a little more difficult with choice, but I am working slowly on it in my first-grade classroom. When we are creating with technology I give them the choice of two apps to use to explain their learning. I know that is small, but I am hoping it will get better. I love the idea for when I hopefully become the instructional technologist for elementary to use it with my teachers. I think they will push back, just like I did in the beginning, but will come to love it.
To learn more about COVA read the eBook here.
Image from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=7291