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Karen Jones Masters of Educational Technology Application March 2009 Having been a teacher in the Richmond School district

for the past nineteen years, I am fortunate to have found a fit with the districts philosophy of promoting inclusive schools, and its emphasis on providing opportunities for lifelong learning. When contemplating the goals I hope to achieve by completing a Masters, it is necessary to consider the special district program I work in, the nature of its students, and the purpose of incorporating technology to meet the needs of these students. Station Stretch program provides a separate physical setting for forty at-risk grades nine and ten students who are unable to succeed in a regular high school setting. The students are divided into three classes, and are taught the core courses on a daily basis in a traditional classroom setting. Students that attend Station Stretch are here for a variety of social, emotional, and educational reasons. Each student is on an individual educational plan (IEP) to address behavioural and academic strengths and needs. Technology has played an increasingly dominant role in organizing and delivering curriculum to our students. For the past twelve years, our goals for using technology in the class have changed along with new hardware, software, Internet access, and support by media technicians and itinerant teachers. Today, we would like to move beyond just using the computer to purvey information; we want the students to become the disseminators. Our small yet diverse population of students poses several challenges that I believe can be met with the use of current technologies. First of all, is the need to provide relevancy for these disenfranchised students. Paper-based assignments seem irrelevant in their world of digital cameras, social networking websites, and YouTube. Rudimentary exploration of providing students with assignments using PowerPoint, Inspirations mind-mapping software, and digital cameras has been rewarded with increased student engagement and enthusiasm. This has also resulted in improved class behaviour, and has increased student time-on-task, as they are working on their projects outside of class on their own cognizance. I would like to incorporate more of this technology into the classroom. Secondly, many of our students have problems with written output. I am interested in exploring digital learning materials that would provide alternate means of expression for those with output disorders. Blogging, digital cartooning, and the use of iMovie are just three areas that I have encountered in recent professional development opportunities that could help those students whose poor writing skills inadequately reflect their intellectual abilities. In conclusion, while it would be possible to continue to explore the vast new arsenal of digital tools on my own, I need to create a framework on which to hang these tools. In the process of completing a Master in Educational Technology, I hope to gain familiarity and expertise with new technologies, and in addition, create a central guiding purpose that I can convey to the rest of the staff. Only through evolving team efforts can we hope to help our students reach their potential.