Success Through Perserverance
Master of Science in Educational Technology:
Ramapo College 2015
For over 25 years a teacher and as a student at Ramapo College, I have shown that success is only obtained through persistence. I believe that my education, experience and personality makes me a perfect candidate for teaching or as an Learning Experience Designer.
I have used extensive Information Technology in my lessons for many years. I have a Master of Science in Educational Technology with a 3.85 GPA which gave me a great experience of how computers can be used in the classroom either as an Information Technology Supervisor or as a classroom teacher. I’ve also had 25 years experience as a teacher. So, I think my background makes me a perfect candidate for any teaching position.
I’ve taught for over 25 years in a variety of programs. I started teaching in a military program designed to help soldiers achieve scores for a test until the government decided to defund the program. The contractor saw my skills and invited me to teach in a local community college teaching remedial English, mathematics and GED skills for welfare parents. Eventually, standards redefined the requirements, and I needed to find a way to reuse the experience, so I taught in evening school teaching GED and computer skills. When I found a full-time job teaching in corrections, I accepted the job. Eventually, I was laid-off, and I started teaching autistic students. Recently, I accepted a full-time “substitute” position in corrections; but this job will never be able to use my Master of Science in Educational Technology.
Even in the restricted environment of male, juvenile corrections. I used three specific techniques while teaching in a “residential home” where I taught for about 10 years. I would use all the knowledge from my Master of Science in Educational Technology to augment any assigned textbook resources.
I started designing curriculum when I first started teaching computer skills to adults in evening school. I found that giving the “expected lessons” were not addressing their needs, and even the adults started “acting up”. Eventually, I started teaching specific lessons on hardware components, repair, software, comparing computers, buying computers and technology terms. This was in 1993. My supervisor acknowledged the work with a “Computer Wizardry Award” for my work with the adults. I got constant high ratings.
In 2001, I started teaching in Corrections and found that students were on a variety of levels since they left school at various times. So, I started to develop pre-tests, even in an adult, male correctional setting. I was the only female allowed in solitary confinement to teach. Yet, I found it impossible to track each student’s abilities individually. So, I spent time developing what is now called a “Portfolio”, but I then called a tracking device. I tried to evaluate where each student showed the largest hole in the “educational net”. I then developed a listing of all the skills necessary in mathematics, reading and language arts. I tried to track each student individually. Because of changes in the program, I had to discontinue use in this environments. However, I never got rid of the idea completely.
In 2002, when I first started teaching at Green Residential Community Home, I purchased and installed a networked computer system with educational software, games and Microsoft Office programs for students to use during any time of the day. When the students were causing disruptions because they didn’t’ have enough time, I incorporated a password, specific assignments and schedule to protect and provide for individual needs. This was removed by Operations when students violated behavioral standards.
Later, I individualized specific instruction and tried to provide each student with a program designed to build on his specific needs. This was useful to provide a foundation for each student who stopped their education to “run the streets” at different times which meant that their foundational skills appeared to be a fishing net with holes. I kept giving each student specific lessons and even developed a plan so no student would know the reading level or challenge of the lesson so students wouldn’t feel embarrassed or humiliated. This worked for months until the copier died and was not repaired.
I then used videos that I collected to teach cross-curricular lessons. One of my most successful (with inner-city students) was using “Phantom of the Opera” to teach literature and history. Using a multi-media presentation was the most effective tool for modern “inner-city” students. I was able to teach literature, history, morality and values clarification and science.
I’ve developed tools which are demonstrated on my website: http://www.msbalee.com. I can develop multimedia presentations using both PC and Apple software. I’ve developed lessons using YouTube, iMovie and many online software products. For years, I volunteered using PowerPoint with a religiously-based charity in the multimedia department. I modified pictures and incorporated into audio/ visual presentations for years.
My first Ramapo class in Educational Technology incorporated all of Gardner’s Multiple Learning Styles into a lesson which used Hamlet to “investigate a cold crime” (before the Shakespearean death scene). This started with the students reading to find details for a criminal investigation of the sitting king to try the king for treason. This brought each student into a lesson which meant that they would either participate on a trial as a witness, judge, lawyer, investigator or jury member. The students would then determine if the sitting king was guilty and would be beheaded or continue as a monarch.
I also have used Google maps extensively to show the “Pyramids Around the World”, “Revolutionary Journey” and “Dr. King’s Worldwide Cities”. This is interesting since many students that I’ve taught have a limited understanding of our current world. I believe this could be useful since many students now have a limited understanding of the world outside the internet. Google Maps can be used to show how an individual person’s home is part of a larger world. We are all part of a large world, yet we don’t evaluate the events happening around us in the context of the whole world’s perspective. Surveys of students often show they don’t know where countries are or even what continents exist. Google maps can help students see the world in “almost real-time” since Google maps show previous times and not satellite images in “real-time”.
One of the products with the most potential was Moodle. Although I have developed lessons using Moodle (which is designed to provide individualized lessons which can track progress and individualize lessons with specific evaluations and reinforcement), I had to restrict the use of Moodle because of it’s size demands. Moodle takes a large portion of a web-site; so I had to limit my use of the program. However, Moodle can be set up on a school-district’s server to provide sequential tracking and reinforcement with each teacher providing for each student with lessons from YouTube, TedX Talks or any URL sources. Moodle can also provide repeated reinforcement so students who don’t understand can get the information from many sources without slowing down the class or seeing the same lesson twice. Moodle can also provide a variety of assessment tools.
Google has a web-site source which each teacher can use to set-up either specific lessons or curriculum which students can access from home. This can easily address the controversy between students having “too much homework” and the demands for “accountability” in teaching. It is possible, if students have computer access at home to provide reinforcement for daily lessons without students having to carry any books home. This can also provide vital statistics to teachers where students have specific weaknesses.
Bluehost has a website resource which has a plethora of tools and “plug-ins” which can be modified to augment both the instructional process and curriculum. Since most of my assignments went well above the expected level of mastery, my Bluehost account had to be upgraded. Yet, I was constantly “hitting the wall”.
I’ve made audio-video lessons on “Worldwide Slavery”, “Washing Your Hands Correctly” and “Making Choices” which were uploaded to YouTube. These would be easily incorporated as lessons for classes.
I’ve used my background teaching literature, history, mathematics and science to develop a variety of Prezi lessons. One lesson “Were Literary Characters Live People?” which was designed to show how literary characters may have been based on historical characters. A Prezi called “Choices” demonstrates how adolescents face many uncharted choices which determine their future fate. My thesis called, “A Prophet of Nonviolence” demonstrating how Dr. Martin Luther King’s dedication to non-violence could be implemented in schools to decrease violence while achieving the primary goal of rectifying wrongs resulted in a 100% grade for my final.
The one most important lesson I’ve learned in “Information Technology” is to never give up. Every class had hardware or software failures. Yet, seven of my eight classes earned a 100% through persistence and determination. The one class that I didn’t achieve a perfect score was completed, but the computer wouldn’t upload the files to the web. So, the teacher didn’t credit me with the full score despite my sending him a flash drive with the completed lesson. I can easily say my experience at Ramapo was my most challenging and exciting learning experience.