Reflection

It’s Been a Year?

Worddle

I am amazed, overjoyed and a bit saddened this process is coming to a close.  In reviewing the very first blog posts and videos I realize how far I have come. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  As I began answering the question in month one, “what problems do you see in your environment?” and finding an answer to be the subject of our literature review, I found new life and passion in my desire to be a more effective and efficient communicator and collaborator.  Through my literature review, I investigated and researched how the use of technology could enhance communication, collaboration and team building to get tasks and goals accomplished.

Obstacles

"Figure Jumping To Successful Goal" by Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Figure Jumping To Successful Goal” by Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As I truly believe all things happen for a reason, when I embarked on this journey, little did I know how the doors that would open.  As I had enrolled at Full Sail in May of 2012, I was employed at a local college working to develop plans and training, as well as handling all administrative work for the President and Vice President of Academic Affairs as well as teaching courses at another college for continuing education students.  Within 3 months, I was laid off from both positions.  It was a call I was not expecting. However, it allowed me to enjoy the brand spanking new tools I had begun to learn.

I went back to freelancing and then landed a position as a marketing director with a local PR, marketing and publishing firm.  Doors began to open and I realized that doing my Literature Review started to ignite a fire within and without.  My literature review highlighted not only the positive impact of finding common needs and goals through the use of technology, but how to foster such collaboration and communication.  This proved to be pivotal in not only my capstone project but in my class work and discussions with my fellow students.  I truly believe that having your team, of which I have been a part of Google Groupies since month one, has a significant impact on my studies and action research.

My initial target audience and group that I was going to use fell apart about 3 weeks before implementation.  I was in a quandary about what I going to do.  One of my fellow classmates, Jennifer Tuttle, offered her class as we had previously worked together in a similar journey in an earlier class, the RILS project.  She graciously offered her 8th grade advisory class in Nampa, ID and thus began the journey.

Throughout my journey at Full Sail, I was plagued with deaths, health issues and other personal matters that had my focus at times scattered, if non-existent.  Again, I thank my group for the care, love, concern and support they gave me through this journey.

Surprises

"Face Expressions" by hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Face Expressions” by hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While we had thought from the previous class we had worked out the “bugs” and technical issues, we had more surprises in store for us.  As I was working again, time management was a critical and sometimes crazy process for us. I decided that my Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 would you different web 2.0 tools (Cac0o in cycle 1 and Asana in cycle 2) in conjunction with use of Edmodo and Google Hangouts.

During implementation participants were scattered and due to the delay in the initial setup for collaboration, it delayed the implementation of Cycle 1.  Students were suspended from school and could not participate.  A pleasant surprise with the students who did participate was their familiarity in using Cacoo and Google Hangouts.  Their enthusiasm and surprise on how the software helped them was a blessing.

We ran into several unexpected technical errors during Cycle 2.  Asana was not allowing the students into the program.  Not knowing if it was an Asana issue or a local network issue, I had to rely on communication with Jennifer Tuttle, the teacher on site in Nampa, ID.  I resent the link to the students and they finally were able to sign back in.

Added surprises were the unexpected delays caused by the school district in closing the school, adding out-of-classroom activities and the numerous suspensions and absences from the student body.

The overall reaction of the students was rather interesting. For Cycle 2, I had them complete an opinion-based survey about how meaningful they felt their overall experience was from Cycle One to Cycle Two and 56% agreed or strongly agreed it was a meaningful experience while 17% felt neutral and only 12% disagreed or strongly disagreed that it wasn’t very meaningful.

I did not find the students as actively engaged in Cycle Two as they were in Cycle One so this greatly surprised me.  However, when the students were asked how well they thought they participated in their teams 0% felt they didn’t participate, 17% were neutral about their participation, 44% said they participated and 39% felt they strongly participated.  Through surveys and reflections it was determined the students did learn about being a digital collaborator.

Unintended Outcomes

Personally, I have been able to embark on a whole new branch in my career — presentations, training and public speaking.  As I am in public relations and marketing, I have found the perfect vehicle to showcase all I have learned.  I have created, edited and been the voice for several of our clients in radio and television commercials while also being published with articles on effective marketing strategies that involve…. COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION!!!

During my Action Research project, I found my love of teaching again and working with younger students helped me redefine some of the issues that popped up.  Learning more about your audience and their capabilities was an enormous affirmation for me. Students in the project, found a new sense and direction in collaboration and communication, which I hope they continue to carry with them throughout their lives.

I felt honored and blessed to be able to present such ideas, ideologies and intent to this group of students.  Thank you Full Sail, instructors, classmates and Google Groupies for blessing me with this journey.  It only continues from here.

Attitude_Gratitude from shutterstock.com
Attitude_Gratitude from shutterstock.com

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