Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University

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Journal Entry – One [posted Sunday, August 17, 2008]

I believe being the oldest member of our cadre, and probably one of the least tech savvy, has benefited me in many ways. Mainly, it has made me rethink my Action Research Project. There are a considerable number of people in my age group at WestEd who are not as knowledgeable on the use and benefits of today’s technology as they probably should be. Many of these people are in a position where they have the ability to bring about change in their perspective fields. I believe, given the proper technological tools and support, this well-seasoned group of experts could make a significant difference in education.

WestEd has, as in any diverse environment, a chasm between the younger generations who were weaned on technology with those of us who remember being ecstatic about a typewriter that could erase a typo with a single keystroke. These two generations speak a different language.  I remember the first time I heard the word icon, I thought my year five-old son was referring to religious art.

Although my company has an excellent IT department, there are still many instances where they are unavailable or unable to help.  The help desk, twenty-something techies, are very good at solving server and connectivity problems, but clueless when it comes to software and other related issues.  I believe this is the arena where I can be most effective, generating improvements in my own practice and, at the same time, benefit my peers.  I would like to establish a community, or subculture if you will, within WestEd of like-minded employees who can quickly help each other answer questions in an atmosphere of trust, respect and appreciation. I envision this group of committed individuals evolving into an integrated network of colleagues working, in collaboration with one another, on non-tech issues as well. 

One of the main concerns voiced at WestEd (though various internal opinion polls) is lack of communication between employees, departments and numerous programs. Surveys indicate that the majority of WestEd staff is eager to know more about each other and their projects. Hopefully, this endeavor will help bridge that gap.

WestEd, a non-profit organization, is in the business of helping teachers be better teachers. It is my desire that this action research project have a “ripple effect;” helping my coworkers improve their technology skills will ultimately benefit teachers who in turn help students. I believe this goal is aligned with Pepperdine’s mission of strengthening students for lives of purpose, service and leadership. I am excited about the proposition and can’t wait to get started.