As this course draws to a close, I reflect upon the many different aspects of learning and engagement with my colleagues that I’ve had as a whole and how these experiences have impacted my practice as an educator. Beginning with my personal inquiry, I faced challenges in trying to identify a topic that I felt would expand my learning and broaden my knowledge in a way that authentically connected to my classroom. There were avenues that I had initially proposed in my learning goals for this course, however upon further reflection, I felt as though an investigation into teletherapy was an area in which I could extend my understanding of the benefits and barriers to providing this service. This was of particular interest to me because I teach in a rural setting where specialized services are not common or readily available for my students. I believed that this focus on teletherapy would then in turn, enable me to better support my students with speech and language needs. The research and data that I explored through this inquiry has also supported my voice in our school district, as I help others navigate teletherapy and provide current research in regard to the effectiveness of this mode of service provision. Initially, many of my colleagues believe that teletherapy is much less effective than face-to-face models. However, by sharing my research and inquiry with them, it has supported other educators in feeling more comfortable with exploring this option of service provision for their own students. Therefore, as a project, my inquiry has impacted and extended beyond my own practice and has enabled me to share data and confidently state to other educators that teletherapy can be just as effective as face-to-face speech and language intervention.
Alongside this personal inquiry, I have been very grateful to have shared my learning journey with my colleagues, particularly my learning pod of: mrsandersenwestcoastclassroom, sarahfromtheprairies, and laucoo. By meeting regularly and sharing throughout our inquiries, it has benefitted our learning immensely by being able to share our thoughts/”hunches”, experiences, and critically discuss research in our respective topics. In addition, by sharing our topics and research with each other on a regular basis, we were able to learn about different Apps and technologies that each of us were trying out in our classrooms! One of my colleagues introduced me to LetterSchool and I requested the FREE trial right away for my own classroom. Recently, I have now submitted a request for our district to purchase the full version because of it’s benefits and the level of engagement of my students. Another app that a different colleague showed me was Puppet Pals, which I aim to try out more in depth with my students before winter break. In terms of my own apps, Calm was my favourite that I shared with my learning pod and is one that I use regularly in my classroom for yoga and mindfulness exercises. In addition, I did seek out various speech and language apps in relation to my inquiry on teletherapy, however apps that I found to be highly recommended were also quite expensive. Therefore, I wasn’t willing to spend the money on the apps yet without hearing directly from a colleague that it had been tested with students and was deemed effective.
As I reflected upon the learning that I engaged in throughout this course, I also thought a lot about the learning process and the platforms that supported my online learning. Connecting a community of learners can sometimes be challenging online, however the platforms that were provided in this course has opened my eyes to how easy it can be! Using Blue Jeans for video conferencing was easy and accessible, and made connecting feel very personal. Trello was an organization system that fit really well with my organizational style, however I do feel like I under-used it for the purposes of this course. It will be something that I revisit when I dive deeper into my MEd project because of it’s simplicity and spatial organization. Unsplash and Creative Commons were also BRAND NEW to me and I’ve been sharing them eagerly with colleagues in my school district. Lastly, blogs! Initially, I was quite overwhelmed and intimidated at the prospect of blogging and the technicalities involved in creating and posting blogs… now, I’m happy to say that my comfort and confidence has increased drastically (even though I’m sure there’s still lots to learn!). So not only has there been inquiry-driven and research-based learning, there has also been a lot of personal learning in regard to technology and tools!
Finally, part of the learning journey is reflecting upon what you’ve learned and how it’s impacted you – but also, to look forward and determine possibilities for what might come next. In terms of my inquiry into teletherapy, I hope to soon see more rigorous studies that support more definitive research into targeted areas of speech and language intervention in Canadian and/or North American settings. The terminology of “teletherapy” and “telehealth” has also sparked curiosity for me and I would like to expand my learning to find out more in regard to what other types of specialized intervention and service provision may be provided to students who live in rural and remote locations. As well as deepening my knowledge around teletherapy, I would also like to broaden my network of colleagues to determine what other apps educators use to effectively support their students’ learning (in any/all areas of education). Some of the apps that I have learned about during this course have already influenced my practice, so I would love to learn more about what else is out there!
Thank you to everyone to joined me in my learning journey and thank you to my classmates and professor for engaging me in critical thought and discussion that encouraged me to continuously reflect on my beliefs and practices as an educator.