A requirement of the Ed.D. program at OISE (the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education) is a supervised “on-the-job” experience. It must be linked to both theory from our course work and field experience, and involve responsibility and accountability and the opportunity to perform effectively in a senior leadership role.
As we are a cohort of practicing educators, our Internship/Practicum is scheduled for the summer of 2017. I have begun my search for a placement with my advisor, Dr. Carol Campbell. She has suggested that I draft two paragraphs to provide a brief CV and my area of research.
To reduce my resume AND my research interests each to a paragraph each is not a trivial task, and so it has inspired a great deal of reflection and thought about both my history and my future, and the ways in which this “course” will be perfect for me.
My education has always been a mix of traditional learning, and self-directed learning. In grade 11, the first real musician joined the staff of my high school. I joined his stage band as pianist, then dropped Geology to take grade 9 music and learn to play the trombone. Three years late I was a student at the University of Toronto, having auditioned successful, and been offered a scholarship. This was based on grade 9, 11 and 13 music credits, a year of private lessons from a saxophone player (there being no trombonists in my small town), and a lot of “woodshedding” on my part.
Learning Computer Science
When I completed my four years as an undergrad, I was ready to apply to the Faculty of Education for a B.Ed., and certification as a teacher. I had the prerequisites to teach Music and Mathematics, but was intrigued by the description of Computer Science, which included the phrase “no prerequisite”. Having never touched a computer, I signed up. In a class with students who had full four-year degrees in Computer Science, I learned by doing: completing class assignments, teaching in placements in high school CS classes, and working, working, working. I won the IBM award upon graduation, and was offered a job teaching Music and Computer Science, in a year when most of my classmates remained unemployed.
This cycle of a mix of formal training, on-the-job experience, and personal reading and reflection has served me well since then. Among my credentials listed by the Ontario College of Teachers are specialist qualifications in Music and Data Processing, Principals’ Qualifications, a Master of Education from Brock University, and Supervisory Officer Qualifications for the province of Ontario. Throughout my career I have pursued both personal learning and professional experience. I have taught in two secondary schools, opened a third as department head, served as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, and then contributed four years as the Coordinator of Instructional Technology for the Peel DSB. I then developed my leadership skills over seven years as a Vice Principal in three schools, and am now in my fifth year as Principal at Brampton Centennial SS.
My research interests have evolved as I have completed half the coursework in the Ed.D. program. Dr. Campbell helped me narrow my focus to “Personalized Assessment” one year ago, and now this has expanded to include “Personalized Curriculum” as well. My utopian vision is of students with electronic portfolios spanning K-12, where each item has been validated by a teacher against criteria set out in curriculum documents, culminating in a credential granted based upon a mix of class and personal work. I am hoping that through my Ed.D. work I can complete some of the foundational research, to permit such a future for our students. As an educator who has worked with technology my entire career, I believe that there is unrealized potential in the ability of technology to support student learning by organizing work, validating learning, and analyzing feedback, in order to make students responsible for their learning.
To do this groundwork, I believe I could learn more by working with our Ministry of Education, with scholars in the areas of 21st Century learning, instruction and assessment, and with organizations that support learning beyond the K-12 structure. I have asked Dr. Campbell to introduce me to those in her network who might be looking for 120 hours of “free” labour, and am hopeful that our search will result in some amazing learning for me next summer. If you are looking for someone, or know someone who is, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.