The Little Engine That Could: Reflections on Concepts of Educational Technology, EDLD 5302


This is currently the eighth course I have taken on my journey towards my Masters in Educational Technology Leadership and to say I am tired and ready for my December graduation is an understatement. However, as week 5 of Concepts of Educational Technology (CET) comes to a close, I am taking a new approach to closing out the course. Rather than moving on with a glass of wine in hand and my laptop securely tucked away, out of sight, I am instead blogging (perhaps with a glass of wine as well).  

Throughout the CET course, we reflected, researched, synthesized, and created content surrounding the idea of growth mindset. This mindset embraces the idea that all things are learned and therefore all things are achievable. But more than that, this mindset embraces the idea that sometimes it’s not a matter of “I can’t do__” but rather “I can’t do___, yet!” This simple shift in self-talk has the propensity to enact huge changes on one’s own perception of ability and proficiency. (You can read more about the rationale behind growth mindset on my ePortfolio here!)

The linch-pin to shifting your mindset towards a growth mindset is changing what you choose to value. Often times, we personally and professionally mark our growth by self-determined milestones that indicate to ourselves or others what great gains we’ve made towards some goal. While goal-setting is important, using these milestones alone to mark your progress can be defeating and discouraging if and when they don’t happen fast enough, smooth enough, or fantastic enough. The growth mindset embraces that the real milestones that matter are the ones that show we have struggled and persisted through the challenge. When we begin to expect and welcome the struggle of achieving our goals, then we are more prepared and equipped to persevere through anything we encounter along the way. Thus, I have titled this post after the well-known growth mindset Hero: The Little Engine that Could.

So here I am, blogging. All previous attempts of mine to establish a blog have generally ended after a few posts because I always seem to find myself disheartened by “not having enough content” or “no one wants to read this” or “my pictures aren’t good enough.” But, in my commitment to growth mindset, I am embracing the struggle of blogging and granting myself the grace to fail and not have it perfect (yet). I’m still insecure about the format, the structure, my writing up unto this point, but here it is: the first of several installments reflecting on the second half of my Master’s program!

Just as I plan to incorporate my growth mindset into my blogging efforts through the remainder of this course, I also plan to incorporate it into managing the classes I will encounter. While I already feel the weight of grad school on top of my career and personal life, I am choosing to embrace the struggle of balancing these things as growth opportunities. As I look towards the end of this course, I am already mentally embracing the struggle and shifting my internal dialogue. Instead of allowing myself to think about repelling the struggle, I am instead consciously choosing to celebrate the struggle because struggle means I am growing and growth is good.

One of the primary reasons I wanted to begin this process of reflection is to have a way to honor the time and energy I have put into this program as an acknowledgement to their value. At the heart of the COVA (choice, ownership, value and authenticity) model of instruction is adding inherent value to learning. I would wager that this course would not have been nearly as impactful on my professional mindset moving forward had I not been able to customize the knowledge towards my own ends. Even in courses that do not embrace a COVA model, I am taking my knowledge from EDLD 5302 and making it my charge to make all of my learning endeavors authentic to my own needs and finding their purpose in my professional repertoire.


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