Professional development, experience, and course work have developed my skills for use in the classroom. During my first year teaching I found it natural and essential to integrate technology in classroom activities. Many of the activities interweaved the use of Internet, specific courseware, word processing, spreadsheets, concept mapping (and more). This was during a time where technology integration was merely a thought, option or a good idea, rather than an essential component of instruction.

Being naturally capable with the use of technology I found myself as a mentor for veteran teachers in implementing an electronic grading system. As a result of that first year as a business teacher I followed a path to technology integration and worked as a specialist in this area for the past 10 years. I find myself as a leader and supporter of innovative developments using technology for assessment, lesson planning and development. This past year I have introduced Sakai to my district in which students will be able to build electronic portfolios and teachers will be able to use the online course management solutions to conduct more of their activities online. I continually find ways to help teachers improve instruction and student learning experiences through the use of technology.

The most important research that has supported my professional growth has been in the area of assessment and electronic portfolios. As I have researched the use of portfolios in the K-12 arena I have found a passion for quality assessment.

I believe that all teachers will be more successful if they become better skilled in the area of assessment and involving students in focusing on their understanding. If students become engaged and focused on understanding goals rather than grades they will be more motivated to achieve and able to reflect on their performance and future goals. I believe that formative assessment is an essential component to learning and is key to what the outcome will be (summative assessment).

The portfolio process allows for all students to demonstrate their work and understanding in their own ways. All students are given an opportunity to present their work and reflect upon it allowing them to become more aware of the learning goals and more engaged in the process. I feel that by having students identify the learning target and then reflect on them the learning becomes more meaningful and successful!

When I first became a teacher I was not adequately prepared to provide quality assessment but I quickly identified that students need clear targets and need to be engaged in the process. I realize now that it is complex yet so vital that I will always be looking for ways to improve my skills in this area to best serve the needs of our students.