Introduction

Rhonda RitterFor the past 27 years, I have been a Business/Career & Technical Education (CTE) instructor in the public school system. I hold a Master’s of Education degree in Educational Technology and several certifications including Internet Core & Computing, Microsoft Office User Specialist in Word, Excel, Access and Outlook, Advanced Technical Credit, Vocational Certification and K-12 Principal Certification. My career has provided opportunities to serve as a Technology Integration Specialist where I helped teachers integrate technology into subject areas. This experience led me to become more interested in increasing the amount of technology used in a classroom and increased the desire to incorporate online learning into my classroom curriculum. Wanting to be able to provide the best education for my students, I decided to continue my learning by pursuing and earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Learning Technology degree at the University of North Texas in May 2016.

Throughout that journey, I was privileged to meet many individuals who have become a special part of my life. I was able to share in the joys and struggles of the program with fellow classmates, making it an experience of unbelievable proportions. I have a passion for online learning and incorporate this learning daily by creating a blended learning environment with my high school students. My goal in my classroom is to introduce my students into the blended learning to prepare them for their college experience in order to make them successful in this environment.

During my doctoral journey, I completed numerous graduate courses reintroducing me to research, new media technologies, and instructional design. These courses increased my growth in online learning. Within my portfolio, I have included scholarly writings which I have been first and second author. Learning to research and write in such a professional capacity has led me to grow in my academic career as well as in my professional career. These courses enabled me to help my current students in the classroom to write at a higher level and to increase the level of technology my students use on a daily basis. I was honored to have two papers selected by the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference and published in the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Journal.

The development of the creative works in my portfolio demonstrates the many hours of design and technology-based works I have put forth into the program. Each project helped to further my knowledge and strengthen my goals to increase online learning and learning technologies. I enjoy creating videos and/or instructional materials for teachers to use in the classroom. It is difficult to find time as a classroom instructor to learn all the valuable technological resources that are available while trying to keep abreast of specific content areas. Being able to help instructors by creating step-by-step videos is one way I can create a collaborative and technology-based learning environment.

Presentation design has been a strong skill for me but presenting in front of colleagues was always a struggle. Throughout the program, I learned to accomplish this task and able to present at local, regional and international conferences. Learning to present on a professional level has influenced both my professional and personal growth along with enhancing my future career goals. The presentations I participated in also allowed me to become better acquainted with classmates as well as meet researchers and other doctoral students from across the globe.

As a Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructor, I am very interested in the level of technology integration in the CTE classrooms and the technology self-proficiency of the CTE teachers. As my dissertation demonstrates, I focused on researching CTE classroom technology integration and CTE teacher self-proficiency in the career pathway curriculum areas. CTE is focused on preparing students for immediate entry into the workforce with developing workplace skills for the 21st Century. My goal was to determine if a relationship existed between CTE teachers’ level of proficiency with technology and level of technology integration in the classroom.

My current career goal is to have the opportunity to teach at the collegiate level to pre-service teachers in order for these educators to feel confident in integrating technology into the classroom. With my dissertation research, I feel that I would have the background to help pre-service teachers to become productive, technology-infused individuals who will create a well-balanced classroom environment.

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