COVA is a learning approach that gives the learner choice, ownership, voice and an authentic learning experience. Prior to being enrolled in the Digital Learning and Leading program, I believed that I was pretty open-minded to different teaching and learning approaches. When I learned about COVA, I realized that I wasn’t as open-minded and flexible as I once thought.
The first moment that I realized that I experienced COVA, was during the first assignment. All throughout my education, I was always told that there was a correct way to complete the given assignment or task and shown an exemplar. So it was a shock to me when I was given the choice to take the assignment in my own direction. When I was given the first assignment, I was having feelings or nervousness and uncertainty. I didn’t know where to begin and was at a loss, on how to even start the assignment. It was a huge struggle for me to complete an assignment without having exact expectations. I never understood how heavily I relied on the examples and thoughts of others.
In addition to not being given the exact expectations, it was a hurdle to get over the thought of the grade not being the highest priority. What do you mean the grade doesn’t shouldn’t be as much as we make it to be? For graduate school reimbursement, I need to achieve a certain grade. This is why is was difficult for me to see this being true for every circumstance. Upon reflection, I ended up practicing COVA by: making a choice on the course the assignment takes, owning the work I’m producing, sharing my voice and thoughts, and making it relevant to me to create an authentic learning experience. Throughout the process, I was able to embrace the change and learn from it.
To adjust to COVA, I had to change my mindset. I needed to realize that this learning approach opened me up to being more creative, in turn making my assignment the best it could possibly be. I was able to make the assignments geared towards me or relevant towarrds my career. By adopting this learning approach, I’ve been able to create unique materials, that I can incorporate into my classroom. If I had to do anything differently, I think I wouldn’t have used the COVA method gradually, I should have gone right into it. But I think doing it my way taught me what works better for me.
The first assignment that I truly went “full in” on COVA, was for my innovation plan. I was able to create a plan that I feel I could actually use, at my school. I was able to create an authentic plan that was beneficial for myself and for my students. As teachers, the longer we teach, the more comfortable we get and in turn continue to use the same materials and lessons. I will say that I make adjustments as needed, but these are minor changes. Developing my innovation plan allowed me to have a voice and focus on my goals of learning. I have not tried to implement this plan yet, seeing as the goal is for the entire school. My plan is to try and make this plan a reality when I’m completed graduate school. Between work and school, I wouldn’t want to add another project. I want to be able to devote a good amount of attention to this plan, to make sure it’s as successful as I envision it.
COVA assisted me with determining the ideas for my innovation plan. CSLE helped me with planning by aligning outcomes, assessment and activities. I was also able to edit my learning philosophy, at a point where I feel more informed, since first starting the program. CSLE also allowed me to design the the plan backwards, by looking off of the goal or the bigger picture and adding from there. CSLE helped me to actually start to plan for concrete assignments and assessments that will assist with a successful run on my innovation plan. It was idea that I though sounded fun, but couldn’t have imagined that I would able to develop such a detailed plan. I realize that nothing is perfect and that even though I have so many aspects of this plan developed, areas may needed to be adapted and adjusted to meet the students’ needs at any given moment.
I feel that if I apply the COVA method, in my class, students will appreciate it. Students get bored of the same old lessons and instruction and this will be a nice change. I expect that when I’m introducing something different with my coworkers, it’ll also evoke some frustration, like I felt in the beginning. Hearing that they would have to do more, by participating in my innovation plan, will be met with some push back. I believe that by showing evidence of success and benefits, they will be more open and understand why we need to implement ePortfolios in learning. I will start with my hook or my ePortfolio video. I will then share the research that I’ve done on ePortfolios in learning. I will use the other resources that I’ve created, as I’ve gone through the courses. I have developed a sense of confidence and pride, after adopting the COVA approach. In the beginning I felt that my innovation plan was nothing more than a one and done assignment. I couldn’t have imagined that this plan would take on a life of it’s own and be something that I would be able to actually use. COVA and CSLE assisted me with stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to be the best teacher I can be for myself and my students.