Reflections

I just turned in my final project of the spring semester.

I can’t believe how fast my time at HGSE went by. I can’t believe it’s already spring weather!

Overall, I have to say I’ve had a pretty amazing experience here and have learned so much. The courses I’ve taken have pushed me to expand my thinking, as well as develop new skills. I’ve learned how to build websites in bootstrap HTML. I’ve learned how to program augmented reality games. I know how to come up with an idea for a product, build a prototype, write a business plan, and pitch it to a panel. These are all skills that are going to help me move forward in my career, and I’m very happy with that.

There was one course that didn’t turn out as great as I had hoped, and I’m somewhat disappointed about that. It was very disorganized, and I never really had a clear idea of how I was doing or what was happening. It was a frustrating experience, and even more so when the professor announced on the last day of class that they had been burned out, and that they didn’t think they would be returning. The professor said that regardless of whether they had showed up to teach, we would “be fine.” While I appreciated the honesty, it felt dismissive of the work and effort we had been putting into the course and our projects. Not to mention the amount of time and money we are spending to be here and take these classes.

However, even though that particular course wasn’t what I was expecting, I still learned from the experience. I’ve learned that regardless of what one pursues in life, it’s important to have passion, leadership, and vision. I really feel those are key to success.

Another thing I’ve learned is how important it is to network and build connections. The people I have met – in my cohort, in my classes, at my internships – are phenomenal. I’ve learned so much from just interacting with others and working on projects. So many opportunities have come up from just talking. Even though this is only a 9 month program, you end up getting to know people really well because of all the time you spend together.

I’m feeling a mixed range of emotions as I approach graduation. I’m incredibly happy and excited, but I’m also a little sad about having to say bye to all the new friends I have made as we all go off to start the new chapters in our lives. In just a couple of weeks I will be moving back to California, where I will be starting my new job.

I’m really excited for my next big adventure.

Birthdays and Projects

Yesterday I celebrated my 26th birthday, which was a lot of fun. I was happy so many of my friends were able to make it out to celebrate with me. We went to Tasty Burger in Harvard Square. It was great to be able to relax and catch up with my classmates, some of which I haven’t been able to see as much do to our crazy schedules.

I’m also so happy about the nicer weather. It’s starting to finally feel like spring. The sun is out, the grass is turning green, and flowers are starting to bloom. I had never experienced a “true” winter like I had this year, and I definitely noticed a shift in my feelings once spring came around. I just feel so much happier. I notice it in other people as well when I’m walking outside – everyone is smiling and looks so happy.

There are only 2 weeks left of classes, which I find incredibly crazy. Time has passed incredibly quickly.

I’m really excited about the projects I’m working on. In my Advanced Design Studio course, I’ve been learning Bootstrap and responsive web design. I know so much more HTML and CSS now, and have even learned a bit of JavaScript. For my group project in that class, we are building a website that aims to connect educators and developers in order to promote the creation of quality educational technology products. It’s really awesome to see how much our design has changed over the course of the semester, and how great it is to see our initial sketches finally coming together.

In my Universal Design for Learning class, my group has been working on making a working prototype of UpTell, a project I worked on at the HGSE Hackathon last semester. I’m the media person, so I’ve learned a lot about putting together creative briefs to guide marketing and promotion efforts. I’ve also had a blast learning new video editing programs like Premiere Pro and After Effects. I’m creating a video that showcases our site’s features, as well as other mini videos aimed at creating awareness about our site.

In my Entrepreneurship in the Education Marketplace class, I’ve been learning how to take an idea and create a business plan for it. My partner and I came up with an idea for a math technology product that uses student interests to generate individualized math content. So, basically if a child was really interested in sports, he or she would receive practice problems and simulations about sports. In a couple of weeks we’ll be pitching our product idea to our class at the Harvard iLab!

Finally, in my Transforming Education through Emerging Technologies class, I have been working with my friend Nick to create an augmented reality game for EcoMOBILE. We were able to field test our initial game a few weeks ago, and now we are in the process of revising it to create a finalized version.

Needless to say, this semester has been incredibly busy with projects in addition to searching and applying for jobs – which is why I have been so bad about updating this blog regularly.

I’m feeling so many emotions lately – excitement, nervousness, happiness, sadness – I’ve had such an incredible time here, have met so many amazing people, and now this experience is approaching its end. It’s so surreal!

I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here. It’s been such an awesome year, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Spring Break Adventures

It’s been a few weeks since spring break ended, but I realized I never posted any updates.

David and I took a mini road trip out to Vermont. We went to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour, which was a lot of fun. We also found an amazing bakery with delicious cupcakes.

As for life after spring break – it’s pretty much been working on school projects and applying to jobs. I can’t believe classes are over in 3 weeks, and I graduate in May! This year has passed by so quickly – in just 6 days I’ll be celebrating my 26th birthday.

I’m really excited for my mom to come to graduation. I have already planned so many sightseeing activities, as this is her first time on the east coast. I wish my brothers could come as well, but it’s not economically feasible, especially since they will already be traveling to our wedding.

The weather is finally starting to warm up – it’s in the 60s! – and pretty much all the snow has melted. It’s like night and day, really.

As my projects are wrapping up, I’m going to make sure I post some updates here regarding what I’ve learned and what my reflections are.

Snow Woes

It’s the second week of classes, and we’re experiencing yet another snow storm. I can definitely say the novelty has worn off for me after having had to dig out our car last week, only to wake up this morning and see it completely buried in snow again.

As a kid, snow seems really fun and magical. It totally is. Until it gets brown, slushy, and gross. Or when you have to shovel it out of the way. I was originally open to working anywhere after HGSE, but now I’m definitely looking at living somewhere warmer, preferably closer to home.

Most of my classes last week were focused on getting to know each other and forming project teams. I’m really excited to see how our work develops over the semester. Today we had a virtual class meeting for T561 (so thankful I didn’t have to trek in the snow to class) and started diving into some of the course topics. I’m really intrigued by the prospects of virtual and augmented reality in education. We still haven’t found out what our project team assignments are, but I’m really hoping I get my first choice of working with EcoMobile and augmented reality.

In other news, I’ve joined the Team Fitness Challenge with some other HGSE students. It starts next week, and it’s basically a competition to see which team accrues the most workout minutes. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of consistently going to the gym these last couple of weeks. I’m hoping being part of a team will keep me motivated throughout the cold weather and busy grad school projects.

Snow Days and Spring Courses

I’m experiencing my very first snow day and blizzard! Coming from California, this seems like a whole different world. It was incredibly shocking to look outside my window and see everything covered in snow.

Spring semester started yesterday. I was going to start my second class today, but classes were cancelled due to the weather.

This semester I’m taking:

I am also probably going to add T581: Advanced Design Studio. 

So far, I’ve only been to T561, which I am absolutely excited about! I love that we can choose which assignments we do, and that we can propose our own. I am hoping to work on one of the research teams and get some hands-on experience with augmented reality. I’m also looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of emerging technologies, and how they can be implemented to create better learning experiences.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would like to do after I graduate HGSE. I would love to pursue a career in instructional design or educational media. Regardless of what I end up pursuing, I think the skills and experience I’m gaining in my courses will benefit me tremendously.

In T560, I will be gaining a better understanding of the UDL framework and how to design learning experiences that are accessible to all types of learners. In T565, I will be learning how to create a business plan and do market research. This is a perfect follow up to the T522 course I took last semester, which was all about coming up with ideas for educational technology. In T565, I’ll be learning how to take those ideas and actually make them something real. I will gain a better understanding of the business side of ed tech, which is something I am not too familiar with.

T581 should be a great followup to T522 as well. It focuses on project development, analysis, design, and implementation. I also like that there’s a workshop/lab component where I would be able to further my design skills and learn HTML, CSS, and jQuery more in depth. These would be really useful skills to have, especially since I’m interested in digital media.

I’m hoping this snow storm doesn’t cancel any more classes, as I’m really excited to dive in. I can’t believe it’s the spring semester already! I don’t know if I will have time to pursue an internship this semester, as on top of taking more project-based courses, I will also be looking for a job. But, I suppose I’ll figure it out as I get a feel for how the work load will be.

In the mean time, here are some pictures of my snowy adventures.


I crocheted myself a fox hat! =)


The tennis courts are completely covered in snow!


Our doggies love the snow

New England Adventures

I wanted to share some of my recent adventures.

One of my close friends from California came to visit last week, and we were able to explore a few different parts of New England.

One of our first stops was Maine. We had some of the best clam chowder and lobster.

We also saw a life-sized moose made out of chocolate at Len Libby’s.

We were also able to explore so much of Boston.

  • We walked the entire Freedom Trail
  • We ate Italian food and cannolis from Mike’s Pastry in the North End.
  • We went to the Museum of Science
  • We took pictures on Acorn Street
  • We found the Good Will Hunting bench and walked around the Boston Common and Public Garden while feeding some squirrels
  • We went to the Cheers bar
  • We went on a tour of Fenway Park

The only thing we weren’t able to do was go on a duck tour on account of the river being pretty much frozen.

Overall, I have to say it was a well-deserved break and now I’m feeling well-rested and ready for this semester.

Winter Break Recap

I had originally come up with an entire list of things I should do during winter break, none of which I can remember now. I ended up catching up on sleep, which I think is a good thing. My body certainly needed it.

Among sleep, however, I also did the following:

  • went to my first Hanukkah party
  • pet sitted some rats

  • crocheted a lot
  • learned how to cook (!!!) an omelette, bulgogi beef, and spaghetti
  • walked around Lake Quannapowitt

  • and today I went to the Minute Man National Historic Park and all the old history lessons came to life

I’m incredibly excited to start my winter session course on Monday! I will be taking Joe Blatt’s Informal Learning for Children. It’s going to be an intense two weeks but I’m looking forward to it.