Learning, Leading, and Innovating Ahead

Throughout my professional career and my time in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology overseas cohort, I have gained a wealth of experience about young children and the influences of parenting and culture on learning. As I look towards the future, I aspire to develop as a learner, leader, and innovator within the field of early education. By continuing to study and pursue research opportunities, I strive to develop as a leader and coach for current and pre-service teachers.

I strive to be a life-long learner. These first nine years in my teaching career have been marked by opportunities to collect data, work alongside educational researchers, and foster a spirit of inquiry among my colleagues. I am thankful that my career took me overseas where I was exposed to diverse families, teaching styles, cultural norms, and challenged daily as a foreigner in a homogenous society because these experiences give me perspectives on early education that wouldn’t have been possible in the USA. Looking forward, I hope to continue learning about factors that strengthen school-family partnerships so that all young children see their caregivers as integral members of the school community. Achieving this requires further research on the benefits of communication technologies in early education and training future teachers to seek out partnerships with parents. I believe that stepping into research and doctoral studies will allow me to synthesize my understanding of early education and technology integration to bring authentic, two-way communication and partnerships between parents and teachers.

I want to empower other educators through leadership and mentorship. As I work towards advances in early childhood education, I seek to ensure every parent is treated as a valuable resource in the classroom. Towards this goal, I hope to work with current and future educators and conduct research which would strengthen family-school partnerships regardless of educational background, immigration status, employment status, native language, or socio-economic status, among other factors. My adult life has been spent residing outside of my own culture and I hope that the discomfort of not understanding the local language and customs is one that will frame my research and fuel advancements toward cultivating an inclusive school culture that pushes for strong partnerships with parents. By continuing to offer support and professional development to schools in China, I hope to promote and model appropriate technology integration in the early years for the purpose of strengthening family and community involvement in education.

Innovation and iteration are essential for the creation and refinement of digital tools to promote parent involvement. Innovation through digital tools has always interested me but seeing the effects of ChildFolio was the catalyst to pursuing a masters degree. As our world careens into one where artificial intelligence, deep learning, and robotics are being integrated into daily life, I see ways in which these advancements could be leveraged to redefine early education and childcare. Specifically, I would like to explore the effect of educational tools for two-way school-family communication have a positive effect on children’s language acquisition for those children who are being educated through a second language.My experience has been that most schools want parents out of the way and poise themselves as an all-knowing source of information, which parents are expected to receive and accept, rather than finding ways to harness the resource of parents who want the best for their children and a community that cares.

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