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The final count down. . . almost!

Coming to the end of things seems kind of bitter sweet. It has been a long road, but it has truly helped to shape the way this thesis will go. With all I have learned within this masters program I am trying to apply it to my thesis and this will be a great way to show all I have learned and retained.

Over the break I was able to sit down with not only my kids, 3 under 5, but also my younger cousins who range between the ages of 4-8, to see how they organically interact with technology, and what they deem mot important from technology. I did not want to interfere while I observed these times over break because I simply sat and collected information on the ways in which I noticed they most used technology.

They all have tablets which are Amazon kid tablets, so they are focused around learning, games, and fundamental skills, but each was able to access what they liked the most and I noticed that through these devices learning seemed to be more fun to them, which enticed them to do it more. Over time I noticed how my 1 year olds, who are turning 2 in April, where able to grasp the ways the open their tablet when they wanted to access it, and not knowing what they were clicking, but always found a way to get through different apps. saw that when they were playing certain games their attention span was much more focused on their game then when they played some with less focus. All this is detailed in my observation log, which I plan to incorporate in my blogs.

For my outline this semester I have mapped out a plan to keep my focus strong through my thesis, and to meet all the goals I plan to achieve and show through my visuals. Each week I plan to post between 3-4 blogs. This will include different theories I may have, it will detail observations I have done, ideas I would like to see excited in classrooms, and much more insight on the tech side of early childhood education. I want the blog to be the center focus of my work and I plan to incorporate some of my literary findings in these post as well. I want the blog post to be casual, so anyone who reads may understand my focus and be able to make their own judgements. Mostly y blogs will be for parents of young children or even teachers who may be interested in a more tech based learning within early childhood education.

Outside of the blog post, in March I will start to prep a webspace for video content and place where I can upload different tech videos that I have found over my time in researching. I feel this will add another layer to my thesis and help explain the ways in which tech can be incorporated early on in eduction. I have found teachers on YouTube and other platforms such as Patreon and twitter who also share an interest in early tech based learning, and helping children develop digital literacy.

I also want to present an app. I want to end the project in April by presenting the idea of an app that I have that deals with tech and early childhood education skills that I deem important. I will use the data that I collected throughout this thesis process and come up with a detailed plan of an app to incorporate. It won’t be so much about creating the app as that takes time and I would need more time then we have, but I have been planning and getting an understanding of the different things I would incorporate in the app for early childhood education.

When May roles around I feel with those three elements I will have a complete thesis, with some improvements here and there of course, but I feel confident that these are all goals I a m able to achieve, as I have been working on them throughout the break.

We Were On A Break!

While taking a winter/holiday break was refreshing and relaxing I had to return back to work January 2nd. Therefor I returned to work mode in all aspects that needed it. That included my thesis. I found myself being able to write more on my break from my Graduate Program when I was a little more sad or going through something. And I am not going to like these past couple of weeks and months (since November) have been hard for me. But maybe it’s best since sometimes that is when I produce the most work. From my break from the graduate program I wrote a total of 4 vignettes I believe. Which was pretty solid. I was hoping to write more but I’ve noticed that when I write just to write I don’t produce the best work. And my thesis is something I want to be proud of, it’s something I want that will be able to resonate with people. With that being said, I figure I share a piece I wrote over break below. Enjoy

You asked me while lying in bed if I felt loved by you. I had my back facing you as I submerged my head deeper into the pillow to fight any tears that would fall. No I don’t. When I said those words aloud I felt instant regret for knowing now there are no take backs. I said what I said. Scared that you would be angry with me I stood quiet as I let you speak. But every time you spoke I didn’t want to hear it. Mainly because I can’t believe it. All my life I’ve heard I was too much; too sensitive, too extra, too annoying, too professional, too mature, too innocent, too everything. For once maybe I just want to be enough. 

When I saw those messages between you and those girls I didn’t see the messages for what was said. Instead I saw those girls as something I wasn’t. Because what else could it be? You say I am too perfect and too good for you, yet these other girls are the ones you are chasing. How can I believe that I am the one you want or love? It’s not fair when you get mad at me for when I tell you that you don’t love me. It’s confusing really. Everything about it. I’m trying to make sense of it in my head but instead it keeps me up at night on a loop and I never come to any answers.

The End . . . For Now.

As I finish up my thesis in progress work to close up this semester I Must say this process has been completed with ease. What I thought would be very overwhelming turned out to actually be something I have completed and can be proud of my work thus far. I can truly see how this thesis is coming along and shaping up to be a work I can be proud of and can be useful to me for years to come.

I hope my efforts are presented well and with next semester right around the corner I will be taking our break to revise the work I have done and add some thoughts from others to my work.

I am excited to see what next semester brings and what else I can add to this thesis to really bring it to life. Most of my break will be spent thinking of new ideas for specially where I will present this work. I am looking at creating a website, which goes along with my tech forward thesis, and linking other pieces into this website. With a multi modal approach I feel this will be the best way to truly capture my thesis idea and bring life to it.

For now I am satisfied with the work I have done and feel I am right on track to start next semester fresh and finish out the rest of my these work strong !

Wrapping Up

With the semester quickly coming to end I can honestly say this has been a great thesis experience. Overall my time management has improved throughout the semester with the realistic expectations I have se for myself. This thesis in progress completion seems very much attainable now as we come to the end, at first I was a little overwhelmed.

At this point and finalizing my actual literature review, still with a fe questions which I will ask later in class today. My annotated bibliography is almost complete. I still have 7 sources that I need to create paragraphs for explaining how they connect to my work.

Over the break I am going to work on creating the social media aspect of my thesis. This will include finding an outlet or few I feel I can connect all together to present my ideas, writing blog post, creating videos and audio over this time as I will have my friends and family around to interview or ask questions, and also looking at other ways to present the information on technology in ECE.

It’s The Final Countdown

December it what I always call the end of the semester rush. It’s literally the most wonderful and stressful time of the year. At the time being, I find myself tying up all loose ends and finishing all of my submissions. Not new updates to really update here other than I am working on my thesis proposal, and my final self-assessment narrative. I look forward to the one-on-one counseling next week to conclude any final thoughts and questions I have. I look forward to closing out this Fall Semester as I anticipate my final semester as a graduate student (eeeekkkkk!) Lots of look forward to, and lots to come. Stay tuned :p

What’s the Method?

This week, taking a break from my literature review I drafted up my methodology section for my proposal. Using the guidelines I put together what I have below, hopefully it is okay. Looking forward to feedback on Tuesday’s night class:

For my thesis project, Dr. Zamora recommended employing the autoethnography methodology, a qualitative research approach favored by scholars interested in vividly describing and evoking the intricate tapestry of lived experiences. Autoethnography aims to weave compelling narratives that illuminate specific phenomena encountered in the research setting. When applied to a memoir study, this methodology facilitates a nuanced understanding of the author’s experiences, emotions, and the cultural influences shaping the narrative. Incorporating insights from literature reviews, encompassing works ranging from Emily Ratajkowski’s writings to Sylvia Plath, my scholarly and writer influences play a pivotal role in shaping my own work. These influences guide me as I curate and compose vignettes that collectively narrate my women’s experiences. In alignment with the autoethnography methodology, my reflections on personal experiences and motivations associated with exploring the theme of womanhood form a crucial foundation for my thesis. By infusing emotions linked to pivotal events and considering their intersection with the narrative and my personal identity, I establish a meaningful connection between this research methodology and my thesis. Autoethnography enables a harmonious integration of my personal experiences with relevant literature and theories. Delving into how scholars, writers, and researchers have approached similar themes related to my topic has proven invaluable. This exploration serves to position my memoir within the broader context of existing academic discourse, fostering a more profound engagement with the subject matter.

Lit Review Done?

I think as of now, I’ve made a lot of progress. I do think my lit review is done (for now) since the semester is coming to a close and I do now have to work on putting my proposal together. For the lit review I followed the same format that I used in Dr. Nelson’s class last semester. I assume that is the same format I will use when it comes to submitting the entire proposal?

I did take a small break on writing the vignettes/essays. I plan on utilizing my winter break time to kind of get back in touch, focus, and write some more again. If I write anything right now, I feel like it will come off forced and therefore it won’t be as organic or as good as I want it to be. I wouldn’t say it’s a writers block, but I do have a block as of right now because of the end of the semester rush, and of course because of work. But I will get back to it, just need to find that right time again. I am constantly utilizing my notes app to write down ideas or writing that comes to my mind late at night or after driving. Can’t wait to get back to that part again.

Starting My Literature Review!

Last week I took the time to finalize my outline. It’s still in a rough phase but this is my second time reviewing it. I feel it is good enough for me to start working on the Literature review now and figuring out how to piece this all together. Last semester in 5002 we worked on a Literature for our research proposal and I will be takin that approach as I am comfortable and familiar.

This week I am going to start working on my introduction section and really get a good strong thesis statement solidified. My main focuses with is thesis will be the integration of technology into early childhood education and the improvement of tech tools being used as well. this gives my research so clarity, but still keeps my main topics open to many sources I can choose from.

I have confirmed 5 solid sources that I can put into my annotated bibliography to start the process on that piece of the literature review. I have about 25 sources all together to sort through, and see what I would still need to to gather. I want to do that this week along with my introduction and the start of the annotated bibliography an keep me in a rhythm if I can do about 3-4 sources a week.

Overall I am very confident in the work I plan to present in this literature review and feel I just need to now start. the writing to allow my self enough time to thoroughly edit my work and really get the key details fully expressed. This process has been a but easier than I thought it would be as I have really taken time to get into my work and have used the 5 hour a week method of working on my thesis work. The biggest issue I am noticing is organization of the sources but I feel I will eliminate this as I start the annotated bibliography and I can have my sources in one place to refer to and access. I am excited to see my final result and how this work all comes together.

foreseeable.

This might be a bit of a repeat, but I wanted to dive a little bit deeper into some of the topics I wrote about back in August on future seasons. With that post, I touched more on how the future and the dreams and fulfillment of desires God’s planted in us all start where we are right now. But what about the things we don’t see happening? Can we trust our own intuition and foresight to determine whether or not something is worth investing in right now?

I’d say that sometimes intuition like this makes sense– God gave it to us for a reason, after all. But here’s the catch: He also tells us explicitly not to lean on our own understanding.

I recently rewatched Hacksaw Ridge with my parents. The thought hardly occurred to me because of the sheer faith Andrew Garfield portrayed Desmond Doss to have— that I’m sure the real Desmond Doss did have,— but it occurs to me now in hindsight: did Doss really believe the whole time, with His whole heart, that he could survive World War II without a single weapon? Though the movie is little more than an adapted reenactment, Garfield (as Doss) still seemed to demonstrate a tinge of fear in his eyes– the doubt that he might not make it because he couldn’t see a way out with his own mind or two eyes. He was pressed with this very human understanding of how a soldier should operate when at war. He was given little else to remind him of why he chose to contribute to the war efforts other than his wife’s bible with a photo of her tucked inside. He was surrounded by human understanding while likely already wrestling his own. But his heart saw that way out, and that way through the atrocities of war unarmed was The Way.

See, I think we often get stuck in places God is trying to call us out of because we focus too much on our own foresight. I’ve been— I am— quite guilty of that. I can’t even tell you how many ideas for businesses, paintings, prints, sculptures, poems, essays, etc. swirl around my mind on a daily basis. I can tell you that the myriad of ideas narrows incredibly when considering the ones that come to any sort of fruition. Why? Because I doubt the idea. Because I doubt myself and my abilities. Because I doubt my resources. Because I doubt that the people around me actually want to help me out, or I doubt my worth to them. My foresight is clouded with doubt.

And ultimately all this doubt is rooted in the doubts I wrestle with almost daily about God— whether regarding His provision, sovereignty, or His very existence depends on the day, the season, etc. The point is that even I, as a believer in Jesus Christ, doubt my God. I would tend to say that any believer that claims to never doubt Him in any capacity is a liar. There are fearsome things in the world, and fear is doubt that things will not work out (in whatever capacity is irrelevant to this point). In the case of Israel right now, there are countless Israelis being held captive by Hamas right now in fear of never making it back to their families— doubting they will see their loved ones again. In the much less tragic case that I brought up in a previous post about my fear of becoming a mother (Lord willing), I’m most afraid of it because I doubt myself most in my ability to be that gentle and understand my child’s needs before they can communicate it all for themselves (in part because I have trouble truly expressing things myself, often times).

And it’s hard to express doubt when it feels like everyone around you is so knowledgeable and strong in their faith. I get it, I’m there all the time. I will straight up be in my Wednesday Bible study listening to someone pour out some insane wisdom and there will be a voice screaming from a cage in the back of my head something along the lines of “you do not really believe these fairy tales, do you?” Even as someone who writes and ponders and posts all about my faith, I still have my doubts— but I have a stronger desire to believe than the enemy clearly has to take me down.

What we don’t believe will or could happen may be exactly what God has in store for us. Did Job really expect to go through all he did? I’m willing to bet not! Through the process of all Job goes through, he doubts God’s goodness. Job doubts his worth, wishing he’d never been born. Job falls into misery and despair in the midst of all the loss and afflictions he endures. Job is confused and angry wondering why God would allow this or what he did to deserve it. Yet he was taken through day by day, and what I think is interesting is something Tim Keller once pointed out:

So when things don’t seem to be going the way you might hope, or whatever God’s spoken over your life just doesn’t seem possible… wrestle with that doubt. Wrestle with God as Jacob did with one of His angels and then named the descendants of Jacob accordingly– the Israelites. That wrestling process is going to look different for everyone. Personally it most often comes in my racing and intrusive thoughts that I’m constantly having to examine and/or replace with the Word and its hermeneutical contexts. I’m still reading Faith: A Journey for All by President Jimmy Carter, and just came up to a part where Carter expresses some of the doubts he faced after leaving the navy and even more so after losing Georgia’s gubernatorial election in 1966. While Carter was third in the governor’s race, the man that topped him and another opponent, Lester Maddox, was “an avowed segregationist” who “proudly displayed [the] political symbol… a pick handle that he used to drive potential black customers from the door of his restaurant in Atlanta.” But the thought that Jimmy mentions that I think we’ve all had at a time or two in our lives is this: how could God let that person get what I would’ve been better for?

See, it would make sense that God would want to heal racial tensions (as demonstrated by Jesus going to the Samaritan woman at the well as Jews and Samaritans of the time were two races at odds with one another). In fact, I’d argue that He does want that– He wants His children to be one Church, and one body, meaning every member works cohesively no matter how different… that’s how we were designed to work anyway. But because the world and our flesh is corrupted, that isn’t always the case.

But let’s go back to the question that we so often seem to ask ourselves when we don’t get the position or the relationship or the anything we strived so hard for:

How could God let that person get what I would’ve been better for? What I would’ve used more wisely? What I worked so hard for?…

And before I elaborate at all, let me just drop this gem here that does most of the elaboration for me:

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

Romans 3:21-24

I think Paul makes the point here pretty clear: you may think you’re better for the job, but you’re not. God’s plan is the best plan, because He’s after more than just solving the problem. He’s after more than just the surface-level healing we’re so often after. He’s after more than the quick fix. God is more than a band-aid on a bullet hole. He is the God of redemption, and redemption is not something that can only be done in part. He is the God of salvation, and being saved is not something that can only be done in part. He is pure and righteous, and as James points out in his epistle, “whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

So while it grieves Him to see us all at odds with one another or it may not be His favorite thing to allow such people as Maddox to hold power over arguably “better” people as President Carter (even though I don’t agree with many of his actions in office), it would grieve Him more that we weren’t given the opportunity to seek and find Him as many are driven to do when things are not ideal. It would grieve Him more for us to be eternally separated from Him at the end of time. It would grieve Him more that He did not try to love us, to make Himself known to us, or to save us from ourselves. In fact, if He didn’t allow many of these hard things as a means to seek and to save more people, I’d argue it would go directly against His very nature because God is love. And while love is indeed patient and kind, it is also [from a broken, human perspective] a difficult thing to live out. Love is a lifestyle, and at the core of that is God Himself doing a sanctifying work within us Christians so that we might live with Him forever in heaven. It’s too easy to lose sight of that bigger picture– that He is looking to bring all to salvation and make peace within each of us that allow Him to because He sees the deeper root of all our issues better than we ever could.

And I think that’s why, although I struggle deeply with having the faith to do this, we need to step out into things that don’t make sense just a little more often. I like the practical. Though I’m not great at it, math is in many ways something I appreciate because it doesn’t change. I could have remained with my former interest in STEM but I didn’t. In part this is because I simply realized I was a bit better with artistic endeavors such as writing, but in part I think I appreciated the mildly abstract that could form from such concrete experiences in my life. Among those concrete experiences now is my walk with Christ. He is solid and reliable and does not change, and yet there is this beautifully abstract element to Him. Perhaps this abstract quality is merely the limitations of my human understanding in trying to comprehend such a great God, but regardless it’s beautiful and something I love to explore in my study, worship, and prayer here with you.

And I encourage you to pray and seek Him in some of those things that might not make sense to you. Not everything will come to fruition the way you imagine it will, and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about God’s plan. Though it seems our sin leaves us with no way of redemption, though the disciples had gone into hiding knowing the Messiah was dead, He rose again and in doing so brought us redemption. Now that’s an ending I don’t think anyone would have expected– hardly anyone did it seems, even with all the scriptures prophesying how Christ would die, and that He would not stay dead. And this is Truth spoken over you. God’s word is as good as done so even when it seems that things aren’t going great to you, don’t lean on your own understanding of the situation, the human point of view is not only limited but (on this side of eternity) largely tainted by sin. God’s point of view is greater; it accounts for even the smallest details we wouldn’t think matter and ties it all together perfectly for the good of those who love Him and respond to His call. Trust that. Trust Him. He won’t fail you, even if what He’s asking you to do doesn’t make sense to you or anyone else. God’s been at this for a long time (like, literal eternity kinda long time). He knows what He’s doing. Trust Him, and lean into that– into Him.

Pick Up Week

Spent this week starting to organize my literature review, and looking closely at my strategy of achieving my thesis goal. Picked up more information during this week from different articles, but I am seeing how intense it can get with organizing the work you find and the places you want to be able to go back for reference. Really seeing how detailed this work will be is helping me to extra organized in my work.

I have began writing blog post in my words document on my computer so I’m rushing to have content once I pick the platform I want to use to show my work. I want that to be decided by the end of this semester so over the winter break I am Abel to start posting and creating content more consistently, with any media form I choose. A lot will be writing and just expressing the important aspects of technology in early childhood education and parenting. The coming of the education and parenting communities is what my blog will focus on with a specific focus on technology and different aspects in their realm.

Overall feeling very confident in the work that I am producing and I do see how I am able to find so much information on my topic and I am starting to find new things that spark interest to me, or I have heard nothing about. Deciding which information to keep and focus on is very relaxed due to the idea I am presenting. There are so many sub categories to touch upon and I want to chose those that most interest me. I am narrowing those down which will be how I will be presenting my literature review.