"I have to say that my experience with the Education Technology Leadership program at George Washington University was hands-down one of the best of my life. The program, it started for me and, before I knew it, I was being reinvented - I was reinventing myself because of the program.
The strengths of it mainly were the networking connections: people that I met; other professionals that you discuss ideas with. The discussion boards really are the foundation to the classes and while the research is great and it provides you the opportunity and the time to look into studies that have been done and into materials that are out there that most of us would just never take our time to actually seek out and find.
It is really the connections with the people that I met in the ETL program that are going to stay with me for the rest of my life and taught me a lot about reaching out, talking to others, working with others and sharing ideas openly and freely so that we all grow together in a community.
Like I said, the program it was amazing from start to finish. There are definitely classes that are going to push you past points that you didn't know that you had as far as the work that you are going to put into it.
I will say this - cautionary tale - I know that the usual recommendation is that you take two classes at a time and follow through two at a time through the summers and everything to finish in two years. I made the decision that I wanted to finish by a certain date, which required me to take three classes on two separate occasions, back-to-back semesters, in fact. I will be honest, I don't recommend doing it. It's not that I couldn't handle it, with being, you know, obviously employed full-time and having a lot of things in life going on in general, but three classes really is going to push most people, I think, into a realm where you're just not doing the level of work that you want to do.
And I can speak for myself honestly that way, especially considering that one of the times that I took three classes I was taking the qualitative/quantitative analysis class, and other time I was taking three classes I was taking the instructional design course, both of which were very challenging to keep up with when you're taking two other classes on top of that. And, once again, cautionary tale, I will say, if life was perfect and there were no curve balls thrown at you, I think it is completely manageable to do three classes, however that's not life. You know that certainly wasn't life for me, especially my last semester in the ETL program where I'm trying to manage three classes and dealing with a death in the family and other things that took place that just life threw at me. And, of course, in that situation you just have something that falls behind and, once you get behind, it's really difficult - if not impossible - to catch up.
I would absolutely encourage people to take the program if looking at education technology is something that you're interested in. If making yourself, giving yourself an opportunity to reinvent yourself, to be that kind of leader in new technology movements which are happening all over the place, it is an absolutely wonderful opportunity and a great experience that I recommend highly to people that are interested in this field."
McCartney received the honor, along with $100,000 to support her work, at the November 22 taping of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. The program, which aired on Thanksgiving, was hosted by Anderson Cooper and featured musical performances from Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and John Legend.
McCartney's work in New Orleans began after Hurricane Katrina when she left her job to help rebuild the St. Bernard Parish, La., area. She dedicated herself to raising money, organizing volunteers and rebuilding houses for struggling citizens. Eventually McCartney founded and opened the non-profit St. Bernard Project, which focuses on helping senior citizens and families with children rebuild and move in. To date, more than 6,000 volunteers have worked with the St. Bernard Project and more than 120 families have moved back into homes.
Liz McCartney, Graduate-GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development