Since moving into the role of Technology Integration Specialist I have used my credibility as a former 4th grade teacher to make teachers feel comfortable working with me on ways to enhance their curriculum with technology tools that help make their students’ more engaged and their lessons more dynamic. The goal is not to simply layer technology on top of what they may already be doing, but really redesign something that can be used in a variety of ways to achieve curricular goals. I serve on a variety of district-wide and building specific committees in order to learn from my peers and share my thoughts on best practices moving forward. I work alongside classroom teachers to support what they are doing in the classroom and lead by example ways technology can be a useful tool in a variety of applications they can use each and every day. I lay groundwork for technology integration and then support its use to take the fear out of trying something new. I have created a variety of professional development opportunities for staff that spans across learning styles including in-person, online, resource banks, and conferences always with the goal to give an educator one great idea to walk away with and be excited to implement in their own teaching. I’m always looking to learn new things and I think ultimately that passion as a lifelong learner is the most important trait to supporting teachers be successful in their teaching and professional development.
In order to inspire those I coach I think it’s important to show empathy for what they have experienced and where they are coming from. As a former classroom teacher I have no illusions about the difficulty of balancing the overloading bucket that is education and what things really resonate with getting teachers excited about their profession and wanting to develop themselves and best support their students. I present educational technology as a way to rethink their teaching and their students’ learning that will simplify, engage, and accelerate their ability to accomplish the learning goals they have for their students, regardless of where they are coming from. I emphasise the willingness to try and fail in order to create something great and most importantly I ensure them that I am there to support them wherever they are and not where I think they need to be. Together we can make something great and in the process become better educators while supporting our students to do more than we thought possible.
I have taken to Twitter as my main access to a worldwide PLN that never stops growing, learning, and sharing. As I connect with like-minded educators from all over I share the great things that are happening in my own experience and look to gather feedback from those who have taken my ideas to the next level. I keep an updated Blog and website to collect my thoughts and most effective artifacts from projects I’ve undertaken and peers I have learned from. I regularly attend and present at professional conferences to make in-person connections with amazing educators. I’ve even developed a home-grown edtech conference modeled after ones I’ve attended to make great and innovative ideas accessible to my local teachers and professionals.
Looking to organizations and individuals that are accomplishing innovative and exciting things I look inward at my own organization and position to find the places where we can model our own success after other’s achievements. All of us want to do what’s best for our teachers and students and if we look at where we want to be and design backwards to develop the steps needed to get there we can create tangible goals that allow for reflection and redesign as the landscape changes year to year. Every goal should be subject to change and continued development. As a professional I can never be satisfied and feel like I’ve done enough. There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate successes, but there are also always new challenges on the horizon to take my role to the next level and pass that knowledge onto my peers to help in their own professional development