Over the past several years I have become very interested in the technology that is available to use in the classroom – both for teachers and students. Four years ago, I started creating content videos for students. Three years ago I changed my room to the flipped classroom model. Then in the summer of 2013, I had the very good fortune to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Antonio. Those four days changed the course of my career! I have been very active in incorporating educational technology into my classroom and have made it a personal mission to lessen teachers’ fear of educational technology. The ISTE conference is where I decided that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Technology; I knew that I wanted to move from helping students to helping teachers.
My interest in educational technology has manifested itself in my career in two ways. I now use the flip classroom model for my high school mathematics courses, and I am driven to make educational technology less intimidating for teachers, both old and new.
In my classes, I recorded all of my lessons and posted them to YouTube for students to view whenever that particular assignment is required or when they need a quick review of a specific topic. I incorporate several different technology-based applications that are used almost every class day including: Edmodo, different iPad apps, and several web-based services (YouTube, Knowmia, and Google Docs to name a few). Last year I have gamified my calculus class. I spent a considerable amount of time developing a leveling system, a “loot” market, a way for students to earn “credits” to spend in the market, all of the different ways that the “loot” can benefit the students in the classroom, and created an internet space where all of this will happen.
For teachers in my building I hosted an #EdTech lunch twice each month. This was an opportunity for teachers to sit together at lunch and talk about different apps, websites, or other types of technology that they were using in class. Often these were great opportunities for teachers to help each other learn about different ways to use technology. I am currently working on a website that will gamify learning of educational technology. There are missions that teachers will choose to take; each mission will have a short video and a task. Once the task is completed the teachers will fill out a Google Form and get points. This website will create a repository of different educational technology items for teachers to learn about when they are ready to learn about them. Both of these undertakings for my teachers I have done on my own, without compensation – I am driven to help my staff see the amazing benefits of using technology in the classroom. I also want to help new teachers to see the power of educational technology, so mentoring student teachers would be an excellent opportunity to help them have a strong educational technology background when they start teaching.
After completing my Ph.D. I want to pursue helping teachers get over perceived barriers they have with technology. I know that there are teachers who are risk takers and willing to try new things all the time. There are also large factions of teachers, both brand new and experienced, who are not comfortable at all with educational technology. I want to help these teachers not only become comfortable with their use of technology in the classroom, but help them share what they have learned in a way that benefits all educators. The coursework that I must complete will clarify my view of how technology for the classroom can best be implemented, and give me even more tools to take to teachers, from teacher candidates, to first years, to the seasoned veteran.