Computer Technology/Robotics Teacher
North Reading Middle School
What is the one thing you are really passionate about?
Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we teach and learn. I am thrilled to be a part of a community of learners that are open to the challenges of continually adapting educational practices in response to innovations in technology tools and the abundance of new resources available.
What are your 2-3 favorite apps or tools?
Like many teachers I rely heavily on Google Classroom to manage cloud-based assignments for the 12 classes I am currently teaching. I still use my Google Site as a platform for some content and resources, and as a gateway for parents to have a view into my practice, but I am actually relying on this less as I try to streamline delivery to my students. All of my assignments are self-contained within the instructions, links, rubrics, templates, and assessments provided in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms. In order to help me expedite grading of assessments I use the Flubaroo Add-on in Google Sheets. Some extensions for Chrome that I have found to be helpful for scaffolding instruction to my students include Screencastify which I use to create video tutorials, and SpeakIt! which is effective for converting text to speech.
What is your current project?
In an effort to develop a new unit programming unit I have just begun experimenting with the Java courseware at http://teachingkidsprogramming.org/ . A great deal of effort by some very talented individuals has gone into creating this free platform and it looks promising. Alas I am still contending with a few technical hurdles related to the installation, so if anyone else has had experience with this I would appreciate hearing from them.
Who do you admire most? Why?
I really admire the resilience of middle school children. Sometimes it is easy to forget how much we demand of our students on a daily basis. We are constantly asking them to expand their thinking and take on new understandings. I try to hold myself to the same high standards as I develop new units of instruction.
How do you stay current on trends and new technology?
It is difficult to keep up with the overwhelming number of new resources and technologies available on a daily basis…and not everything that is currently trending has value. I don’t have a favorite source for keeping informed about trends in digital learning or technology. I take a rather deliberate approach toward researching and informing my needs based upon gaps I identify in my practice. That being said, edu.google.com  is a great source for any teacher to build their warchest. Also, check out the big list of open educational resources at http://pitt.libguides.com/openeducation/biglist .
Charles Osgood is a Robotics and Tech Ed teacher at North Reading Middle School. He holds a B.S in Geology from UMass/Amherst and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Fitchburg State University.
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