Erik Erickson

Erik A. Erickson
Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Narragansett Regional School District
Grant Funded Researcher, Ph.D Learning Science and Technology Program, WPI

What is the one thing you are really passionate about?
I am most recently passionate about embedding research-based pedagogical practices in the classroom.  A recent study was published speaking to how policy makers are listening more to social media experts versus educational experts.  While I am very connected to social media, I work to bring both worlds together in service of teaching and learning.  I get excited about working with teachers to identify and implement practices that will help provide authentic and immediate feedback which should make a profound difference for students.

What are you 2/3 favorite apps or tools?
Being fully on geeky, my favorite go-to tools are Google Forms and Sheets.  While that may sound boring to some, the power these two tools have when combined with some Add-ons is immense.  I can say that it has not only transformed my professional experience on a day to day basis, but has impacted the whole district.  These tools offer what many other tools do not; personalization…customization.  One example of many is when I collaborated with other districts across Massachusetts to develop a soup-to-nuts evaluation system that has provided authentic feedback to educators while saving hundreds of hours for building administrators.  Each district has chosen to tweak the system for their own needs and preferences.  We are not shackled by the cost or limitations of TeachPoint, Baseline Edge or other packages.  Behavior management tracking, auto-PDP certificate systems, state mandated training tracking, mentor and induction log tracking are just a few of the tools that have been created recently. For those interested in using or developing these types of tools for your classroom, school, or district please let me know.  I try to share as much as I can so others don’t have to recreate the wheel.

What is your current project?
I am finalizing some research using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) with the ECLS-K longitudinal dataset looking to understand how the child’s parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of learning and future educational goals impact student achievement in Kindergarten.  Additionally, I am looking to see differences in effects on student achievement when teacher perceptions and parent perceptions coincide vs. when they are in conflict.

Who do you admire most? Why?
I struggled to answer this question.  Since I would need to take substantial time to answer who I admire most, I chose someone I, in general, admire.  Andrew Stillman, the Director of Systems Development for New Visions for Public Schools, has developed some of the best free educational tools for those use with Google Apps for Education.  These tools have transformed the classroom; making for a richer learning experience.  You may have heard of some of the tools he has developed, like Doctopus, FormMule, autoCrat, formRanger and CopyDown.  Check out the whole list here.   He also started the Apps Scripts for Education- Builders and Users community, with about 6300 users, which is a great resource to connect with others.

How do you stay current on trends and new technology?
As a Curriculum Director, a grant funded researcher at WPI pursuing a Ph.D in Learning Sciences and Technology, and having 4 kids (ages 8,3,2,1) I need all the help I can get. I heavily rely upon my PLN and a few tools to keep me up to date including: Twitter (#edtechchat, #edtechma and others), Google+, Feedly, Youtube and Diigo.  I found have the combination of these tools help procure the most up to date information on trends and technology.  These usually will be blog posts, articles, resources, tutorials, etc.
Kami is a .pdf annotation tool that I use with my administrative team and PLN friends to jigsaw ebooks.  With so little time, I have found this to be a great tool to get through many academic books, about one per week.  Research journal articles are found through WPI and Google Scholar, which is a great tool few use.  Any other reading that I have time for is usually in the form of audiobooks, which I listen to during my 1-hour commute to work.  My audiobook habit would wreak havoc on my bank account if I did not use the public library and other free resources, which I highly recommend to others.
I also use Google Hangouts frequently to connect to the inner circle of my PLN to get immediate answers to most anything I am looking for; which is by far the most valuable tool I have access to. When face to face learning is in order I have looked to MassCUE for conferences and PD opportunities.

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