This month’s Featured Educators are
Suzy Brooks and Colleen Terrill
from the Mashpee Public Schools.
What are you most proud of in your work in Mashpee?
What we are proud of relates really well to MassCUE’s new mission of “Educate, Connect, Inspire”. We think the Mashpee School District has become more of an interconnected community where teachers are inspired to meet the needs of their students in new ways. We are proud to see the way teachers have developed their technology skills over the past two years. Through our Google Classroom professional development modules, we have provided them with support, resources and inspiration. We have been so pleased to see how they have challenged themselves and their students in our 1:1 environment. Developing, planning and rolling out our 1:1 Chromebook environment was a huge undertaking and has helped to change the way our students and teachers learn and interact. Lastly, we are very proud of our Student Help Desk – the Techsperts, who have been assisting students, teachers (and both of us!) with technology use. They are fabulous – see them in action at our recent TEDxYouth Day  event here in Mashpee!
What advice would you give teachers who are just starting out with tech or who are frustrated when it doesn’t work?
Colleen: Tech not working the way we want or when we want is a common occurrence; it is the nature of working with technology. You always need a plan B in case you can’t get the technology to work, but do not walk away from your original plan-try it again.
Suzy: Start slow to go fast… Learn to use one versatile tool (like Explain Everything  or Google Slides  or WriteAbout ) and then use that tool for learning in many areas during the school year. Lessons will become less and less about the technology, and more and more about student learning.
What are you passionate about?
Colleen: What I am most passionate about is working with teachers and students every day. In my role as the Instructional Technology Director, I have the opportunity to work with teachers and students in grades PreK-12. Seeing the excitement when teachers incorporate and learn new technology is what drives my passion especially from the teachers who may be skeptical or nervous about using technology.
Suzy: I am inspired by and passionate about anything involving creativity. I love discovering, sharing and learning about new ideas, which fortunately happens a LOT in the field of technology! But, mostly I have always been inspired and motivated by my students. Though my “students” have changed over the years, I always strive to meet their needs and make technology a meaningful tool for them.
What are your favorite tech tools?
Any tool which can make student thinking visible – whether screencasts, blogs, videos or digital portfolios. Teachers need to hear student voices in order to help them move to higher levels of understanding and there are so many awesome tools from which to choose!! The Google Suite of tools are also favorites of ours as they provide for amazing collaboration.
Can you share a current project you’re working on?
In Mashpee, we are rolling out a brand-new district website and are excited to strengthen our connected community! To that end, we are preparing resources to work with all teachers in the development of their own Google Sites. Google tools have been such a huge part of teaching and learning in Mashpee, so we know teachers will love sharing life in their classrooms through Google Sites.
Describe something unique about working together. Why do you make a great team?
We are fortunate to work together! There are enough similarities between us that we connect easily, communicate well, laugh a lot and share similar belief systems in regards to technology. The excitement lies in what makes us different. We each bring different experiences, skills and ideas to the table, which allows us to think creatively and learn from each other. We are a great team, so Mashpee teachers and students benefit from our constant teamwork and collaboration.
Suzy Brooks is an Instructional Technology Director for Mashpee Public Schools after 10 years as an elementary teacher. She provides professional development and hands-on workshops for educators at local, regional and national venues. Her work in blended learning, student engagement, and social media has been featured by EdWeek, NBC News’ Education Nation, Instructor Magazine, Intel, ASCD, and the NEA. Currently, Suzy is the President-Elect for the Massachusetts affiliate of ASCD and is a 2011 MassCUE Pathfinder. You can follow her on Twitter @SimplySuzy .
Colleen Terrill is an Instructional Technology Director for Mashpee Public Schools. Prior to her current role she was a 6th grade teacher for 15 years in Mashpee. She provides on-going professional development for the teachers in her district as well as at various conferences such as MassCUE, ACTEM, and CoSN. Colleen was a Keynote Panel Presenter for the New England 1:1 Summit. She is an active member of the MassCUE Southeast Cape and Islands Technology Team. Colleen is also an Associate Professor through the Extended Campus Program at Fitchburg State University teaching Explicit Instruction and Technology Integration in the Classroom. You can follow her on Twitter @cterrillteach .