April Featured Educator – Dawn Steber

Featured Educator Dawn SteberMassCUE is pleased to announce Dawn Steber as our Featured Educator for April 2024!

Dawn Steber’s favorite part of being a technology educator is the fact that her computer lab is a place where every student can be successful. As a technology teacher for grades K-5 at Orleans Elementary School in Orleans, Steber wants students to be able to look forward to coming to her classes and to school.

“Using hands-on materials and cooperative critical thinking skills creates an atmosphere where even struggling students can excel,” she says. “If there’s any area in school that gets the kids excited to be here, I hope it’s my room.”

Steber says she enjoys finding creative ways to introduce her students to all sorts of technology tools and strives to integrate real-world learning. This year, Steber has introduced Bee Bots to incorporate beginning coding concepts with her younger students. She used this tool with her second graders who were beginning to learn about money. The tool’s canvas mats became stores, restaurants and banks. Students had to follow a shopping list, programming the Bee Bots to visit the correct stores and to use the correct coins to pay for items. She has also paired visits to the school garden with a reading of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, followed by an activity with The Very Hungry Caterpillar Augmented Reality (AR) app, where students count the types of food the caterpillar eats before turning into a butterfly.

“Sometimes my classroom is quite noisy due to the level of student excitement,” Steber says. “To me, this truly shows their motivation for learning new things.”

Some of her other favorite tools include Dash Robots, which enable students to work in pairs to solve challenges and puzzles while learning the Blockly coding language. Lego and Little Bits give students practice in following directions while making amazing creations. Makey Makey teaches circuitry and digital storytelling when paired with Sprites in the free Scratch app. Steber also uses websites that teach coding and digital citizenship, including code.org and Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum. She says these are so important, because kids are fearless when it comes to the internet.

“I believe that digital citizenship is the most important, yet most overlooked skill in edtech today,” she says. “Kids don’t get enough information early on about how to behave properly when you use the internet and social media. I’m hoping the earlier they get that information, the bigger impact it will have on their lives.”

Steber says she hopes to write a grant in the future to incorporate more digital citizenship into her lessons. Steber was the winner of a MassCUE grant in 2018. With that funding, she created traveling bins of technology materials that targeted Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) standards. The bins were shared between the district’s five elementary schools.

“This created a much more collaborative environment for our elementary technology staff and that collaboration has continued,” Steber says. “Receiving the MassCUE grant was the catalyst for our technology staff to begin cultivating equitable 21st century skills in our students across the Nauset District.”

Steber also collaborates with her school’s classroom teachers to incorporate multimedia projects into lessons. She worked with librarians to create a Book Review Podcast project for fifth graders, where students learned about book reviews, then wrote and recorded their own reviews.

“The podcasts were awesome because it was part of a literacy initiative for the whole school,” Steber says. “It was a lot of work, but it was so amazing for our fifth grade students to review their favorite library books and then share their reviews with our younger students using QR codes.”

Her advice to other technology educators: be brave! It’s okay to jump into something new and learn right alongside your students. She says some of her best lessons have been when she is trying out new technology.

“I tell the students that I’m not sure how something is going to work but that we’re going to try it out together and they can teach me what they learn,” she says. “They love that! Technology is so fast paced, we can’t possibly know everything, and that’s okay.”

Dawn Steber is a K-5 Technology Educator at Orleans Elementary School on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Nauset Regional High School, Fitchburg State University, and Lesley University. She has been an Elementary Teacher in the Nauset District for 25 years. She enjoys working with classroom teachers to integrate technology and create deep learning opportunities using 21st century skills. She finds the most exciting thing about her job is that there is always something new for her to learn beside her students, since Computer Science is changing so rapidly. In addition to her career teaching children, she is also devoted to teaching technology workshops at a local Senior Center. In her free time she can be found spending time with her family, taking walks on the beach, or reading a good book. She looks forward to continuing to make an impact at Orleans Elementary School, leveraging digital tools and increasing technology access for staff, students and families. She considers it an honor to be chosen for this distinction.



Bee-Bot with Coins

Beebots with Coins

Makey Makey Controller

Makey Controller FE April 2024

Makey Makey


Dash Robot


Dash Robot

Dash Robots


Print this post Print this post