Fishin’ On A Mission
Life is busy. These are the words an old friend recently spoke to me. The day-in, day-out activities of an educator are compounded with schedules, standards, assessments and most importantly, students! The busy world of a teacher is no surprise to this month’s Featured Educator, Erin Fisher. After 13 years in the classroom, Erin is now in her third year supporting others as the district-wide Technology Integration Facilitator in East Bridgewater. In her role, she is a key player in district-wide professional development, keeping abreast of emerging educational technology, supporting the district strategic plan, and serving on the District Data Team to assist teachers in assessing student outcomes and improve student achievement through the use of technology. Additionally, her district is in its first year of a three year UDL (Universal Design for Learning) academy, with Erin as one of three teachers being trained as a UDL Coach.
Part of the Plan
Fisher’s district is in the midst of a three year strategic plan encompassing four main goals, one of which includes technology. After speaking with Erin, it is clear that she is passionate about her role and brings her enthusiasm to her district each day. As a member of her district’s Strategic Planning Committee, her main focus is the East Bridgewater’s technology goal, “To provide all learners engaging learning experiences utilizing technology, while providing educators the capacity to create those opportunities”. In this capacity Erin launched district-wide professional development, created an embedded PD calendar and shared her vision with her fellow educators, accomplishing what most would find impossible in their first year in a new position. “This was the first year our district had gone 1:1”, states Fisher. “There was a need for training to be provided for various skill levels. Some of the teachers were nervous about rolling out technology, so I established a calendar using YouCanBookMe to help support them” said Erin. This was only the beginning.
Supporting All Teachers
Fisher was quick to mention that things did not happen overnight. “I started integrating lessons and activities with a few key teachers, who in turn shared their positive experiences”, said Erin. “I relied on my ‘bumble bees’, aka teachers who had success with integration, to ‘spread the pollen’ to others and try something new with their students,” she said. “Teachers spread the love!” Erin also supports teachers through her blog, Fishin On A Mission, as well as by passing along edtech tips through her school Google Site and Twitter. Through these online mediums she is able provide helpful tips and resources for others both in her school and beyond!
Supporting All Students
Erin’s go-to tools in the classroom range from PearDeck to Google Apps, depending on the learning goals. With the Pear Deck add-on for Google Slides, interactive presentations are created and students can respond to prompts using different formats. “We started with the free version of PearDeck, and it became so popular that we decided to purchase a district license,” stated Fisher. “This tool has given each student a voice and has helped to increase student engagement in East Bridgewater’s 1:1 environment.” Her teachers also use the free version of Book Creator, as well as Flipgrid, a video-sharing platform which is free to educators and provides privacy options.
Google Apps are also a favorite of Erin’s. Google Classroom, in fact, has become so embedded in her teachers’ practice that only new teachers seek training. In addition to Slides, Fisher is also a fan of Google Draw and Google Docs. When approached by a teacher about ways that students with special needs could work on a book project, Fisher tapped into her new UDL coaching role. Using Google Docs, she designed a UDL-based version of this project for all students. This 8th Grade Literature Project is now a Hyperdoc lesson that includes different options from which students may choose their best way to meet their learning goals. By employing a UDL approach, Fisher created a learning opportunity in which all students can equally participate and succeed at their own level. Next on the horizon for East Bridgewater are digital portfolios using Google Sites.
Just one conversation with Erin Fisher will have you hooked on so many of the wonderful possibilities in the edtech world. Congratulations to Erin on a job well-done…we can’t wait to see what you do next!
Erin Fisher is the Technology Integration Facilitator, PreK-12, for the East Bridgewater Public Schools. This is her 16th year in education, and 3rd year in this position. She lives in Bridgewater with her husband Scott, and three little boys. In her spare time she blogs at www.fishinonamission.com, is a Google Certified Trainer, and teaches two graduate courses on Technology Integration though PCEA/Worcester State
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