MassCUE is pleased to announce Michael Tinker as our Featured Educator for April 2022!
In his eight months as a digital learning specialist for Pembroke Public Schools, Michael Tinker has transformed technology integration in the district as a positive force for change. From introducing elementary kids to coding and digital citizenship to working with middle and high school students, to modeling software for teachers, paras and everyone in between, Michael brings a positive attitude and an ability to build relationships that is infectious.
He says his role allows him to facilitate change by building authentic relationships with teachers, staff and students.
“I don’t mind taking as long as it takes to get to know people and to establish a relationship and build trust,” says Tinker. “That notion of building trust with everybody is critical to doing anything, whether it’s remote learning or logging in to Google. The strategy is to listen with your heart. Meld that with what you know and your own experiences and start from there.”
Another key to being a positive force for change has to do with mindset. He says people often get the idea that they are not good at technology because of a bad experience. But by meeting people where they are and helping them to understand that they are the ones in control, not the technology, great things result.
“It’s okay to fail. Failure is the impetus of forward movement,” says Tinker. “In order to develop innovation and creativity, we have to be able to be okay with failure. When you give up, that’s the problem.”
Tinker is a veteran educator with two decades of experience. Before joining the Pembroke school system he worked in the Norwell Public Schools as a classroom teacher, a computer science, engineering and robotics teacher, and a technology integrator for elementary schools. He says his favorite tech tool is an assistive technology called Seeing AI.
“When it comes to helping level the playing field for kids who are visually impaired, in terms of general movement throughout the school and seeing things around them, this was a game-changer,” says Tinker. “I think it’s the most meaningful piece of tech that we were able to apply. This was something that changed people’s lives.”
Tinker credits his “MassCUE hero” Colleen Terrill, who is a member of the MassCUE Board of Directors, with introducing him to the technology.
“When I saw what this tool can do, my mind was blown,” he says.
As technology continues to change, Tinker says educators need to find the nexus between the linear path of traditional education and the exponential growth of tech.
“There are things out there that we haven’t even heard of that could change everything tomorrow,” says Tinker. “How do we teach that? It’s innovative thought, computational thought.”
His overall goal for his students and the teachers and staff that he works with is for them to go beyond being users of technology.
“I don’t want the students to be users of technology. I want them to be the creators, the builders,” says Tinker. “I want them to take a little piece of what I have taught them and go out and make something great.”
Prior to serving as the digital learning specialist for the Pembroke School District, Michael worked in the Norwell Public Schools where he was a classroom teacher; a computer science, engineering, and robotics teacher; and a technology integrator for elementary schools. He holds his Master’s Degree in Education from American International College. He’s also a Google Certified Educator, L 1 & 2 and an Apple Certified Teacher.Print this post