Classroom Teacher, World History
Old Rochester Regional High School, Mattapoisett, MA
What is the one thing you are really passionate about?
I am really passionate about finding ways to engage students in their own learning. Students have so many reasons to be distracted in today’s classroom. School was always challenging before the massive influx of mobile technology. Now, if schools are not engaging students with awesome learning experiences, students will choose other opportunities for them to be challenged and improved. Every second with students is a chance for educators to move past simple student compliance and to fully engage students. My passion is finding the ways and tools that work best. It is a mixture of a little research, a little planning, and a whole lot of trial and error. Kahoot is a great tool to engage students with learning core concepts; but how often can it be played before it starts to grow stale and lose its effectiveness? These are the type of questions I want to solve to make sure that school is the best part of a student’s day.
What are you 2/3 favorite apps or tools?
I mentioned Kahoot as a great tool to gamify learning. Additionally I use Canva and Piktochart with my students for graphic design and creative applications. For example, they created detailed 21st Century posters and infographics on the Cold War. They included data on the opposing countries’ weapons and armies; evaluating the overall question “Was it Dangerous?”. For my Learning Management System I use Schoology. Both the students and I have access to the material 24-7. With the ability to set it up for Mastery Style Learning, the learning becomes more individualized. They can complete the lessons multiple times and at their own pace.
What is your current project?
My current project is gamifying my class. I’m always attempting to boost student engagement in class- especially with the seemingly more mundane tasks e.g.vocabulary quizes. I have also started my own website Guildway to connect with other educators: sharing ways to capture our students’ attention, release their potential and finding ways to make our courses sucessful. There are free webinars, videos and an email newsletter all designed to develop advanced skills and connect to other passionate educators. I update Guildway weekly and write on topics that cover education technology, mastery learning, gamification, project-based learning, Google apps, Chromebooks and productivity.
Who do you admire most? Why?
There are many I admire for different reasons. I admire my colleagues at work for their passion and dedication. I admire a classroom teacher named Vicki Davis. She runs a blog at Cool Cat Teacher and she has done so much to help others in education. Then I admire Greg McKeown, a person not even in education. He wrote a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I have often used that book and his message to shape my own choices both pedagogical and professional. These are some of the people who have had the largest impact on my teaching life.
How do you stay current on trends and new technology?
Twitter chats are great ways to stay current. I follow #edtechchat, #edtechma, #edtechbridge, #games4ed just to mention a few.
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