Like I have mentioned, I am currently a junior in High School, and I have been interested in technology since I was able to walk. I didn’t realize I had such a passion for technology until my elementary school teacher taught me how to code using a turtle game. It was really informal learning how to code. I found some “cheat sheets” that would help me design a maze, and then using code, it would tell the turtle how to maneuver through the maze. Unfortunately, that is as good as my coding ever got. Maybe one day it will improve.
What I found more interesting was how computers were being used. At that time, iLife had just been launched on a huge scale – and I was introduced to iMovie for the first time. That was it. I did not think that life could get much better than iMovie ’05. Instead of participating in school plays, I offered to my teachers I would film the plays instead. They agreed. Throughout my last years in elementary school, I was making movies for different teachers. Along the way I helped them with their computers, too.
This love to help people enhance their technology skills began at a young age, and it continued throughout middle school. I was given wonderful opportunities by another teacher to truly continue to enhance my technology skills. During middle school, green screen became a new feature in iMovie – and I used it all the time. I became interested in my school television news team, and I ended up becoming the Executive Producer for it!
Occasionally during elementary and middle school, teachers would call me to help them out with their technology. I am an Apple fan, and it is what I have known my entire life. When I got to high school, every teacher was given a new Mac that they had never used before. I offered after school training sessions for teachers to help them with their new Macs. Being such an Apple fan, I know a lot about how Apple computers have been incorporated into the education field – because that is one of the many reasons why they were built! I met my media specialist, and I gave her some of my plans of how to teach a class to teachers.
The design was simple – teaching 180. Students are teachers, and teachers are students. This is not a new concept. I actually read about it online from students doing it somewhere else in the nation, and I thought why not give it a try. I had a group of about 10 teachers that came all the time. I thought it was great – and I still think it is great that those ten teachers came almost all the time. Nevertheless, there is a staff of over 200 people at my school…so really not that great. In fact, a lot of the teachers at my school didn’t want to be taught by a freshmen! I had a lot of fun teaching those classes, but i decided not to pursue it my sophomore year. Instead, I picked up various technology projects, and helped teachers on a one-by-one scenario. I actually prefer this method because it’s more personable – something I think we are losing with technology, but that is a discussion for another day! Now this year, my school implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) pilot program, which I have also been a part of every step of the way (almost). We have had after-school training sessions to discuss best practices, and it has been great!
To sum it up – I have no idea how I ended up here. It has been an amazing journey, and I plan to continue with it through my college career, and my real career!
If I had to give one piece of advice to schools wanting teachers to implement edtech, I would advise them to find the primary interest first. Let’s say there is a core group of 10 staff members interested in edtech. That’s great! Have those 10 staff members become experts. The best way to use technology is to collaborate with someone else when you’re using it; there is no better way than telling another staff member about an exciting edtech program you just found. Just think, if those 10 people shared it with 10 more people, and 10 more, and so on, you could have your whole school implementing edtech programs! Of course, that’s not realistic. Perhaps more staff members would become more aware that programs like the ones you share do in fact exist, and they can change the culture of their classroom too.