The seed of technology integration was planted within me many years ago by a forward thinking math education professor at Texas A&M-Commerce. She built that program, making sure to fully embed relevant technology into all that we did. During my Senior year, I was honored to join her Teacher Quality grant program, which is a federally funded program aimed at improving instruction in title 1 schools. I learned with an amazing group of teachers for years beyond graduation.
In that program, we created instructional videos, dabbled in robotics, wrote lessons incorporating hand held devices, used and created virtual manipulatives, created video podcast, screencasting with Camtasia studio, created interactive non-linear ppts and probability games using macros, developed content incorporating Geometer’s sketchpad and were taught to look for and incorporate various web tools. We also became graphing calculator experts.
We were programmed, in a sense, to research and stay on top of where math education was headed…into the digital space. We were also required to share amongst each other and at conferences, both locally and statewide. I used to joke around with my professor that I would leave math and go straight tech integration. To this, she said…”I know”. She saw it in me years ago.
In the classroom, I carried a great deal of what I learned with me. Always start with curriculum. Kids needed to be actively DOING mathematics. Technology was there to support their efforts…not substitute. I made sure that my classroom reflected that.Students were always first and we had fun learning together. We used to talk about our hopes and dreams. My students knew that I wanted to eventually work with teachers on integrating technology. If you ask any of my former students, they would tell you that.
When I left Ennis to work in Grand Prairie as a math strategist, one of the goals that my principal set was for me to help our team with technology. I was able to do that with my math dept but also with our TAP leadership team, other departments, instructional media specialist and my physics cluster group. I don’t teach physics but I could listen to what they wanted kids to do and help them formulate a path in getting there. Those moments really solidified my impending journey.
As I write this, I am sitting in a Starbucks, responding to tweets…including one from a future team member that I have yet to meet. Dear Jim Holland, thank you for that tweet! I’ve spoken to my amazing new instructional technology director, Jill Galloway and our director of technology has been in contact since last week. To say that I feel welcomed is an understatement. I feel like I’m a part of the team. Heck, I felt that during the interview.
I am above honored, exhilarated, and blessed beyond words to join the technology team at Arlington ISD as an Instructional technology specialist.
I look forward to connecting and working with teachers and students this year as we work everyday to be better than the day before.