5×5: 5 Thought Leaders, 5 Questions, 5 Answers (Fourth Edition)

September 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

This is the fourth of 5 blog posts where 5 education technology leaders share their thoughts on 5 questions.

Warning: These are quick-write style answers.  These answers are fast, honest, and unedited.  The voice is personal and there may be typos.  Enjoy the unplugged ideas from these leaders.

Meet Angela, Lisa, Courtney, Kristin and Alline:

Angela Maiers Website Shot

Angela Maiers @angelamaiers

“I believe these 2words can change the world – #YouMatter – I’m an Educator, Author, Speaker passionate about literacy, learning, and power of social media.”

Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson @TechChef4u

CEO and Founder of TechChef4u, Lisa Johnson shares her app-thusiasm for iLearning at multiple conferences around the country.  Lisa Johnson is an Ed Tech for a K-12 1:1 iPad district in Austin. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, class of 2013.

Courtney Pepe

Courtney Pepe @iPadQueen2012

Mrs. Pepe has her BA from SUNY Buffalo (Summa Cum Laude), her M.S. from the University of Southern Maine, her Supervisors Certificate from Seton Hall University and an additional 30+ credits in the science disciplines from Rutgers University. Mrs. Pepe is currently in an Masters of Administration program through Monmouth University. Mrs. Pepe is proud to be a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2013.

Kristin Ziemke

Kristin Ziemke @1stgradethinks

Co-author of Connecting Comprehension and Technology, Kristin Ziemke has spent her career teaching and learning from children in both urban and suburban schools. As a first grade teacher, Kristin engages students in authentic learning experiences where reading, thinking, collaboration and inquiry are at the heart of the curriculum.

Alline Sada

Alline Sada @mrsalline

Founder of APPitic.com | Apple Distinguished Educator | Google Certified Trainer |  Google Certified Teacher |

Q1: In your opinion, what is the most exciting thing happening right now in digital learning?

Angela A1: Human driven technology. There are a plethora of tools across the web at our disposal; the real trick is using them to amplify the human connection. Harnessing the power behind technology is infinitely more significant than the technology itself. Technology is nothing but what passionate people make of it.

Lisa A1: The 24/7 access to content and creation resources that builds a culture of learning and inquiry-based discovery that will ultimately transform the way our students learn. I think the very nature of mobile devices supports differentiation, personalized learning, and a culture of collaboration which breaks the mold of one-size-fits-all education.

Courtney A1: There are 2 things that I am particularly excited about right now. The first is the practice of APP-smashing which I believe is best practice for integrating Bloom’s Taxonomy and the SAMR model to empower students in the 21st century classroom. The second is Augmented Reality which is physically redefining what my learning space looks like in 2013. Augmented Reality is creating more engaged learners in my classroom

Kristin A1: Personalization and connectedness! I love that my young learners (6 and 7) can gain access to anything they want to learn about. They are also creating content for the world and understand that they have an audience and following online. This motivates them to become more educated and to continue seeking new information so that they can share in the classroom and world learning community.

Alline A1: I’m overjoyed by being able to empower students and teachers with the ability to rediscover curriculum through engaging and meaningful resources. The wealth of resources and possible activities makes me giddy.

Q2: Technology versus textbooks: will there ever be a winner?

Angela A2It is not an either or and it never will be. The printed word in some form will always have a place in our learning. But with the rate of information being created and co-created, there is no way any one text can capture the collective wisdom of the community.

Lisa A2: I think the winner will not be a challenge between the two stand-aone tools. Don’t think it should or will be an either or – education will ultimately benefit when both entities acknowledge that they each hold merit and value. Hopefully the future holds augmented textbooks that thoughtfully blend content and technology and a plethora of published teacher created resources.

Courtney A2: Both because one of the things that I have found to be best practice with my students is having them create their iBooks that relate to the content in our area of study. I also have authored by own multi-touch iBooks — I believe that iBooks Author takes the best elements of traditional textbooks and the best elements of technology and combines them in a beautifully orchestrated duet.

Kristin A2: I think textbooks have already lost, but not because of technology–I think authentic trade books have taken over and that students are learning from authentic text, media, primary sources, song, and beyond. Text books are too limited and even more so now with the ever changing advance of technology.

Alline A2: Technology – depth, relevance, personalization, you name it. So easy to customize and make the information work for my students. I hate to think that so many school curriculums are dictated by publishing companies rather than the educators who know their students’ needs.

Q3: What is going to be the next big thing in ed tech?

Angela A3: The move from using technology as a tool for consumption to a platform for collaboration and creation. The power of the web and our access to is our ability to contribute. We have to understand that the Internet is not only a web of information and usernames, but a web of people who are striving to be heard.

Lisa A3: Many more tools to curate the firehose of information and tools that we digest and come in contact with each day.

Courtney A3: I think we are going to see more developments on the Augmented Reality front.

Kristin A3: I think more kids social media spaces where students can learn, guide and collaborate on topics of their choosing. Self-directed investigations that are kid lead in organic cross-grade, cross-country collaborative teams.

Alline A3: Reinventing the teacher role. With so many options, how can we do best by kids?
Rediscovering what learning and assessment look like. How can kids look back on their progress and build upon it?

Q4: If you could give one piece of advice to teachers about how to integrate technology in their classroom this fall, what would it be?

Angela A4: Put the learning and the learners first. If the technology you are going to use does not allow you to do something you would not otherwise be able to do without it; don’t bother. In other words, use the technology to provide an otherwise impossible experience.

Lisa A4: Use it to figure out what students are thinking – collaboration and communication is engaging. And if we know what our students know and don’t know we can better serve and support them.

Courtney A4: It sounds silly but don’t be afraid to ask for help from your students when it comes to using tech in the classroom — do not be afraid to give up that control. Also, remember that everyone learns technology at their own pace — it is important to try and never say “I can’t.”

Kristin A4: Follow a gradual release of responsibility model. Even our youngest learners can do amazing things with tech if we model how to use it and build skills over time. I’d also say seek opportunities for kids to get authentic feedback outside the classroom. Nothing motivates more than the outside world.

Alline A4: Start by asking yourself, “What is it that my kids need to know or be able to do?” Then, add in the tech.

Q5: What’s your best kept ed tech secret?

Angela A5: Be interested! As a learner and a leader. Learning has never been so awesome and inspiring. We sometimes forget this is a “get-to-do”. Everyday I discover, uncover, experience something that makes me go WOW! Celebrate that!

Lisa A5: Lisa didn’t answer this one, but I would love to know where she gets the materials for her amazing line of iFashion jewelry.

Courtney A5: My students — they inspire me on a daily basis to come up with new and creative tasks to shape their innovative minds. They inspire me to fight the good fight.

Kristin A5: Hmmm. Tough one. Like with all teaching, involve kids in the decision making. Ask them what they want to learn, what tool or app would work best for them and give them wings to try. Also model “not knowing” and “failure.” Important for kids to see we don’t always have all the answers. I think that in ed tech (and other things) kids really are the best teachers an we should give them the opportunity to teach in our classes and beyond.
When in doubt of how to collect information about students, Croak.it! Great little free app/ web tool that records audio for 30 seconds :)

Alline A5: Controlled risk-taking. Explore, discover and share!


This blog post was inspired by eSpark: http://www.esparklearning.com/ed-tech/
Feature Image Photo Credit: Carmen Carreño Kcphotography via Compfight cc







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  1. Wonderful Feature from Hack the Classroom | mrspepedotcom - September 14, 2013

    […] The following link takes you to Michelle Cordy’s Website Hack the Classroom that has a wonderful feature about different voices in edtech. I was so pleased to be a part of this project and share the same thought space as the other ladies featured in the blog. Thought Leaders in Ed Tech […]

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