Michael Gorman | Southwest Allen County Schools

Name: Michael Gorman (21st Century Tech Blog, @mjgormans)
Organization: Southwest Allen County Schools
Current title: Professional Development Director of 1 to 1 and Digital Learning
Selected accolades: Indiana Teacher of the Year 2010 Semi-Finalist, Southwest Allen County Schools 2010 Teacher of the Year,  Indiana US Air Force  2011 STEM Educator of the Year, Allen County 2011 Excellence In Education Award, Discovery DENny Award 2011


Education is a fantastic place to be! The world of education is being transformed before our eyes, and as educators, we get to take an active role. We will see many changes as classrooms become more student-centered and learning takes on a more active form. Classroom walls will dissolve and the real world will become new place to learn, promoting a new relevance. Through this exciting yet disruptive transformation, the educator will become even more important, providing the essential human element that is so important to the education of a child.


What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

Empathy. Technology is one of many tools (though especially important today). But technology cannot replace the human element of teaching.


For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?

I travel across the country and continually post about ways to infuse 21st century skills and technology into the curriculum. I remind teachers that it is important to look at successful prior lessons and infuse these past successes with technology and 21st century skills.

I often refer to this in my Jukebox to iPod presentation. When looking at this transformation it is obvious that technology made a great idea even better. Teachers must realize that they have a vault of awesome activities that have proven to be successful with students. Many times these perennial gems can be reinvented, mixed, and transformed to bring about a new 21st century lesson that will be even more engaging and applicable to today’s digital learner.

The more I work with teachers, the more I see a need to build a concrete method for updating past lessons. Take a look at Ten Steps to Transforming Past Lessons for 21st Century Learners for more information.


What was your path to your current position?

I actually started in the area of environmental and outdoor education. It seems so similar to today’s technology emphasis on integrating all of the disciplines. Then it was the environment that did the connection… now it is the technology. After environmental education came a start with elementary school…moving to the middle school the last “over 30 years”.

After doing some post grad work at Johns Hopkins I saw a new vision of working with educators. I now facilitate our school district 1-to-1 program and provide professional development on transitioning to a digital learning environment. With this, I have a flexible job that allows me to travel the country consulting in PBL work for BIE (BUCK Institute), digital media for Discovery Education, and digital literacy for Alan November. I am currently also consulting on new educational game and providing some advice to Tech & Learning Magazine and PBS.


Do you have a single lesson plan, curriculum strand, or project that you feel exemplifies effective technology integration – one that you are willing to share with others?

In a recent post entitled, “Engaging Classroom Lessons With Simple One Take Video… Flip Your Classroom…Address Common Core…Incorporate PBL,” I explain how teachers and their students can make a one shot video with no editing, and just one camera. Since it is based on written literacy and 21st century standards it can bring the Common Core into any curricular area.

I created this project to demonstrate that a teacher can facilitate student production of a powerful movie… yet easy to implement. It can be done by somebody with little technology background… yet it can foster growth in student 21st century skill development and the core curriculum.

Kern Kelley | R.S.U. #19

Name: Kern Kelley (Website, blog, @kernkelley)
Organization: R.S.U. #19
Current title: Technology Integrator


It’s become more important than ever for students to be encouraged to explore educational opportunities for themselves. In traditional education, much of the time was spent waiting for the teacher or other students, but technology promises the ability for students to go as far and as fast as they can.

When students teach others they learn a topic more thoroughly than if they received knowledge in a passive state. It’s important that students see teachers actively learning and going through that process ourselves.  I loving bringing students to conferences and exposing them to our learning process.


What is the best part of your job?

Working with the kids, hands down. It always surprises me that it seems like the more accolades and money that an educator earns, the further they seem to be from daily interaction with students.


What was your path to your current position?

I began as a fifth grade teacher and loved it. I integrated technology in almost everything we did as a class and was asked to do the same for the rest of the district. I was hesitant initially because of what I mentioned above, but at every step I have been able to incorporate working directly with students into whatever I do, whether it’s providing professional development for teachers or even going to conferences.

What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

Tech should never be the ends in itself, but rather built into some greater educational purpose. The tech skills that students develop should always have a greater purpose. For example (more…)

Amber Henrey | Mountain Vista Elementary

Name: Amber Henrey (Website, CUE breakout session site, @ahenrey)
Organization: Mountain Vista Elementary, Fillmore Unified School District
Current title: 4th Grade Teacher, Data Manager, and Technology Lead
Selected accolade: Gold Coast CUE 2011 Break Out Session Presenter

What is your key to personal growth as an educator?

Teaching is not a competition against your peers or other schools. Open your doors, share your ideas, ask for help, but most importantly be willing to learn. There is a wealth of ideas to be gained from building a PLN. Look to the Internet and social media for inspiration. It’s hard to remain passionate about teaching when you keep your ideas to yourself. By collaborating your passion, your excitement for teaching increases because you have the energy and support of those you surround yourself with.


What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

The most important thing a student can gain from their education is the ability to think critically.  It is a great shift from “I’ll do what I am told,” to “I’ll do what I think.” As educators we sometimes fear getting students to that point, but it is critical if we are to have a democratic society of thinkers.

I do not feel that technology is the only way students can gain critical thinking skills, however tech gives us access to a plethora of tools that can aid a student and teacher in practicing critical thinking skills.

Children can interact with technology however they want to. That in itself is a great power that lends to critical thinking. Technology opens metaphorical doors to places and people that students would otherwise not have access to.  Through the Internet students can access articles to ponder, opinions to consider, and ideas they didn’t even know existed.

The knowledge and perspective I have gained through social media and online articles has opened my own ideals to new possibilities. I used to make fun of people “tweeting” and now I look to Twitter as a springboard of new ideology. I have hashed out many of my perspectives via Twitter and in doing so, in debating with the likes of Lisa Neilson and Joe Bower, I have altered my education pedagogy. I probably never would have joined Twitter if it weren’t for Professor Jim Pinkard at APU.


How is data collection and analysis best used to support student learning? What types of data collection do you find most useful from a teaching perspective?

Data in some places is a foul word and in others the mantra. Data can tell you your strengths and weaknesses in measurable areas. At the same time it only can tell you the statistics and not the reasons why.

When I first learned the powerful ways that data can guide instruction, I was hooked. For so long, especially teaching first grade, my measures of success were based on observation. Many of my students’ learning gaps were missed because they were decent workers that seemed to understand what we were learning in the moment. But when data informed me otherwise it was like a slap of reality.

When I moved into teaching 4th grade, I depended on data to tell me if I was being an effective teacher because I didn’t know the curriculum like the back of my hand like my peers. I couldn’t just rely on the motivation of students to tell me. (more…)

Errin Gregory | Gold Trail School District

Name: Errin Gregory (@erringreg | Just a Thought blog)
Organization: Gold Trail School District (#74) in British Columbia, Canada
Current title: Grade 4/5 Elementary Connected Classrooms Teacher
Selected accolades: Virtual Schools Conference 2011 presenter, BCTF New Teachers Conference presenter

What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

It’s important for students to be able to explore topics that are of interest to them. Let’s make things relevant, at a personal level, so they can understand why they’re spending time learning about it.

Visual literacy and visual arts are vitally important. What is a culture or a society without art, without that appreciation for information communicated through imagery? We are bombarded everyday with advertisements, websites, logos, photographs – children need to learn how to read and how to communicate with images.

Digital citizenship involves a set of skills that are crucial learning for children. In the past, citizenship involved being a responsible and dutiful person at a local, national and global level. Now, with the online spaces in which people apply for jobs, conduct business, socialize and much more, there is a component of digital citizenship which in a way, transgresses or blends local, national and global responsibilities.

  • Students need to be literate with technology.
  • Students should learn to behave appropriately and productively online.
  • Students should understand the meaning and impact of a digital footprint and be able to have the skills to build a positive digital footprint to prepare for their future.
  • Students should have critical awareness so that they are able to evaluate information found online.
  • Students need to have skills concerning the reusing and remixing of online content (copyright, creative commons, etc.).
  • Students need to be aware of what growing up in a world with the internet and the world wide web means in their lives.

Feed readers: video embedded. View Errin in action at The Connected Classroom.


Steven Anderson | Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Name: Steven Anderson (@web20classroom | EdTech blog)
Organization: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Current title: District Instructional Technologist
Selected accolades: NOW Award Winner, Winner of the 2009 Edublogs Educational Twitterer of the Year, #140Conf Character, ASCD 2011 Conference Scholar (more…)