Alexandria, Va. – October 2, 2009 - The National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named its annual list of “20 to Watch” emerging leaders in education technology. These individuals are recognized by the organization for championing technology initiatives that make a difference for students, teachers, school districts, and the greater education technology community.
A national search identified individuals who show the creativity and collaboration that embraces technology to enhance learning for students, inspire colleagues, transform operations, and engage communities.
“This year’s ‘20 to Watch’ represents educators who see the potential that technology brings to the learning environment, and they know how to translate that knowledge in a way that excites and inspires their students and colleagues,” said Ann Flynn, director of education technology for NSBA. “We hope their stories and experiences will influence policy-makers and encourage district leaders to develop and support programs that allow their successes to be replicated across the country.”
These 20 technology leaders will be recognized at NSBA’s annual Technology and Learning Conference, T+L, which will take place Oct. 28-30, in Denver. They will also be showcased in future NSBA education technology publications. For more information, please visit http://www.nsba.org/t+l.
The 2009 “20 to Watch” are:
Evan Allred, director of information technology, Dysart Unified School District, Arizona
Evan Allred has made using technology to gain 21st century skills a priority for his rapidly growing school district. He has overseen efforts to put more computers in classrooms and use technologies to help students gain real-life job skills. Evan is passionate about changing instructional practices. He attends every single building walkthrough listening to educators and translating his classroom observations into action for his department with a shared district goal of improving instruction and boosting student achievement.
Jaime Arizaleta, facilitator for online education, Garland Independent School District, Texas
Jaime Arizaleta has brought together individuals from the curriculum, operations and technology departments to collaborate on ways to use technology to educate hard-to-reach students. Jaime knew that to capture the interest of the district’s growing population of struggling, yet digitally-adept students; he had to make their studies relevant to what they were doing outside the classroom. One of his accomplishments is an educational video game-based learning initiative that has helped students become more engaged and learn more.
Elisabeth D. Babin, teacher, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida
Working in a low-income school, Elisabeth Babin knew her students would likely not have been exposed to a wealth of technology. She found, though, that many students had IPods so she began using podcasts for weekly assignments, due dates, major project information, and tips on study skills as a way to communicate with her students and their parents. Her creative, upbeat delivery has led to better communication with parents and the community as well. Elisabeth has made the most of the technologies available to the school and trains other teachers and staff to use those as well.
Michael Baker Jr., online learning coordinator, South Side Area School District, Pennsylvania
As founder of the Eduwiki.us project, Mike Baker created an online resource that has connected more than 650 educators worldwide and brought together more than 2,000 resources on education topics and keeping this community informed of new products and technologies. In addition to his work with wikis, Mike looks for safe and meaningful ways for students and teachers to use social media in their classrooms. He also advices his school district on ways to save money and expand high quality technologies to all students.
William L. Bean, teacher, Newark School District, New York
Will Bean uses technologies such as Smartboards, cameras, blogging, web pages, and a projector with every science lesson. As a result, his students score well on state exams and enter higher level science courses well prepared. Will’s colleagues turn to him for training and advice on new programs and he’s known as a problem solver who’s always willing to lend a hand to those who need his expertise.
Mary Beth Clifton, instructional technology coordinator, West Chester Area School District, Pennsylvania
As the sole Instructional Technology Coordinator for a district of nearly 12,000 students, Mary Beth Clifton consistently demonstrates how to use technology to help students learn 21st century skills. She overhauled the district’s professional development program to focus each year on its technology standards and developed a tool to measure teachers’ progress. She has been instrumental in training teachers how to use technologies such as Moodle to set up an online learning network.
Vaudene A. Field, instructional technologist, Geary County Unified School District 475, Kansas
As webmaster for the district, Vaudene Field helped design its highly acclaimed technology classes as well as managing the district’s television channel, 475-TV. She uses her knowledge to incorporate lots of new features into the programs, which has in turn boosted viewership. She also led the development of the district intranet site which allows staff to use blogs, wikis, video stream, and wweb-x. As a result, teachers have round-the-clock access to professional development and other programs.
William Fritz, director of technology, Sycamore Community Schools, Ohio
Bill Fritz has been described as “absolutely awesome” by his colleagues. Bill is a technology guru who keeps his district saturated and “up to speed” on the latest technology completely understanding the complexities of student data management, technology investments, and the need to provide technology training for everyone, not just students. As a part of the district’s cabinet, Bill knows how to talk about technology with everyone – at their level - and fully recognizes that the role of IT is to support instruction; but to Bill, it’s about getting everyone excited.
Lisa Johnson, technology resource teacher, Jefferson County Public School District, Kentucky
Lisa Johnson designed and developed The 180 Degree Classroom, an initiative that restructures the traditional high school math classroom into a student-centered, inquiry-based learning environment. Rather than learning through a teacher lecture, students work in together to understand specific math concepts and to create video lessons that teach these concepts to their peers. Students use a Tablet PC to prepare their lessons as the teacher circulates around the room providing just-in-time instruction, and an iTouch at home to view the lessons and take an online quiz to assess their learning. The next day in class, the teacher already knows which topics they have grasped and which ones they are struggling to understand, allowing students more opportunities to apply the concepts to real-world situations. Students in the pilot study out-performed those taught by the same teacher using traditional resources and methods.
Barbara Kurshan, executive director, Curriki, Washington, D.C.
Barbara Kurshan is leading the movement towards globally accessible open source curricula. Curriki is a non-profit social entrepreneurship organization that supports the development and free distribution of open source educational materials to improve education worldwide. Also a renowned software developer, Barbara has created award-winning products and authored or co-authored 13 books on technology in education.
Teryl Magee, co-teaching coach, Knox County Schools, Tennessee
Classroom teacher and technology integration specialist, Teryl Magee helps her colleagues enhance their classroom lessons by using digital media and the arts. At her school, which is part of an arts integration initiative of the Tennessee Arts Commission, she has taught her colleagues how to create a more student-centered approach using technology. She has also helped her district’s administrators find ways to use social networking in the school setting.
Kevin M. McGuire, director of technology, Michigan City Area Schools, Indiana
Kevin McGuire secured a $500,000 grant to establish one-to-one computer work stations for each student in high school English classrooms. This project has expanded each year and the district now has 29 middle and high school classrooms outfitted with one-to-one work stations all running open-source software. A recent study found that teachers in these classrooms have increased instructional time by five to ten minutes each day, and students are regularly logging in from home to continue their classwork. Kevin has also helped the district move from proprietary software to scalable, open-source solutions which save more than $100,000 per school.
Robert Miller, teacher, Volusia County School District, Florida
Robert Miller wants his students to show their learning at school, through the community, and beyond. His fourth and fifth graders plan, write, direct, film and edit a variety of productions based on their curriculum. These projects are then shared on his class website, podcasted on iTunes, and hosted on YouTube for an authentic worldwide audience. Whether authoring and filming a breaking newscast live at the Boston Massacre or a docudrama of Lewis and Clark crossing the Continental Divide, Robert enables students to thrive using technology to make their learning come alive.
Chris Moore, teacher, Littleton Public Schools, Colorado
Chris Moore uses classroom technology to not only help his students learn essential writing skills, but foster a love of writing. Using netbook laptops, his fifth grade students write blogs, use wikis, and access materials online. His colleagues say that Chris spends hours creating lesson plans that use new technologies, and while he is not afraid to speak his mind and shake up people's assumptions, he is also a team player; working in tandem with the school’s other fifth grade teacher, Nicolette Vander Velde.
Brian Nichols, principal, Newport News Public Schools, Virginia
Brian Nichols is known throughout the district as a young leader who’s had great success in helping low-performing schools increase academic achievement by using technology. Under Brian’s leadership, a technology academy was built where students were given the opportunity to pursue project-based learning activities and use tools such as interactive whiteboards, student response systems, and document cameras. He also helped build a “virtual data wall” that provides comprehensive data on student progress, so teachers and parents can intervene before their students fall behind.
Joseph Orlak, supervisor of social studies, Pascack Valley Regional High School District, New Jersey
Joseph Orlak wants to use technology to help his staff and their students reach beyond the classroom walls. He’s been a leader in the district’s one-to-one laptop initiative and helps students use laptops for activities such as video conferencing with peers in Asia. He now requires his students to create presentations on historical issues using the technology, such as using their laptops for a virtual meeting with experts on their chosen topic.
Andrea Page, teacher, Spencerport Central School, New York
“Oscar Night” takes on a new meaning at Spencerport Central School. After spending months helping her sixth grade students devise digital stories using the Windows® Movie Maker program, Andrea Page hosts an Oscar Night for parents, teachers, and other students. The student-run production showcases each student’s nominated digital movie, student performers (singers, dancers, etc.), student presenters and hosts, and refreshments. The activities not only teach students writing and technical skills, but also helps them to learn to work together to showcase their skills.
Brian Seaman, network administrator, Western Wayne School District, Pennsylvania
Brian Seaman created a “virtual desktop” project that has replaced PCs with “thin client” computers – smaller, low-powered devices – and virtualization software. Using this strategy, the district now has more computers that have better security and require less maintenance. Since the small district does not have to purchase and replace PCs on an annual basis, it saves $70,000 per year. Brian has also found technology applications to help classrooms meet No Child Left Behind performance benchmarks in math, social studies, language arts, and science.
Anne Smith, teacher, Littleton Public Schools, Colorado
Students in Anne Smith’s language arts classes might spend a class period videoconferencing with famous authors or publishing their research to a wiki. Anne was recognized for her creativity in using a range of technologies to enhance her students’ lessons, but she also uses many different types of technology to interact with parents, teachers, and administrators as well. One favorite is a class blog that posts homework assignments, key events, and discussion questions. She regularly allows other teachers and administrators to visit her classroom to learn from her lessons.
Dyane Smokorowski, teacher, Andover Public Schools, Kansas
Dyane Smokorowski works closely with her district’s teachers and administrators to incorporate higher level thinking skills and project-based learning into classroom lessons. She uses technology to enhance projects that address real-world issues such as global warming, cultural awareness, diplomacy, teen health, and intellectual property. As an Intel Senior Trainer, Dyane often trains teachers in other areas so that they can develop similar projects in their own districts.
The NSBA Communications Department can provide the contact information for “20 to Watch” educators to members of the press wishing to do interviews.
Since 1987, NSBA's Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (www.nsba.org) is a not-for-profit federation of state associations of school boards representing 95,000 local school board members throughout the United States. Its mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education through local school board leadership. NSBA represents the school board perspective in working with federal government agencies and national organizations that impact education, and provides vital information and services to state associations of school boards throughout the nation.
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