In honor of Connected Educators Month, we’re celebrating what Connected Educators are doing throughout the world. If you’d like to share your story, send a blog post to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a story of a math teacher turned tech teacher and how his connections provided him with an unlimited number of resources. That’s right; I never planned on being a computer teacher. My Master’s degree is in Teaching and I am certified in Elementary, Middle School Math, and Special Education.
However, an opportunity was given to me that would change my career forever.
I had expressed interest in technology during my interview and I was eventually asked if I wanted to become the full-time computer teacher in addition to teaching math. I was very excited, but there was just one problem. I had no idea what to teach in computer class. The curriculum that my school had was limited to keyboarding and Microsoft Word. I knew it needed to be updated, but didn’t know exactly how.
I had been active on Twitter, following and blogging about my favorite sports like basketball and professional wrestling. As it turned out, I would learn that there is a huge presence of educators on Twitter. These educators are posting their own blogs, tips, and resources for all teachers. The most common articles and tips I see on Twitter deal with teaching technology.
While my presence on Twitter grew and grew, I was also active on Edmodo through my school. At first, it seemed as though Edmodo was only used for teachers to post homework for their students. However, the tech coach at our school opened my eyes to all the communities I could join on Edmodo. She showed me the Computer Technology community on Edmodo and told me that some people post their entire curriculum on the forum.
She was right.
I can’t remember if it was on Twitter or Edmodo, but at some point I came across Structured Learning’s Technology Curricula. It was exactly what I was looking for. It was a curriculum broken down by grade level. The curriculum was organized into units with different skills woven into each topic. It wasn’t just about teaching students the different tools and features of programs, but also how to problem solve their way through tech issues. With assigned presentations on vocabulary words and problem solving questions, as well as structured keyboarding and digital citizenship programs, I was set.
My love for teaching computers carried over into the summer. I found a job teaching different computer courses (computer animation, digital photography, web design and computer game design) at a camp. While I was familiar with how to create projects for these courses, my PLN provided me with already made lesson plans and resources to complete my summer curriculum.
I have always enjoyed computers and technology since I joined AOL when I was ten years old. It feels amazing to connect with other educational technology geeks and fans and find new resources and tools every day. Hours don’t go by without me saving an infographic or article on how I can improve my instruction in computers class or my math classes. And this is all due to my Professional Learning Network (PLN) of technology teachers, administrators and communities I have connected with through Twitter and Edmodo.