Honorary Tech Ninja
Name: Chris Kesler
District: Waller ISD
School: Waller Junior High School
Job Title: 6th Grade Science
Years in Education: 3 years
Find me on Twitter: @iamkesler
Why do you make an excellent "Tech Ninja"?
I feel like I'm a technology ambassador at my school. I try to lead by example when it comes to using technology in my classroom. One of my largest projects this year has been to create videos that accompany all of my supporting TEKS in 6th grade science. By creating content videos, I have been able to trade in countless hours of instruction for hands-on practice of the actual material. I have been able to do more labs than I have in the years past and my discipline issues have dropped dramatically. Creating videos of your content not only frees up time in my class, but it allows anyone to view/review them at their convenience. They have been a great supplement for students who were absent. I held a small professional development on how to create videos on my campus and even created a video on how to do it.
Another technology that I use everyday are the smart response systems. I have Senteo clickers in my classroom and I use them for warm-ups. They are used often as a formative assessment for me. I'm able to see exactly where my entire class stands immediately by viewing a pie graph in front of the class. I also use them during lessons to gauge understanding. The data that they provide cannot be overstated. I know if I have to immediately go back and re-teach a concept after viewing the results of a one-minute clicker question. I truly enjoy looking for new ways to introduce technology into my classes. I admittedly spend way too much time online looking for new and creative ideas to bring to my classroom.
What are some of your favorite Web 2.0 tools, and why?
I'm a huge fan of Edmodo. I don't get to use it exactly the same way that I would use it if I had a class set of computers, but I do try to drive conversations with it when possible. Our school district was recently setup with Google apps for education, and I have had a great time playing around with Google forms for open ended questions. I think there is a lot of value in a student being able to type in their response rather than having to write it out. I have developed many menu-driven projects that utilized Web 2.0 tools like Prezi, Animoto, and Glogster. I truly believe that if a student is given a choice on how they would like to learn or present a content piece that it will be done with much more passion and creativity.
Why is technology important in education?
Today's students live, breathe, eat, and sleep with the latest technology. Teachers can choose to ignore technology, but in my opinion that will lead to your students ignoring them. As teachers, we should be embracing all of the incredible technologies that are available to us and our students. It is imperative that college students today have a strong background in technology no matter what field they choose to study. Imagine what jobs will look like in 10-15 years. We are doing our students a disservice by ignoring technology in the classroom. Technology should be in the hands of the students rather than in the hands of the teachers. Is a student really learning anything about technology if they are watching you give a presentation on a SMART board? No. The technology needs to be driven by students or it's nothing more than a shiny new car on the showroom floor.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It has been a fun year and I feel like my professional learning network is really starting to grow. I look forward to sharing ideas and efforts for many years to come.
Want to be our next "Honorary Tech Ninja"??? Click HERE for our application!!