This month’s ‘EdTech Temperature Check’ in five questions takes us to a famous little rural borough in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania. Early in February, the eyes of the nation were focused on Gobbler’s Knob and whether Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog, would see his shadow…or not. Well, he did and so foretold six more weeks of winter. Now as February comes to a close, we’re returning to Punxsutawney to meet high school science teacher Louise Maine. Louise has been a science educator for 26 years serving students in VA Beach Schools, St. Joseph, MI Public Schools, and Punxsutawney Area Schools since 1999. She has also been a TeachersFirst content contributor for the past 7 years, including creating and leading Professional Development sessions with Ok2Ask. Considering herself an innovative educator, she is a co-creator of MySciLife and has presented at ISTE and state and local conferences. She is also a Google Certified Innovator since 2007. To provide balance to her very busy professional career, Louise builds “me” time into every day. That “me” time can include physical activity, time outdoors, or pursuing a creative passion like cooking, crafting, etc.
KAREN: What is one of your favorite quotes and why?
LOUISE: “The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard
This is a reminder to stand up, to be different, to seek truth to power, to be motivated for the right reasons, and not to worry what someone else thinks. After all, it is usually not about you. No great change has happened otherwise.
KAREN: What are your favorite tech tools? Tell us about three technology tools you can’t live without (these could be gadgets, apps, websites, or software).
LOUISE: Google Drive – where else can you create, organize, and share such a vast amount of varied items? Kindle app – it allows me to take my books everywhere with me. Google Keep – I use this for things I want to remember everyday, grocery lists, to-do lists. Chrome extensions – use many of these every day (last pass, one tab, goog.gl URL shortener, screencastify, save to keep…).
KAREN: What is the biggest EdTech challenge you face in your current role?
LOUISE: The vision about how technology can be used effectively for student learning and not just checking “uses technology” off a list. Learning and what students need always comes first.
KAREN: Name two topics you think are hot in education right now that teachers need to become familiar with.
LOUISE: Leveraging aspects of technology to help each and every student. Social media for teaching and learning.
KAREN: What book or article are you reading now or have read recently that caused you to pause and think for a moment? Why was it important to you? If the article is available online, please share the link with our readers.
LOUISE: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. It is interesting to see what is required for change at the individual or community level and how the brain works
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: how to change things when change is hard. New York: Broadway Books.
Check out these two great resource recommendations from Louise’s Personalized Learning Network (PLN):
- Tim Stahmer’s blog: http://www.assortedstuff.com/
- Vicki Davis blog: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/