Monday, May 26, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 18 - Talking Quick Key App with Co-founder Walter Duncan IV)

By Dr. Will

Photo Credit: Walter Duncan, IV

Walter has spent the past fifteen years committing his life to teaching and closing the achievement gap. As the husband of a young professor whose career has taken her across the country, Walter has had the opportunity to teach in all sorts of classrooms, from private to public, urban and suburban, privileged and underprivileged. He has a record of success in building consensus and bringing together all stakeholders to solve shared problems.

Walter has consistently improved achievement for his students, throughout his career. During his time at KIPP, a charter school management organization known for effectively closing the achievement gap, his students showed dramatic improvement on the DC CAS and NWEA MAP exam.  As an English teacher at South Shore Charter Public School, his students scored in the top 15% on the MCAS ELA in 2012!

As Director of Administration at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, a small private early childhood and elementary school in its second year of operation, Walter added an extra early childhood class, and doubled the school’s student population for the 2007/2008 school year!

It is this attitude and work ethic that he brings to his transition to entrepreneurship. Walter has accumulated 15 years of experience as an educator, which he applies to his day-to-day activities as the head of Marketing for Design by Educators, Inc., the company he co-founded in 2012.

Click here to download the Quick Key application onto your mobile device.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 17 - Find Your Ed Calling with Maria Vibandor)

By Dr. Will

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Photo Credit: Maria Vibandor

Maria was born in Manila, Philippines and immigrated to Chicago, IL with her family at the age of three.  She spent most of her adult life in the Greater Chicago land area and graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Science with a concentration in Health Studies. 

Although happy at her corporate job and the view of the big city from her cubicle, she was inspired by a group of 8th grade students at an after school mentoring program to join the world of education.  

By 2008, she left corporate America and found herself joining Teach For America and moved to New Orleans with only two suitcases and a positive attitude.  She spent her first years teaching 9th and 10th grade math and science and then elementary grade levels as a reading and writing teacher.  Soon she realized that reliving high school was more attractive than having her skirt tugged by small children, so she transitioned back to the high school setting as a math specialist.  Needless to say, numbers is her game!  Little did she know that she would soon catch the EverFi bug and join the Gulf Coast team as a Schools Manager.  

She continues to be passionate about developing young adults into great leaders of the community and also training them to read food nutrition labels.  Once in awhile you’ll catch wind of her inner foodie and may even get a taste of her newest culinary delight. 

Maria and her family reside in New Orleans, LA, and oversees EverFi implementation in both Louisiana and Gulf Coast Mississippi.

Connect with her on Twitter @MariaVibandor.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 16 - How to do a Podcast with The Bedley Brothers)

By Dr. Will

Photo Credit: Scott Bedley (L), Tim Bedley (R)

Tim's short bio - Tim is a 5th grade teacher, author and speaker. He is 2013 Riverside County Teacher of the Year. Co-Founder of Edcamp Murrieta, Constructivist Conference SCWEL.ORG, and top selling education album Rockin The Standards. He co-host The Bedley Bros EdChat broadcast on his YouTube Channel with almost 2300 subscribers and over 2 million views. @bedleybros @tbed63

Scott's short bio - Scott Bedley teaches 5th grade, is an author and speaker. He was selected 2014 Orange County Teacher of the Year, 2014 California State Teacher of the Year Finalist, and 2013 Project Tomorrow's Innovative STEM Teacher Award winner, 2014 OC CUE Outstanding Educator. He's the creator of Technology Applied Science Fair and co-host The BedleyBros EdChat Show. @bedleybros @scotteach @TASFair

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 14 - Delivering Teacher Professional Development with Sabba N. Quidwai)

By Dr. Will

Photo Credit: Sabba Quidwai

Sabba Quidwai is a passionate educator with a love for creating innovative learning experiences. She leads the technology-enhanced curriculum initiative at Fairmont Private Schools in Orange County, California, where she provides a purposeful and thought out plan of how technology via iPad tablets are deployed in Fairmont’s approach to 21st century learning and teaching. Author of the iLearn PD series and Who Moved My Classroom, Sabba specializes in creating professional development programs to motivate and empower educators as they create 21st century learning environments.

True to her philosophy to, "Discover, Innovate and Share," Sabba has presented at several conferences including EdTechTeacher, OCCUE and iPads in Higher Education. Sabba has been a Social Science teacher for 8 years and continues to teach World History. Sabba holds a Master’s in Education, Social Science Teaching Credential and a B.A. in Social Science from the University of California, Irvine. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Technology Leadership at George Washington University.

Check out Sabba's blog: Discover. Innovate. Share: DISrupting learning with Ms. Q. Also, don't forget to connect with Sabba on Twitter: @askMsQ.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 15 - Edcamp Crazy with Tara Linney)

By Dr. Will

Photo Credit: Tara Linney

Tara Linney is the (first-ever) Educational Technology Coordinator at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She has developed and implemented the school’s Technology Plan, administers all online assessments, and helps teachers in connecting with others and developing their PLN. Tara believes in the power of collaboration, and inspires other teachers in the building by creating EdTech Spotlights centered upon the innovative things that are taking place in classrooms all around the school.

In addition to coordinating all things Technology, Linney leads an all-girls Coding Club. Outside of her work at Excel Academy, she has served on the Organizing Committee for the first-ever EdCamp Arlington. She has attended 4 EdCamps in the past three months, and is in the process of becoming an EdCamp addict.

Tara is a Google Qualified Educator. She holds an M.S. in the Science of Instruction with an Instructional Technology Specialist certification both from Drexel University. Her main drive in the educational world is in finding ways to expose students to computer coding at the elementary level. She is currently considering pursuing a Doctorate degree centered on the topic of “Coding in the Curriculum: Where does it fit”.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 13 - Getting Your Grad School on with Trina Tan)

By Dr. Will

photo Credit: Trina Tan

Trina S. Tan is a second year graduate student at the University of Vermont in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program. She is from California and received her BA in English Literature from California State University, Fullerton. She discovered the field of student affairs through her involvement with the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP). Her previous experiences include internships at the University of Southern California (USC), Georgetown University, and an upcoming internship at Stanford University.  

She was a staff member for President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, and upon the historic win, she served for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Thereafter, she was recognized by the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce in Orange County, California for her service to the community as a Young Fil-Am Community Service Honoree. As a Filipina-American, Trina is committed to dismantling “model minority” myths and stereotypes within the Asian American Pacific Islander community and advocating on behalf of all underrepresented populations.

Trina’s publications include a student essay related to microaggressions in “Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference” by Susan R. Komives, Nance Lucas, and Timothy R. McMahon.  She’s also written on how student affairs professionals can best support students in interracial relationships for The Vermont Connection (TVC) Student Affairs Journal. Her other interests include politics, multiculturalism, social justice, leadership, and social media/technology.

Visit Trina’s blog to read short stories about her career in student affairs, self-care, and other 20-something life endeavors

Don't forget to check out the Hangout discussion facilitated by Trina I mentioned in the podcast.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Meet Arfah Farooq

By Dr. Will 

Arfah was on the first pilot youth coaching programme run by Spark+Mettle that led me to co-found Discoverables a website that helps young people find and develop their key skills and strengths. Co-founding the platform has led her to secure investment from Big issue invest and Wayra UnLtd where she started my #startupkid journey.

She is passionate about empowering young people to discover themselves and build their skills and has just launched a new product called Up: a skills development and feedback tool for businesses and youth organisations.

Beyond the world of startups and technology, she graduated in Media and Communication at Goldsmiths College, University Of London; She love filmmaking, campaigning and once took part in the One and Other project, in which she stood on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square for a whole hour.

Meet Arfah Farooq.

Will: Tell me about Discoverables. Where did the idea come from? How does your approach to strengths development differ from Gallup’s StrengthsQuest or Marcus Buckingham’s StandOut?

Arfah: The idea of Discoverables spun out of our youth aspirations charity called Spark+Mettle. An online coaching programme deliver through the likes of Google Hangouts. We learned a lot about flourishing in life, soft skills and careers. Taking what I learned from this program and my experiences of CVs being so frustrating, led to us to co-found Discoverables. Our strengths set is built on our flourishing qualities in our charitable programme that we think are important. Gallup has his own which are just amazing but ours are more laymen term strengths which makes it easier for young people to understand.

We’ve now go on to to develop and launch a whole new product for businesses called Up.  Up is a skills development and feedback tool that enables young employees to match their weekly outcomes with their personal career goals & soft skills development. It supports managers to communicate with them in a timely and effective way. On Up, we have identified 9 soft skills that we have took from a future skills report, this allows employees to think about the skills they use and track their progress.

Will: The missions component of Discoverables is quite unique. Members complete missions to “prove” their strengths. Would you elaborate?

Arfah: The point of proving is to create evidence. Anyone can say they are creative or have spark but by taking the missions on Discoverables you are actually proving you have these qualities. It allows a person to build a more holistic picture of themselves.

Will: What has been some of the successes of members? Is there an example you can share?

Arfah: We’ve had some users go on to secure internships at variety of different companies.

Will: What made you make Discoverables a social network as opposed to a book?

Arfah: We want it to be relevant to young people. Young people spend time online more than anyone. 74% of that is “just for fun” so the aim with Discoverables was to try and convert that just for fun time into fun but meaningful and productive activity.

Will: Speaking of social, how are you using social in your own professional life? What do’s and dont’s do you have for young professionals?

Arfah: I use social media to keep up to date with trends and to networking with likeminded individuals and to potentially even collaborate with others. My biggest advice would be is watch what you say! Don’t put anything out there that you wouldn’t want your family to see. If you apply for a job, employers will google and stalk your social media so assumptions and impressions will be made before you are even invited for an interview, so make a good impression and tweet and share articles relevant to the industry.

Will: Before the end of the interview, I want to mention your TEDTalk. How did that happen? What was the genesis of your talk?

Arfah: I found out that a Tedx event was being hosted in my local borough and the topic of it was resilience so I got in touch with the organiser and just told her about Discoverables and how we are trying to build resilience in young people. I just really persuaded her to give me a shot. I also personally had a very tough start of the year so I talked about my experiences, how I bounced back and how when things get tough it’s important to find that one thing to pull you through.

Will: OK. We will end on this question. What would you say is the one thing young people are confused about in regards to the job market?  What advice do you have for them for beginning to figures things out?

Arfah: I think the one thing they are confused about is actually understanding a job description and what skills are required and figuring out if they have the relevant skills. The truth is they most likely do. There is a lot you do in your personal life that is relevant so you might not have the hard work experience, but don’t be afraid to look into your day to day that has shaped you to be who you are today.

Check out Arfah's TEDTalk:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 12 - Flipping the Classroom with Sarah Thomas)

By Dr. Will

Sarah Thomas is the Technology Liaison at John Hanson French Immersion School in Oxon Hill, MD.  In addition to this role, she also teaches Technology Integration and English Language Arts at the middle school level.  She has served on the School Leadership Team, advising administrators and teachers on technology-related matters.  

Outside of her work at John Hanson, she also conducts professional development for teacher recertification hours at the county level, on topics such as Google Drive, Google Sites, and Using PowerPoint in the Teaching and Learning Process.  Sarah has presented on various technology topics at the local, regional, and state level.  She also presents free interactive tutorials for teachers on various educational technology topics.

Sarah holds a Masters degree from Howard University in the field of Curriculum and Instruction.  She is currently a doctoral candidate at George Mason University, with a major in Education.  Her upcoming dissertation, Using Technology to Facilitate Language Acquisition of English Language Learners, is rooted heavily in student-created artifacts through the use of project-based learning.  

Sarah has an amazing blog: You can also connect with her on Twitter: @sarahdateechur .

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Dr. Will Show (Episode 11 - Flipping the Classroom with Stacey Roshan)

By Dr. Will

Photo Credit: Stacey Roshan

Stacey Roshan is Upper School Technology Coordinator and Math teacher at Bullis School. She has a keen interest in discovering and bringing innovative tools into the classroom to engage students and to make learning feel like play. One of her major goals is to create a classroom culture focused on relationships and students’ individual needs. Stacey is constantly trying to share her enthusiasm with other educators and to change the dynamics of the traditional classroom. Her motivation for change stems from feeling rushed through AP Calculus lessons with not enough time to answer questions and get a lively discussion started. With the pace of the AP syllabus, she found easing this anxiety to be a difficult task. Because of this, she decided to flip her classroom in an effort to eliminate lecture from class time. She has since implemented the same format in her other math classes and continues to improve and share her flipped model

Check out Stacey's blog: Techiemusings, and find articles where she was featured. While you're at, don't forget to connect with Stacey on Twitter @buddyxo

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Meet Melinda Sears

By Dr. Will

twitter pic from fbk.png
Melinda Sears is the Title 1 Instructional Technology Coordinator for Tuscaloosa City Schools. She has always married instruction and technology since entering the classroom in 2009. She taught French between two high schools in the system before becoming a technology coordinator. Currently, Melinda strategically coaches teachers and administrators with two high schools and an elementary school. She also leads district-wide professional development for many schools as well as professional learning groups for librarians and foreign language teachers. Along with a team of four other educators, she was a co-founder for the first Edcamp in Mississippi, Edcamp Jackson, in March 2014. Melinda has presented at many state conferences including the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers conference and the Alabama Educational Technology Conference.

Will: How do you see the education technology landscape going?  

Melinda: I see teachers becoming more equipped with instructional technology from a preservice program as well as within schools. It is no longer an option to teach without technology. Schools must incorporate technology into the very fabric of learning.

Will: What company do you see as at the forefront of  innovation, and why?

Melinda: Companies that are receptive to teacher feedback and willing to make their product better for the use of learning are more likely to adapt to the ever-changing instructional technology arena. Companies like ClassDojo and Google Apps for Education are at the forefront of innovation. These companies want their users to succeed in using the product.

Will: here’s a lot of buzz around flipping the classroom, blended learning, and going 1:1, what do you see as the greatest challenge in edtech right now?

Melinda: I think the greatest challenge to edtech is equal access to all. Some districts are implementing a BYOD program and filling in the gaps of student devices. Some districts are implementing a 1:1 program so that all students have access to the same device. Districts must decide how they would like to equip all students as well as train and support teachers and students in the use of devices.

Will: Which people in the field inspire you the most, and what have you taken from any of them that you have applied in your own practice?

Melinda: I have a large PLN to thank for much of what I learn, especially through Twitter. Some of the people who inspire me are Simon Miller (@LeadedTech), Jessica Johnston (@edtechchic) and Jason Markey (@JasonMMarkey). There are many others that I turn to for help on a weekly basis, especially as our system implements Google Apps for Education. All of the educators who inspire me have a sense of humility, that desire to be life-long learners, to search for answers throughout the journey.

Will: What are people missing in the device game? That is, when folks put themselves in “Apple Camps” or Android Camps” or “Windows Camps”, what is missing in the conversation, and are people being short-sighted when they align themselves to a device?

Melinda: As a member of the Droid Camp, I find it difficult to utilize quality apps from the Google Play Store. Ultimately, our aim in instructional technology is the instruction. Educators pick a learning objective and a task for students to master. Once the target is identified, then the learning can be supported by technology. When someone aligns themselves to a certain device, a careful balance of agility needs to be maintained. Although I prefer Droid to iOs, I still need to keep up to date on the latest iOs news. Not only do teachers need to cultivate adaptability to all technologies, but we need to encourage our students to do the same.

Will: What is your advice for anyone who is considering a career in education technology?

Melinda: My advice is to start in the classroom. Everything educators do should support learning - real, relevant, and learner-directed learning. My other piece of advice would be to listen to other educators in your district as well as educators in your PLN. Educational technology involves a level of coaching and helping teachers reflect on their use of technology. It is necessary to have good customer service skills and content knowledge in order to equip others with instructional technology.