Friday, June 26, 2015

The Dr. Will Show - Edtech Check with Celine Ng-O'Hara

On today's episode, I chat with Celine about trends in edtech.

Celine Ng-O'Hara is currently a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade special  educator with the Cajon Valley School District in El Cajon, CA.  She grew up in Singapore and has a Bachelors of Arts with a double major and History and Sociology, a Bachelors of Arts  in Special Education, and two Masters, one in Teaching and the other in Special Education. During her 24 years of teaching experience, Celine has taught in a British-style international school in Singapore, worked as an educational therapist and now teaches full time in the US. Her varied teaching opportunities has given her a broad global perspective on education and greatly fueled her passion for fostering global educational connectivity, especially between educators and students.

Celine is also highly interested in harnessing educational technology to enhance learning and teaching. To help teachers better learn about ed tech, she started an ed tech discussion group on Facebook called "Ed Techies", and facilitates a monthly EdCamp style techie gathering at her district where teachers gather to share ideas and tips on how to better utilize ed tech to enhance student learning. Most importantly, Celine is just really thrilled that she gets to feed her inner geek through all her myriad of global techie educator connections.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Dr. Will Show - The 411 for ISTE Newbies with Tammy Neil and Kimberly Wright

Tammy Neil teaches Computer Applications and Game Design at Branford High School in Branford, FL. This is her 24th year in education. She's taught every grade from 4th to 12th. I also spent 8 years as a School Media Specialist. 

Tammy co-moderates the #FLedChat on Wednesdays at 8 pm edt, and #RuralEdChat at 8:30 pm edt on Tuesdays. She is a founding member of team and actively participates in their round table discussions through GHOs and Twitter. She is also a semi-regular blogger on

This year Tammy was named Branford High School's 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. She's been nominated for a Bammy (High School Teacher of the Year) as well as, Edsurge's Caring is Sharing Award. Tammy recently led the organization team for #EdcampBranford, the first Edcamp not only in her district but also in the surrounding 50 mile radius.

You can connect with Tammy on Twitter: @MathNeil

Kimberly Wright is currently a TLI Teacher Leader for El Paso Independent School District, the 11th largest district in the state of Texas. She spent over six years in the elementary classroom where she learned technology implementation was the key to success in her classroom. She is a student advocate and believes that every student deserves to learn and create. Kimberly is an ISTE, TCEA & Podstock member.

You can connect with her on Twitter: @kimberlywright1.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Dr. Will Show - Blended Learning with Kimberly Wright

On today's episode, I chat with Kimberly Wright about blended learning.

Kimberly Wright is currently a TLI Teacher Leader for El Paso Independent School District, the 11th largest district in the state of Texas. She spent over six years in the elementary classroom where she learned technology implementation was the key to success in her classroom. She is a student advocate and believes that every student deserves to learn and create. Kimberly is an ISTE, TCEA & Podstock member.

You can connect with her on Twitter: @kimberlywright1.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Dr. Will Show - Standards Based Learning with Connie Hamilton, Ed.S.

On today's episode, I chat with Connie Hamilton, Ed.S. about standards based learning and how it improves student learning outcomes.

Connie Hamilton Ed.S. currently serves her school district in West Michigan as their curriculum director and co-elementary principal.  Her teaching experiences include 1st through 8th grade and interventions and contribute to her vertical perspective on best instructional strategies.  Connie strives to build leadership capacity within teachers, creating teams of educators to work together to increase student achievement.  Identifying student needs from the day-to-day and building to a district point of view allows for various strategies and systems to meet student needs.  As a certified trainer for classroom questioning, Connie shares methods with teachers not only to pose questions for students, but within themselves to help maintain a growth-minded drive in education.

As the founder and moderator of Sunday night's weekly #TMchat, Connie has had the privilege of collaborating with minds like Larry Ferlazzo, Doug Fisher, Dave Burgess, Nancy Frey and many more.  These Twitter chats have proven to be a source for references and thought-provoking conversation on critical educational topics such as student engagement, formative assessment, rigor, etc.  Please follow her on Twitter @conniehamilton and consider joining the dynamic group of educators for a #TMchat Sundays at 10pm ET.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Dr. Will Show - So You Wanna Be an Instructional Technology Specialist? with Karen Balbier

On today's episode, I chat with Karen about her experiences as an Instructional Technology Specialist. During the conversation, we also talk about how builds relationships with teachers, her day-to-day, and which tools she recommends for teachers who are at the beginning stages of technology adoption. 

Karen didn't grow up with a keyboard in her hand. She actually bought her first computer when she was in college. At that time, she only knew how to turn it on, type a research paper, and go to the University's Website to check email. Karen didn't have internet at home and only accessed it when she was at school.

The value of technology didn't dawn on me until she became a classroom teacher. Karen began to participate in Technology Learning Month in our District. Each year, she learned more effective ways to reach her students. They loved using technology in the classroom.

Most people say Karen is a very patient teacher. Her patience in working with tech newbies comes from personal experiences. That scared feeling turns into excitement when you just let go to click and learn. Karen 
spent 6 years in the classroom teaching 4th Grade and 1/2 a year as a technology integration teacher for K-5. She's been an Instructional Technology Specialist with EPISD since 2009.

Connect with Karen on Twitter: @kbalbier

The Dr. Will Show - Power to the Teacher hosted by Carlie Stigler

Melissa Paulson is a  2nd and 3rd grade multi-age teacher who  specializes in literacy at Waukesha STEM Academy in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She attended Carroll University and received her Bachelor Degree in Elementary and Special Education with a minor in Social Studies. Last year, she participated in a year long residency program with the Hartland Lakeside School District. Within this residency, it really allowed her to find the importance in collaborating and reflecting with other colleagues to provide the best instruction for the students. Her main goal is to continue growing in order to facilitate a student-centered, personalized learning environment that allows students to find a love for learning.

Today's episode of The Dr. Show was hosted by Carlie Stigler. She spoke with a group of first year teachers about their reflections of the conclusion of their first year.

Carlie Stigler is a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade multi-age teacher at Fond du Lac STEM Academy in Fond du Lac Wisconsin.  She attended Carroll University and received her bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Early Childhood. During her student teaching experience, Carlie participated in a yearlong residency program within the Hartland Lakeside School District.  This opportunity allowed her to engage and grow in working with teachers and students, developing habits of a reflective and collaborative educator.  As a first year teacher Carlie is on a mission to facilitate learning spaces that embody community, inclusion, collaboration, and personalizing learning amongst and between educators and students.  As Carlie continues to grow as an educator and learner, she is excited to be a part of the changes in our education system that need to occur to meet the interests and demands of our world.  

Connect with Carlie on Twitter: @cstigler28. Her school Twitter is @FDL_STEM.

Katie Kujawski is a 6th-8th grade multi-age teacher at the Fond du Lac STEM Institute in Fond du Lac Wisconsin.  She attended Carroll University and received her bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Social Studies. Through her last year of school, Katie participated in a yearlong student teacher residency program within the Hartland Lakeside School District. This experience was vital to preparing to enter the field of education as a new professional and was centralized around hands-on opportunities to collaborate, reflect, and process how to implement an innovative teaching philosophy in a real-life classroom. As a first year teacher, Katie has had her hands full with facilitating the project process with her middle schoolers through coaching, conferencing, reflecting, collaborating, and problem solving with students and Mentor Teachers at the STEM Institute. Wherever the next school year at STEM takes here, the ultimate goal is to continue training up life-long learners who find passion and purpose in what they do and see school as a place to foster those things through the learning and discovery process.

Connect with Katie on Twitter: @kt_kujawski. Her school Twitter is @FDL_STEM.

Anna Zehnpfennig is a 2nd/3rd grade multi age special education teacher in Waukesha, WI. She attended Carroll University and received her bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Early Childhood. Last year, Anna participated in a year long residency program within the Hartland Lakeside School District where she began to foster her practice and experience teaching first hand. Anna's goal as an educator is to empower students to become intrinsic learners through nurturing a personalized learning environment. As Anna continues in the education field, she hopes to learn and grow in becoming an educator that creates learning environments, nurturing all students to independently discover their love for learning. 

Connect with Anna on Twitter: @anna_rosez.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

#beyouEDU - Finding Your Tribe with Kerry Gallagher

As educators and technologists -- and a few that are a combination of both -- prepare to travel to ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia, there is much talk of reunions and first time face-to-face meet-ups.  All of the excitement is because many in the edtech community have formed tribes: groups of like-minded, highly motivated education professionals with whom we love to connect and grow.

It the midst of all this anticipation and excitement, it is important to remember that even educators are simply people.  Our tribe starts to form early in life.  ISTE is only one short stop on that journey.


As we start out in this world, we are first dependent on our parents and our family.  They are our first tribe and, if we are lucky, the group that stays with us unconditionally throughout life.  Sure, in this tribe there are more ups and downs than in others, but without them our foundation might crumble.


We grow, learn to play, attend school and find there are people outside of our family that can become important to us too.  While only a few make friends that become part of the lifelong tribe at this stage of life, we learn important lessons about honesty and loyalty in childhood.


The bonds of childhood strengthen during the teen years. This tribe is made up of the classmates who took crazy risks with us, and survived.  These are the people in our same major in college, or our roommates.  The bonds in this tribe are strong.  We will be in one another's weddings, meet each other's babies, and share life's ups and downs in the years and decades to come.

Young Adult

At this stage we'll discover a new kind of tribe: a professional tribe.  They are the teachers in our same department if we work at a high school, on our team at a middle school, or at our grade level in elementary.  If we were to sit around a table for a meal, we could not help but talk about the Civil War, the quadratic formula, or the importance of stem cell research.  We share a passion for our content.  In other professions it is similar.  These are people we are bonded to because of a common passion and drive to innovate and create within our profession and our area of expertise.


As a career develops, more tribes will be added.  Teachers tend to feel more fulfilled when they have colleagues with whom they also enjoy spending some personal time.  These colleagues can be found in the classroom next door, or perhaps in classrooms far far away.  Luckily, we are now also able to make strong connections with thought leaders and innovators worldwide using platforms like Voxer, Twitter, Google Hangouts, and something as simple as email.  In adulthood we might find our core tribe grows or that it shrinks, based on our needs and the varying pace of life.

The trick to finding a tribe that is truly committed to sticking together and moving forward together is to not see each of the groups I identified above as separate.  Any person who supports my personal and professional growth is a part of my tribe.  Not everyone in my tribe may know the others yet, but they all know of each other because I speak of each of them often.  They all form a circle of support around me.  They all form my tribe. 

My tribe is a diverse group.  Some are in my family and I see them every day.  Others are a part of my social media PLN and we have never actually met in person (ISTE 2015 will fix that in many cases).  Some know me only professionally and I only interact with them in an educator capacity.  Others have never seen me step foot in a school and know me only as a daughter/sister/wife/mother.  What makes each of them an important part of my tribe is that they are moving forward with me and we want nothing more than to support one another to be our best.

When you really reflect on your life, who makes up your tribe?

#beyouEDU - Finding Your Tribe