Making classrooms student-centered—but not “teacher-proof”
Jennie Magiera is the Chief Technology Officer at the Des Plaines Public School District 62, and previously served as the Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a network of 32 Chicago Public Schools. A White House Champion for Change, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Teacher and CPS’ 2012 Tech Innovator of the Year, Magiera has been working to redefine education through effective technology use. She explores how to leverage 1:1 devices such as Chromebooks and iPads to increase student collaboration, self-efficacy and creativity. She is also passionate about transforming professional learning, serving on the Technical Working Group for the US Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan and co-founding PLAYDATE and other new conference concepts. This November, Magiera will share her vision with educational leaders at Spark PDX 2015.
Looking forward to this event, we conducted a brief personal interview with Jennie Magiera. Read the full interview below!
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hello! My name is Jennie (Cho) Magiera. I began my career as a 4th/5th grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools and then served as the Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy For Urban School Leadership (a network of CPS schools). Now I’m the Chief Technology Officer for Des Plaines Public School District 62. In all of these roles I’ve worked to redefine education through digital learning, both in my daily work with teachers and students, and by leading workshops and sharing our stories in keynotes. My passions are building student agency, engaging with educators to solve problems of practice, and helping both adults and students rediscover playtime. I am also excited about transforming professional learning, serving on the Technical Working Group for the US Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan, and co-founding PLAYDATE and other PD concepts.
What are your technology “must-haves”—the technology (hardware, software—whatever falls into your definition of the category) that you could not get through the day without?
I need to stay connected—to my family, my colleagues, my professional learning network—so I love Google Hangouts to keep in touch and collaborate, both through text and video chats.
How did technology affect your own education? Is there anything you miss about technology at that time?
I didn’t have a ton of technology in my education. I remember the oldies and goodies—Oregon Trail and Number Munchers—and typing class. I’m a pretty fast typer thanks to that program. Thanks Mrs. Feverstein.
What is your hope for the future of technology in education?
I hope it continues on its path to make the classroom more student-centered, but without “teacher-proofing.” By this I mean offering more pathways to build student agency and efficacy—not by sit-and-get differentiation programs, but by positing the teacher as a guide and facilitator of authentic, hands-on, problem-based learning experiences. Technology can offer more access to resources, connections and creation tools to allow students to take on greater and more relevant challenges during the school day and beyond.
If you could go out for coffee with anyone—historical or contemporary, real or fictional, celebrity or unknown—who would it be?
To hear more of Jennie Magiera’s thoughts on typing class, student and teacher empowerment, and Star Wars bad boys, register for Spark PDX 2015, a single-afternoon event for leaders in education.
For more on Jennie Magiera, visit her blog.