EdTech Made Easy Through a Podcaster’s Tips
A conversation with edtech expert Dr. Monica Burns
Dr. Monica Burns, an edtech and curriculum consultant and founder of Class Tech Tips, will be presenting numerous sessions and workshops at this month's Future on Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Miami.
Monica has been busy over the past year, delivering lots of informative content through her recently launched podcast. "In March of this past year, I launched the Easy EdTech Podcast, which has been a very fun venture. The episodes are under 20 minutes. It's usually just me sharing a few actionable ideas and then some tips to really put it into practice right away," she says about the digestible content.
Developing a podcast came from her passion as well as a connection to others in the field of education. Whether it was through her involvement as an Apple Distinguished Educator or participation at events and institutions, Monica often found herself being asked about when she was going to have her own platform. She explains, "It's funny because I've always thought about doing a podcast. Then I started having teachers at events say, 'Oh, I wish you had a podcast' or 'I wish I could listen to your blog post.' It fed its way into my development of what the podcast now looks like─some evergreen content; some updated blog posts; some things that may feel like blog posts even if they're in audio format."
Monica points to the importance of conferences in helping expand a network of people interested in sharing ideas. There are those "in-between moments" on the way to another session that can start a meaningful conversation. A conference like FETC that opens at the beginning of the year has an exciting newness to its atmosphere. She adds, "That's what I really like about conferences [like FETC]. Everyone is in that reset goal-setting mode personally and professionally. They have it on their radar that they're looking to try something new or that they're just super energized during a part of the school year that might not always feel that way if you're back at your home site."
When it comes to sessions, Monica is excited to take that beginning of the year "fresh start" energy and apply it to her presentation approach. "I'm really pumped to have a handful of sessions, including some workshops [and] shorter sessions where you have to get to the point quickly,” she says. “When I'm thinking about making something fresh and high energy, I try and pair [it with something] that grabs their attention [in the same way] it grabs the students' attention with best practice and the traditional things that we always love and know work. [I like] anchoring it in something that feels actionable, so someone can say 'Not only is this a great new thing but here's how I could use it within my to-do list, my curriculum map, and all the things I want to accomplish over the second half of the school year."
The session Virtual Reality in the Classroom (With or Without a Headset!) is one that is getting a deserved full time slot, which is exciting for Monica. In the past, it might have been folded into a broader discussion on technology, but now this is a standalone. She explains, "The idea of VR is kind of scary for a teacher who might not have a lot of tech background. It's an intimidating concept, and we automatically go into the headset and Oculus Rift mode. That's wonderful, but it's not the only way to incorporate this into their classroom.”
“I'm excited to have this session where I can shift away and say, 'Yes, you might use headsets with your older kids. We're not going to be using them with our younger students anyhow. Here's a whole bunch of free resources you can pull up on a Chromebook that students can look at and explore. Here's something you can pull up on an iPad, and it's mobile responsive.'"
Monica looks forward to expanded projects in 2020. She's partnering with ASCD once again in publishing a reference guide for using technology in the classroom while also placing more emphasis on the Easy EdTech Club membership site from 2019. "I'm hoping to open the doors to that in the first quarter of the year to get more folks access to resources for a little bit of a deeper dive," she says.
About Dr. Monica Burns
Dr. Monica Burns is a Curriculum and EdTech Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and Founder of ClassTechTips.com. Monica was part of her school’s leadership team and was a vocal advocate for bringing one-to-one technology into her classroom. As a classroom teacher, Monica used iPads to create an engaging, differentiated learning experience to meet the unique needs of her students. Realizing the power of digital tools in the classroom, Monica started ClassTechTips.com to provide a resource for educators.
Since starting ClassTechTips.com, Monica has presented to teachers, administrators, and tech-enthusiasts at numerous national and international conferences including SXSWedu, ISTE, FETC, and EduTECH. She is a webinar host for SimpleK12 and a regular contributor to Edutopia. Monica is the author of Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom (ASCD), #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scannable Formative Assessment with Technology (Corwin), Deeper Learning with QR Codes and Augmented Reality (Corwin), and co-author of 40 Ways to Inject Creativity into Your Classroom with Adobe Spark.
Monica visits schools across the country to work with PreK-20 teachers to make technology integration exciting and accessible. In addition to being named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013, Monica is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Hunter College and completed a Doctorate in Global Education Leadership at Lamar University in 2016.
Dr. Monica Burn's Sessions at FETC:
- OREDU | Future of Ed Tech Educator Track Orientation
- W036$ | 7 Start-to-Finish Adobe Spark Activities
- C011 | Reboot Reading Instruction With 10 Must-Try Tools
- C106 | From Backchannels to Bulletin Boards: 10 Formative Assessment Strategies
- C219 | Virtual Reality in the Classroom (With or Without a Headset!)
- C280 | Spark Community Engagement With School Stories
- W108$ | Conscientious Creativity: Where Creation and Copyright Intersect
- MEET03 | Meet the Author
The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)