How an Educator Leverages Diverse Experiences to Motivate Learners
Discussing technology and education with educator, attorney, consultant and author Rachelle Dene Poth
Rachelle Dene Poth is an educator, attorney, consultant, and author who is concentrated on making a difference throughout the education space. Poth, who recently received the Making IT Happen Award from ISTE and the Presidential Gold Award for volunteer service, will be a featured speaker at the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC 2020), this coming January in Miami.
Poth has taken her diverse array of professional experiences into the classroom to motivate 8th grade students to engage in their learning, even when it takes them a little time to discover the relevance. In terms of motivation, she explains, "I ask 8th graders to be receptive to ideas. It's not just 'I want you just to do this because I say you have to do this.' It's, 'I want you to do this as a start to see what other interests stir in you.'"
While some students tend to avoid subjects outside their interests, claiming they may already know what they want to do when they grow up, Poth is quick to remind them of the endless possibilities that exist in life. "It's about having options and opportunities. [Experience] a lot of ideas that you can process over time because you never know when something is going to come in handy for you. It might be useful later on in life. You just don't know. So take advantage of those opportunities now. If you try something and you don't like it, that's fine. At least you tried. If you do something that didn't go that well, there's still learning in that."
Whether it's teaching or writing for publications like Getting Smart and Defined STEM, Poth is interested in the evolution and modernization of learning. The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) became particularly interesting after some content she heard at last year's FETC conference. Her learning carried over to examining how it could be used in the classroom environment. "In my eighth grade course, I teach a lot about AI. I'm able to experience it with them as they're learning. AI can step in when you are doing some different things in your classroom if you want to find resources that students need [exactly] at the time they need them. That's where it's starting to have a benefit."
Poth is excited about the future of augmented reality and AI and has spent time researching and preparing for its use in education and beyond. As she describes, "It can benefit not just education, but the future of work. We need to do to get our students ready for either of those."
About Rachelle Dene Poth
Rachelle Dene Poth is a Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology Teacher at Riverview Junior-Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. She is an attorney and earned a Juris Doctor Degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. She is a Consultant and the founder of THRIVEinEDU, LLC.
She serves as President of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, and has received the Making IT Happen Award from ISTE and the Presidential Gold Award for volunteer service to education.
Poth was selected as the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology, the PA affiliate of ISTE) and by the NSBA as one of the "20 to watch" educators.She is the author of In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking, Unconventional, and The Future Is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead. She also blogs for Getting Smart and DefinedSTEM.
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The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at https://www.fetc.org/register
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- Getting Smart - Artificial Intelligence: Preparing Students for the Future with AI
- Defined STEM - What skills will students need?