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Kindergarten and Up: An Advocate for Tech-Supported Learning at All Levels

A discussion with Chief Technology Officer Marlo Gaddis

Part one in a two-part series

Marlo Gaddis, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the Wake County Public School System in North Carolina, will be presenting four sessions and participate in a panel discussion at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in January 2020 in Miami.

She has served in a variety of roles for NC Districts over the years, ranging from lead teaching to positions designed to foster 21st century learning. Gaddis has found her extensive teaching background to be of great benefit as she’s taken on her present role as CTO.

"Coming from an education background, I understand more [of] the pressures that teachers are under; the work that kids are trying to do; and the social and emotional wellness of what's happening in school buildings," she explains. "I'm always trying to think about it through the lens of my job. It's not to provide technology. My job is to provide the right processes, services, and resources so that kids can succeed. That's been my mission since I became a kindergarten teacher."

Gaddis remains an advocate for kinder learning, having promoted the #kinderscan movement that spread not only throughout North Carolina, but nationally as well. The movement helped spur the idea that learning using technology has a place even in the kindergarten years. 

"Quite often, we hear that kindergartners can't do this or kindergartners can't do that. Ultimately, kindergartners can do anything that we teach them. We have to be very explicit about how we teach it," she says. "When you're teaching your child, as a parent, the first time you take them to a road, and you have to cross a street, you don't just say, 'Okay, go have fun. Learn how to cross the street.' Technology is the same way. You walk with them to the road. You hold their hand. You model it. You do it with them for a while. And then, you're eventually able to let them make those first steps going forward."

According to Gaddis, the same holds true for advocating all ages and students. But above all else, it remains essential to be straightforward throughout the teaching process. As she explains, "It's our responsibility as educators to make sure we're not using tech for tech's sake. [To make sure] that we are teaching skills that will matter later on and that we're not just plugging and playing kids into products that may or may not have any influence on their achievement long term."

About Marlo Gaddis

Marlo Gaddis is the Chief Technology Officer for the Wake County Public School System. She served three other NC Districts of various sizes in the past as 21st Century Learning Coordinator, Lead Teacher for Technology (K-5) and Media (K-12); Lead Teacher for Math, Science, Social Studies and Technology (K-5); district and school Technology Facilitator; and Kindergarten and First Grade teacher.

Marlo serves on K12 Education Advisory Boards for the RTM K-12 Congress, Check the Privacy, Lenovo and Microsoft. She is on the Board of Directors for CoSN (Consortium of School Networking) and serves on the Executive Board as Secretary. She is a founding member of the NC CoSN (Consortium of School Networking) chapter and a CoSN CETL (Certified Educational Technology Leader).

Marlo Gaddis will be presenting at the following sessions:

  1. Developing a Culture of Learning and Teaching in IT
  2. Transformational Leadership
  3. Make IT Personal – Tools and Tricks for Leaders
  4. Digital Equity

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)

FETC 2020 40th Anniversary

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