My name is Shelly Thornton and I am a special education teacher working with students at a school on the edge of the Navajo Reservation. We are lucky enough to have Smart boards in each of our classrooms, but haven’t received any training on how to use them. Thus began my journey to educate myself about that issue, and more, in the realm of educational technology. Unfortunately, we don’t receive tech training in my district unless we seek it out for ourselves. Frankly, I wasn’t paying much attention beyond the use of online programs to help differentiate learning for my students, and the never-ending search for funding for hardware that isn’t fifteen years old.
Another big impetus and eye-opener was beginning the quest for National Board certification. This process involves a lot of reflection on teaching practices and taking a deeper look at the needs of your students. Then I began searching for tools for teacher productivity, tools for my students to improve differentiation and engagement, better ways to use formative assessments, and possibly project-based learning. I have found so many products, websites, blogs, classes, and online communities with incredible information. Wow! I just didn’t realize how much is out there. I was so excited to see this Technology for Teachers – Jumpstart 2016 class. This is exactly what I needed. I am hoping that I will not only learn about specific products to improve the learning experience in my classroom, but to feel more knowledgeable and comfortable about implementing new digital tools. This blog is all about my journey to navigate the world of educational technology to improve the learning experiences of my special education students.