For Educator Jennie Magiera, Teaching is a Creative Art
Of 550,000 open STEM computing jobs in the United States, Illinois holds about 20,000 – nearly 4X the state average! One of Illinois’s most prominent STEM proponents and veteran educators, Jennie Magiera is the new Chief Program Officer for EdTechTeam (ETT is a leading worldwide professional development organization) and the author of Courageous Edventures. Jennie has been on her own mission, backed by ETT, to fill all those STEM jobs in Illinois and beyond by helping teachers and students around the world access digital tools like Google Apps. Jennie is hosting this week’s #TynkerChat, so we took some time to catch up with her and learn about what she does! Here’s a little more about Jennie:
Jennie Magiera, author of Courageous Edventures, is the Chief Program Officer for EdTechTeam focusing on diversity and equity in education. A White House Champion for Change, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google for Education Certified Innovator and TEDx Speaker, Jennie works to redefine teaching and learning through innovative new practices. Jennie is also passionate about redefining professional learning, having served on the Technical Working Group for the US Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan and co-founding PLAYDATE and other conference concepts. You can follow Jennie at @MsMagiera and learn more about her at bit.ly/edventuresbook.
Jennie shared her thoughts on what motivates and inspires her:
1. Recently on Facebook, you’ve been sharing a lot in the Facebook Education Group. How important have social tools been for you as an educator, and how important would you say they are for educators in general?
Social tools are powerful for connecting with educators around the globe and staying in touch with existing friends and colleagues. From staying connected to family on the other side of the world to gaining new perspectives on education, I try and use as many networks as possible to keep myself in touch with the topics and people I care about.
2. California has recently announced that driverless cars (without humans behind the wheel) will be legal next year. How does this impact the way we prepare students going forward?
Driverless cars are an example of how modern human ingenuity is engineering automated solutions for manual processes. Aside from the argument that tomorrow’s jobs will be different than today’s, it can inspire our students that anything is possible – and they can become the next engineer to invent the next incredible innovation.
3. Your latest book, Couragous Edventures, is clearly inspiring teachers to take chances and try new things in the classroom. What’s your advice for teachers that fear things like Computer Science or coding?
It’s commonly stated that change can be scary. I’ve found this to be true myself. In schools, change is especially fearsome. After all, there is the belief that change is a gamble – will it work out or will it fall flat? And if the change doesn’t work, will our children suffer? However, progress requires risk – and as the world continues to evolve, so must the way we educate our students. To teachers who are fearful of computer science or coding, I don’t begrudge you that fear; however, I say embrace it. For example – when I was younger, I was terrified of math. I felt I wasn’t good at it and I avoided it at all costs. As a teacher, I decided to face that fear by getting my Master’s degree in teaching mathematics. Taking that leap of faith and leaning into my fear made me realize that not only am I perfectly capable of doing mathematics – but that it was a subject I truly enjoyed. So if you are nervous to dig into computer science, consider enrolling in a coding course or attending an EdCamp to learn more about programs to share with your students.
4. Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me. I could name my own 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Buckman, who taught me that teachers can be wizards and create magic in their classrooms. I could name my mother who overcame many obstacles to grow into a successful and awesome woman. But I have to say currently I am most inspired by fellow educators I see on Twitter – who are taking risks in their classrooms on behalf of their students and sharing their journeys out loud. I love seeing what they do and I love also being inspired by their students work.
5. Favorite new thing? Education or otherwise?
Walking reflections. I recently went to a fellowship seminar where we would walk and reflect. The act of moving, getting outside, and talking with someone about a difficult idea seems so simple, but it was really powerful for me. It was great to have to put screens down, breathe some fresh air, and allow our physical movement to push our thinking. I try to walk and talk whenever possible now.
Thanks again, Jennie! We’ll look for you on Twitter at @MsMagiera!
Join Jennie as she moderates #Tynkerchat for us this Monday.