Janeen Cohen Shapes Students’ Views of Technology
“Remember, the base of the learning pyramid is ownership.” –Janeen Cohen via Twitter
|STEM @ NNM with Janeen
|Near North Montessori
In Janeen Cohen’s classes at Near North Montessori (NNM) in Chicago, Illinois, students are interacting with robots, tinkering with code on iPads and flying drones! To Janeen, providing students with opportunities for hands-on learning is vital to shaping their perception of technology: “We nurture the idea that it’s the child who makes the choice to use the technology, that she’s trying to accomplish something and that this tech will help her fulfill her own goal.” As the Director of Educational Technology at NNM and educator for 25 years, Janeen also believes it’s crucial to foster students’ creativity to prepare them for an ever-changing world: “We want to give students access to creative ways of thinking. Our goal is to nurture the competency, perseverance and optimism necessary for them to succeed in their life objectives through creativity.” Paired with her deep knowledge of STEM subjects, Janeen’s teaching practices are truly empowering students at NNM for success, now and in the future!
Janeen’s updates of students’ STEM activities describe a variety of tools, platforms, and devices, thus demonstrating the kinds of opportunities students have to experiment with, and take ownership of, tech tools. In February 2019, for example, 5th graders created Tynker projects featuring famous African Americans to celebrate Black History Month. Other students have explored the Tynker Augmented Reality course and customized their own Ice Art projects! While watching videos of students creating and displaying their coding projects, you can see that they are clearly proud of their work–one of the benefits of involving student choice in the lesson-planning process. Through engaging with a variety of tools in these ways, students come to understand the diverse uses of technology.
As a society, we regularly encounter new technology and tools. With the hurried pace of innovation, enthusiasm for learning is a necessary part of anyone’s perspective toward technology. Janeen is a fantastic example to her students of someone who is constantly learning. She holds a BA in Mathematics and an MS in Science Education, and her formal education far from ended with those degrees: she’s a self-described MOOC enthusiast, having taken courses in android development and astrobiology. Additionally, she’s not afraid to learn alongside her students, as her tweet about completing her first Tynker tutorial demonstrates. We’re thrilled to have Janeen Cohen as a Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator! We’re sure that her diverse knowledge of STEM and technology, paired with her passion for creativity and teaching, will continue to help build her students’ technology skills and prepare them for the future.
Read our previous post about Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator Marcos Navas, a ‘teacherpreneur’ who’s making waves in coding education!