Teachers are Students Too | Interview w/ Cheska Lorena

Earlier this week blogger of the week and 3rd generation professional educator Cheska Lorena provided valuable insights on increasing teacher technology integration in the classroom. Below is an interview with @MissCheska including her advice for administrators and academic advisors on motivating and training teachers to incorporate technology in the classroom.


What motivates your passion about educational technology?

There are a lot of things that motivates my passion in educational technology, but I would have to say that the most encouraging would be seeing the light in my colleagues’ eyes when they overcome their misconceptions and fears of technology use and integration.  I am motivated when teachers feel empowered and in turn, create a dynamic chain-reaction of positive change and leadership.

What does your ideal classroom (with integrated technology) look like?

My ideal classroom with integrated technology would look like a differentiated inquiry and constructivist-based classroom where I and my students enjoy each other and enjoy teaching and learning together.

What advice do you have for administrators and academic advisors on motivating and training teachers to incorporate technology in the classroom?

It takes time. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Listen to the staff and hear what they have to say. It’s not that teachers don’t want to integrate technology; they do, but many are scared to take a risk and possibly fail. This is why it’s important to create an on-campus (and online) professional learning community. Teachers need a support network that encourages them in their explorative uses of technology.

It is also important to remember that teachers are students too. They have their own learner preferences and needs when it comes to learning new technology tools. Make the learning easy and fun! Go beyond the theory, focus on the curriculum (not the tools!), and give teachers multiple opportunities to apply, create, and share. Model, scaffold, and demonstrate how teachers can take the tools and run with them in their classrooms. Recognize their individual attempts and their classrooms’ achievements with technology. Make it part of the school culture to be excited about teacher and student technology use.

Do you have any favorite web 2.0 tools?

Right now, I am in love with Prezi! I like how flexible it is and it’s soo easy to use! I also like how there are literally so many ideas that one can use Prezi for! I introduced it to my peers a few weeks ago and I’m pleased to say that my professors and other school districts are starting to see them everywhere! Even one of my colleagues decided to use it for a presentation in my advanced instructional design class, and she used to be resistant to new technology. Needless to say, I was very proud and impressed!

What are a few of your favorite blogs and/or twitter users to follow?

I credit Larry Ferlazzo as the man who accidentally introduced me to Twitter. The technology specialist from the school in which I student-taught shared a link to his blog. When I was reading one of his posts, I clicked on his Twitter link and that was the start of a beautiful beginning! The four Twitters I soon followed after him were @web20classroom, @ShellTerrell, @mbteach, and @kylepace. They are amazing people and I learn so much from them every day!

I recommend the blogs of the Twitters I listed above, but I would also like to add @rmbyrne’s “Free Tech for Teachers” blog to the list. He does an excellent job of keeping us all up to date with the latest Web 2.0 tools, and I like that he includes applications for education with his recommendations.

3 words to describe education today?

Dynamic, unpredictable, and exciting.

-Cheska Lorena of Teaching Miss Cheska

Photo from Teaching Miss Cheska

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