Beth Sharp, Computer Science teacher
The Discovery School, Dickson, Tennessee
“I became our school’s first Computer Science Teacher when I was presented with the opportunity around 10 years ago. I am not a conventional teacher because my degree is in Web Design and Authoring which is such a win for my position. I took courses coding, HTML & CSS, and many others that directly pertain to what I teach. I research new trends in the technology and teaching fields and pass them on to my students and colleagues. I am part of a wonderful team of Technology educators in my district who model personal growth to their students.
Whether it is a new programming language or national trends like coding, my students get information in snippets so they don’t realize that I am trying to influence their future careers. It sounds funny trying to influence elementary-aged students’ careers but I want to plant the seed at this early age that technology isn’t scary or impossible to learn and you don’t have to remain a consumer, you can become a creator!
Working with children makes me re-examine what I know, how I learned it, and how to break it down into sequential steps to teach it. As adults, we tend to take for granted what we know and never think about how we learned it and if it is even pertinent anymore. Information changes at a dizzying speed and needs to be updated quite rapidly. Methods change, new programming languages are introduced, concepts become outdated, and for these reasons I need to stay relevant with the times.
It’s important to me that my students develop intrinsic curiosity. I try to excite my students to ask questions, light the fire that fuels the desire to know, satisfy curiosity with knowledge, never give up and persevere until your questions are answered. No one will ever know everything but you can learn about things that will give you personal satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment.”
What is one piece of advice you have for teachers who are just now introducing educational technology into their classroom?
“Teachers who are trying to introduce technology into their classrooms should lose the idea that they know more about technology than their students. Who spends more time on digital devices? A teacher/parent or a 10-year-old? If you relinquish that control you become a partner in learning with your students. You can teach students technical terms and structure and they can inspire you to enjoy learning again.”