In this edition of the Roundtable, host Tim Cavey connects with educators who are passionate about improving the shape of professional learning: Mark Ryan, Vince Bustamante, Min Suh, Kate Stevens, and Jeffery Frieden. We discuss best practices for most powerful professional learning, asynchronous tools, how to capture in-house expertise, gamification, and more.
Select any of the timestamps listed below to jump to specific portions of the discussion. ⬇️
Questions and Timestamps from This Conversation
0:26 – Meeting the panel: who are you and what is your CURRENT CONTEXT in education?
2:11 – What was one feature of some of the BEST professional development that you’ve experienced?
7:01 – “This meeting could have been an email.” What are some ASYNCHRONOUS tools and strategies that might make professional learning more efficient and valuable?
14:41 – How can asynchronous tools also redefine FACULTY MEETING TIMES in order to do less administrivia and more professional learning?
23:31 – Does GAMIFICATION belong in professional development? Can points, badges, or competitions improve engagement, motivation, or learning for professionals?
33:57 – How can schools and districts to a better job of leveraging IN-HOUSE expertise and resources? What can this look like?
50:31 – What is one PROJECT that you’re working on right now?
55:15 – What are the best ways to CONNECT and continue to learn with you?
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CHANEL JOHNSON is a STEMinist, ASCD Emerging Leader, published author, K-12 Math and Science Program Specialist, instructional tech coach, and keynote presenter based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pushing Back on Imposter Syndrome
Chanel was only 30 years old when she was hired as an instructional coach, and her age allowed feelings of imposter syndrome to creep in. It was her job to support educators across multiple campuses, and soon she could hear the doubts: why am I here? Do I really belong here?
One day, her supervisor put it to her directly: “If you didn’t belong here, you wouldn’t be here. You have to trust the knowledge that you have and believe that who you are is what brought you this far.” Chanel says she continues to remind herself of that helpful message whenever doubts and fears about her value start to reappear.
Chanel’s #GirlDad: A STEM Legacy
Chanel credits a lot of her love for STEM to her dad, an amazing father who enjoyed showing his daughter how science and STEM affected the world around them. He was a fan of sci-fi movies as well, an affection that Chanel shares today.
Chanel started her education journey with math and science programs, and she’s never looked back. STEM studies continue to thrill her because it’s a field that’s constantly changing, and it’s open to absolutely everyone.
Chanel’s brand is built around ‘STEMtastic‘ because she sees connections between STEM and everything she does, and she’s passionate about sending the message to underrepresented communities (including Black and Latina women) that they belong in STEM work. She’s quick to point out that there’s a lot more work to be done in this area.
Chanel is an ambassador for Flipgrid and she is always happy to boost this powerful platform. It amplifies some of the quietest voices in our classrooms, and it connects educators around the world. “I can’t stop talking about it,” she laughs.
One of her recent applications with Flipgrid was Character Book Day, which allowed her to dress up as a character, read a book to a group of students, and then share that same video with other audiences. Chanel is also excited about the possibilities that Flipgrid’s AR features afford educators: find Flipgrid QR codes on papers or posters and watch linked videos appear directly on your screen. These are powerful opportunities for living representations of learning.
Chanel’s Professional Learning
“My passion will always be instruction,” Chanel says. Her core passion is learning about new approaches and strategies that support student learning and achievement. Her PLN, particularly on Twitter, has been a phenomenal source of inspiration and learning when it comes to best practices in science and computer science education.
Chanel recently completed a 2-day training for ISTE certification, and she is so grateful for the growth she experienced during that event. She spent a lot of time focusing on the ISTE standards from the perspective of students, and it helped her think through the ways that we frame learning targets and structure activities for students.
A Personal Passion: Singing
“Everything for me is about learning in some form or fashion,” Chanel says. One activity that she’s enjoyed recently is plugging into her local church choir. It’s been a joy to build her singing abilities and share those gifts with others, and it’s really increased her love of music.
Chanel credits her husband for sometimes pulling her plug and saying “Nope, let’s go.” Sometimes we need that guidance to take a break, especially if we have a strong drive for learning, growth, and productivity.
She also gains a lot of value from Microsoft’s To-Do app, which she uses to sync her task list across all devices. She loves the sound it makes when she completes another task, and she doesn’t hesitate to include “take a break” in her list as well.
Voices and Resources That Inspire Chanel’s Practice
Over on Twitter, Chanel recommends giving Christian Padgett @SoontobeEdD a follow. “He’s a young powerhouse in the education field – a master in Math instruction and instruction technology,” she says. Chanel also shouts out Dr. Natalie Henderson @DrNHenderson, someone she credits for teaching her to take care of herself and always explore her outer limits.
One education technology app that Chanel is excited about is called Legends of Learning, a free platform that gamifies math and science for young students. Follow Legends of Learning on Twitter @LegendLearning.
Chanel’s book suggestion is Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. This book provides valuable insights on the psychology of individual and organizational change.
When she’s just looking for a fresh take on the news or some juicy gossip, Chanel tunes in to The Breakfast Club podcast, but when she’s looking for something of more substance in the world of education, she listens to The Leading Equity podcast with host Sheldon Eakins. Follow Sheldon on Twitter @SheldonEakins.
Chanel doesn’t watch a ton of content on Netflix, but one show that she’s started to watch on the advice of friends is You. It’s got just the right amount of dark and intriguing to keep things interesting.
We wrap up this fun conversation and Chanel gives us the best ways to connect with her work. See below for details!
NICHOLAS AMARAL is the district staff development coordinator at the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District in Bergen County, NJ. Nick’s passion is education technology: helping teachers help students create and innovate in their classrooms.
In our conversation, Nick shares about a point early in his teaching career when he faced deep discouragement and a lack of motivation. Rather than turn in the towel, he doubled down, reinvented his practice, and engaged his learners like never before. Today, Nick gets excited about blended, personalized, and mastery learning, and he describes the personal habit that energizes him outside of education. Don’t miss his recommendations in books, Twitter, edtech tools, and more!