Episode 57 – Ari Flewelling

57 - Ari Flewelling

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ARI FLEWELLING is a staff development specialist at Riverside Unified School District in Riverside, California. A former high school English teacher, Ari holds a Master’s degree in Education Technology and is a Google Certified Trainer and Innovator. She can often be found sharing her knowledge at EdTechTeam events.

Ari’s Twitter profile says “Cool on the internet. Even cooler IRL,” which should tell you that Ari is a person who enjoys engagement and is just a fun person to be around!

Follow Ari online here:

In our conversation, Ari describes the time in her career when she found herself in a work environment that was “less than collaborative.” It was during this time that she really started to build her professional learning network on Twitter and elsewhere, using these platforms to reconnect with former colleagues and building relationships with new ones. To educators looking to integrate more technology in their classrooms, Ari offers this sage word of caution: always consider context and content. How does this piece of technology help move my students toward the learning objective? Ari also shares her professional goal for this year, explains what ignites her passion about education today, lets us in on some of her passions outside of education, and offers some great picks on Twitter, YouTube, and more.

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:

  • 1:10 – Ari’s work as a technology integration specialist allows her to focus on empowering student creation and creativity. Coding, writing, video production, collaboration, and sharing: these are the rich kinds of learning experiences that technology can provide students. She currently supports 42 school sites ranging from preschool through Adult Education. She enjoys the challenge of finding the perfect solution for the right need or the right learner.
  • 2:01 – Early in her career, Ari found herself in a difficult work environment with colleagues who were “less than collaborative.” It was during this time that she really started to build her professional learning network on Twitter and other platforms, reconnecting with former colleagues and building relationships with new ones. Where she missed professional connections and collaboration physically, she was able to fill in those gaps digitally.
  • 3:35 – To educators looking to integrate more technology in their classrooms, Ari offers this sage word of caution: always consider context and content. How does this piece of technology help move my students toward the learning objective?
  • 5:06 – Students excite Ari so much! Seeing students create apps, websites, YouTube series, creative memes, and contributing to their communities in real and authentic ways is amazing and fuels Ari’s passion for education.
  • 6:37 – In terms of a professional goal for this school year, Air wants to take stock of all the things she’s doing, figuring out where she’s getting the most value, where she’s being the most successful, and deciding where she’s not going to invest as much anymore. As educators and creatives, we often take on more than is really sustainable. Sometimes we need to simplify our focus in order to make sure the work we’re invested in offers the most value, and we’re taking care of ourselves well.
  • 9:02 – Ari enjoys playing games of any kind, particularly board and video games that involve strategic decision making and well-crafted narratives. She’s looking forward to designing a character in Red Dead Redemption 2, a game with stunning graphics that is both a prequel and a sequel.
  • 12:05 – For Ari, working out is an unplugged activity, so she has no access to the internet. Exercise is a great opportunity to take time away from her work and listen to her body’s needs.
  • 12:53 – On Twitter, Ari recommends following @AnnKozma723. She credits Ann for helping her through a difficult time and describes her as a constant source of inspiration.
  • 13:48 – When it comes to her favorite edtech tools, Ari comes back to the basic power of GSuite – Google’s suite of cloud-based apps. Follow @GSuite on Twitter!
  • 16:56 – Ari’s currently reading American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera, and she’s pretty sure this book will stand as one of her all-time faves. Follow the author on Twitter @AmericaFerrera.
  • 18:56 – Ari throws us two great podcast recommendations. The first is It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders and the second is By the Book. Follow these podcasts on Twitter @ByTheBookPC and @NPRItsBeenAMin.
  • 20:45 – Over on YouTube, Ari has a few favorite channels: TED-Ed, Pear Deck, EdTech Team, and a fun one – Good Mythical Morning.
  • 22:46 – When she doesn’t have any energy left for workshop creation, book writing, or gaming, Ari’s watching The Great British Bake Off, Hilda, and Patriot Act.
  • 23:46 – We sign off on the interview, and Ari tells us the best places to find her online. Search for EdTech Ari on any platform, and chances are you’ll find her! See above for more details and links.

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Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 23: Danielle Peters

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23 - Danielle Peters

Danielle Peters is an elementary teacher at Westerman Elementary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. Recently completing her Master’s in Ed. Tech., Danielle is passionate about helping kids learn, create, and innovate using technology.

In our conversation, Danielle talks about how team teaching allows her to better meet the social-emotional needs of her learners and grow from her colleague’s perspectives each day. She describes how her third graders are using green screens and stop motion to make stories come alive, and explains how she combines her loves of book reading and photography to produce beautiful book reviews. Finally, Danielle gives us some great recommendations for books to read, Twitter accounts to follow, a YouTube channel to subscribe to, and more.

You’ll find more of Danielle’s content on these great platforms:

In this episode, Danielle discusses …

  • 0:56 – how she team teaches 42 3rd graders
  • 2:58 – how team teaching helps her meet the social-emotional needs of her learners
  • 5:07 – what lights her passion for education: the amazing possibilities for learning enabled by new technologies in the classroom
  • 7:12 – a personal passion outside of the classroom: book reviews and photography
  • 9:25 – the importance of building a strong network of educators, and the role of critical friends
  • 11:52 – educators to follow on Twitter: Karen Fadum (@MrsFadum) and Curtis Wiebe (@DivisionW)
  • 12:36 – what her students are currently creating: stop motion videos
  • 13:47 – a book recommendation: Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student (by John Spencer and A J Juliani)
  • 14:19 – podcasts to check out: Serial (a crime series) and TED Talks
  • 14:51 – a great YouTube resource for the English classroom: Flocabulary
  • 15:44 – what she’s watching on Netflix: Evil Genius and Black Mirror
  • 16:23 – the best ways to follow her (see links above this section)

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 22: Diana Williams

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22 - Diana Williams

Diana Williams is an elementary teacher at Bayridge Elementary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. She is also a speaker, a consultant for her school district, a student of PBL, award winner, and constant innovator.

In our conversation, Diana speaks candidly about the challenges teachers face during labor disruptions and shares some frank advice for up-and-coming teachers. She talks about some of the initiatives that really excite her about education today, describes some key habits that contribute to her success, and offers some awesome recommendations regarding books to read, Twitter personalities to follow, YouTube channels to subscribe to, and more.

Follow Diana on Twitter @TeacherDiana1 and on her blog at teacherdiana.com.

In this episode, Diana discusses …

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

LISTEN to this episode on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE for more episodes!

Episode 14: Antonio Vendramin

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14 - Antonio VendraminIn this episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast we speak with Antonio Vendramin. Antonio is the District Principal of Communicating Student Learning in the Surrey School District of BC, Canada.

In this conversation, Antonio discusses the exciting opportunities made possible by the recent shift toward a competency-based curriculum in British Columbia. He describes the power of good digital storytelling, and explains how the habit of running has transformed his mental and physical health in recent years. He also shares a number of great recommendations for books to read, edtech tools to consider using in the classroom, hashtags to follow on Twitter, and more.

Some highlights and takeaways from this interview:

  • Whatever your passion is, spend a lot of time living there because that passion will rub off on your students.
  • The most successful learners are the ones who know how to learn.
  • At the end of the day our job is not to teach curricular content. Our job is to teach children and build the competencies that we know they will need today and in the future.
  • Transformative uses of technology do not include using technology to replicate things that could be done without technology. Transformative technology creates unique learning experiences that could not happen without technology.

Follow Antonio on Twitter @Vendram1n and visit his blog at https://abvendramin.com/.

In this episode, Antonio discusses …

  • 1:07 – his current context in education
  • 2:50 – a challenging year he experienced early in his teaching career
  • 6:38 – why he’s excited about the new BC curriculum
  • 9:14 – an area of passion and learning: digital storytelling
  • 11:14 – a personal habit that contributes to his success: running
  • 13:52 – hashtags he recommends following on Twitter (#SD36 and #SD36Learn)
  • 16:08 – edtech tools to consider using in your teaching practice (Skype or other video conferencing applications)
  • 18:40 – book recommendations: The Invisible Classroom by Kirke Olson, Mindset by Carol Dweck, and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • 21:05 – a podcast recommendation: Radiolab
  • 22:05 – a YouTube channel recommendation: Poke My Heart
  • 23:22 – what he’s currently watching on Netflix: Riverdale, Peaky Blinders
  • 25:04 – the best ways to follow him online: @Vendram1n and https://abvendramin.com/.

Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 10: Adi Aharon

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10 - Adi Aharon2

In our tenth episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast, we chat with Adi Aharon, technology integration specialist at the top-rated Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

In this interview, Adi discusses the challenge of working with everybody but nobody at the same time and affirms the value of building a strong professional learning network. She fills us in on the mission and vision behind her latest project, The Emotive Web, a resource for parents, educators, and learners of all ages seeking to manage technology in healthy and reflective ways. Adi is definitely an authentic lifelong learner and gives us some solid recommendations for books to read, thought leaders to follow, podcasts to listen to, and more.

Follow Adi on Twitter @_adi and check out the great resources she offers at EmotiveWeb.ca and PlayCreateInnovate.com.

In this episode, Adi discusses …

Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

LISTEN to this episode on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE for more episodes!