Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Meet Josh Allen

Josh Allen - @j_allen
Dad's in Ed Podcast 

Where are you from and what do you do? 
Lewis Central Community Schools, Technology Integration Specialist

How are you connected to Beth?
I'm Not sure how we first got connected, but I know we met in person for the first time in Kearney. As a member of the NETA Board, I’ve relied on Beth for ideas to get the western part of Nebraska more involved.
How did you get involved in educational technology? 
During my first year in UNO’s CADRE program (2002), we were taking a classroom behavior course and a technology course at the same time. One of the people in my group for the behavior course got the idea to make a video that would meet the requirements for both courses. I had never seen iMovie before, but was amazed at how easily my classmates were creating our movie! From there, both with the philosophy and the tools, I was hooked.

How has being a networked educator impacted your life? 
I always tell people I’m too geeky for the curriculum department and not smart enough to be in a technology department. Being networked on places like Twitter (my main professional social network) allow me to pick the brains of anyone in the world and learn from their experiences. I have developed a pretty good idea of who knows what, and is willing to share. Amanda Dykes, a great friend and educator who I actually met through (the failed) Google Wave, says that “Twitter is like sitting next to the smart kids in class.” That’s so true!

What is some advice you can give to teachers about how to start finding resources and building their own PLN. 
What has helped me is utilizing hashtags, especially on Twitter. Whatever it is that you are needing to know more about, there is likely a hashtag associated with it. From there, I’ve been able to find people and resources I never would have found if not for Twitter.

What is a tool that has captured your attention at the moment? What do you like about this tool? 
Hands down, creating my own Flipboard Magazines. I really think, for teachers who want/need to bring in current topics and/or events into their classroom, there is no easier tool right now. They are so simple to create and update from and for ALL devices. I had a Family & Consumer Science teacher talk about using it for both recipes and fashion. I’ve had an environmental science teacher use it for news articles to keep her kids engaged. If your school is moving to a specific grading or behavior system, you could use it as a place to store articles to share with others later. You can also invite other people to contribute to your magazine. If you know of others inside or outside of your district who teach subjects similar to yours, you could all be collaborating to create a custom magazine that students can access on any device. I’ve been using it to grab resources for Google Apps, blended learning, and iPads, all things I need to know more about. You can find more information on how I use it and how to create your own here:

What is one piece of advice that you can give to educators who are just getting started with integrating technology into their classrooms? 
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for an extra set of hands. No one knows everything, nor should they be expected to. I wish I would’ve done a better job as a young teacher asking for help from others. It would’ve saved me a lot of time and energy.

What are some things you hope to accomplish professionally in the next year or two? 
I’m entering a new district this fall. They use Google and my previous one did not. So I’ve got a lot of Google Kool-Aid to drink up, as a good friend would say.

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