Saturday, November 1, 2014

Meet Josh Stumpenhorst

Where are you from and what do you do?
I am from Oswego, IL and teach 6th graders to love reading, writing and history as an ELA and Social Science teacher. In addition, I am a basketball coach, track coach, athletic director and academic team leader. (Josh is also a former Illinois Teacher of the Year)

How are you connected to Beth?
I first connected with Beth via twitter a few years ago. We connected prior to an ISTE conference where she helped me get connected with other educators as I was a bit of a social media novice at that time. We have since worked together on other things including presenting together on a panel at ISTE.

How did you get involved in educational technology?
I see my involvement in educational technology as simply a natural extension of my role as a teacher. To me, technology is a series of tools and resources that allow me to do my job in a more effective manner. Early on in my career I sought out ways in which to use technology to engage my students in meaningful work beyond just use for the sake of use.

How has being a networked educator impacted your life?
Being a connected educator has changed my life in profound ways. I recently wrote about this for Corwin.

What is some advice you can give to teachers about how to start finding resources and building their own PLN.
This is a huge question and not a simple answer. To start the obvious first step is to get online and create accounts in these spaces. From there, reach out to other educators doing similar work to you and connect with them. I always suggest newbies use twitter and hashtags to find folks worth connecting with through that manner. For me, I started following the #SSchat on twitter and found lots of great Social Science teachers to connect with and learn from.

What is a tool that has captured your attention at the moment? What do you like about this tool?
The tool I have become quite fond of in recent years is KidBlog which allows my students to share content with a global audience. While this is not a new tool it has been new for me and I find it incredibly powerful as a way to create authentic audiences for students.

What is one piece of advice that you can give to educators who are just getting started with integrating technology into their classrooms?
The best advice I have is to stop and think before using any technology in your classroom. Is the technology going to allow you or your students to do something they can’t do without it? Will the use of technology improve the learning or simple be a distraction or a replacement for something already going on? The answers to those questions I find critically important to the way in which technology is used in schools in appropriate ways.
What are some things you hope to accomplish professionally in the next year or two?
Surviving common core and the new standardized assessments might be high on my list of accomplishments in the next year or two. :) Beyond that I hope to finish my first book with Corwin Press for teachers looking to start a revolution of ideas and practice within their classrooms. As always my goals are always to stay relevant and evolve my practice to best meet the individual needs of my students.

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