Hello, my name is Janelle Safford. I am from Winnsboro, a small, rural east Texas town. I am married and have two grown daughters and four furry friends that I pamper and spoil relentlessly.  I have been in education since 1992 where I began my career teaching 4th grade. I then followed my heart to teach Kindergarten for eighteen years.  After twenty three years in the classroom, I became the first "Instructional Technology Coordinator" of my district. I now serve as an innovative learning design specialist for Sulphur Springs ISD where I share my passion for education technology and the power it can have to promote and advance student learning. 

My Family

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My Job  

With a highly competitive job market that is likely to be the norm for years to come, students will need a broad range of technology-based skills in order to be prepared for the workforce. By providing current technology websites, tools, training and ideas, I hope to make curriculum technology integration a seamless process for teachers. A tech-rich classroom environment will help students acquire valuable skills to better position them for success in college and the employment market and will help prepare them with the 21st century skills necessary for their future. I also believe that when teachers begin to incorporate technology into their classroom, the variety to the learning experience and the improved student engagement will ultimately benefit educators and students alike by sparking curiosity and creativity.

My Goal

My goal is to be an asset to both students and teachers.  I hope to learn ways to bridge the ever growing gap between larger, wealthier school districts and small rural districts when it comes to preparing students for their future.  I am not just concerned with money (although that is a problem) but with equity of  learning experiences for students and professional development for teachers in these districts. 

My Beliefs

I believe technology is a tool that can transform the way students learn as well as the role of the classroom teacher. The internet now provides students with unlimited access to a wealth of information which allows them to take more responsibility for their own learning.  This fact redefines the role of the teacher from being the sole source of knowledge to an information facilitator and instructional designer. I believe that as an educator, I must embrace the idea of being a lifelong learner myself if I am going to be an example for teachers and students.  I love nothing more than to share tools, lessons, ideas and programs that can engage student learners and allow them to choose how they best learn and take ownership of their own learning. Technology allows students to accomplish tasks that were not possible even a few short years ago and our student’s need to be taught skills that will prepare them for college, careers and the 21st century workforce of the future. Therefore, my goal is to teach our students how to navigate these tools so they can be digitally literate and responsible.

My Impact

I hope to make a positive impact on the teachers and students that I am privileged to work with. I challenge myself to constantly bring new ideas and introduce teachers to tools and techniques that allow students to be creative, communicate, collaborate and experience deeper learning.

I hope to also be an agent of change and influence decision makers on subjects like:

  1. Professional development

  2. Personalized learning

  3. Less emphasis on grades and more emphasis on genuine, relevant learning

  4. Quality technology integration – SAMR, TIM, TPACK, ISTE standards and Technology Applications

My Passion

I believe that educators have a responsibility to encourage students and each other to continue learning and to learn from others. For this reason, I am continuously sharing how being a connected educator can bring new ideas and possibilities to the teaching profession. I started using Twitter as a learning platform a few years ago and I want to shout to the rooftops how much I have learned and how other people’s ideas have shaped my thinking on many topics.

“Personalized learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner.” (What is Personalized Learning, Jan.2017) Teachers use strategies that are intended to address learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students. Although personalized learning has been a educational concept for years, technology has only recently made it practical for teachers in the classroom. I am on a mission to try to demonstrate how using technology can enable a more personalized learning environment for the students in my district.

I hope to also increase teacher’s awareness of the TEA Technology Applications TEKS and theISTE standards for students. I think for many years school districts did not have the infrastructure or devices to even begin to be able to incorporate state and national technology standards in their lessons. Over the last several years government Erate funding and affordable devices like chromebooks have made it possible for even small rural schools incorporate technology into the curriculum. However, teachers got so used to ignoring the tech TEKS that when the devices came along they either didn’t understand or were unsure how to incorporate them into student learning. My challenge is to educate and demonstrate how teachers can seamlessly weave technology into lessons with becoming overwhelmed and frustrated.

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References

Tech, O. O. (2017, January 18). What is Personalized Learning? – Personalizing the Learning Experience: Insights from Future Ready Schools – Medium. Retrieved September 24, 2017, from https://medium.com/personalizing-the-learning-experience-insights/what-is-personalized-learning-bc874799b6f(n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://tea.texas.gov/Academics/Curriculum_Standards/TEKS_Texas_Essential_Knowledge_and_Skills_(TEKS)_Review/Technology_Applications_TEKS/

ISTE Standards FORSTUDENTS. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students