A few years ago, I had the pleasure to sit in a workshop session, and listen to a music educator talk about how he was infusing technology into not only his instruction, but also across the curriculum. The session left me with ideas how to utilize technology to connect with students and parents. In the few years since then, Jeff Bradbury has become one of the most prominent voices for integrating tech into education.
We are privileged to have Jeff join us for 5 Questions this week.
5 Questions with… Jeff Bradbury
- What do you most want your students to take with them from your classroom, school or district?
For the last 8 years, I had the privilege of being the orchestra director for a very amazing group of high school students. On the first day of school, I posted a quote on the board that became not only our motto, but the vision on which we lived by. “If You Think You Can Or Can’t… You’re Probably Right!” (Henry Ford) We started each freshman out by asking them what it meant to them and they had their own ideas. On the last day of the school year, I asked the senior class to stand up and address the group about what the phrase meant to them. It was always amazing how those two definitions changed in 4 years of working and growing up together. The Freshman understands that it means literally “choose your own destiny.” The senior not only understands it, but has lived it and those decisions they made over their four years has earned them an opportunity to attend college. I want each of my students to leave my classroom understanding that their future is in their hands and that they can be anything they want to be. As long as they put their mind to it… they can accomplish anything.
- What are the most rewarding and/or the most frustrating aspects of education?
The most rewarding part of education is watching this new wave of innovation hit the classroom. Over the last four years of doing TeacherCast, I have seen innovation happen in the form of personal devices, flipped classrooms, video broadcasting, STEM education, and now Makerspaces. The ability for teachers to connect through social media has created new and innovative lesson plans and the winners in all of this innovation are the students. It’s simply awesome to see what the future will hold for the class of 2022.
- What advice would you give to young teachers?
One of the activities I enjoy is working with preservice teachers and first year teachers. I enjoy helping them set up their websites, and navigate the first few weeks of work. My advice to anyone working with young teachers is …. LISTEN TO THEM. They come to their new schools with so many ideas. They come in to a new year with open eyes. They come in wanting to take over the world. I love listening to young teachers share all of the fun and exciting things they did as student teachers and how they want to bring those experiences into their new classrooms. It’s important that anyone speaking with a young teacher allow them to be excited about starting the year off. Several times, I have seen conversations where a young teacher shares goals and excitements, and a veteran teacher starts explaining why some of those ideas CAN’T be done in the district. You immediately see a shift in that fresh young teacher. My advice to young teachers is to always keep your eyes up… always have great, amazing fresh ideas… and keep your red hot spark alive throughout the entire year!
- What has influenced your career the most?
In November 2013 my wife and I welcomed 3 beautiful babies into the world. Known worldwide as the @EduTriplets, my children have had the biggest influence in both my public and private teaching lives. It was for them that I decided to create grander vision for TeacherCast.net. It was with their futures in mind that the decision was made for my family to relocate to a safer environment and for me to seek a new position. It is with their futures in mind that I continue to try and help teachers out worldwide as someone who is a fan of TeacherCast might also one day be standing in front of their classes one day.
- As an educator, what are you currently focused on?
This year I am excited to begin a new position as Coordinator of Technology Integration for Westwood Regional School District. It will be my privilege to introduce cutting edge technology to the more than 3000 students and teachers. As the year begins, I am focusing on a few key tools that I can have in my back pocket to introduce across the district such as Google Drive, Video Production, and Digital Citizenship.
Jeffrey Bradbury, author of Kidblog: An Introduction to Blogging With Your Students, is the creator of TeacherCast.net, TeacherCast University, and Educational Podcasting Today, is an ASCD Emerging Leader, Google Certified Teacher, Google Education Trainer, PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, speaker, writer, broadcaster, consultant and educational media specialist. He is currently the Coordinator for Technology Integration for the Westwood Regional School District in New Jersey. In 2012, Jeff was recognized as one of top 50 educators using social media at the first ever Bammy Awards and has been nominated twice in the category of Innovator of the Year. Jeff has Keynoted for the Pearson Authentic Learning Conference, EdTechNJ and most recently at Columbia Universities Teacher College.