NCCAT Seminar Adds New Chapter to Teacher’s Career
Steve Johnson, technology facilitator at J.N. Fries Middle School in Concord, and author of “Digital Tools for Teaching: 30 e-Tools for Collaborating, Creating and Publishing Across the Curriculum.”
CULLOWHEE (March 13, 2012)—From NCCAT seminar participant to published author, Steve Johnson could not have predicted where the professional development seminar at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching was going to take his career in education.
He attended a seminar titled “Is There a Children’s Book in You?” with one intention—to write a children’s book. The result of his attendance, however, expanded his career and touched teachers and classrooms across North Carolina and the nation.
“Before I went to NCCAT, I made a conscious decision not to tell anyone of my technology skills,” said Johnson, who taught kindergarten and second grade before accepting his current position as technology facilitator at J.N. Fries Middle School in Concord. “I wanted to downplay my technical side and focus on creating a children’s book.”
However, a few days into the seminar, the seminar presenter and author of “Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4–8,” Carol Baldwin, had some issues with her computer-generated presentation. Johnson fixed the problem, revealing his expertise.
From there, Baldwin and Johnson started talking about technology and creativity throughout the rest of the seminar. She was working on the second edition of her book; he suggested some ideas on how students could use technology to boost their writing skills. Baldwin asked Johnson to write some lesson plans that used technology to accompany chapters in her second edition.
Her publisher, Maupin House, not only agreed to Johnson’s additions for Baldwin’s book, but also asked Johnson to develop his own text for a new book. The result was “Digital Tools for Teaching: 30 e-Tools for Collaborating, Creating and Publishing Across the Curriculum.”
“It’s an easy-to-use, hands-on resource to get teachers started with technology in the classroom,” Johnson said.
“Digital Tools for Teaching” was published in October 2010. Since then, Johnson has been speaking and presenting about his book at education conferences—as well as continuing his work at J.N. Fries Middle School. “Teachers are hungry to know more about how to integrate technology into their lessons,” Johnson said. “I have had a lot of good response.”
According to Maupin House, Johnson’s book is their third best selling title. “If you don’t have a guy like me (a technology facilitator) at your school, then, as a teacher, this book can be really helpful,” Johnson said. Johnson reported that the publisher has contacted him about writing another technology book for teachers. He currently is working on a new topic.
As for that children’s book he came to NCCAT to write in 2008, “I did write it,” Johnson said. “But I haven’t published it yet. I’m considering producing it as an e-book and making it interactive for children—that way kids can create their own story, too.”
Increasing teacher effectiveness is fundamental to improving public education. NCCAT educates teachers and provides them with new knowledge, skills, teaching methods, best practices and information to take back to their classrooms. NCCAT conducts interdisciplinary, topic-specific seminars for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in the environmental and biological sciences, technology, mathematics, communication, leadership, and the arts and humanities. NCCAT’s instructional programming is designed to give teachers the support and resources they need to be highly effective and enhance student achievement. For more information about NCCAT’s instructional programs, visit www.nccat.org or call 828-293-5202.
Check out the companion site to Johnson’s “Digital Tools for Teaching” at http://teachertechnids.com. The site has short video tutorials that demonstrate how to get started using the tools featured in the book.