Harnessing Technology to Inspire and Motivate StudentsJuly 29, 2022
A Story of Teacher & Student Success
Kodiak Island Borough School District
Preparing Students for Their Future
For many teachers, students are like a mirror to the past, and they can see their younger selves in them. Sometimes they can see similar motivations, interests, and even struggles. Gazing into that mirror can positively and profoundly affect teaching style, purpose, and ability to help students discover their passion. One teacher has seen his reflection in many of the students he has worked with, and with the help of eDynamic Learning’s impactful curriculum, he has been able to offer unique career and technical education (CTE) courses that have helped his students uncover and foster personal passions.
Anthony White is an educator in the Kodiak Island Borough School District located in Kodiak, Alaska and has been a teacher for nine years. Over that period, he has held many roles from an educational technologist, to a virtual teacher, to a brick-and-mortar classroom teacher and each has positively impacted his perspective and effectiveness as an educator. A self-proclaimed life-long learner who has always had an affinity for technology and for helping others flex their creativity, Anthony strives to help his students discover the fun of learning and to develop an appreciation for it through four basic commitments:
- academic excellence;
- the arts;
- harnessing and learning the potential of technology;
- the development of social, cultural, and personal awareness.
At Kodiak, Anthony has had the opportunity to facilitate three eDynamic Learning courses with topics that are near and dear to his heart: Web Development, Game Design, and the Workplace Readiness and Internship course. Anthony has a passion for technology and for helping students pave a pathway to their future, and eDynamic Learning courses are helping him and his students find success.
Reflections and Opportunities
Anthony has seen reflections of himself amongst the many students he has worked with throughout his career. Anthony relates to students who excel in a traditional academic environment and students who thrive in non-traditional learning environments. Experience through hands-on experiences is crucial to providing authentic learning experiences for all students. Because he knows what it’s like to be a student at both ends of the spectrum, Anthony has an inherent ability to reach those students who are self-motivated, students who are less engaged in their education, and all students in-between. Anthony believes that all of his students are capable of success, and it can be a matter of just finding the right motivation or the right course to get student buy-in.
“It’s a matter of leveraging technology to
provide engaging and powerful learning experiences and content, as well as resources and assessments that measure student achievement in more complete, authentic, and meaningful ways.”
With the help of eDynamic Learning, Anthony is living up to his beliefs, and is also facilitating opportunities that might not have otherwise existed.
A few years ago, Anthony was teaching at a small school in Marcola, Oregon and was pulling double duty as a teacher both in a traditional classroom and the virtual learning program. One student Anthony worked with was very driven, and she loved animals. Anthony knew how important it is to keep students engaged in things they are truly passionate about, and he wished he had the opportunity as a student to more heavily pursue some of the topics that were most important to him during his formidable years. Because their school was very small, it didn’t offer nontraditional courses and programs, like a veterinary curriculum, but Anthony had a solution up his sleeve. Because eDynamic Learning’s curriculum is web-based, Anthony was able to offer eDynamic Learning’s Veterinary Science: The Care of Animals- something otherwise unavailable to the student- and provided an opportunity for this student to build momentum for her future. She was able to delve into the world of veterinary sciences, learn about her future career, participate in eDynamic Learning’s hands-on labs and activities, and walk away with valuable insights. At the completion of the course, the student was asked to leave feedback, and she did:
“I’m so grateful that this happened and that this was available and that I could go through it. I learned a lot from the process. It was really fantastic.”
Reflections and Preparation
Many teachers often try to prepare students for the next level, whether that be college or career, but sometimes, the “little things” can be left out. Soft skills and professional representations are not something that are addressed in all courses, but through eDynamic Learning’s Workplace Readiness and Internship course, Anthony is able to help students develop important soft skills, interpersonal skills and prepare important job components. In addition to exploring essential topics like workplace etiquette and workplace communication, Anthony is able to introduce other workplace topics that are often left untouched in other courses.
“There are times where students have to think through scenarios, conflict resolution, and things like that, and students dig deep! They really think about how they would approach the situation, and a lot of the responses from the students are thoughtful and genuine. I think the course really helped them to think outside the box and put themselves in a situation where they would have to apply those skills.”
Anthony also leverages the course to work with students on other important job-related elements like how to write a resume and cover letter. When students leave Anthony’s Workplace Readiness and Internship course, he feels that they have an excellent understanding of how to conduct themselves during an interview, in the workplace, and beyond.
With the help of eDynamic Learning’s flexible curriculum and activities, Anthony is able to encourage a powerful and motivating factor: creativity! In Anthony’s Workplace and Internship readiness class, students learn invaluable, real-world skills and then are encouraged to demonstrate that learning in a variety of ways. One assignment in eDynamic Learning’s course asks students to create a presentation on how to dress and how to act appropriately in the workplace.
“I’m always encouraging my students to
think outside of the box and flex their creativity when completing assignments in the course. We see enough PowerPoint presentations as is.”
In the spirit of differentiation and ingenuity, Anthony offered the opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding in different ways. Many students submitted thoughtful, thorough presentations, but one student took Anthony up on his offer and developed a short, creative, and entertaining video that flawlessly showed his understanding of the topic. Nicolai came into the class with a passion and desire to work in the video entertainment industry. Anthony leveraged these talents by giving his student an option as to how to demonstrate his understanding of the content. eDynamic Learning was so impressed with the video that it was added to the Workplace Readiness and Internship course for all to see. It’s important to consider what keeps students engaged and to reflect on what motivated us as students. This is an exercise that Anthony participates in regularly and his students thrive and grow because of it.
From Reflections to Suggestions in Action
Anthony has facilitated eDynamic Learning courses for several years, and he has seen the positive impact the curriculum has had on his students.
“Exposing students to different career pathways was a huge success for them… just knowing the different types of careers that are out there is so important.”
He has also had a lot of time to get to know the content intimately.
“The reading material is very well thought-out and I like the interactive components that have been added to some of the questions. I really like that it is constantly updated, it’s not left stale and that it’s very easy to customize a course. I love that I can keep the reading material as-is so we can use it for discussions. I can pick critical thinking questions and embed them within the reading so that students read and then answer that question. I like that I can pull in other activities that compliment the curriculum. And then for the remote learning students, it’s really great to have options available in the courses. Courses are all well thought-out, consistent in their design, and overall are just really fantastic.”
“…the fact that the eDynamic Learning team takes input from educators to make updates is also phenomenal.”
Anthony has been a wonderful facilitator of the eDynamic Learning curriculum for years, but he also has contributed to the evolution of the product. At eDynamic Learning, we truly value the feedback and input from our educators, and Anthony is a prime example of ideas to action. Anthony was wanting to facilitate eDynamic Learning’s Game Design course, but since his previous district utilized Chromebooks, this course was off-limits because of the way the activities were designed. Anthony explained how much students would benefit from being able to complete the course activities using web-based tools instead of application-based tools because they would be able to leave the course with portfolios ready to share with employers. eDynamic Learning heard Anthony, recognized the feedback was invaluable, and put his suggestion into action. Thanks to him, we now have enhanced the Game Design course to better meet the needs of our 21st century learners.
Anthony was recently recognized by eDynamic Learning as a 2021 Career Compass Award recipient for his incredible work with his CTE students in helping guide passion to purpose. We know he will continue to foster and ignite those passions for his students and help them develop the skills they need for a bright future!