Jamie Jarvis is a 7th grade social studies teacher and former district teacher-of-the-year at Lewis & Clark Middle School in Billings, Montana. Willing to try anything to engage the middle school student, his classroom is alive with inquiry-based learning aimed an immersing students in real-world lessons in the Social Studies. Most recently, Jamie’s classroom laboratory has produced advanced learning environments utilizing gamification and platforms like schoology to organize his active classroom. Jamie recently sat down with NCCE to discuss some of his best advice for being a tech-savvy teacher.
Name: Jamie Jarvis
Location: Billings, Montana
Current jobs: 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Lewis & Clark Middle School, Lead Teacher for US History at Montana Digital Academy, Educational Travel Guide for Global Travel Alliance.
Current computer: MacBook Pro
Current mobile device(s): iPhone, iPad
One word that best describes how you teach or work: Enthusiastically
What apps/software/tools can you not live without?
I love my Zite app! For those of you familiar with Flipboard, Zite is basically the same thing. However I am partial to Zite when it comes to professional development articles. As for software I could not live without Schoology. Schoology is a dynamic learning management system that adapts to any educational environment. Using Schoology’s engaging tools, teachers can create custom courses, pace students individually or in small groups, and differentiate instruction. It is a comprehensive cloud-based LMS that ensures student engagement and will increase achievement in your class.
Share with us a time when you failed in your teaching or learning pursuits. How did you persevere?
Are we talking about my failures for just this week? Or should I go further back – LOL! I firmly believe that the word fail is not a bad word. In my life and in my classroom F.A.I.L. means First Attempt In Learning; and that same lesson of perseverance is what I continually model/ teach my students. As teachers I think that many of us believe that if we can’t do something perfect in a lesson that we should then look for another avenue – I disagree with that thought process. Of course we are going to make mistakes and possibly have failure in our classroom. But, I think that part of being a good teacher is reflecting on what caused the failure, then making adjustments so the lesson is better the next class.
Other than your phone and computer, what gadget can you not live without?
My Apple TV! Our family “cut the cable cord” 2 years ago and has never looked back. My wife was terrified at first, but now with the Netflix app we “binge” on many of our favorite shows. 🙂 Not to mention catching other weekly shows through the Hulu app on the Apple TV. I highly recommend “cutting the cord” for convenience and saving money on your cable bill.
As a tech-savvy teacher, what everyday thing do you feel you excel with/at versus other teachers/administrators/mentors? Adapting
What is the best teaching advice you have received?
Rigid-Flexibility…have a solid plan in place, but when the situation calls for it be flexible enough to change and roll with the given situation.
What are you currently reading?
In my current rotation I have three books: Drive by Daniel Pink, The Last Man by Vince Flynn, and For The Win by Kevin Werbach & Dan Hunter. I like to keep three books in the rotation in order to keep things fresh – I am reading Drive & For The Win for ideas about gamification and how to motivate, and The Last Man is part of a series of basic espionage / action books.
What fantastic tech-savvy educator would you like to refer to us?
Desiree Caskey – Interim Technology Director (Billings Public Schools) & Technology Integration Specialist [Editor’s Note: We could agree more. Desiree? 🙂 ]
Any parting thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Start small. Don’t think that you have to have a lesson or unit in which technology is the center. Just like any teaching tool you do not want the technology to drive your lesson. I take a blended approach to technology in my classroom. My guiding thought with blended learning is this – will the technology used in this lesson improve student learning and inform my teaching.
When it comes to technology in education don’t be afraid to jump in and experiment. You are not going to break anything so give it a shot. In many cases you can simply “Google” your question and most likely find direction from an online resource. You could also look at starting your very own technology PLC before or after school where like-minded teachers gather to help trouble shoot/learn about how to use technology in the classroom.
Here is a great B.Y.O.D. site called Kahoot (https://getkahoot.com/) easy to set up, great for formative assessment, and your students will love it! When I use it in class students are having fun, cheering, competing, and most importantly learning – give it a shot! 🙂[Meet-a-Tech-Savvy Educator is a regular feature on the NCCE Blog. Know someone we should feature here (maybe you)? Contact us!]