October is Connected Educators Month! We’ve met so many wonderful (and tech savvy) educators, it has been such a pleasure getting to know them. Today, we are featuring connected educator Julie Jee. You can find her on twitter @mrsjjee.
Tell us about yourself!
I just started my 13th year of teaching English. My mother cultivated a love of reading in me when she brought me to the local library on a weekly basis. Books expanded my world when I was young and inspired me to travel as much as possible when I entered adulthood. My senior English teacher, Mr. Ira Shatzman, was a brilliant educator who encouraged his students to fall in love with a wide variety of authors, ranging from Shakespeare to LeGuin to Kazantzakis.
Tell us about your classroom!
I have an aging desktop, a document camera, and a Smartboard in my English classroom. I bring in my own laptop and/or iPad on occasion, but if I need access for all of my students, I take them to the computer lab or to the library. I work at one of the largest high schools in NY (approximately 3300 students), so reserving lab time can be tricky. I encourage my students to bring in their own devices. I would say approximately 70-75% of my 10th graders and 90% of my 12th graders have smartphones.
How do you use Celly in your classroom?
During the second week of school, I told my students that I was going to use Celly to send them text reminders about upcoming assignments as well as class announcements. I also encouraged my 10th graders’ parents to sign up for Celly by emailing them and letting them know about the service during Open House.
How has Celly changed your classroom? Were there any unexpected benefits or fun surprises?
I love Celly. I used Twitter in the past with my seniors, but it was too informal. Celly gives me the ability to schedule my text messages, keep interactions private, and give my students a space where they can easily communicate with me. The day before a major project was due, my sophomores were able to ask me last-minute questions and address concerns. Students rarely used email these days, so Celly provides a medium that they’re 100% comfortable with. The cool avatars are also a hit with my kids.
What other emerging methods or tools are you using that have made a big impact in your classroom?
I have had a wonderful time implementing Google’s 80/20 philosophy with my seniors (article). I’m planning to give my sophomores 80/20 projects this year for the first time. Google Drive has also transformed my classroom. My goal is to go paperless in the next five years. With limited tech, I know that it will be difficult, but the proliferation of mobile devices brings that dream one step closer.
You can read more Celly interviews here.