Ed. Note: Thinkfinity's featured member for this month is Mark Moore who is a Coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Instructional Technology. Mark also regularly trains educators on how to use Thinkfinity's resources in the 21st century classroom.
What led you to a career in educational technology?
That’s a funny story, actually; I fell into this job backwards. I was running my own computer training business and needed a part time job to supplement my income during the slow times, so I answered an ad for a part-time job with state government to be a computer lab technician. At the time, the government had a program that would open the computer labs that were used in normal business to state employees after hours. They could take as many computer classes as they wanted, free of charge. One day, a trainer didn’t show up so I took over the class, and then I started teaching more and more classes. I must have done something right because the West Virginia Department of Education asked me to work full-time on their Instructional Technology team. I started with Microsoft Office classes, but then expanded to other areas of technology. The next thing I knew I was providing trainings about the Thinkfinity program as well as several other programs. I’ve had many jobs in my life but I’ve never felt as “at home” as I do when talking about education reform.
What does your average day look like?
There is no such thing as an average day. I might be teaching a class on Thinkfinity in the northern part of the West Virginia on Monday and then teaching a class on Google applications the next day in another part of the state. I teach a wide variety of programs, and I do them face to face, online, in small groups, and to large audiences. I travel the state frequently, but being a small state,I can almost always get home in time for dinner. The folks at Thinkfinity have also been gracious enough to send me around the country. I’ve presented information in Atlanta, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, South Dakota, Ohio and Texas. I’ve been able to see this great country.
Describe one of your most rewarding moments as a trainer.
I was asked to present at the grand re-opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Being so close to the exhibits that I’d been talking about for so long was breathtaking.
I’ve also been deeply moved when someone comes up to me and says, “I saw you present years ago and it completely changed the way I teach.” This has happened more than once, and it really makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I feel like I’m a positive force in our society.
What’s your most favorite Thinkfinity interactive (at the moment)
To be able to see this piece of history…in Lincoln’s own handwriting….wow
What’s the one thing you would love to ask (or tell) the 25,000 members of the community?
EVERYONE must ask themselves a very simple question. Am I preparing this student for their future or my past? Are you teaching a skill that is appropriate for the information age or the industrial age? Most of our education practices are over 100 years old. It’s time to change everything.
What types of technology do you think students will be using in the classroom five years from now?
My crystal ball tells me we’ll be using more social networks and more virtual face to face meetings such as Skype or Facetime. Imagine studying the Revolutionary War alongside students from England. Imagine learning green technology by building an electric car and troubleshooting it by working with professionals. A student could take their iPhone under the car, point the screen to a problem and a NASA or NASCAR engineer could offer suggestions.
If you could do anything in life, what would it be?
Give a TED talk or speak to decision makers in Washington about education reform. Oh…and lots and lots of scuba diving. LOL
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