Lucky us here at TechnoTeaching. Craig Badura jetted into Nicole’s and my cloud office all the way from Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, Nebraska, where he is the PK-12 Integration Specialist. Craig is too modest to say so in his interview, below, but in 2014 he was named one of the Top 10 Digital Citizenship Bloggers by Common Sense Media. One of Craig’s passions is the importance of digital citizenship. He has many cool tips to share with you, TechnoTeachers. Read on!
TT: Why did you initially become a teacher?
CB: I had a couple of teachers that I really looked up to in high school. I thought it would be cool to be able to coach, interact and teach young people. To surround yourself with curious, passionate students was very intriguing to me. And the fact that I would have my summers off! In all seriousness, I realized that teachers had the ability to truly make a difference each and every day that they are in school. I wanted to do that. Plain and simple.
TT: How did you move from being a classroom teacher to being a consultant / writer?
CB: Even though I don't have a "classroom" full of students per se today, I still consider myself a classroom teacher. I guess I now have a classroom that has 1,200+ students in grades K-12! I love the fact that I now get to interact with all of our students instead of just one grade level. Prior to my current position I taught social studies for eleven years. When an administrative opportunity opened up for my wife, I found a position as a media specialist/tech integrationist at a neighboring school district. I'm grateful for the vision of that school district to take a chance and hire a "tech integrationist" as not many schools realized the need for that position at the time. I originally applied for their social studies position, but their administrative team saw how I was integrating technology into my social studies classroom and wanted me to be their new media specialist/tech integrationist. I didn't know anything about being a media specialist, and thanks to some awesome para-educators that knew the intricacies of the media center, we had a really great two years in the media center. A position for an integration specialist that opened at my wife's school is what brought me to where I am today. We are in year four of a 1:1 iPad initiative and I am excited as we move forward in the realm of educational technology.
TT: How have you gained your following on social media do you think? Top tips?
CB: To tell you the truth, I was VERY hesitant when it came to getting involved with social media. I was afraid of "being out there" on the internet. I didn't really get it until an English teacher sat down with me and showed me the power of having a professional learning network on Twitter. I dabbled at first, then I started sharing what I was doing in my classroom, blogging about activities, sharing my thoughts and connecting with other educators from all over the world. And before you know it, here we are. My top tip to teachers today is to not get caught up in numbers. Numbers on social media mean absolutely NOTHING. Too often I see teachers not wanting to "jump in" or interact with other people on social media because they feel that their numbers don't warrant enough clout. I was once there. I can totally relate. I'd encourage teachers to follow teachers that are teaching the same subject area. Find a hashtag that is relevant to them and connect with other educators that use that hashtag. It can be very intimidating at first, so do some lurking. When comfortable, begin sharing and engaging in conversations.
TT: Why do you think it is important to grow as a teacher / share your work with others?
CB: Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing about the "sad state of education" in the United States from our politicians and various reports on the news networks on television. There are some AMAZING things happening in our schools across the country. It's time for us to start sharing our stories! I've learned that if we aren't going to share our stories in education, someone else will....and we may not like that. So let's start sharing the awesome things happening in our schools!
TT: What are the top 3-5 pieces of work that you'd like us to share in this blog? Why?
CB: One of my more popular pieces of work would be my blog post about my "Digital Citizenship Survival Kit." It was a crazy idea, and it has been great to have teachers from all over the world send me emails and pictures detailing how they have used the kit in their classrooms. I'd also like to pass along my blog and the website that I created as a resource for the teachers in my district. I often share lessons that I have crafted on those two sites.
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