Our USA Founder, Dr. Julie M. Wood interviews 'FreeTech4Teachers' TechnoTeacher, Richard Byrne.
Last week Richard Byrne dropped by TechnoTeaching International Headquarters to have a chat with Jules. Just kidding! Our international HQ is in the cloud (we are TTs, right?! - Nic). It’s tricky to make guests comfortable and serve them coffee. But Jules did get to connect with him to ask him about the factors that contributed to his success as a sought-after edTech speaker all over the world as well as an all-around innovator.
Richard is a little modest. So let us do the bragging on his behalf. Richard’s home base is Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Maine, where was a social studies teacher for over eight years. In 2011 he won an Edublogs Award for Best Resource Sharing—five times! (A quick scan of his blog today, for example, describes StoryToolz, free tools for student writers.) In 2009 he became a Google Certified Teacher.
On a personal note, when I attended iPad summit in Boston last fall, Richard was one of the most popular speakers. The other presenters mentioned his name as though he were a rock star. I checked him out and been following Richard ever since. So can you.
Click here for Richard’s website. Or here to follow him on Twitter. Or here to follow his award-winning blog, FreeTech4Teachers.
Time to hear from Richard himself and follow links to some of his most popular resources, which include two free guides.
TT: Why did you initially decide to become a teacher?
RB: Before becoming a public school teacher I worked for FedEx for seven years. I held a number of positions there. One of those was as a trainer. In that job I found that I enjoyed teaching. When I was ready to change careers, teaching was a natural fit.
TT: How did you move from being a classroom teacher to being a consultant/writer?
RB: That transition was not planned in the least. After about three years of maintaining FreeTech4Teachers.com I started to receive invitations to speak at schools and conferences. After about five years I was receiving more invitations than I could accept and still maintain my full-time teaching position so I took a leap of faith to becoming a full-time writer and consultant. Now, anyone who is considering doing the same should be aware that my teaching salary was very low (on the 9th step of the pay scale I made $34k/annually) and I don't have any dependents other than my dog.
TT: How have you gained your following on social media do you think? Top tips?
RB: Partly, I was in the right place at the right time. I was on Twitter in 2007 long before it was mainstream. The other contributor to gathering a following on social media has been to just consistently share and try to be helpful.
TT: Why do you think it is important to grow as a teacher/ share your ideas with others?
RB: When you share your ideas, you get feedback whether you want it or not. Getting that feedback can help you shape your ideas and learn new things.
TT: Which are the top pieces of work you'd like us to share in this blog and why?
RB: The works that I think have the most appeal these days are:
The Practical Ed Tech Handbook.
My list of alternatives to YouTube.
My Google tutorials playlist.
And my guide to blogging with students.
We hope you will check out all of these, and join Richard online for more TechnoTeaching strategies, tips and ways to share your learning with others!
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.