Monica Burns: Ed Tech Issues

Aug 3, 2017 by

An Interview with Monica Burns: Ed Tech Issues

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Monica, could you first tell us a bit about what you do and your background and education and experience?

I am an EdTech and Curriculum Consultant and Founder of In addition to visiting schools across the country to host professional development sessions, I am at the author of several books including #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment with Technology (Corwin, 2017).

2) Now, what are the biggest challenges facing education today from a technology point of view ?

Infrastructure continues to be an issue as well as the “digital use divide.” We want to make sure that students not only have access to technology but are using digital tools for quality purposes in the classroom.

3) I have seen the ridiculous and the sublime—a 4 year curriculum to teach Power Point to High School kids, and a 4 hour workshop ( taught by some “tech expert” on using Second Life– Is there any organization out there in the field that has some coherence?

There are lots of models for professional development around technology integration. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to support schools with long-term placements where we can combine more general content with one-on-one coaching.

4) I always hear from teachers who say ” the kid can text- but does not know how to attach an e-mail”.  First of all, should teachers stop using e-mail or go to some LMS and how does the typical school begin to teach the needed skills to high school kids for college?

It’s important that students learn skills that are transferrable including ways to communicate. Students may be comfortable using technology in their personal lives but it is important that they build the capacity to transfer this to professional contexts.

5) Then there is the big debate – Macintosh vs Windows—From your perspective- what is good /bad about each. ?

I believe that it is less about an operating system than the use cases behind it. We want students interacting with their peers, solving problems and thinking critically.

6) All these “apps”–How does a teacher separate the wheat from the chaff- in other words- how does the average teacher discern what is good and appropriate for his or her class and subject matter?

A phrase I use all the time is “tasks before apps”. It is important that we put quality before quantity when choosing tools for different learning experiences.

7) Now, many teachers are concerned about writing- they find students LOL ing and asking the teach to reply ASAP, and want to be BFF…..How, when and where do teachers need to demand adequate , correct, grammar and encourage good writing?

Providing relevant, authentic writing experiences is essential for students of all ages. We want them to practice communication skills in a variety of contexts.

8) In a few sentences, what does SimpleK12 do or try to do? 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with SimpleK12 for a number of years. They have lots of content for teachers and I host webinars for them several times a year.

9) What have I neglected to ask?

I’d love for your readers to check out my new book now available on Kindle and in paperback: #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment with Technology (Corwin, 2017)

My contact information follows:

Monica Burns, Ed.D.

EdTech & Curriculum Consultant
Founder of Class Tech Tips, LLC
Apple Distinguished Educator

Twitter: @ClassTechTips 
Facebook: ClassTechTips
Pinterest: ClassTechTips
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