This lady is one of my technology super-heroes. Julie Schopp, 2nd grade teacher extraordinaire at Newman Elementary School, is the epitome of a success story. After teaching for several years, Julie took off some time to raise her family, then returned to the profession. She has been teaching for a total of 20 years, and one might think, after all that time, that she has earned the right to be in the "comfortable" phase of her career . . . but it's quite the contrary. Julie is not just one of the most enthusiastic teachers I've seen, but she's also among the most innovative.
When the wave of 1:1 devices first started washing over Billings, Julie decided that she wanted to ride that thing. A generous friend of hers agreed to partner up with her and help fund a couple of iPads, and she found a couple more on Craigslist. Also around that time, she stumbled upon Donors Choose, which is "a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects." Through the creative use of this program, Julie was able to successfully fund the remainder of her iPads. The fun didn't stop there, though! She continued to use Donors Choose to add to her classroom collection - Chromebooks, shelves, a charging station, and more.
Julie doesn't just use technology for technology's sake; she seamlessly integrates devices, apps, sites, and resources into what she is already teaching, and has found that they have not only enhanced her lessons, but taken them to a whole new level. According to Julie's principal, Travis Niemeyer, "Julie continues to make large strides in technology use for her students' success. She does not shy away but faces that disequilibrium we all feel with technology advancement. She is very aware that when we engage kids in authentic learning opportunities, kids flourish. That is the ultimate goal...to engage kids so they can flourish academically."
Click here to check out my interview with this tech superstar!
I am a proud teacher in Billings Public Schools, home to over 16,000 students and 3,500 staff members. Students in Billings are creating and collaborating like never before thanks to the technology to which they have access, and their teachers are providing them with opportunities that will make them incredible community leaders one day soon!