Spotlighting NR21 Success Stories
Featured Educator: Susan Merschel @ Spring Creek
Computer Science Teacher
Susan has been teaching computer science at SCMS for 12 years. She is a fantastic role model for trying new things in Ed tech. She makes learning about computer science interesting and fun for the students, as well as leading our Technology Committee in organizing and executing Family Technology Nights.
Describe a project or initiative you have started in your classroom and/or school site.
Following the belief of Code.org that everyone can learn to code, I have changed my teaching practices to bring Computer Science to all of my students. We embrace the idea that this learning is new to most of us, challenging, frustrating at times, collaborative always, but extremely rewarding in the end when we learn and conquer something that we didn’t believe we could. Students live the problem solving process in all their projects from webpages to animations to gaming. When we get stuck, we follow the idea of, “just work the problem.” An idea that rings true not only in Computer Science, but in any aspect of their lives.
How do you think the use of technology has affected your educational practices?
Technology is naturally engaging to this generation and it only makes sense to tap into that interest level of our students. They are curious and confident, making them natural troubleshooters. They like to solve problems and puzzles and tinker to figure things out and working that into my lessons just works. And by extension, they like to share that knowledge and expertise and the Chromebooks and apps allows us to do that in a variety of powerful ways. They aren’t learning technology in a vacuum but rather in a very practical and purposeful way that can be used across any class curriculum.
Words of Wisdom
"Be brave. Don’t feel you have to be the expert in every program or app in order to use it. Students will figure things out if you give them the safe environment to do so. And don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes things won’t work or it is messy, and that’s O.K. Some of the best learning comes from messy. We ask students to step out of their comfort zone everyday when we teach them something new; we have to be willing to do that same thing and use the technology that we might not be comfortable with. But that’s where we achieve growth. "
Top Educators to Follow
- Kasey Bell
- Jon Bergmann
- Kevin Brookhouser