Adam Watson . . .
began his Kentucky educational career as an English classroom teacher in 2005, eventually earning Teacher of the Year at South Oldham High School in 2009 and becoming National Board Certified in 2013. His belief in the impact of educational technology started with literature circle student podcasts. Not only did his students receive responses from authors of the books, but young adults as far away as China shared that their podcasts were a part of their own classroom experiences. The project led Adam and his students to a feature article in The Courier-Journal (1/21/09) and the cover story of Kentucky Teacher in April 2009. In 2014, a Core Content-aligned unit on “Shakespeare and Star Wars” culminated in a Skype Q & A with a New York Times best-selling author, Adam’s unit materials hosted on multiple sites, and a mention in Star Wars Insider in April 2015.
In 2014, Adam was hired as Shelby County Public School’s first district Technology Integration Coach, and from 2015 to 2022 was SCPS's first Digital Learning Coordinator. He was hired to help lead the staff professional development on blended learning as Shelby began its K-12 1:1 initiative; his responsibilities grew to include digital platform management, coordinate between IT and student achievement, budget administrator of Title IV Part A, vetting and testing of new digital tools, data analysis, and lead contact for district librarians. Among other achievements while at Shelby, Adam was the writer and adapter of a digital citizenship district curriculum that annually spirals through five focus strands and consists of 65 non-repeating K-12 lessons, which was featured in Mike Ribble and Marty Park’s 2019 ISTE book The Digital Citizenship Handbook for School Leaders.
In 2022, Adam became a Deeper Learning Design Specialist for the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC), as part of a new statewide launch of Deeper Learning Teams. OVEC serves fourteen Kentucky school district members with over 150,000 students.
Also in 2022, Adam created and launched Kentucky Educators for Role Playing Games, a website/social media presence to promote the positive impact of role playing games in school, as well as educational resources to support this unique subset of game-based learning. The site was highlighted in a January 2023 Kentucky Teacher article and a March 2023 episode of KET's Kentucky Edition.
Adam is a lifelong learner and confident leader in innovative pedagogies such as blended learning best practices, project based learning, standards-based grading, competency based education, adaptive and online learning platforms, gaming in education, and near-future edtech infusion. The University of Kentucky contracted him as a Content Developer consultant on edtech for an online educator leadership course in 2022. He is a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences, such as iNACOL/Aurora Institute, EDSpaces, KySTE, Remote K12, KASL Refresher, EdCampKY, KET Summer PD Day, IFL (Fayette County), Tech Teach Learn, KLA/KSMA, OVEC, KASA, KASS, KDE conferences (such as Persistence to Graduation and Learning from Kentucky's Classrooms), University of Louisville, and JCPS's Deeper Learning Symposium. Adam has also guested on several podcasts, including Partial Credit Podcast (February 2020), Writing Matters with Dr. Troy Hicks (August 2020), and Teachers in the Dungeon (May 2023, November 2023).
Writing and sharing his learning journey also brings him joy. Besides blogging at Edtech Elixirs, Adam has written educational articles for several sites, such as EDspaces's Essentials magazine (April 2022), Aurora Institute's CompetencyWorks (October 2020, January 2023, May 2023), and Next Generation Learning Challenges (April 2023). Between his blog and his YouTube channel, he has close to half a million views. He has also been featured and interviewed for his insights numerous times over his nearly two decades in education.
In March 2019, KySTE (the state chapter of the International Society for Technology in Education) named Adam Watson as the 2018-2019 Outstanding Leader of the Year for Kentucky.