Lisa Nielsen is The Innovative Educator. She found school boring and irrelevant. That ticked her off so she became a public school educator who works to help change that for others. She does this by finding and sharing innovative ways to prepare students for relevant and real-world success. Among other things, this means ensuring educators and students have a voice in conversations, issues, and policies that affect them. She began her career in the 90s as a librarian which was a perfect fit enabling her to create a vibrant oasis in Harlem where students could find their passions with support from the community. Since then she has served in various capacities including as a literacy coach, ed tech professional development manager and technology innovation manager. Today she serves as the director of digital engagement and professional learning. Lisa has been recognized for her work receiving awards such as Teacher of the Year by her district and most recently as a recipient of International Society of Technology Educator’s Making IT Happen award. Lisa has been named a top influencer on the topic of “Bring Your Own Device” BYOD. She has also been named one of the nations top 100 influential voices in education by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. The United States Department of Education named Lisa an exemplary connected educator. In addition to personal recognition, she has been awarded numerous recognitions for having a top education blog. Lisa writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about the future of education but she is best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Her writing and work are also featured in places such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, T.H.E. Journal, Tech & Learning, Smartblogs, ISTE Connects, Huffington Post, MindShift, Leading & Learning, Answers.com and she is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
GETTING TO KNOW LISA
Tell us how you are impacting education?
We really want to keep the students in the forefront. If we are creating guidelines for students, we need to have students in the conversation.
What are the major events that took place throughout your life that positioned you as a thought leader in education?
It was my dissatisfaction of my own education. I realized that education can be irrelevant and some teachers were not aware of their students passions and abilities.
What about being on the forefront of this movement gives you the greatest fulfillment?
Introducing and showing people to the idea, or sharing stories about how various people are using social media to build their own personal or professional learning network.
PERSONALIZED LEARNING JOURNEY
What is it about the personalized learning pedagogy/process you believe will have the greatest impact on education as we know it today?
Today we can empower students to create their own learning network. If we embrace the power of technology and networking, then every student can create their own global network of teachers and co-learners.
What do you see changing about the role of the teacher?
I would like to see more teacher embrace social media. Turning tools like social media from tools of distraction to tools of engagement is something educators can do if they use those tools themselves.
Can you tell us a story of a time that you persevered through a then-challenging situation which now serves as a great life lesson?
In 2012, the New York City Department of Education put out new social media guidelines stating that we prefer students and teachers do not interact. So, I commented back saying that teachers should not follow that advice, which led me to a job opening to rethink these guidelines.
SECRETS TO SUCCESS
Imagine you are standing amongst a room full of people who are influencing education – just like you when you started your personalized learning journey. They too have fears, worries and doubts as they struggle to find their footing. What one strategy would you suggest they apply every day that would result in powerful outcomes?
Having students share and not keeping the great work that teachers and students are doing in their classroom trapped inside their school.
Looking back at everything you’ve accomplished, if you were to do it again, what is one thing you would do differently?
Rather than going into my secondary education, I wish I would have started a law degree to focus on something more meaningful.
Would you please share with our audience your “i am ME.” statements?
i am innovated. i am an intrapreneur. i am indomitable.
CONNECTING WITH LISA
Collaboration between companies + school district = Connected educators
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