Episode #53: Rachelle Dené Poth
Rachelle Dené Poth is an #edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, & teacher.
Rachelle teaches Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She is a Consultant and Speaker, owner of #ThriveinEDU LLC Consulting. She serves as the past-president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and serves on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network. At ISTE19, she received the Making IT Happen Award and a Presidential Gold Award for volunteer service to education. She is also a #Buncee Ambassador, #Nearpod PioNear and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.
Rachelle is the author of four books, ‘In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking,” “Unconventional Ways to Thrive in EDU” and “The Future is Now: Looking Back to Move Ahead,” Rachelle Dene’s latest book is with ISTE “Chart A New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World.” She has a new book coming out this summer, “Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-Person and Digital Instruction” (Routledge). Rachelle is a blogger for Getting Smart, Defined Learning, District Administration, NEO LMS, and the STEM Informer with Newsweek.
Tell me about a time you were in the trenches and managed to crawl out: The story of being an adult in law school. It gave her a better understanding of what students understand. She felt isolated. She was first a teacher then went to law school. She started subbing in Jan. ‘94, started law school in 2003. Taught while going to law school. It was a personal interest for her. She still teaches full time and works as a PD consultant. It’s great to have the connections in law. Early in her career, she was missing out on what was going to benefit her students. She was struggling in first couple years. There was no Twitter, PLN, today what a difference that would have made. She didn’t share her ideas until about 7 years ago. Took a lot of hard work. Being open to telling someone she failed. It helps her when dealing with students. She’s always wanted to take classes. She feels like she is in her students shoes a little bit. She adjusted the way she taught after law school. She got a better idea of what it meant to be a mentor, and had a tremendous one in law school.
Your world language teacher book is coming out this summer-
“Your World Language Classroom: Strategies for In-Person and Digital Instruction” (Routledge), how did that book project come about? It’s a mix of some students’ stories, to the vein of “Things I wished I knew when I started teaching”. It’s also about challenges in education and digital tools for remote learning. Her other books have been a mix, none have been specifically focused for WL teachers. Summer 2019, she was in Boston through Rutledge with Jeff Zoll and started to get ideas for the book. There are a variety of ways to collaborate globally. The book includes a lot about remote teaching environments and tech tools to try. Has reached out to other WL teachers to get vignettes from other languages from teachers from all over the world.
How do see tech tools continuing to evolve in the WL classroom? Much of what people have wanted to know this year is about how to get kids to participate more in the virtual setting. She teaches Spanish 1-3 this year. Normally she has all levels. She tries to think about tools, methods, like PBL, she tells teachers to make sure you have those things in place. She can’t just name 1 tool. Buncee is a multi-media creation tool. Students create and “about me”, 1000’s of templates. Can use it to create lessons for students. 35K choices available in the media library. They have added in AR (augmented reality). Nearpod is great to get a closer look at place they’d like to virtually visit. Can be student paced. Can put all details of lesson into 1 space. Flipgrid is good for speaking assessments. It provides a space where they can record it again. Classmates can then look the video on their own. Game-based learning tools- quizlet, kahoot, gymkit – gives students a chance to practice on their own. Edpuzzle when you’re creating videos, adds in different questions for assessment.
She has her own podcast: #ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915 It’s just her talking to herself. She started over a year ago to share ideas. She puts out her thoughts about things she’s read. An episode on every week for 12-15 minutes. It’s interesting to see which ideas people like the most.
When you got started with the EdTech certifications? She doesn’t have a specific favorite tool. Nearpod is a go-to with VR (virtual reality) tools. It helps kids develop empathy. Microsoft & Google certified Educator certifications are good ones to have. You’re able to meet educators from all over, they have different events, you can ask question in your network. You get a lot of info from the platform. A lot more like Kahoot, Screencastify are letting you get certified as well. It depends on your school. ISTE certification is an intensive process, helps you look at how you’re using tech in classroom. It’s a great tool for what you’ve been using last 2-4 years. Focus on a certification that is centered around the tech your school uses, such as Microsoft certifications if your school uses it. She has also gotten ISTE certification recently. Focuses on the “why” behind it.
Are you currently doing PD for your district? She did back in the spring because her district doesn’t have a tech coach. She is a FT consultant and FT teacher. She is involved in tech book clubs.
You received a Volunteer service award in 2016, how many volunteer hours did that entail? She got the award through ISTE. Could be anything from presenting a webinar, serving on diff committees. Was president of educator network. Provides opportunities. Does also book review for people who are writing books. With ISTE- they have different PLNs. You can volunteer on leadership team, review conference proposals. Twitter chats, answering questions for peopl who need help & support. Preparing for conferences, etc. Was involved heavily in 2 networks. They started a podcast- TEN things in 10 minutes. There are so many ways to get involved!
Key quotes: “It’s easy to be overwhelmed, especially now, but you don’t have to do everything”. “Start with 1 thing”. Try to figure out what is missing. What could students not finish? What frustrated them? How could they reach her beyond the hours of the school day? How could tech help you, or are you doing too much of the talking? Start with something that will help make them comfortable. Help your students develop public speaking skills, for example.
Find Rachelle online @ThriveinEDu Twitter & IG: @Rdene915 FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/THRIVEinEDU
Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915
Her books are available at bit.ly/Pothbooks
She has a weekly show on LearningRevolution.com, ThriveinEDU
Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Ge0enKT0Zhg