About Liz & GD


headshotWelcome to my personal little corner of the Internet. I am currently the Administrator of Educational Technology Integration for Waltham Public Schools, where I work with Technology Facilitators, Library Media Specialists, and Technology Support Specialists to support Waltham schools’ professional development, digital learning, and network infrastructure needs. I recently finished my PhD at The University of Michigan in the Joint Program in English and Education; before that, I was a middle and high school teacher in rural Illinois and Indiana, where I taught English Language Arts and Speech Communications. During my time as a teacher, I earned my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University, where I taught first year writing and pre-service teacher courses on literacy in the content areas.

desks face one another across a wide classroom, with windows along the back wall

My classroom in rural Indiana

My dissertation research focused on the role of digital media in the secondary English Language Arts classroom. Specifically, I examined how teachers’ social relationships inform their digital literacy learning and pedagogical development. Since completing my PhD, my focus has shifted to include how teacher professional development can best be designed to both honor teachers’ professional needs and identities and to provide a space for pedagogical critique, challenge, and innovation.

In my dissertation study, I combined quantitative social network analysis with qualitative interview, observation, and artifact analysis methods to closely examine how teachers’ interpersonal and institutional networks shape their pedagogical approaches to the integration of digital technologies. That funny-looking bunch of lines and dots at the top of my page is a representation of the social connections of teachers at my research site,

social network graph

“Technological Consultation” Connections in the Borealis English Department

Borealis High School. While at BHS, I worked closely with four English teachers and sat in on professional development sessions, examining how ELA teachers discussed digital technologies and learned (or did not learn) from one another. The study argues for a more nuanced framework for understanding teachers’ digital pedagogies, and makes the argument that some current approaches to professional development may “miss the mark” for today’s networked 21st century teachers.

A note on the title of this site: Have we, as a society, gone digital? In many ways, yes — many of us carry around smart phones, maintain our feeds in social media, and interact with colleagues via various electronic means. However, it’s not merely our uses of these technologies that make us “digital citizens;” it is the ways in which these technologies shape — and are shaped by — the rhetorical purposes and tasks to which we put them. Today’s learning environments are faced with many challenges as students and teachers face the never-ending process of “going digital,” of (re)defining a “new ethos” of literate practice (Lankshear and Knoebel, 2011). This new ethos challenges teachers to think about the digital literacies their students bring with them to the classroom; how these literacies can be shaped, challenged, and molded during instruction; and where students are going as they leave our classrooms and enter an ever-more-digital world.

weimaraner dog at the top of the stairs

My ridiculously adorable dog, Gertrude

When I’m not pondering dilemmas related to digital writing and the ELA classroom, I’m either cooking something delicious in my kitchen, hanging out with my dog (Gertrude) running around Boston (literally), enjoying time with friends, or reading a young adult novel — my favorite thing to do when I can find the time. In the fall, I might be watching an Illinois, Purdue, or Michigan football game, and in the spring, I might be watching basketball. I bleed orange, blue, maize, gold, and black… I’m a Big Ten girl all around. Click around to learn more about me, my teaching, my research, and my passion for digital writing and teaching.

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