Welcome to my personal little corner of the Internet. I am currently an Digital Learning Specialist for Boston Public Schools, where I work with my teammates on the Digital Learning Team to design professional development for teachers related to integrating digital technologies into classroom practice across grade levels and disciplines. 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 in middle and high schools. 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.
My dissertation research focused on the role of digital media in the secondary English Language Arts classroom. Specifically, I was interested in learning 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,
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 writing classroom is 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.
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), hanging out with my teacher 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… basically, 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.