Digital Citizenship with CBE of the Month Holly Spangler

Posted by cemignano on

We’re excited to introduce you to another Certified BrainPOP Educator! Next up in our CBE of the Month series is Holly Spangler from our ISTE 2015 cohort. Read on to learn about Holly’s teaching background, favorite projects, and experience with the CBE program!

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
I teach Technology to Kindergarten through 5th grade students

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 7th year as a teacher, but I was also an assistant teacher for 6 years before that.

What inspired you to go into education?
I was a stay at home mom for several years when my 2 children were young, and I got very involved in their schools, working various positions on the PTA and volunteering in the classroom. When my youngest child was in 2nd grade, the principal of her school asked me if I would be interested in working as an assistant at her school. I accepted and began working as the assistant for 5 fifth grade teachers. I loved working in the school with the students and the other teachers and was inspired to go back to school and get my Masters of Arts in Teaching from Queens University of Charlotte in the evenings while I was working my assistant job during the day. When I finished my degree I interviewed and was hired by my current school and taught 3rd grade for 2 years. I always loved using technology in my classes so when a technology teaching position became available in my same school, my principal asked if I would be interested in teaching it. I accepted and have been teaching technology in my school now for 5 years.

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
I was a part of the CBE class from ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia. I have been a long time fan of BrainPOP which I originally learned about from a teaching colleague. I was so impressed by what BrainPOP had to offer that when I became the tech teacher at my school I wrote up a proposal and presented it to our PTA telling them about the benefits of purchasing BrainPOP for our school. They accepted my proposal and our school has been a subscriber for 5 years now. I was also fortunate enough to be chosen to work as a BrainPOP PD Advisor last spring and have enjoyed helping BrainPOP at the NCTIES and ISTE conferences the past 2 years. I love being a part of a group of teachers who are passionate about BrainPOP because I truly believe BrainPOP is a wonderful tool for teaching a wide variety of subject matter to children of all ages.

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
This year I designed a project for my 5th grade students around the topics of Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship. The project involved completing several assignments using information from BrainPOP’s “Online Safety” and Information Privacy” movies and the activities and resources associated with them. Students had to watch both movies, take the quizzes, complete several activities, answer questions about the Q&A and Related Reading sections and complete a concept map which included the information they learned from both of these areas combined into one map. Students earned points for each piece of the assignment they completed and once they earned enough total points, they earned their “Digital Citizenship Badge”, an online badge I created and posted on my technology website. The assignments they had to complete are on my Blendspace page. I created a rubric for the points they needed to earn for each part and a badge that they earned when they reached the required amount of points.

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
My students never tire of using BrainPOP in my technology classroom. From the movies, activities and the games on Gameup, there is always something to keep them interested and learning. Once my 5th grade students completed their Digital Citizenship badge requirements using mostly resources from BrainPOP, they were able to take the knowledge learned about Digital Citizenship and participate in a Paideia seminar on the same subject. The information they learned from their BrainPOP resources allowed them to feel confident in their knowledge about Digital Citizenship and to be able to participate in the seminar with that same confidence and authority on the subject.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
Becoming a CBE has enhanced my passion for BrainPOP and for sharing what BrainPOP has to offer students and teachers. I am excited to attend NCTIES this year again and share my knowledge and experience of BrainPOP with other teachers like me. It was a wonderful experience last year being able to spread the word of all the wonderful new features of MyBrainPOP, and this year there will be even more to share with the new site design and enhanced mobile capabilities, and also to share that MyBrainPOP is also available now for BrainPOP Jr. I have such a love for BrainPOP and what it has to offer that I never tire of talking to others about it. I truly believe all students and teachers can benefit from what BrainPOP has to offer, and I get very excited when I have the opportunity to spread the word about BrainPOP to others!

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
I am passionate about differentiation of instruction and accessibility for all students. As a technology teacher, of course I get excited about the latest and greatest technology features that come along so I am really excited about the BrainPOP redesign that makes the entire site accessible on all devices. This is especially wonderful because now students can access most features from any type of device. This opens up the opportunity for more students to access BrainPOP from home and take advantage of our 24/7 access. I also love all the features of BrainPOP that help teachers differentiate for the wide variety of learning styles and personal preferences of their students.

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
I would love to see BrainPOP incorporate an assignment feature so that teachers could create whole lessons and units of study for students through their MyBrainPOP portal. Right now I use Blendspace to do this, but it would be great to have it incorporated into the features for teachers on MyBrainPOP.