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Tuesday
Oct302012

The Future of Technology is Here - An Interview with Teacher Julie Garcia, Apple Distinguished Educator 

Julie Garcia is a mathematics teacher at Innovation Middle School in San Diego Unified School District. She is National Board Certified in early adolescent mathematics and an Apple Distinguished Educator. Julie is transforming public education, one student at a time.  Constantly challenging her students to strive for greatness, Teacher Garcia exhibits a sense of confidence and passion in her teaching that encourages her students to be more responsible for their own learning. 

The IFT is particularly impressed with Garcia’s never ending desire to find new ways to use technology in her classroom so that students are no longer consumers and instead producers and creators of their own education.  As a member of the IFT Region 4 Think Tank, Julie is a lightening rod for professional excellence and teacher collaboration. Her interview below provides a brief glimpse into the thinking of this extraordinary educator and a practical example of teacher driven change at work. 

At the end of this interview you will have an opportunity to offer your comments.

IFT - Why did you decide to enter the teaching profession?  Thinking about your experiences, was there a particular event or person that encouraged you to go into teaching?  

JG - My love for education has always revolved around mathematics.  As a young middle school student I was continually inspired by several math teachers.  I often think about these teachers, their energy and enthusiasm.  Later in college, as a gymnastics coach I gained a real appreciation for working with young adults.  Here too, I found so much energy and enthusiasm exhibited by these athletes.  In some respects, it should have been natural for me to go into teaching.  Both my parents taught me the value and joy of learning and the importance of education.  My mother was a teacher for over 40 years.  Her commitment and loyalty to the teaching profession and students never wavered.  But I wasn’t persuaded that I wanted to teach.  Watching my mother I also knew how difficult and demanding teaching could be and I simply wasn’t sure it was for me.

At some point during my college years, what I wanted to do, my own purpose and meaning, became clear to me.  As I grew into adulthood, I became reacquainted with my mother’s dedication to teaching.  I realized that my mother’s calling was not simply out of a sense of responsibility and commitment to her work.  Rather, her devotion to teaching was much more of love story; the compassion she felt for her students and the joy she received from them.  This is what I wanted for myself.  I would combine my love of math with the great satisfaction I felt when working with young people.  I would follow in my mothers footsteps and decided to go into the teaching profession.    

IFT - Thinking about the time when you first became a teacher, what was your most positive surprise?  Is there a moment that really stands out; a moment when you really knew you made the right career choice?  

JG - What surprised me the most about teaching is how hard it is.  You have to place your heart and soul into every lesson and if you do, you get results.  With that said, teaching is not work in the traditional sense.  Teaching is hard work because it so powerful and because it requires your full attention. As a teacher you have unbelievable influence over every student in your classroom.  In so many way, you can create a wonderful, joyful experience for each student.  However, it’s not easy and not everyone can do it.  I am happy to say that I am just as exited and pleased at being a teacher today as the first day I started.  I tell this to my colleagues and I am hopeful that my enthusiasm will rub off on them.   When I started teaching I was working in so-called low social economic areas where there were and still are challenges in so may ways; these challenges provided opportunities for me to make a difference in my students’ lives. I did this by working to provide an engaging and demanding curriculum - where hard work pays off - and students can see the positive results of their efforts. 

IFT - Without being modest, what is about you that makes you a great teacher?  Describe your strengths.  How do they influence your teaching?  What about past positive experiences in your life?  Are there specific positive experiences that contributed to your greatness as a teacher?  

JG - I provide every student the opportunity to succeed.  I do this not by lowering my standards but by holding every student to high expectations.  I believe in my students and they know I will not settle for anything less than their best.   What makes me a great teacher is a simple idea: I love my students - they are my family and I will do what ever it takes.  I don’t judge my students but I do make it hard for them to fail.  For my students, it’s easier to do the work then it is to battle me.  My students know that I am consistent; I treat all students the same, there is no favoritism.  

Another one of my positive points (which I believe makes me a great teacher) is that my students know I work hard for them and just as important, my students know I expect them to work hard for me.  While I like math, at times it was a challenge for me.  Through trial and error and experimentation, I developed multiple strategies and approaches to solving math problems.  The how and the why were just as important as finding the right answer; while there may be one right solution to every math problem there are multiple ways to approach and solve any particular math challenge. 

Finally, as I consider my competitive days as a gymnast I believe that success is more likely when combined with high standards.  Student competition and high standards can be a highly motivating force.  Combined with a sensitivity and appreciation for students, a competitive classroom with high standards is a formula for success.  As I voice these comments I realize this is what my mother taught me.   

IFT - When thinking about the teaching and learning process, what have you found to be rewarding?  Is there a challenge you have overcome that you feel most proud?  How has this accomplishment positively influenced you as a teacher? 

JG - What’s most rewarding is watching students learn and finding joy in being in school. Many of my students tell me that my class is their favorite which is highly unusual for a math class.  Most gratifying is when my students come back to visit me from high school and college.   Students have told me that they view me as a friend, a person that truly cares about them, and has provided them a safe environment to grow both academically and socially. I have tremendous satisfaction when past students tell me they felt comfortable talking with me, that they realized learning was (and is) so much more than just memorizing facts and figures, and that they found a sense of meaning in their lives by working hard to accomplish the standards set in my classroom.  Considering such great comments, I continually try to show students how math applies to their life and how the concepts they learn have relevance for them as adults. 

IFT - Is there a challenge you have overcome?

JG - I sometimes took things too seriously, too personally.  I wanted my students to be so successful.  I finally determined that success can be defined in multiple ways.  For example, success for some students can be measured by a simple change in attitude or an increase in attendance, or even the extent to which their attention in class has increased.  I realized that student progress was not necessarily where the student should be according to no child left behind or some other external standards.  Rather, we need to focus on student growth in relative terms.  That is, the progress the student has made during the time he or she has been in your class. 

IFT - Thinking about school change and improvement, what possibilities excites you the most?  Are there specific areas of interest that you would like to work on or explore? What structures, procedures, and practices of the public schools need to be maintained and continued?

JG - I am very excited about technology integration in the schools and I am looking forward to how teachers can use the common core standards to improve education, especially in math.  With the use of iBooks, I provide my students relevant math exercises to solve practical problems.  Here, students are able to learn basic skills, explore underlying mathematical themes and patterns, and take a more active role in their own learning.  Technology also makes it easier for students to discuss math in various online forums and discussion groups.  This is especially helpful for the shy, introverted student.  

Using technology my students have the capacity to increase their understanding of math concepts and explore topics that interest them. Technology can serve as a means to differentiate the curriculum, let students work at their own pace and own level without feeling the pressure of asking a question in front of the entire class, being called on when they aren't prepared, or even being bored while waiting for others to keep up.

I believe when a student has the freedom to actively participate in the learning process they begin to take ownership and greater responsibility their own education.  In my experience, students will be more confident and take risks when they are permitted to experiment, make choices, and have fewer academic boundaries placed on them.  An example of this is when students learn by teaching them to teach each other. 

A teaching and learning approach I am most proud of is how my math class has become a math lab rather than a lecture hall. I flip my classroom where I create videos of my lessons for my students to watch at home. While watching the videos at home, my students can fast forward through information they already know, rewind if they need to hear something again, and work through the lesson at their own pace.  With the lesson taking place at home, I have time for students to participate in meaningful mathematics in the classroom geared toward their individual needs. 

Students are also likely to be more motivated when the teaching and learning environment is just not the classroom.  It is important for our students to know that everyone in the school community cares about them.  Not just their teachers, but the secretaries, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, etc.  I believe that the more we can maintain the neighborhood school, the more likely our students will view the school as an important part of their lives.  

IFT - How is technology improving the teaching and learning process?  In what ways have you successfully used technology in your classroom?  From your experiences, how has technology enhanced student learning?   Thinking about the future, what great changes do you see in education as a result of technology?

JG - Technology has allowed me to personalize my classroom according to the needs of my students.  With technology I am able to work with students at their own pace. One size does not fit all and technology helps me to truly individualize the teaching and learning process.  For example, when I give students a special application for the iPad they are able to work without any pressure in a comfortable, non threatening environment.  Students are able to interact with the curriculum and learn by doing.  Learning becomes much more meaningful for students when they create their own examples.  Video lessons allow students to learn math topics in multiple ways.  Students create an alternative teaching strategy through movies for and with other students.  Students are able to publish their work so that all students have the capacity to interact and mentor each other. Using iMovie and GarageBand, students create screencasts that explain important math topics. Then other students watch the podcasts and answer questions.  Working together, the whole lesson becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Students are able to show their proficiency through project-based learning that reflects real world activities and their actual experiences.   

IFT - Thinking about your most successful students, what do you believe drives their success?  If you could list five factors you believe are most important to a successful, well-rounded education, what would they be?  What are you currently doing or planning to do to emphasize these factors in your classroom?

JG - Students are successful when they are motivated, enjoy learning, feel confident, and are supported. Success is more likely when students are given opportunities to learn in a safe environment where they feel valued.  I provide a structured rigorous environment with high and clear expectations and meaningful activities.  Our classrooms are also successful when the entire school community is supportive.

The five factors I believe most important to student success are: (1) Engaging and active involvement in the learning process, (2) Challenging students to do better, (3) Making problem-solving skills essential, (4) Emphasizing the importance of social skills and civility, and (5) Expanding basic skills to include the arts, music, and sports.  As a teacher I am responsible for teaching not just math skills and proficiency.  I am responsible for helping my students understand how math is related and connected to their lives.  By focusing on these five factors I can create a teaching and learning environment where math is both meaningful and vital to my students. 

IFT - Imagine that you slept for 10 years.  You woke up and found that all of your dreams and hopes for public education have come true.  What would the public schools look like?  What would be different and great?  What aspect of the teaching and learning process has changed for the better?  

JG - Schools have no walls or bells.  Schedules evolve around student learning.  Students work at their own pace, with learning opportunities everywhere.  Grades and grading are not regimented.  Curriculum is not time bound or externally driven.  Students work on various projects, with multiple age groups in the same class room.  Teaching, learning outcomes, students support, and teacher assessments are aligned with the needs and interests of students.  Some of the most important things I believe are essential and need to remain in our schools are problem-solving and critical thinking.  Our schools should be challenging students by having them engage and explore various topics at their own level.  Finally, our schools should emphasize social skills and civility so students know how to work together and have mutual respect for each other.

Reader Comments (21)

Along with the IFT I too, am extremely impressed with Julie Garcia’s boundless devotion to finding and creating innovative ways to use technology inside and outside of the classroom. This interview has revealed the lack of knowledge I, as a teacher candidate possess, concerning the importance of technology inside of the classroom. On a positive note, my eagerness to experience and discover the countless ways I, as a future educator will be able to integrate technology into the school, has now been amplified.
It is so inspiring to read about a person sharing the same passion as I, showing such success in the teaching profession. Julie Garcia’s fervor for the success of her students is shown so evidently throughout this interview. It is exciting to know, I too will be able to encourage my students and lead them to their highest potential in similar ways.
I admire that Garcia has turned her classroom into a math lab. Students watching videos at home seems almost too good to be true. When Garcia had explained, how her students “fast forward through information they already know, rewind if they need to hear something repeated, and work through the lesson at their own pace” it made so much sense. I envy the fact that I was not able to have the same learning experience as a child.
The only flaw that came to mind was when considering the social economic status of the area that one could be teaching inside of. What if the students are not able to access the more current technology? What if some students have access to computers, or the Ipad at home, however students of the same classroom, could not? How would this affect the classrooms learning experience?
This interview has reminded us readers of how exceptional our world is today, to be able to simply use technology to allow our teachers to personalize the classroom and offer students the chance to work at their own pace, never rushed and never waiting. It seems as if, student engagement, a challenging opportunity, relatable curriculum, a sense of classroom community, and the presence of technology, ultimately leads a child to their success academically.
This was a wonderful interview. Julie Garcia is truly an inspiring role model for all teacher candidates, world-wide. Kudos to you, Ms. Garcia. You are the reason so many of us are in school, with the dream of becoming future educator's.

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAriel Villandre

Reading the interview with Teacher Julie Garcia, has reflected on me all the ideals that for a long time have been brewing on my head, but with one distinction; is that I thought being human in the classroom would not be cosidered to be professional. One of my ideals is that a good teacher is the one that takes his,or her job and makes it personal with the purpose to show students that education should be considered a treasure which was embedded in my by my mother. For example, this is what my mother would say, "I could give you all, but your education you can only achieve it, put your best effort in to it because that is the only thing that no one can take away from you." Ms. Garcia shows her students the value of education by demonstrading them how hard she works in intergrating adequate technology into the lessons that makes learning more practical and relevent to her students' life experiences. This approach of pairing technology with curriculum successfully is demanding, but to be an effective teacher is to have students to learn efficiently and become driven to conquer the unexpected. Finally, my desire is to become a teacher like Ms. Garcia. My greatest passion now is to be able to learn all the essential tools in technology; because our technology driven era seems to inspire the young to new challenges, perhaps due to their capability in mastering technological skills.
Nora R.

I believe Julia Garcia’s approach to the integration of technology in her classroom is not only a positive approach but an approach that is the future of teaching. I love how she combines the old school way of teaching preaching competitiveness and high standards in a classroom to the new way of teaching by preaching technology to allow students to learn at their own pace. I like the idea of making the students the producer and allowing them to learn at their own pace. As a student I would feel more comfortable if I was able to do this. Not only do I think this is a valid approach for today’s teachers I think it should be encouraged. As a teacher I will try and use different ways to engage my students and technology being at the top of the list. Today’s students are not only engaged with technology socially, but as you move on in education you become dependent on technology. Julia Garcia’s approach is giving the student a chance to discover on their own and I think that is important for every student. Her approach is proving success in her classroom and if modeled correctly I think it will be a success in all our future classrooms.

May 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDominick T

Overall, I feel that Julia Garcia's interview was very inspiring. Her outlook on helping students reach their own, highest expectations is something that all teachers should ensure that they accomplish throughout the school year. Teachers must not lower their expectations in order to help their students, but hold each student to their individual, highest standard in order to help them succeed. I also feel strongly about her five factors for student success. Unfortunately, many teacher's get caught up during the day and don't remember to ensure that their students are all positively impacted by their teaching strategies and techniques. Engaging, challenging, problem solving, emphasizing social skills, and expanding knowledge are all ideas that are crucial to a teacher's success, which is essential to the success of their students. I also really liked her idea of using technology in order to meet the individual needs of her students. She stated that technology allows the students to work at their own pace, which promotes the idea of creating student centered classrooms.
I agree with Nora's post about how technology seems to inspire students, which teacher's should use as an advantage. Technology can help transform a classroom into a diverse, exciting, and interesting place where students feel safe to explore and increase their knowledge and understanding or new ideas.
- Jaime S.

May 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I found the responses that Julie Garcia gave to also be very inspiring and give me a good point of reference of how to apply technology to educating all of the students. I found her interview to be very genuine. I found it helpful to see how she can apply Math through technology as well. As someone who really enjoy New Media, I found it very insightful how she could use iMovie and Garage band to help further highlight the math topics and engage the students. I especially liked her answer for what makes her a good teacher: "I provide every student the opportunity to succeed. I do this not by lowering my standards but by holding every student to high expectations. I believe in my students and they know I will not settle for anything less than their best". I also found her ideas for what a dream school would be like "with learning opportunities everywhere" to be inspiring of what the future and ideals of a school can be. I also will save and refer back to this article as I definitely believe that her five factors to students success definitely make her a role model teacher. Lastly, I like her answer of greatest challenge, you need to look at the child's progress in your class, and not stress about state tests and "NCLB". Overall, I learned a lot from the article, and will definitely want to refer back to it.

-Steve C

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve C

I too found Julie Garcia’s interview to be very inspiring. Her drive and passion for teaching are very evident in her responses, and in how she seems to conduct her classroom. Her statement of “you have unbelievable influence over every student in your classroom” resonated with me. This is something I am fully aware of, but it can be easy to forget when you go through the motions of the day to day. Reading these words helped me to remember why I wanted to become a teacher, and how important it is to be the best teacher you can be each and every day.
I loved Ms. Garcia’s approach to technology in the classroom, and her use of the IPADS in the classroom. I am excited to be able to use our class IPADS as an opportunity to also allow my students to learn by doing in a non-threatening way. In this way, I am hopeful that the students will be able to take ownership of their learning. I am also eager to try out some new technologies like iMovie and GarageBand to help encourage students work together, and to act as teachers to one another.
I also agree that a flip classroom is a great idea to get students involved in the lessons, and excited about learning. This is a concept that I have thought of trying, but after reading Ms. Garcia’s interview and the success she has found from this technique, I am super excited to try it out this upcoming September.

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly S

In todays academic world, it is rare to find a teaching program that puts an emphasis on each individual child's learning accomplishments. Yes, we have IEPs for those students that meet the criteria to have special treatment, but what about the students that need just that little bit of an extra push to get them to pursue academic success? I am referring to the ones that fall through the cracks because they aren't the smartest students but yet aren't the slowest ones in the class either.  Julie Garcia should be a role model to all teachers that are struggling to find ways to address all students individual learning needs. These days, teachers are teaching to the state tests that are being administered, rather than in a way in which all students are actively engaged and learning the topics. Her confidence and passion when it comes to her job are inspiring. She saw that all students have individual needs and recognized that the use of technology would help address all of these different needs. This job can not be done by one teacher within a classroom of 30 or more students. Therefore, technology allows the students to work at their own pace and helps them with their different learning needs.  I can only hope that all teachers follow in Julie's footsteps and approach each day of teaching with an eagerness to improve each child and help them reach their individual highest potential.  I agree with Nora R and I too am eager to learn new ways that technology can improve our students learning. It will be essential for all teachers to know how to use technology in order for the future of academics to improve.

Suzanne L.

May 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne L.

While I too found the ideas and ideals presented by Ms. Garcia to be very inspiring, I think the practical applications of these strategies are limited to a certain population of students and therefore impractical in the current educational environment. Until technology is embraced, and budgeted, by each and every school district for all classrooms the success she has had using these strategies in her technology based school cannot be accepted as projected proof of success for all districts.

I also am very confused as to her approach to handling her students and their different learning abilities. Providing an engaging and demanding curriculum but wanting her students to learn at their own pace in an environment that makes is difficult for them to fail seem to be contradictory classroom management strategies with no clear outline for measuring progress. Having held demanding positions in large companies this type of attitude is exactly contradictory to what students will face when they leave the comforts of school and are subject to employment that is performance and deadline driven.

I have not taught in a classroom yet but one of my main goals is to provide my students the ability to access many different sources of knowledge so that they may continue learning in any environment and be just as comfortable as if they had access to the current technology. The use of technology is a wonderful and exciting component of education but I believe that teachers still must utilize varied strategies to provide a well rounded education and tools for learning that students can take anywhere.

May 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGregory W.

I enjoyed reading Julie Garcia's interview about being an outstanding educator. Many of her ideas and beliefs resonated with me. Similar to Ms. Garcia, I too became an educator because I was brought up with a great respect for educators and also had an inherent desire to keep on learning. That desire is an important part of being a successful teacher because there is always new things to learn and experience. Students know when their teachers work hard for them, and just like Ms. Garcia said, they in turn will work hard for you. One thing I have noticed with my students over the years is that they know what teachers genuinely care and who shows up just for their paycheck!
One of the first responses that Ms. Garcia gives is the idea that the student and teacher relationship is reciprocal. She made the point that the teacher shows compassion and students give back joy. Creating a classroom with that kind rapport is essential to creating a safe learning environment for the students and a fulfilling career for the teacher.
Ms. Garcia was very truthful about how difficult teaching is. The first few comments from my student teachers and my mentees have been just that! Hopefully, the schools have support networks to retain new teachers and help them stick it out...more districts have moved toward that.
Lastly, Ms. Garcia said that she was not just teaching math but, helping her students "understand how math is connected to their lives." When we think back about the best teachers we had, we remember that they did that for us. Learning must be relevant or it is quickly forgotten.
I agree with Suzanne L. that Ms. Garcia shows an eagerness to help all children and is a great example of what educators should always strive to be.

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel P.

After reading Julia Garcia's interview, I am even more inspired and encouraged to impact and mold the lives of my future students. I strongly agree with Ms. Garcia's outlook on creating a warm and nurturing environment as well as establishing high expectations for each and every student. I agree with her on the idea that each student learns differently and at a different pace. In acknowledging this, it is crucial for teachers to create an environment where each student can facilitate individual success. Students of today are surrounded by technology every where they go. I believe that incorporating technology into the classroom is an excellent way to keep students engaged and actively involved in what they are learning. In addition, I also strive to help students make the connection between math and their everyday lives by creating lessons that provide them with realistic and relevant problems. In order for students to successfully learn new material, they must understand how it relates to them and their everyday lives.

I agree with Nora's post about how in today's day and age technology inspires students and teacher's should most definitely use this to their advantage. Technology enables teachers to transform their classrooms into exciting, stimulating, and diverse places, where students feel comfortable to learn and increase their knowledge of new ideas.
-AnnMarie P.

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Reflecting on this article, I believe that Mrs. Garcia is a very bright, resourceful, and progressive teacher who has a passion for her children, and also understands learning styles and abilities, and is able to use technology, as well as her own sensibilities to extract the most potential from every student in her classroom. One of the most important points I think that Mrs. Garcia states is that "technology allows active participation, which leads to students being more responsible about their own learning". Mrs Garcia emphasizes the students first approach, and uses technology accordingly, allowing students to work at their own pace and learn the material, rather than have to be put in front of their peers and pressured into knowing an answer or solve a problem they may not be ready for. These types of examples help students to gain confidence, and increase their willingness to learn. The various technological tools available such as IBooks and GarageBand help to personalize the classroom, and give students a hands on experience that allow each individual to thrive. Mrs. Garcia is a professor who preaches giving every student the best opportunity to succeed academically and socially, and uses various technological resources that can be molded to fit all learning styles and abilities, thus giving students both success and confidence.

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Collins

After reading the article on Julie Garcia, I concur with many of her views. Education is not a one size fits all environment. Our job as future educators demands that we strive for each one of our students to achieve their personal maximum potential. Using today’s available technology creates a safe environment where students can learn at their own pace. This is important because it allows our gifted students to deeper explore theories and concepts; while our struggling students review these theories until they feel comfortable moving forward. The material should be individually geared so every student is challenged but not overwhelmed, ensuring they will reach their highest potential.
I agree with AnnMarie P. that incorporating technology into today’s classroom will help keep students engaged and motivated. In addition, the safer the students feel in their classrooms, the better the work they will produce.
Chris Gehrig

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris Gehrig

After reading this, I agree with Julie Garcia on almost all of her points. I think that her integration of technology into the classroom is both convenient and motivating for the students. I have found that the more a teacher uses technology, whatever the method may be, students are more likely to participate and get involved simply because they like it. They are enjoying the learning process. Technology is a great way to differentiate instruction because it allows students to go at their own pace. When they don’t feel pressured by their peers they are more likely to participate in the lesson. When students work from home using technology, whether it be ebooks or videos, their limited time in the classroom is more meaningful. I feel that any way a teacher can make class time more meaningful should be done. I agree with Ms. Garcia that it is important to hold all students to high standards- high standards yield high results. But this is all relative to a student’s individual abilities and growth. Technology can also be used to measure a student’s growth.
-Danielle L

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle L

I thought this was a nice piece to read that outlines a lot of great parts of what it means to be a great teacher, and why technology plays such an important role in education. The individualistic and personal nature of technology allows both teachers and students to use it to their benefit. Teachers can create innovative lessons while students can work at their own pace. Not only can technology help within the classroom setting, it can spark interest in students that otherwise may not have been triggered.
JB

July 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake Baron

I found this article very beneficial as a future educator and it outlined many key points throughout. It's explanation of why technology plays such a crucial role in the classroom I found very convincing. Technology doesn't just benefit the students but the teachers as well. Teachers can now make their classroom setting anything they want it to be. Besides from improving the classroom setting, technology can serve as a motivation for students as well. This article was one that I found very interesting and would highly recommend it as well.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Fiscina

I found this interview both interesting and informative. I find it easy to relate to Julie's passion for teaching and found myself identifying with so many things she said. As we grow up, we are influenced by those around us whether it be parents, guardians or teachers. Often people become teachers because they grow up with teachers around them, as was the case with Julie and her mother. I had a similar experience growing up with a mom as a teacher. Her passion for teaching is something I was born with and she helped to nurture it as I grew older. With that fostering of passion, she also instilled many of her views on education in me. While I was not force fed her opinions, I think my way of thinking evolved from growing up with the knowledge of her beliefs. This is similar to Julie's experience and perhaps why I feel so strongly tied to the thoughts expressed in this article.
-Melanie P

September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Julie Garcia is surely paving the way for a new generation of educators. Her novel approach to classroom teaching includes a vision of educating that stimulates the minds of her students using new technologies, while acknowledging that the “one size fits all” approach to educating should be replaced by more effective learning strategies that reach all learners. From the use of applications like GarageBand and iMovie, Garcia flips the traditional teacher-student roles, empowering the students to take personal ownership of the curriculum and engage the learning process in such a way that the students themselves become the teachers. Teacher Garcia also ensures that each of her students are challenged to meet high standards, believing that each one can succeed if given the tools, motivation, and encouragement to do their best. Garcia’s innovative teaching style demonstrates how technology is transforming the traditional learning environment and that, with appropriate training and some creative drive, teachers can transform the lives of their students through the use of new technologies.
-Peter L.

February 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter L.

After reading Julia Garcia's interview, it has reiterated the reasons why I love teaching and look forward to building more memories as a teacher, as well as impacting students’ lives. I agree with Ms. Garcia's view on creating a positive environment that is warm and welcoming. However, Ms. Garcia discusses having high expectations for each and every student, I do agree that a teacher should have high expectations for students, but I do not believe that this should be the same expectation for all students. All students learn differently and at a different paces and Ms. Garcia acknowledges this and it is crucial that all teachers keep this in mind in order for students’ individual success. Students must be provided with opportunities to show their strengths and learn in environments that are adapted to individual learning styles. Students today have grown up in a society that is very technologically advanced, therefore many students respond positively when technology is incorporated. I believe that incorporating technology into the classroom is an excellent way to keep students engaged and allows students with opportunities to actively participate in classroom lessons and instruction.
I agree with Peter L that technology is changing the learning environment. Teachers should attend appropriate training for effective ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. This along with creativity can change the entire learning process for many students.

March 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshleigh Fechtig

I think Julie Garcia's interview was very informative. Her passion for teaching is inspiring, especially to a new teacher such as myself. Through reading her insights, it is very clear to see that she wants all her students to succeed, and will help them reach their goal. I love how she integrates technology in her math class. Giving the students more oppurtunities for a more hands on interaction with the concepts being addressed. I like how she discussed technology as a source of differentation within the classroom. It allows the teacher to present a concept in different ways. She seems like a fabulous teacher, and I would love to adopt some of her ideas.
Diana Albert

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Albert

I think Julie Garcia's interview was very informative. Her passion for teaching is inspiring, especially to a new teacher such as myself. Through reading her insights, it is very clear to see that she wants all her students to succeed, and will help them reach their goal. I love how she integrates technology in her math class. Giving the students more oppurtunities for a more hands on interaction with the concepts being addressed. I like how she discussed technology as a source of differentation within the classroom. It allows the teacher to present a concept in different ways. She seems like a fabulous teacher, and I would love to adopt some of her ideas.
Diana Albert

May 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Albert

I enjoyed reading this interview about Julie Garcia. She is an extremely inspiring teacher and it is very clear in this interview how passionate about teaching she is and how much she strives to better her students' classroom experiences through implementing technology. I agree on her statement that technology both personalizes and individualizes the classroom. Also, learning through doing is such a valuable teaching method and by using technology, such as personal iPads, students are definitely learning through that way. Julie Garcia's five factors that are most important to student success are very true and so effective. As a new teacher, I am still discovering the most helpful and valuable ways to teach my students and reach out to them through my lessons. Engaging and challenging the students, and making sure they are learning in a safe, nurturing environment is so important as Julie Garcia stated. This article was very valuable to teachers and I took a lot away from it, especially about incorporating technology in my future classroom.

September 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen Turnowski

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