What if you wanted to hire some new technology integrationists? What would you look for? At Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, we placed an emphasis on finding folks who already were doing incredible work with students and teachers. If you want amazing things to occur in your organization, find people who already are doing that stuff, right?

Some of the emphases in our position announcement were a) technology infusion for the purpose of enabling cognitive complexity and student agency, b) innovation and risk-taking, and c) demonstrated success with students and teachers. In order to get at the latter, we asked for 5 URLs of personal, student, and/or educator work products and a 3- to 6-minute online video, both of which should illustrate their amazingness.

I can’t describe how helpful the URL and video components of the applications were. They allowed us to very quickly and easily see who was (and wasn’t) doing great things. Plus they were just fun! Below is the first portion of one of the videos. Is it possible to watch that and not be excited?!

In our interviews we asked questions like:

  • What gets you up in the morning? What burns a fire in your belly?
  • What are three concrete examples of how you have personally transformed education?
  • What are you going to do for us over the next year that is awesome? How will we know at the end of the year if you were amazing?

As a result of this process, we’ve got four phenomenal new hires for next year. I’m excited to get them connected with our other incredible staff!

  • Mike Anderson – elementary teacher and STEM co-coordinator for Sibley-Ocheyedan CSD; has been delving deep into iPads and STEM-focused, inquiry-based learning; a great resource for robotics, iMovie, and GarageBand; does amazing video work
  • Julie Graber – technology and learning consultant for AEA 267; Authentic Intellectual Work, Instructional Practices Inventory, and TPACK guru; 1:1 facilitator; knows a ton about aligning the Iowa Core, Characteristics of Effective Instruction, and ISTE’s Essential Conditions
  • Erin Olson – high school English teacher for Sioux Central CSD; classroom was featured in The New York Times; KICD Teacher of the Year; Bammy Secondary Teacher of the Year Award nominee; doing powerful work around enabling student voice through blogging, video, and service learning literacy projects; active in Iowa Communities of Practice and Innovation
  • Leslie Pralle Keehn – social studies teacher and PD coordinator for Northeast Hamilton CSD; Iowa Social Studies Teacher of the Year; national C-SPAN Fellow; piloting the Big History Project; wide-ranging experience with 1:1, iPads, and social media; active in Iowa Communities of Practice and Innovation

Follow ’em on Twitter, folks, and stay tuned for more information. We’re going to (continue to) do amazing things!