Greetings from Top Teaching Advisor Christy
I am Christy Crawford and this is my 10th year of teaching in New York City. I’m teaching technology at P.S. 51 (The Bronx New School), a small progressive K-5 school of 280 students from all over the world. My technology class was recently awarded $10,000 from Microsoft for our movies about social issues. Previously, I taught 2nd and 3rd grade — two years in Harlem and four years in the Bronx. I have also served as an adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York (CUNY).
I am currently working on the education section of Martin L. Birnbaum’s film, Central Park: The People's Park and producing my first education documentary with cinematographer Robert DiMaio. Prior to teaching, I served as an award-winning television journalist and an associate producer. I have worked for several networks including NBC, ABC, and VH1 with extended stints for shows such as Dateline and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Driven by an unrelenting passion to make a powerful, positive change in our world, I left television after the death of my father, a dedicated life-long educator. I am now convinced that a dedicated educator in the traditional school setting can ignite and impact powerful changes that far exceed a network's fleeting reaction to world events.
Our students don’t need to wait for a network or studio to “green light” their dreams. Through sites like You Tube, Twitter, and Facebook, students can make their voices heard in real time. Blogs, animated shorts, Microsoft Photo Story, Windows Movie Maker, Skype, and a host of other tools allow students to explore occupations, careers, their dreams, and potential futures.
As a technology educator, my goal is to help both the student and teacher leverage technology as the “great equalizer!” With the implementation of techniques, tools, sites, and apps, they can explore the globe and provide a window to each other’s worlds.
For years, all of my classroom time was buried under papers and state mandates. Rarely did I have a free moment to read wordy manuals and play with “complicated” digital tools that might have enhanced my students’ learning experience. I was frightened and slow to adapt to new technology.
About four years ago, upon being offered the computer science position, I immersed myself in playing with, subscribing to, and using technology which I had avoided. After hours of immersion and play, I became more confident in my ability to navigate a digital world; I began to believe that I could try new technology and adapt. As a result of being forced to expand my digital horizons, I have been able to more fully engage my students and travel with them in becoming empowered digital citizens.
In order to lower the entry barrier for teachers adapting to the new technology, I created a program called “Day of Play.” Through the “Day of Play” at different points during the school year teachers are given the time, freedom, and push to explore technology in the classroom during a full-day workshop. Together we toss the manual, grab a mouse or “digital compass,” and explore a brave new world.
Liberation used to come with a driver’s license, the opportunity to work, or the voting ballot; but now liberation is obtained with access to the web. It is our duty to become familiar with these digital tools in order to act as our children’s technology tour guides — creating the rules and boundaries for the voyages our young explorers embark on daily.