PBS LearningMedia recently announced that 100 educators from across the country have been selected for the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program. Among these educators is Connecticut’s own Robert Pennington, a social studies teacher at Roton Middle School in Norwalk.
PBS LearningMedia is PBS’s on-demand digital media service offering over 100,000 digital resources for educators. Its Digital Innovators program, now in its third year, recognizes tech-savvy K-12 educators who are serving as leaders in the education-technology space and incorporating digital media in classrooms.
The Digital Innovators will receive year-long professional-development opportunities, such as virtual trainings, access to premium and exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia Custom service, invitations to special events and access to a free PBS TeacherLine professional-development course. They will also receive ongoing support in their communities from their local PBS member stations.
The top 30 applicants for the Digital Innovators program were selected to serve as program leads. These applicants include Pennington. He and the other program leads will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Philadelphia for the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Summit and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in June. They will also each receive a Samsung Galaxy® tablet to help continue their use of technology in the classroom.
At Roton Middle School, Pennington works in a number of ways to integrate technology into the learning process, and to share his knowledge with other educators. He runs a program called “Tech Tuesdays,” which provides digital resources and information to other staff members. Each week a different digital tool is discussed that can be implemented in class. Even more ideas are shared using Google Classroom.
Additionally, as Lead Tech Coach in his district, Pennington has led many training sessions on integrating technology to help personalize the learning experience for all students. He also shares ideas with other educators throughout the nation through various social media forums, at conferences and via webinars, as well as on his blog, “Making History and Technology Come Alive.”
Pennington considers himself a “lifelong learner” who is “always looking for ways to improve as an educator.” His selection as a Lead Digital Innovator – which he called “quite an honor” – will help enable him to learn even more new and innovative strategies. He explained that this will provide him “with the opportunity to not only help myself grow as an educator, but also to help my district and PLN (personal learning network) grow.”
“In the end, our students deserve the best educators possible, and being part of such an amazing learning experience will help me be a better teacher for my students,” he stated. “It is imperative we are providing students with the tools to survive in an ever-changing world. We need to prepare students for their futures, not our past.”
The Connecticut Public congratulates Pennington on this achievement and on his work to improve the learning experience for students everywhere through the use of technology and innovation.