Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thoughts of a Keller ISD Genius

What does it mean to be a Keller ISD Genius? It means you are not just a student, but also a teacher. It is not only a great honor to have that tittle, but it is pretty extraordinary to see both sides of education as the student and the teacher.

It also gives students a whole new take on how we feel about teachers and how hard teaching is. The employees at the Genius Bar now have a better respect towards our staff -- not that we didn’t have respect for them before!

Personally, I now see my teachers in a different light… they are now my students. I am someone who knows a lot about computers. Having grown up around them, technology is very easy for me to understand. For some of our teachers, a computer wasn’t a common tool when they were my age. So, when we sit down with them, some teachers don’t understand how some features work. That is when I do my best to try and help them understand. It may take a while, but I love teaching them. It’s is a great feeling to know I have taught them a concept to help them further their career. This must be why teachers love to educate students. My mom, who has been a life-long educator, has always talked about the light bulb moment. Now, I understand and appreciate the concept.

As a KISD Genius, I had the opportunity to attend and present at the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) conference in Denver. The ISTE exhibit hall was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was huge with thousands of booths. But it wasn’t only the size of the convention that amazed me; it was what was at the booths themselves. Sure, not all of the booths had super cool products in them, but every booth I saw could and will benefit teaching through technology. It really is such a shame that every teacher in Keller ISD could not go. I think if every teacher could attend they would then have a better respect and knowledge of classroom technology. Some of the themes I noticed were virtual reality, three dimensional printing, and coding. VR at ISTE was all over the place. It’s pretty amazing to me to see VR being looked at through a technology standpoint considering it has only become popular within the last two years, and becoming more prevalent within the past nine months. It’s very innovative and bold to try and implement a technology originally designed for video games. I know that is how I really want to learn.

Coding was everywhere. If you think about it, kids like my 6-year-old cousin, Peyton, should be learning to code in first grade just like she is learning to read. I will start my senior year at New Directions High School this fall. I am ending my time in public education, however there are millions of new students that will just be beginning their time in K-12. I know that coding will be a very important part of all of their futures.

Presenting to educators from all over the globe at ISTE was amazing. There really is no other way to put it. I met a man who had a program for his district in Germany similar to the Genius Bar. We told him how we did everything, and he was very impressed. His school was much smaller than Keller ISD. I also met another man from Taiwan who coded Microsoft PowerPoint Online; he was amazed that students were teaching teachers how to use some of the programs he help to code, like Outlook. Also, everyone I talked to that works in a school district said that they wish they had a program like the Keller ISD Genius Bar. They applauded us for the great work that we are doing.

Being a Keller ISD Genius has really changed my perspective on teaching, learning and technology. I really appreciate Keller ISD believing in ME and trusting ME to be a representative of such an amazing place to learn. 

Landry Hart
Keller ISD Genius
Senior New Directions High School 

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