A new segment for this blog named  Q&A an Educator  is launched today. This series is patterned after LifeHackers’ How I Work series and is designed to generate stories to inspire other educators. The interview is performed through Google Docs wherein I get to collaborate with the interviewee for this blog post.

I am deeply honored to have Jennie Magiera as my first feature in this blog series. I met Jennie as our lead learner in the first Google Teacher Academy Southeast Asia 2014. As a Google Educator Group (GEG) in a chapter in Chicago, she shared some best practices during the first GEG Asia Pacific Leaders Summit as well.

Jennie Magiera is the Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a network of 32 Chicago Public Schools. She supports these schools in enhancing and increasing effective technology use – both instructionally and administratively. Jennie is a White House Champion for Change, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Teacher and CPS’ 2012 Tech Innovator of the Year. She is passionate about digital learning through 1:1 devices such as Chromebooks and iPads. She also loves to upgrade professional learning by co-founding PLAYDATE, Golden Apple’s Teachers for Tomorrow and other new conference concepts. You can follow Jennie on Twitter at @MsMagiera and you can also read her technology and education blog, Teaching Like It’s 2999.


School: Academy for Urban School Leadership (a network of 32 Chicago Public Schools)
Current Position: Digital Learning Coordinator
Country: United States

One word that describes your teaching style: Adventurous

What mobile devices and computers are you currently using?
Chromebooks, iPads, Android Tablets

Are there any apps for education you can’t stop talking about lately?
Google Drawings, Google “My Maps”, YouTube, Explain Everything, Classkick, Schoology

If you can tweak or add a function to your favorite app, what would it be?
I wish Explain Everything could be collaborative, like a Google Doc! It would be so fun to have students collaborate on those screencasts!

What’s your teacher table like?
I don’t have one – I am a nomad that travels from classroom to classroom with bags full of devices and ideas. My office is full of cardboard constructions, devices and tape — all makerspace materials my students are in the midst of working on.

What is the best time for you to write and generate ideas?
Any time! I work well on the plane – nothing else to do but sit and think.

Photo taken from Google Plus

Photo taken from Google Plus

What’s on your music playlist when you work?
Anything and everything from Johnny Cash to Christmas music to Taylor Swift.

What job would you have if you weren’t a teacher?
Honestly I have no idea!

How do you manage your to-do lists?
Google Calendar & Tasks, Google Keep and Google Inbox! I try and do things as soon as I think of them but if I don’t have time I throw it on my Google calendar via Tasks. If I get an email I can’t reply to right away, I send a quick response and snooze it in my Google Inbox until a place or time when I know I can respond more thoroughly.

What’s the best advice on teaching that you received?
Remember why you became a teacher in the first place – it’s a passion for you, not a job. When that stops being the case, rethink where you are and what you’re doing.

You are currently conducting Lesson Plan Jams in your area. Can you tell us something more about this activity?
Yes! We started doing Google Lesson Plan Jams with a high school here in Chicago called Northside College Prep to support their teachers in transforming some units they’ve been teaching. It’s an all-day event where teachers and lead learners come together to rethink units, retool them using technology and then try them out! There have been two in Chicago, and one in Austin with another planned soon!

Fostering Flight is about how teachers can guide their students in following their dreams. As an educator, how do you prepare your students for the future?
I give them the time and space to explore and make meaning of difficult problems on their own. Most importantly, I have learned to let them fail and focus on the learning from that failure perhaps even more so than their initial attempt. By building their ability to be resilient, innovate, dream and create, they will be better prepared for the future – whatever that may be.

Give an educator’s name: I would like to see ______ answer these same questions.
Jason Markey