“Blended and flipped learning give students access to some of the best teaching, no matter where they live. Will that fix all the problems at at-risk campuses? No, but it’s a start in the right direction.” – Rachelle Wooten, USA
By definition, every Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert is a serious life-long learner, and MIE Expert Rachelle Wooten is no exception. But even though Wooten is certified to train on nearly every kind of educational technology and technology platform you can think of, she’s not impressed with technology for technology’s sake.
“I love how innovations in technology have made teaching more creative, dynamic and efficient — all while making learning experiences so engaging and authentic for students,” she says. “Ironically, I am not the kind of educator that gets excited and mesmerized by the latest technology gadget. I get giddy, though, when I find technology that helps make teaching and learning more fun and authentic. I don’t think learning has to be boring, it can be exciting and technology is one way to make it come to life in meaningful ways!”
Wooten, a former speech communication teacher and debate coach, is passionate about designing professional development that empowers, inspires and equips teachers. She’s even authored a teacher’s guide to podcasting.
Like all passionate educators, though, Wooten’s efforts are ultimately about the students — and she’s a passionate advocate for equal opportunity education.
“I think innovations like blended learning are paving the way for all students to have an equal opportunity to learn,” she tells us. “It doesn’t matter if they live in a rural, remote area or the inner city of a metropolitan area. Blended learning and online learning are changing the game.”
Here’s today’s Daily Edventure with Rachelle Wooten. Enjoy!
What inspired you to become an educator?
I had the privilege of having three amazing teachers. My second grade teacher encouraged me and helped me to see that I could do anything if I put my mind to it and worked hard. My choir teacher helped me to use my voice and to step out and take risks and be a leader. My instructional technology professor at Angelo State helped me realize teaching was the profession for me. She made designing inspiring lessons seem fun and doable.
After graduating, I only looked for teaching positions. I love teaching and now I love teaching both teachers and students. I love creating, collaborating and facilitating authentic lessons that help students learn core content and more.
What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?
I am most proud of the time I coordinated a mock interview day at M.B. Smiley High School. I was teaching students about job interviewing from a textbook but thought it could be much more meaningful if students were able to participate in a “practice” interview with a real adult that was neither me, nor their peers. I wanted to give them an experience that was like the “real-world.”
I invited guests, church members, community members and asked if the school could provide a meal for the guests and students. We made it a big deal. The students loved it and the interviewers loved it, too! They said they enjoyed the opportunity to have conversations with our students and could tell that they were well prepared.
Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
Quality teachers at our at-risk campuses; I think it’s sad that the best education is sometimes given to students who live in the best zip codes or have the money to afford a private education. Our students who come to schools with the least amount of knowledge and skills should have our best teachers. It’s one of the reasons I am becoming a huge fan of blended learning and flipped learning. These approaches give students access to some of the best teaching, no matter where they live. Will that fix all the problems at at-risk campuses? No, but it’s a start in the right direction.
About Rachelle Wooten
Digital Learning Specialist
Fort Bend ISD
Sugar Land, Texas, USA
- Birthplace: Midland, Texas
- Educational background: 17 years in education; 10 as a classroom teacher and 7 as a digital learning specialist.
- Website I check every day: Lamar University
- Favorite childhood memory: Going to the World’s Fair in New Orleans in 1984.
- Favorite book: The Bible
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Office Mix
- What is the best advice you have ever received? When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.