Dana? No, Danna. Deanna? No, Danna. Donna? No, Danna.

My name is Danna.

Dan-na.  Like Danny, but with an “a” at the end.  I guess my parents wanted to be original and traditional when they named me.  My mom was named after her dad (Guy -> Guyanne), so I’m named after mine (Danny -> Danna).  The worst parts about having a unique name are that no one ever pronounces it correctly, and I have never owned any cute mugs or key-chains bearing my name.  The best part is growing up with a completely unique sense of self.  I could not, can not, be anyone but who I am.  Sure, I dreamed of being a “Jessica” – the super-preppy rich kid who had the world handed to her, or an “Autumn” – the earthy one who wore mala beads and smelled like patchouli, or even a “Jade” – the, get this, jaded and angsty girl who wore combat boots and black eyeliner.  But none of those fantasies lasted long because I would always come back to myself – Danna.

Okay, Dan-na, what the heck does this have to do with tech in the classroom?  Am I on the wrong site?  I clicked “Innovate Fellowship,” right?  Well, when I see myself now, I can trace the road that brought me here all the way back to my name and the fact that I decided if I am going to be the only Danna around, then anyone who hears or sees my name will know exactly who that “Danna” is – me!  With that in mind, as cliche as it is, I don’t allow myself to give anything but 110% at everything I do: teaching, learning, practicing yoga, even having babies (two girls + twins = chaos).

The Past

The results of all that self-awareness and ambition worked out well for me in school.  I graduated cum laude with a BA in English, earned a 4.0 GPA in my English MA program, and was selected as “Most Outstanding Graduate Student” in my Teaching MA program.  I continually attend conferences and PD opportunities whenever the funds and time allow because learning is the most important part of teaching.  My first day of teaching I put “We’re Going to Be Friends” by the White Stripes on the CD player and welcomed my students to what I hoped would be a wonderful year.

Luckily, that year was pretty great and most certainly full of learning (for me and my students).  From there, I continued to work toward improving my teaching strategies, which suddenly meant getting hip with all this “technology stuff.”  I soon became a pioneer in my building, being one of the first teachers to use a document camera, then iPods, then BYOD, then laptops, and finally Chromebooks.  When I was awarded a grant for a cart of Chromebooks for my classroom, it changed my world tremendously.  I went from linking resources on a mediocre web page to using Google Classroom, to having an entirely paperless classroom.   There were some bumps along the road of tech integration for me, but I worked and researched and experimented and tweaked until I understood the purpose of these new tools: collaboration, engagement, accessibility, differentiation, etc.  SAMR became a regular part of my “tech speak,” and I started recruiting tech buddies at school.  My two student teachers were the first to jump on the tech wagon and take off on their own journeys, and I couldn’t be more proud.


The Present

I soon became a leader in my school, and my list of certifications and leadership positions in technology grows as I type. I am proud to say that I am a:
ClassDojo Mentor
Remind Connected Educator
Innovate Fellow
Google Certified Level 1 and 2 Educator
Google Certified Trainer
Nearpod Certified Educator
soon to be Kami Hero.

The Future

So here I am, a Technology Innovate Fellow for Hardin County Schools.  I learn, I teach, and I lead every day.  When you think of the only Danna you know, think of those three roles.  I’m still trying my best to give 110%.

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