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 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.
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:
Remind Connected Educator
Google Certified Level 1 and 2 Educator
Google Certified Trainer
Nearpod Certified Educator
soon to be Kami Hero.
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%.