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Education Consultant Interview

Interview with Tony Vincent, Learning and Technology Consultant

We recently had the great fortune to interview Tony Vincent, a self-employed Learning and Technology Consultant who works with K-12 teachers and students worldwide. Prior to becoming a consultant, Tony taught fifth grade, and he was a Technology Specialist for K-5 classrooms. He has eight years of teaching experience and seven years of consulting experience. Tony attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, earning a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Elementary Education. He has also instructed graduate courses at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

tony-vincentPlease describe what a typical day looks like for you.

The majority of my time is spent in my home office experimenting, playing, tweeting, blogging, and movie making, as I explore digital tools and how they can be used for teaching and learning. Every day I learn about new and better websites and apps. Classroom teachers don’t have time to investigate these tools, so I take the time to sift through them to decide what to share with other educators through my website, presentations, and workshops.

I usually fly to at least one school, workshop, or event per week. So that means I’m constantly communicating with clients about what the professional development will entail. I’m a one-man operation, so that means I book my own travel. Obviously, I spend a lot of time traveling. But the best part of my work is when I get to teach and learn from the educators in my workshops.

Your site, Learning in Hand, shares extensive resources for educators interested in mobile learning. Can you share any words of wisdom for teachers wishing to incorporate technology into their classrooms?

Educators who want to make the most of technology should take a peek into other technology-using teachers’ classrooms. You can learn a lot just by observing. You can learn even more by asking the students. Teachers should embrace the fact that students might master technology faster than they can.

Don’t wait for your school to provide professional development on technology. Do some web searches. Read blogs by other teachers. Join Twitter and follow techie educators. Watch YouTube videos. There are so many teachers sharing awesome things. Learning from others on the web continues to enhance my teaching practice every day. I’ve grown much by taking professional development into my own hands instead of waiting for someone to deliver it to me.

What aspects of your job are the most challenging and how do you overcome them?

It’s challenging to stay current in educational technology. As a consultant, I want the information I present to teachers to be fresh and relevant. Every day, there’s new and better websites and software for teaching and learning. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to keep up with it all.

I am very interested in personal productivity and how I can get more done in less time. I’ve invested lots of time investigating strategies and tools to help me be more productive. It’s certainly been time well spent. Now I find myself speaking to educators about personal productivity. Teachers have so much to do and so little time to do it, and I’m glad to help them out.

What do you most enjoy about being an educator?

I love to learn! Teachers are master learners and get to share their learning and how to learn with others. It’s a remarkable pleasure to reinforce that love of discovery with youngsters.

What advice can you give to recent graduates who are preparing to start a teaching career?

Try new things! Too many teachers teach the same year 25 times in a row. Not only is that boring, it doesn’t take advantage of new technologies and techniques for reaching students. I suggest putting yourself in your students’ shoes. If you wouldn’t want to sit through your lesson or complete what you’ve assigned, why would your students want to? And, I would say thank you. We need enthusiastic teachers and I’m glad you are dedicated to helping students learn, grow, and succeed.

We thank Tony for sharing his experience as both a classroom teacher and a consultant. Visit his blog, Learning in Hand, or connect with him via Twitter @tonyvincent, for more innovative insight into the field of education technology.

Learn about an educational technology degree.