The Inspiring Educator
Brad Wilson is an innovative educator who inspires students and teachers alike to do great things inside and outside of the classroom. He holds degrees in Elementary Education, Physical Education, and Educational Technology. He relates to learners of all ages to inspire them to dream, write, learn, and teach while showing them how to effectively use technology in their classrooms.
Background and EducationBrad Wilson has always been involved in education. He grew up as the son of two teachers and then worked with an outreach group in Kalamazoo, MI that worked with young people. All of this led him to the field of education. Brad received his Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and taught fourth grade in southwestern Michigan for five years. He began to develop an interest in helping others use technology as he had his students use technology in the classroom. He then decided to go back to Western Michigan University and pursue a degree in Educational Technology. After receiving his degree in Educational Technology, Brad worked as an Educational Technology Consultant and supported 17 districts as part of a county level service agency in Michigan. This was a great experience for him. He then moved into his current position working with Oakland Schools as a Technology Integration Specialist, working directly with Novi Community School District.
The Inspiring EducatorBrad is a firm believer that education should be active and engaging. He said that when he was teaching in southwest Michigan, he was always looking for ways to integrate technology into his classroom. He enjoyed seeing his students learn how to use the technology and seeing them become excited about learning and actively engaged in the learning process. Brad stated, “I dream of a day when I can walk into any school and see interesting, engaging and fun learning happening in every single classroom. Eventful learning is the norm, not the exception.” He was always looking for ways to engage students. He worked with other teachers to create projects that students could work on that would involve more than one content area and often found ways to incorporate his lessons into the arts and technology.
The CoachAfter watching his students learn and engage in new technology, he grew a passion for helping educators learn how to effectively use new technology in their classrooms. I asked him a couple of different times throughout my interview with him how he relates to teachers and helps them be effective even sometimes when they are resistant to change. Brad’s answer to that question was almost the same every single time the question came back to him. He stated that working with teachers is a lot like working with our students. We need to find their learning styles and make it engaging for the teacher with small success along the way in to allow the teacher to fully embrace the new technology being used. He said it is also about finding the teacher’s strengths and using those strengths to solidify confidence in the technology. After speaking with Brad about his role as a technology coach and integration specialist, I can see that he has a deep passion for helping educators find new ways to make learning engaging and active for their students. He is definitely an inspiring educator and coach.
The PresenterBrad has presented to educators in several different settings and is very effective in his presentations. I asked him for some “pointers” in conducting a successful professional development workshop for teachers. He had several suggestions. Here are just a few things that he suggested.
- When possible, know your audience in advance.
- Teachers are busy and have many things on their plates already. Set clear objectives at the beginning of the session so everything is laid out for them ahead of time to ensure clear pathways to success. Also, always plan alternatives just in case there are alternate questions.
- Teachers are active learners and learn by doing. Give them some collaboration time to work together during the workshop by using the “I do, We do, You do” concept.
- Picture yourself as an adult learner and your colleagues who are coming into the presentation and really identify their needs.