Jonathan Redeker, K-12 technology coordinator for the Goshen Central School District, was recently awarded the Making IT Happen Award at the New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education (NYSCATE) Conference.
The Making IT Happen Award honors outstanding educators and leaders who are committed to transforming education through innovative technology integration. This internationally recognized program identifies visionaries around the world who cultivate connected, empowered learners in all schools.
Redeker, who also teaches social studies at Goshen High School, has been an integral part of the district’s approach to 21st century learning. Since 2013-14, he’s worked closely with administrators, department heads and faculty members to introduce Google Classroom/G Suite as the district’s online learning management system. Google Classroom and G Suite allows teachers to easily share class assignments, announcements and other important items with their students, while students utilize their G Suite account for instant access and sharing ability with teachers and classmates.
In addition, Redeker facilitated trainings to help parents familiarize themselves with Google Classroom and their child’s G Suite account; helped lead the district’s digital citizenship initiative to ensure students use technology responsibly; and readily offers professional development opportunities as well as support to his colleagues. Redeker also volunteers as co-chair of NYSCATE’s social media channels.
“As educators, we need to move from ‘best practices’ to next practices,” said Redeker. “We need to inspire kids to think differently by teaching in a way that actively engages and empowers them.”
This year, Redeker and his colleague, Marie Jane Panzer, incorporated the concept of flexible seating into their shared classroom. Student desks were replaced with shared tables, couches and arm chairs with no seating assignments, allowing students to effectively communicate with their classmates, keeping them focused and engaged.
“The world is changing and educators need to rethink how we teach in order to connect with the modern student,” he said. “We often talk about teaching in order to prepare students for the future – for college and careers. But why not teach for today? Let’s inspire student passion. Students won’t learn if they aren’t interested in what they’re learning.”
“Jon is always willing to support his colleagues and empower us when we are willing to update our approaches to 21st century learning,” said Panzer. “One of the many things he taught me was that change can start at any time and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be implemented. It revolutionized my classroom. Our district is so fortunate to have him and his vision.”
There can be some negative associations with technology, mainly due to instances of online bullying and the effects of too much screen time, but Redeker wants to help people move away from the concept that technology is “bad” and show how making connections with technology can help our students to do bigger and better things.
“Educational technology allows students to see and experience people from all over the world, with different backgrounds, political beliefs and cultures,” he said. “It allows them to connect and talk to real people, which can help build empathy and compassion.”
In the end, it’s all about what you do with technology – how educators use it to teach and how students use it to learn.
“I tell my students that they need to move from being consumers to creators,” said Redeker. “Don’t just ‘consume’ technology, but use it to create and help change the world.”
About the Making It Happen Award
Redeker and two other educators were presented his award by Dr. Amy Perry-DelCorvo, CEO/Executive Director of NYSCATE.
“This award celebrates something that’s very important – those innovators who demonstrate extraordinary commitment, leadership, courage and persistence in improving learning opportunities for students,” said Dr. Perry-DelCorvo. “These often are the people who are doing so many impressive things that they don’t fit in to a typical award category and rarely receive the recognition they deserve.”
Winners received an exclusive Making IT Happen jacket, an award certificate, a new lapel pin, a one-year International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) membership, recognition within ISTE, and an invitation to the awards celebration at the ISTE conference. ISTE and its affiliates have presented this award to more than 600 leaders since the program began in 1995.
Read Dr. Amy Perry DelCorvo’s statement about Making IT Happen award winner Jonathan Redeker
Our second winner is a maverick on so many different levels. He has assembled a strong group of ambassadors to help spread the NYSCATE Ed. Tech. message through countless social media communities. Serving as the Education Technology Specialist of Goshen Central School district, Jonathan is truly Making IT Happen! With a focus on personal health and balance, Jon’s passion is contagious.