Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. My name is Liz, and I’m a bookworm-turned-techgeek. I am currently the Administrator of Educational Technology Integration for Waltham Public Schools, where I work with Digital Learning Teachers, Library Teachers, and Technicians to support Waltham Schools’ professional development, digital learning, and network infrastructure. In 2015, I completed my PhD at The University of Michigan in the Joint Program in English and Education, where I taught writing and ELA teacher methods courses. Before that, I was a middle and high school English teacher in rural Illinois and Indiana, where I taught English Language Arts and Speech Communications. During my time as a teacher, I earned my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University, where I taught first year writing and pre-service teacher courses on literacy in the content areas.
My dissertation research focused on the role of digital technologies and teacher social networks in secondary classrooms. Specifically, I examined how teachers’ social relationships inform their digital literacy learning and pedagogical development. Since completing my PhD, my focus has shifted to include how teacher professional development can best be designed to honor teachers’ professional needs and identities and to provide a space for pedagogical critique, challenge, and innovation.
My research combined quantitative social network analysis with qualitative interview, observation, and artifact analysis to closely examine how teachers’ interpersonal and institutional networks shape their pedagogical approaches to the integration of digital technologies. That funny-looking bunch of lines and dots at the top of my page is a representation of the social connections of teachers at my research site,
Borealis High School. While at BHS, I worked closely with four English teachers and sat in on professional development sessions, examining how ELA teachers discussed digital technologies and learned (or did not learn) from one another. The study argues for a more nuanced framework for understanding teachers’ digital pedagogies, and makes the argument that some current approaches to professional development may “miss the mark” for today’s networked 21st century teachers. Though I completed this research three years ago, it echoes through the professional development and work that I conduct every day as a K-12 educator.
A note on the title of this site: Have we, as a society, gone digital? In many ways, yes — many of us carry around smart phones, maintain our social media identities, and interact with colleagues electronically on a daily basis. However, it’s not merely our uses of these technologies that make us “digital citizens;” it is the ways in which these technologies shape — and are shaped by — the rhetorical purposes and tasks of our day-to-day. Today’s learning environments are faced with many challenges as students and teachers embark upon the never-ending process of “going digital,” of (re)defining a “new ethos” of literate practice (Lankshear and Knoebel, 2011). This new ethos challenges teachers to think about the digital literacies their students bring with them to the classroom; how these literacies can be shaped, challenged, and molded during instruction; and where students are headed as they leave our classrooms and enter an ever-more-digital world.
When I’m not pondering digital literacies, teaching, curriculum, and professional development, I’m either cooking something delicious in my kitchen, hanging out with my daughter (Finny), my husband (Kristoff), my dog (Gertrude), running around Boston (literally), enjoying time with friends, or reading a young adult novel — my favorite thing to do when I can find the time. In the fall, I might be watching an Illinois, Purdue, or Michigan football game. I bleed orange, blue, maize, gold, and black… I’m a Big Ten girl all around. Click around to learn more about me, my teaching, my research, and my passion for digital writing and teaching.