Member Spotlight

CoSN works with exceptional educators who advance the education technology field, demonstrate vision and innovation, and improve learning and teaching. These profiles and spotlights showcase the powerful and influential people in our community; we hope they will inspire you to keep creating positive change for students and school districts. The ed tech community is full of visionaries!

Suzan Brandt

Technology Coordinator

Mountain Brook School District, Mountain Brook, AL

 

Tell us about your role.

I am the Technology Coordinator at Mountain Brook Junior High School in Mountain Brook, Alabama, located south of Birmingham. We are a grade 7-9 school serving 1,180 students. All technology coordinators in Mountain Brook work together to form the district technology team.

How has the role of technology changed throughout your career?

I am celebrating my 20th year in education this year, which includes 14 years in educational technology. As the Internet has matured, teachers have obtained more flexibility and ownership of technology in the classroom. While the district has remained focused on leading teachers down a visionary path, teachers now have more autonomy to manage technology programs, files, and student access. Technology has become more “on-demand” and has allowed quick access for collaboration. Students and teachers are able to quickly search for information online on an as-needed basis, which has sped up the turnaround time for collecting information needed for projects.

In your view, how does technology impact teaching and learning?

Technology certainly allows for collaboration and real-time access to resources, providing authentic learning experiences that are student centered and managed. We strive in education to provide empowering devices and access for students. However, access to the information that is granted by digital devices does not diminish the purpose of educators. In fact, it makes the role of the educator more important as students learn to navigate new communication tools and resources as they are developed and made accessible. The bottom line is: emerging technology will always alter the course of learning. 

What is your biggest advice for school district technology leaders?

Provide, or permit, devices for teachers and students that will allow for flexibility while guaranteeing security. Focus on teacher professional development and education for school leaders and teachers that will reinforce Universal Design while integrating productivity tools and resources. Support students as they learn to navigate a digital world by establishing a community of learning that reinforces digital citizenship and education. Maintain strong professional ties with other technology leaders through organizations such as CoSN to stay informed of technology trends, policies, emerging technologies, and leadership support. 

Where do you envision education technology being in five years?

Devices are decreasing in price and increasing in functionality. Companion devices are becoming more practical as more programs and storage are becoming cloud based. Schools and school districts will be able to focus on providing a strong infrastructure for students as well as access to quality software packages that will empower student learning. As a result, students will have the ability to focus on taking ownership of their own learning. 


Past Member Spotlights

Milena Streen

Annamaria Schrimpf

Ann W. Linson

Matt Robinson

Frankie Jackson, CETL