Dr. Will Deyamport, Instructional Technology Specialist, Hattiesburg Public School District, Mississippi, and founder of The Dr. Will Show. The Dr. Will Show is a podcast dedicated to driving the conversation of what it means to go digital. Each episode features an educator at the forefront of teaching, coaching, and leadership.
I’ve known Dr. Will for several years and always reach out to him to learn more about different technology tools. I have been very fortunate to be on his show. Because of his extensive work with coaching and leadership, he just knows how to make his guests comfortable. I have several selfies at different conferences with Dr. Will so added one here. I really enjoyed our conversation and hope you will too.
Can you share about your background, your story, and your wife?
I kind of fell into Instructional Technology by divine intervention. I was actually Chief Social Strategist for a coaching company. I was making videos and coaching people when Eric Sheninger came to our state to an ISTE Affiliate Conference in 2013. Right before he did his keynote, he said that he has a friend here who is an expert in Google. He said my name so I did the Miss America wave to everybody. After his keynote, I talked to the tech director at Hattiesburg School District who then gave me a job.
My wife, Elvira, is a teacher of the gifted 2nd through 6th grades and uses technology in the classroom. She encourages them to have ownership of their learning. Some of her students don’t like that because they grew up with teachers spoon feeding them. She asks them to work it out and continues to tell them to have ownership of their learning. She presents at conferences as well and enjoys what she does. To learn more about my wife and The Deyamport Group, check out https://www.tdginformation.com/
Why are you so passionate about going on this journey to transform learning?
I am so passionate about transforming learning because of Twitter and at conferences. So many people are talking about 21st-century learning. and I hate that term with a passion because we are knee deep in the 21st century. The 21st century isn’t tomorrow, next week, or two years from now. It is now. We are talking about modern learning. When I look at the technology, I was able to bring the world to the students. For example, we are a rural district in Mississippi, but if you use Google Hangouts or Skype, you can bring in NASA, students, professors, and others from Africa or Brazil into your classroom. Students are being connected and learning in ways that, quite honestly, we never thought of 15 or 20 years ago. I love how students can take ownership of their learning and provide avenues to go deeper into their learning.
Also, I’m passionate about technology and how digital is transforming at a phenomenal rate outside of education. Our students need to have the types of skills, creativity, and passion to compete. I’ve seen Tom Murray speak in person. He mentioned, “Have you seen a Blockbuster lately?” They’re gone. That’s what I think about when I want to talk to my teachers. I tell them, “I want you to be transformative before the transformation is upon you and you have no choice.” I want teachers to take ownership and define their why. I want teachers to get excited about what they can do and not feel like it’s just another thing the principal tells them or another thing to do. I want them to wake up in the morning, be rejuvenated and understand how their teacher can be the best they can be with technology.
I know your job is Instructional Technology Specialist. Can you share your district, your responsibilities, and boast a little about what’s happening in your district since you started there in 2013?
We are still seeing some teachers that want the chalkboard back because that’s what they know and feel comfortable with. That’s also how they were taught to teach. But we are seeing those teachers that are letting go and allowing their students to drive their own learning.
I always bring this up in every interview I do. I talk about Mrs.Desshondra Walker, my general. When I talk about technology to teachers, she can come from behind me and say what needs to be said, and then they are onboard. I love what she does in the classroom. She puts her students in groups of five and tells them that they are going to teach each other a lesson. The students do it and use NearPod, Google apps, and Quizlet Live to teach other. Then she goes behind after that to see what’s going on and finds that it’s time for her to jump into drive this thing. She is able to get that quick feedback from students using these tools to see if they are understanding the concepts. Then if they are having problems, she can use NearPod and put in some new slides with the concepts they are having trouble with to reteach it. I love what she’s doing. Her kids are making videos as well. Other teachers are moving forward and using technology to make teaching and learning easier and more effective. When teachers walk up to me and say “I did this. Come to my class.” That makes those days worth it.
You are going to be the first to hear this, but we are going to start a podcast interviewing teachers about their practice.
You mention that you are a coach. Can you elaborate on that? Can you share any tips to encourage blended and deeper learning?
What I try to do is take time to sit back. Technology integration took time to grow. There were times they weren’t using the technology, and it was ticking me off. I would see them making a thousand copies a week. They would see me coming and say, “here he comes again.” If this initiative was going to succeed, I cannot drive it. They have to take ownership and define their why. I am here to coach and look at their strengths as well. So when I talked to teachers, I asked them “what do you want to do?” When I found a teacher that was good at direct instruction, I showed them Screencastify or Explain Everything so they would do what they do best with technology. We then could put those videos in Schoology to be used for guided practice, remediation, or for review. The bonus is that instead of a commercial video or Khan Academy, their students are getting them. This does not take away or change what they do but enhances it.
If teachers are strong at projects, then I asked them what can we do to help you. If they are strong at something else, I’m there for them. As a coach, I work with them to bring out the best of them with what they are already doing. Then everything started to take off and the pressure came off of me. My job and my spirit became lighter. It wasn’t me trying to push them. They were driving the train.
Can you share when and why you started the Dr. Will Show?
I started the show three years ago. The impetus for the show came from my experience as the Chief Social Strategist at TaleeUp and also to provide content in that space. I don’t like to write and blogging for me is just not something I enjoy doing much. I enjoy engaging people and saw podcasts on YouTube, so I thought why not do that. Every now and then I would be hit by inspiration and write a blog. I know that if you want to engage people, you need consistent content that your followers can rely on and look forward to seeing. So I wanted to revise the whole idea of a podcast. I also have been revising how I do the podcasts, my style and footing. I just recently reviewed some of my earlier podcasts and realized they weren’t very good. But now I’m happier with what I’m doing and hope they grow and expand further.
I had to sit back and find my groove on how much to say versus how much to let them speak. At first, it seemed robotic and went by so fast. You and Kathleen were the ones who asked for questions in advance and I learned from that. Once I started creating the questions up front, it allowed me the flexibility to be more conversational.
You connect the connected. Can you share how you use social media and how educators can connect on social media?
Twitter rocks! I’m a proponent because academically I’m an expert. I wrote my dissertation on teachers using a Twitter supported Personal Learning Network (PLN) for Professional Development. I did the research and conducted a study. For me personally, I love how individualizing your PLN and personalizing your professional development helps you build your tribe. You are only limited by your imagination. I follow a lot of people on Twitter who are Instructional and Technology Specialists, but I also follow teachers, people in business, coaches, writers and many others. Their information contributes to the work I do and I’m able to synthesize those ideas to use and share. It has been very rewarding for me. The downside is when you first get in you have to be able to network, and that takes time. If you’re not ready to put in the time, it can become frustrating.
I had people in my study where some teachers said that they put out a tweet and no one replied. I told them that no one knows them because they are new. I told them to tweet to someone specifically and use a hashtag. If you don’t have any followers, it is like throwing something into the woods and saying “can anyone help me?” There was no one around. They don’t know you are there so no one is going to respond to you.
Don’t get on Twitter to just get on Twitter. Find a specific WHY you’re there. It fit is just to learn more about Google apps, then start from there. It is all about the relationships, not the numbers of followers. Put in the work to engage to build the relationships. I try to present at conferences on it and talk about it on webinars and podcasts. I want teachers to become connected. We’re on Twitter. We get it. We forget that so many teachers are not on it. Part of my work is to get people connected and to get them to understand that being on Twitter it doesn’t matter your zip code, country, you can learn from anyone.
Make sure you follow Dr. Will @iamDrWill
Dr. Will Deyamport, III is a globally recognized Connected Educator and Connected Ed Consultant. Motivated by his passion for education and digital media, he has been able to leverage the use of social technologies in the classroom to enhance the learning experiences of people worldwide. Dr. Deyamport’s professional journey in digital learning first began in his teaching the educational applications of going digital as the Campus Outreach Coordinator for CAREEREALISMcampus.com. Later he became the Chief Social Strategist for Your Type Advantage, where his leading-edge expertise was used to build and manage a compelling and comprehensive social strategy and narrative for the continued growth and development of the company’s Ning and digital brand. Dr. Deyamport earned his Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University with a research focus in Digital Leadership and teachers using a Twitter-supported personal learning network (PLN) to individualize their professional development. Currently, Dr. Deyamport coaches and assists educators in the discovery and classroom implementation of an array of technologies such as GAFE, web tools, Schoology, etc. He is a huge proponent of creating engaging, collaborative and interactive learning experiences focused on the use of web technologies to aid in differentiated instruction and connecting students to a global community.
Dr. Deyamport has created The Dr. Will Show which is a podcast dedicated to informational dialogue and discussions with educators about a myriad of topics related to education. Most recently, he partnered with a dynamic group of amazing educators who organized the first EdCamp in Mississippi! He was a co-presenter at ISTE 2015 and a featured presenter at Making Connections Conference. Dr. Deyamport is a 2015 Schoology Ambassador and contributor to The New Social Learning (2nd Edition). He was the Co-keynote speaker at T.G.I.F., hosted by Mississippi University for Women. His recognition, achievements, and accomplishments are an illustration of countless hours of commitment to helping fellow educators have a lasting impact on future generations. His love of and dedication to a connected, imaginative and exciting educational experience will continue to serve as a driving force behind the social educational trailblazer simply and affectionately known as Dr. Will.
The Dr. Will Show @iamDrWill
The Deyamport Group @DeyamportGroup Website: https://www.tdginformation.com
Dr. Will Deyamport, HPSD Instructional Technologist, was recently featured in TechEdge Magazine for his efforts in promoting digital learning opportunities. It’s a great read and a really nice feature on the always insightful and tech-minded “Dr. Will.”
Click the picture below to read the article.