Andy Crozier

Andy Crozier proves that innovation takes place every day in classrooms across the world. Crozier, coordinator of Digital Learning Technology at Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Cedar Rapids, IA, was named an ISTE Emerging Leader for 2010. Grant Wood AEA offers Webinars supporting assistive technology, instructional and online resources for the classroom. Crozier is a Google Certified Teacher after attending the Google Teacher Academy to help educators get the most from innovative technologies. He's also an Apple Distinguished Educator, a relationship program focused on educational excellence and leadership.

T&L contributing editor Matt Bolch talked with Andy Crozier about innovative, affordable classroom technology.

What does a technology rich classroom look like these days?
Technology rich classrooms are classrooms that engage students in authentic learning using technology. These classrooms do not have walls; they go beyond the school building. They make learning accessible and engaging for students wherever and whenever they are learning.

What are the pros and cons of using Webinars for instructional support?

The past several years we have been doing a lot of one hour or less presentations about technology updates in education. This was disturbing as we found that many teachers were not retaining the information presented and little to none actually implemented the strategies. We have turned to Webinars as a way of teaching teachers new tools, strategies, and supports with educational technology. We are still able to provide schools with their ongoing updates but with Webinars, teachers can access the content anytime, anywhere. It also allows us to focus on coaching and engaging teachers in discussion about best practice and successful strategies in using technology in the classroom.

Where does free and open source software fit into a modern classroom?
Open source and free software are here to stay. Educational institutions need to embrace these tools and leverage them in their schools. Not all free software is superior to a professional, paid version of the software. In many cases though, especially with Web-based tools, the free/open source version is a perfect fit for students at the K-12 level. The more schools can save money on software, the more funding they have to purchase hardware which helps improve student access to technology.