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ASU educator honored for innovative teaching methods

Christopher Smudde
September 12, 2014

Christopher Smudde is pushing the envelope when it comes to using technology in the classroom, and it’s not going unnoticed. The clinical instructor in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College was recognized for his efforts with the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Initial Teacher Preparation award from the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA).

This is the first year the association, which aims to increase student achievement through technology, has recognized pre-service faculty in its annual Innovation Awards, making Smudde the inaugural recipient of this honor. He was presented with the award by AzTEA board members at a Teachers College faculty meeting in August 2014.

“Chris has embraced the idea of 21st century teaching and learning, and understands how technology is used effectively to facilitate learning,” said LeeAnn Lindsey, Teachers College technology infusion and professional development coordinator and member of the AzTEA board. “Over the past few years, he has transformed the way he teaches his students – teacher candidates – so that they are prepared to integrate technology into their future high school classrooms.”

During his two years at ASU, Smudde has taught several courses, including SED 464, “Middle School Curriculum and Organization,” which he transformed into an innovative course where students learn to use Smart Boards to present lessons, create digital portfolios using Weebly, and interact with students through Edmodo.

Additionally, Smudde introduces various technology tools in his classes that can be utilized in K-12 education. This includes Poll Everywhere, a polling app that allows participants to respond to questions through text, Twitter or Internet browsers in real time; Wikispaces, a social writing platform for education; and QR Codes, a type of barcode that may be scanned to view online-based information.

Smudde not only introduces these technologies to his students, but he also sets the expectation that they incorporate them into their lesson plans. He said his goal is to encourage students to include technology in the classroom for reasons more than teacher convenience, and also to infuse technology into lessons to “truly enhance our students’ learning.”

While Smudde is adept at presenting new technology practices to future educators, he is constantly working to increase his own knowledge and discover new methods of effective technology infusion for the classroom.

“I personally try to learn as much as I can on my own,” he said. “I search through my iPad, TED Books and other technology resources to identify new technologies to introduce to my students. Additionally, I’m a friend to some amazing teachers, so I seek out what great resources they are using in their classrooms.”

Smudde added he continually collaborates with other Teachers College faculty to stay on top of the latest educational technology trends.

“I strive to be the best instructor I can possibly be,” he said. “Inspiration from others helps me raise the bar for myself.”

Written by Cassandra Kellogg, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

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