DEN Community Member of the Week: Marita Diffenbaugh

Marita is a K-12 Instructional Technology Manager at Boise School District in Idaho. She has been using Discovery Education for 10 years. She shared “Most of my experience is using this in the classroom with my students. Having students in the content and productivity space with me was a game changer for understanding the power and need to involve students in the content and delivery of their academic learning goals. Find the Discovery Education Network was something that cracked open my world! I found other teachers that were asking the same questions or challenging me with different ones. I was reminded of what being a learner truly is: experimenting, finding success, mastering skills, failing, sharing, creating and presenting by collaborating with many other teachers and students through the DEN!”

MD QuoteHow do you start your day?
With prayer! Being a teacher, coach, friend, listener, producer, learner is hard work and it is such a responsibility. I try to make every day count by finding something/someone to be thankful for, I look for someone to encourage, I am mindful about my surrounding and I search for something that makes me have a sense of awe or wonder! I recognize that each day is another opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone else.

Why did you become a teacher?Photo on 7-16-15 at 4.51 PM #3.jpg
I wanted to inspire others in the way that my most memorable 6th teacher, Miss Williams did for me. She helped me connect with others through creative story writing and calligraphy. She took time to get to know me, as a person, and the awesome thing was that the learning/skills followed quickly! It is my desire to be a learner’s “greatest fan” during the moments when they are about to give up. I love seeing them turn the corner, start another chapter and mostly just try again. Teachers don’t give up and say “things are just that way” if something/someone is broken. They take the pieces and put them together with love, care and support of a team…this is when the beauty of life really shows!

What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
SOS Strategies that have gone video! These are brilliant and offer teachers ready to go practices to try with their students! Content, Processes and Tools are all included in one short page, too!
Board Builder has been a real hit this year! Students enjoy having an online space to curate, create and share their work. I love that you can upload and link your own created files and docs!2015-08-11_12-51-13

What is a ritual you have in your classroom?
Humor is a great habit that helps when working with teacher or student learners!
How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?
Represented Idaho in the Fifty States Initiative – EdSurge
Write Blogs for Activate to Learn: Digital Learning Tips for Students & Parents
Collaborate with a district leadership team to provide job-embedded learning opportunities for schools in the Boise School District
Present at Parent Nights on the topics of Technology Integration Across the Content Areas and Digital Citizenship
Learn and grow each day with an ever growing Professional Learning Network that extends across our district, region, country and world.
Support leadership in matching resources/processes with content learning objectives – Create processes to support ( Google Apps for Education and Having an Online Presence through Learning Management Systems are a couple of recent projects)

IMG_6485.JPGWhat advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?
Bringing digital media into the classroom helps to bridge learning between the classroom and home (school and the real world). If we are truly preparing our students to be contributing and respectful citizens, shying away from integrating technology isn’t an option. Find support! Look for others that are trying new things in the classroom with technology tools and choose just one lesson or tool to start with.

What advice do you have for first year teachers?
Make friends with many other educators and always remember why you decided to join the best profession in the world!

What other organizations/groups are you a part of?
Discovery Education Leadership Council
iCivics Idaho Teacher Council
#EdCampIdaho Founder/Organizer
#IDedchat -Twitter and Voxer Group
School Makerspaces

What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
I had a conversation with an awesome DEN mentor about talents, passion and gifts that was a pivotal moment for me. It was a spark! From this conversation, I have never gone back to just going through the motions of doing a lesson plan, a training session or having a conversation. I am reminded on the importance of being present and helping others see the true treasure that they are.

When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?IMG_6371.JPG
Spending time hiking, fishing and playing in the mountains or at the ocean. I love a good long road trip with friends and family!

What is your favorite kind of donut?
Sprinkles and yes, with pink or purple frosting!

How can others connect with you?
@MDiffenbaugh (Twitter)

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