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Upper St. Clair teacher lauded for innovative use of technology

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 11:21 p.m.
 

In his second year of teaching social studies at Fort Couch Middle School, Bradley Wilson learned how to add digital animation to his classroom presentations and produce digitized lessons for sick students.

Five years later, he and three colleagues from the Upper St. Clair School District are letting their students study digitized lessons on district-provided iPads at home.

“If you use technology well, you can meet each student at their level,” Wilson, 29, of Upper St. Clair, said on Wednesday.

The National School Boards Association's Technology Leadership Network rewarded his efforts by naming him one of “20 to Watch” education technology leaders from among more than 100 nominees around the country. A group of previous winners screens the nominees and selects the winners.

“It's not just technology for the sake of technology, but how it's being used to improve the learning environment,” said Ann Flynn, the association's director of education technology. “It's easy to go out and be the whiz kid. It's another thing to be the individual who can bring colleagues up to speed.”

Wilson was a student at Fort Couch and graduated from Upper St. Clair High School in 2002. He earned a degree in secondary education from Slippery Rock University and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University. He's working on a doctorate in instructional technology and leadership from Duquesne University. He and his wife, Kristen, have three children: Nolan, 5, Victor, 3, and Brielle, 18 months.

Joseph DeMar, principal of Fort Couch, said Wilson sleeps four or five hours a night. He stays up late preparing lessons, answering students' questions on the Internet and working on his doctorate.

“He's a tireless worker,” DeMar said.

In addition to teaching, Wilson is a curriculum leader. He helps train other teachers to use iPads and Google apps so students can learn better.

Upper St. Clair is considering spreading students' use of iPads to other classrooms in the middle schools.

“Today, the technology tools that teachers have are very powerful, but it takes a lot of hard work to learn how to use the effectiveness of devices like iPads,” said Patrick T. O'Toole, superintendent of Upper St. Clair. “Mr. Wilson has been at the leading edge of technology.”

Wilson gives students difficult topics to consider such as gun control and household budgeting.

“He never tells us we're wrong about something that's controversial,” said seventh-grader Dylan Mira, 12, of Upper St. Clair. “I like that.”

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


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