A library media specialist leads with a purpose.
INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero
An award-winning, multi-degreed educator who has been in the educational field since 2002, Desiree Alexander, Ed.S., is the Regional Director of North Louisiana for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana. The founder and CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC, she consults with members of several schools/businesses and presents at conferences nationwide.
Desiree is lifetime certified in Louisiana in Secondary English Education, as a Reading Specialist, as a School Librarian, as an Educational Technology Facilitator, Educational Technology Leader and in Educational Leadership 1. She is certified in Texas as a Principal, in English Language Arts and Reading for grades 4-8 and grades 8-12, as a Reading Specialist for grades EC-12, and as a School Librarian. She holds multiple technology certifications, including IC3 certification, Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, Apple Teacher 2016, and a Microsoft Certified Educator.
She holds a Bachelor, a Master + 30, and an Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Louisiana State University. She holds a Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University. She holds a Master of Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Technology Leadership from Nicholls State University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.
She is the 2016 A+PEL Member of the Year, 2015 Librarian of the Year for Louisiana Librarian Association, 2014 Leader of the Year for Region 2 Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, and her recent campus’s 2015 Teacher of the Year in the Zachary Community School District. She was also the Director of Area 7 of the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educator’s Board of Directors.
Desiree earned a coveted spot on EdTech Digest’s Top 100 Influencers in EdTech list for her tireless work in education technology, and here she shares her insight into the work that she loves so much.
What prompted you to first get involved with edtech?
When I became a library media specialist, I began to learn more and more about technology. I liked being able to use it to make it more productive and I loved teaching others what I was learning and using. That was the beginning of my love of edtech.
What highlights from your past work inform your current approach?
My experience in my roles in education inform how I treat the people I work with in edtech. Because I was a teacher, I know the highs and lows when it comes to being an innovative instructor, so when I am teaching teachers, I try to connect them early on to see their “stage.”
Are they there because it is mandatory, and they just cannot handle one more thing?
Are they there because they are becoming converting to using more technology either for themselves or in the classroom?
Or are they already using technology and are looking to go deeper and want more?
I understand all three stages and am able to teach to each stage. Because I was an admin, I understand the mindset of trying to keep it all together while also trying to be competent in a field that is forever changing and updating. That allows me insight in how to help administrators as well.
You were named to the Top 100 Influencers in EdTech list – what does that mean to you? And, any interesting results because of it?
It meant the world to me because it came out of nowhere. When I apply for awards, I cross my fingers and hope I get them. If I don’t, I brush it off. If I do, I am happy. This honor came out of nowhere and I had no clue about it. I think it was the first time I felt people were paying attention to what I was doing—or at least trying to do. It was a nice validation and really meant a lot to me—and still does.
What are some of the top issues and challenges in education right now related to technology?
Digital equity is a big issue in edtech today. It has many levels in education. It can encompass the digital divide (access to technology), the second digital divide (competencies in technology), minorities being represented in edtech, and so much more.
What is the state of education today?
The state of education today is that it is stagnant. We have remained in this model for education for far too long. Education has always changed and modified with the times. But, I feel that everyone is trying to find the golden ticket to “fix” education and I do not think it exists. We are too different per area, per state to have one solution. We have to understand that we are in the day and age where we have to find the solution that works for our campus and our district and use it.
What is technology’s role in education?
Technology’s role in education is as a resource just like all of the other resources we use. This resource just happens to be awesome! Haha!
What words of wisdom do you have for startups and companies working in education?
Start small and think big! Get rid of your ego and start this educational company for the right reasons: to help educators and students.
What are some of the issues and challenges on horizon for edtech?
I think digital equity will continue to be an issue because our schools are so varied with the resources they are provided. This will not change until we as a society put value back in education and value on technology in education for all.
Victor Rivero is the Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest. He is co-author of The State of EdTech: The Minds Behind What’s Now and What’s Next, the widely-read annual report featuring notable numbers, inspiring highlights, and a closer look at the future of education, including the Top 100 Influencers in EdTech. Write to: [email protected]