Education professor’s passion for technology leads to seat on state committee

Assistant Professor Kiersten Greene has been appointed to a new State Education Department committee that was formed to help the next generation of teachers and students make efficient use of modern educational technologies.

The Educational Technology Advisory Committee (ETAC) is made up of stakeholders from across the educational spectrum – P-20 teachers, administrators, parents, technology specialists and higher education faculty.

Greene was selected to be one of 27 ETAC representatives, from among a pool of nearly 500 applicants.

It is a golden opportunity for her to meaningfully influence the direction of state education policy, and one she’s prepared for over the course of a nearly 20 year career focusing on the intersection of education and technology.

“I was the kid who grew up taking the remote apart, trying to figure out the most advanced functions you could have with a Commodore 64,” Greene said. “I started teaching in 1999, and at that time technology was like an add-on. I feel as if I’ve been eating, sleeping, and drinking these ideas since then.”

Greene pointed out that New York State, like many other regions around the globe, is at a significant inflection point when it comes to using technology in the classroom. The digital resources available to help children learn have become incredibly powerful; but, they represent major investments for school districts, not only in terms of their financial cost, but also in the hours of training teachers will need to undergo in order to learn how to use them to their full potential.

As local districts and state government try to respond to this situation by allocating resources to technology acquisition and teacher training, Greene has positioned herself on the front lines.

“My background is in policy – my doctorate is in urban education with a focus in educational policy, so I’m often thinking about how teachers experience policy, and the gap between policy as it exists on paper, however well intended, and the reality of how teachers experience it in the classroom,” Greene said. “I’m interested in shifting the conversation: Why are we using this technology? How are we using it in the classroom? And what are the baseline skills that educators need to be efficient and effective today?”

She organized the first annual SUNY Smart Schools Summit last fall, a conference designed to help teachers and administrators discover, obtain and learn to use the best hardware and software to support their students. The Summit will return to New Paltz on Oct. 10, 2017.

Greene also strives to ensure that education students at New Paltz are learning about the latest and greatest tech in her courses.

“Every student who comes through my classes on these subjects comes out able to blog, able to understand the back-end of digital text, and able to create videos,” she said. “I’ve had students come back and say, ‘I got the job because I was able to say in the interview that I have a website.’ I really think we are in a position to lead the edtech conversation in the region if we can more deeply embed those skills in our curricula.”

Learn more about the School of Education online.