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Spring on the York College campus

Meet Josh DeSantis, DEd

By Colleen Karl
"I have found the more you know about the world, and the people in it, the more successful you can be at connecting what you teach to what your students care about."
Josh DeSantis sits on desks in classroom.

What area of education do you specialize in and what about the field most interests you?

As a professor, I primarily teach, research, and write about educational technology, social studies education, and school curriculum. That said, I have always had trouble “ staying in my lane” and I love to learn about science, literature, politics, and music as well.
I am basically interested in everything.
I have found the more you know about the world, and the people in it, the more successful you can be at connecting what you teach to what your students care about. This connection is an essential precondition for learning. Every book I read, podcast I listen to, or conference I attend helps me be a better teacher.

What drew you to higher education in the field of “teaching teachers?”

I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was in seventh grade. Two factors contributed to my decision to become a professor. First, I continued to pursue my own education by earning my doctorate while serving as a classroom teacher. Second, I was given opportunities to help my colleagues as a teacher-leader and by leading professional development. These experiences opened a window into the discipline of teacher-education to me. When I finished my doctorate, I decided to use what I learned to help prepare future teachers for the classroom.

How would you say technology in the classroom enhances learning and benefits students?

Some educators can be great with just an overhead projector. Some teachers can use a dozen tools, but cannot connect with their students. The best teachers, however, tailor their approach for each student and learning situation. To do this, teachers need to be skilled using a variety of different technologies and reflective in how and when they deploy them.

In your experience, how has the field of education changed over time and how have you changed your curriculum/approach to teaching with these changes?

The rapid pace of change brought on by technology and innovation presents a real challenge for schools. I handwrote my first report cards when I started teaching in 2003. Much has changed since then. Great teachers have always challenged themselves to grow and improve throughout their careers. The ability to remain open-minded and adaptable has become essential for teachers and it is something I try to help my students develop.

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