York College Graduate Takes the Classroom Experience to the Next Level with EdTech
Brianna Weaver M.Ed. ’21 has long had a passion to enhance the learning of all students as she helps prepare them for the real world.
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, Brianna Weaver graduated with her Master of Education in Educational Technology (M.Ed.) at York College of Pennsylvania. A high percentage of jobs in the future will involve technology, Weaver says. She strongly believes in the importance of a one-to-one device-to-student ratio.
Weaver is a third-grade teacher at Conewago Elementary School in Northeastern School District in York County. When she enrolled in the M.Ed. program, she had no idea that a pandemic was about to change everything. Her classroom went virtual and the lessons she learned at York College were put to the test.
Always a Plan B
“The program has helped me prepare with tools in my back pocket to help kids have as good of an experience virtually as they would if they were in-person,” she says. Throughout her experience, her professors offered encouragement, reminding her that not only could she do it, but that she could teach others to do it as well.
Being a teacher, both virtually and in-person, while pursuing an M.Ed. in education technology had its fair share of struggles. A lack of resources and constantly changing digital tools kept Weaver on her toes. Features that she trained on one day disappeared behind a paywall the next. There was no end to the amazing technology resources available, but there was a limit to her funds. Weaver learned to always have a plan B and C.
“I think it’s beneficial for my students to see that it’s okay if things don’t work out for Ms. Weaver this time,” she says. “We’re going to roll with it—keep at it.”
A Blended Approach to Learning
Weaver selected York College for her master’s degree because she wanted a program that offered in-person instruction. She wanted to have a connection with her peers and to meet people with similar passions. She chose York College’s blended approach, taking the majority of her courses virtually and then meeting in-person a few times a semester.
Even when classes went fully virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, Weaver managed to form valuable connections with her fellow graduate students and her professors.
“My experience was second to none,” she says. “The class sizes are small, and the staff and professors are in the field doing what you’re doing on a daily basis.”
Weaver earned her master’s degree in spring 2021, but she’ll be returning to York College for a second certification, in Educational Leadership, in the fall of 2022.
“Education technology is not going anywhere,” she says. “If anything, it’s going to play more of a role going forward.”
Whatever the future holds, Weaver isn’t afraid to try new things if it means a better learning experience for her students. With her students back to full-time in-person learning this year, her use of technology in the classroom hasn’t slowed. If anything, she’s using it more than ever.
Staying in touch with the York College faculty and keeping herself in tune with technology trends are helping Weaver remain relevant in a fast-changing world.