Digital Photography Teacher is an Apple Distinguished Educator
December 6, 2017 – Meridian High School’s digital photography teacher, and head freshmen football coach, Josh Kern has a special way of flipping the norms of education on their heads and asking students to work differently and more creatively to prove they know their stuff. This style of teaching earned him a place in the Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2017, where he will share innovative lessons and develop resources for use by other educators.
“The world moves at a fast pace and technology is the reason for the rate at which we get business done. Tech gives students the opportunity to enhance the interaction with their classmates and teachers by encouraging collaboration, creation and innovation,” Kern explained. “We do not know what the jobs of the future will look like, or where and how we will perform them. Integrating tech into our classrooms can get our students to believe in the impossible things and build a creative confidence where one can get innovative and ahead of the curve.”
Giving students the technical and analytical skillset they need for success in the working world begins with educating fellow teachers on the resources at their disposal. Meridian High School Principal Jill Lilienkamp shared beyond working with peers during weekly collaboration time, “He is also planning a professional development workshop for all of the staff on how to implement technology with purpose into their classroom.”
Professional development trainings are not new for Kern, for just last year he presented on changing traditional lessons for the more technical environment. In his presentation, Kern examined how taking a standard research paper project and asking students to create a documentary instead would encourage more research and develop a deeper understanding of the topic for the students involved.
“By rethinking our lessons, students can learn new ways of creative storytelling while taking into consideration the aesthetics of visually appealing shots, audio sound bites, and scores of music to affect mood,” Kern explained of the project. “The classroom does not need to abide by the old traditional formats even when we are teaching some of the oldest lessons in the book.”
Lilienkamp explained the heightened rigor of typical assignments in Kern’s classroom means students are developing meaningful connections with lessons.
“The last time I was in his classroom he was having students complete a philosophical debate about the forms of design and they had to back up their argument using academic and content vocabulary to prove their point,” Lilienkamp described. “Kern emphasized the process and praised students for reaching outside their comfort zone to think critically and be vulnerable in front of peers.”
According to Kern, “The students will take chances if the teacher leads the way, shows them how, and sets them free.”
View his Apple Distinguished Educator Class of 2017 application video on YouTube or by viewing below.