The PTA newsletter, “PS 150Q Spotlight,” features an edited version of Mr. Espinosa’s interview. Read it’s entirety here:
“Mr. Espinosa, Technology Teacher
How long have you been at PS 150?:
I have been part of the PS150Q School community since 2008-2009 school year. Since my initiation at PS150Q as a long term Substitute Teacher, I enjoyed working with the PS150Q staff and teaching the diverse students of Sunnyside so much I knew that this was the school I wanted to teach in and I never left. Eventually I was hired as an ICT coverage teacher and later became the schools Technology Teacher.
Where did you work before PS 150?
Prior to working at PS150Q as a Substitute Teacher, I worked as a Specialty Teacher in the Computer Lab at a District 75 school in the Bronx and a Math Custer Teacher at a District 75 school in the Bronx as well. I enjoyed my time there and that is how I got interested in both Special Education and Technology.
What are some things that parents might not know about the technology program at PS 150?
My Technology program is heavily based on preparing our students for 21st century skills and I try to use resources that can be free for parents and students to use at home. I have developed my Technology Class Website as way to teach inside the Computer Lab and teach away from the classroom. I also have a YouTube Channel that is geared to my 6th Grade students so they can view lessons at their own pace at home.
What are some ways parents can work with students at home to teach them about technology (including using games or apps on smart phones if there is no computer at home)?
I think parents need to explain that technology is basically any tool used to help people to do work easier and faster. Computer and Internet technology is a great tool when combined together. YouTube and Vimeo have a vast collection of child appropriate videos on many subjects especially technology integration and tutorials on how to use technology appropriately.
What are some ways parents can use technology to help students with academics (ie reading, math, writing?)?
I think that technology is a great tool to engage children into immersing themselves into self-motivated learning. Children are curious by nature and want to explore and learn new things especially fun things. Technology makes almost everything fun. My suggestion to parents is to let their children use the computer, tablet or smart phone almost every day. The key here is those parents obviously need to monitor their child’s usage but most importantly to guide them in how they use it.
For example have them search up interesting facts about any topic that might have relation to what they have learned in science or social studies class that day. A parent can ask their child how can we make a delicious dinner this weekend? Have your child look up recipes. Another one is where could we go that is fun and educationally this weekend? Have them look up museums of possible interest.
A child learning how to research on the Internet is the beginning; soon they will notice I can find out facts, information about anything that comes to my mind. That mindset is important because as they get older they will develop the skills to research, investigate for answers to questions they may have. For those parents that are hesitant about technology and the Internet, they need to understand that everything on the Internet is mostly presented visually and almost all of the time, the information is expressed by text and reinforced by images. So children are constantly reading. And exposing your child to reading about anything is always good. They are developing reading skills. Most websites unless geared specifically to children are at a normal adult reading level. So if your child is online they are exposed to higher reading levels almost all of the time.
For parents that might want something that is more structured or disciplined I can suggest visiting the Khan Academy website. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. I personally use it regularly and currently trying to see how I can implement it into my Technology Curriculum.
The key is to guide your child and push them into the direction that you want them to go to. Especially when it comes to learning outside of the classroom.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my career in Instructional Technology is that it is constantly evolving. I get to explore and learn new things within my field and have the opportunity to put it into practice with my students. For example this is the second year that I have implemented cloud technology with my 6th graders and the first year in making the school a Google for Education school.
This has given me the opportunity to create Google student accounts for my 6th grade students and we are currently learning how to use many of the applications available in Google Drive.
When not teaching, what are some of your favorite things to do (hobbies, etc.)?
Well most people know that I enjoy photography and have begun a great interest in videography. What people don’t know is that I enjoy dancing and singing a lot. I take every opportunity to sing 80’s music and Beatles tunes. I am a Karaoke aficionado. I am constantly singing and dancing for my 2-year-old son Lucas. I secretly want him to be a rock star. I also like playing Magic: The Gathering on Friday nights. It is a trading card game sort of like Pokémon infused with Dungeons & Dragons. It is relaxing for me and it helps me to unplug from technology at least for a little bit.