#PLN Spotlight!

By: Zac Leonard 4/18/16

We are starting a new feature where we share the experiences of our favorite #PLN members.  Our first is @iammrsnix or Cassie Nix as those in the real world call her!

Cassie has been joining in on #edtechafterdark from the beginning.  She is a valuable asset to our learning community as she is always there to add quality suggestions, and keep the conversation based in the real world.  She is also a level 10 GIF user, and has earned this badge becuase of her awesome use of GIFs on Twitter.


Since 2016

ETAD: Tell us about yourself, name, district/occupation, Twitter handle...

CN: I'm Cassie Nix, and I am the mobile media teacher at the Turner 6th Grade Academy in Kansas City, KS. I have every student in our building (325 6th graders), and we learn about digital citizenship through tech-based projects. You can find me on Twitter at @iammrsnix or Instagram at @mrsnix.

ETAD: What originally drew you to Twitter? Has the reason changed over time?

CN: I have not been an avid Twitter user until this year. I've had one for years that I used intermittently, but I never really got into it. This year, our district has a hashtag and a ton of active users. I started tweeting this year to connect with other teachers in my district. It then became a great way to connect with educators EVERYWHERE! This is really important for me, since I'm the only person that teaches tech in my building.

ETAD: What drew you to #EdTechAfterDark, and what keeps you coming back?

CN: I first started following #EdTechAfterDark because it was right after one of my favorite weekly chats, #KsEdChat. I keep coming back because the questions are always interesting, and the community is knowledgable and welcoming. Also the GIFs, definitely the Gifs.

ETAD: As an educator, what are you passionate about?

CN: I am passionate about SO MUCH! Building relationships with kids is a big one. I want every kid to feel comfortable with me and like they know me. And I want to know them! Relationships are the foundation of a good classroom environment. I'm also passionate about student choice. Let kids decide what app works best for them instead of limiting them. If they have a better idea for their project than what you came up with, let them run with it.


ETAD: How has your PLN made you a better educator? (Be as specific as possible)

CN: It has given me so many opportunities to meet other educators---online and IRL. Through Twitter, I got invited to a local teacher meetup. Through that, I found out about a local Google Developer's Conference and met someone that paid for me to go. I have met our state commissioner of education and had conversations about our vision for education. I found out about conferences and events that I would never have known about without Twitter.

ETAD: How have you made your PLN better? (celebrate how you have impacted others)

CN:  I try to share about things in my classroom that are small but awesome to give other educators ideas about what works in my classroom. I'm also an active participant in our district hashtag, spreading the word about our great school district!

ETAD:  What do you look for in someone to follow? What constitutes a good tweet?

CN:  I look for people that are active on hashtags that I enjoy, like #ipaded or #edtech or #digcit. I like people that tweet what's going on in their classroom, so that I can get ideas for my own.

ETAD: What's missing from your PLN? What do you need to get to the next level as an educator?

CN: I think my next step is to moderate a chat! Not there yet for sure, but maybe in 6 months I'll be ready.

 ETAD:  We will be there when you're ready to start, and maybe you can guest                                            moderate with us one night!

ETAD: What projects are you/students working on that you are excited about? (PLEASE BRAG!!)

CN: We are currently working on an awesome project in Bloxels. My students are creating a video game about digital citizenship that they will market to their classmates. Read more about it here: http://www.mrsnix.com/app-project.html One of my favorite "projects" this year was changing around classroom seating. I did a Donors Choose to get new beanbags, so we know have enough spots for everyone to sit. I also got rid of my "teacher desk" and now use a small standing workstation. You can find me sitting on the floor, in a beanbag, at a kid's table...it has transformed the way I teach!

ETAD: In your opinion what's next in education?

CN:  I think what we will see next in education is a continuing move toward project-based learning that occurs across content, across classes, across grades. Technology allows us to connect with so many people outside our classroom, and I think that trend is only just beginning in education.

Cassie is an excellent example of how social media can connect more than just selfies and cat pictures.  Her passion and work online and in the classroom are a shining example of the awesome work being done each and everyday by teachers across the country.  A huge thanks to Cassie for taking the time to share with us, and if you don't already go out there and follow this brilliant mind!