Getting Acquainted

Created by: Andrea Gambino

Professional Background

  • Middle School Social Studies' Teacher at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School in Raleigh, NC (2008-Current)
  • Previously taught 7th Grade Language Arts at CCMMS (2008-2010) (switched to single-subject teaching teams in 2010)
  • Attended North Carolina State University and obtained a B.S. in Middle Grades Education with a dual certification in Language Arts and Social Studies in 2008
  • Loved the Wolfpack so much I went back for a second round and obtained my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in New Literacies and Global Learning (basically combined my love of teaching + technology)
  • In the future, I aspire to go back to school to achieve a Ph.D. to be able to work with the next generation of teachers (particularly in the area of literacy instruction and instructional technology)

Experience with Online Teaching & Online Learning

I've taken three courses online as a student. My favorite online course I've taken was entitled, Teachers as Researchers. I think what made this such a great class was that my teacher, Dr. Meghan Manfra, really made sure we had developed a strong online learning community. Not only did we meet online using Skype weekly in a collaborative learning team, we also met face to face toward the end of the semester to work with our learning group on campus. I've also taken courses that are completely online and I believe that as long as a sense of community is built--online learning can be fun and effective!

As far as my experience with teaching online, currently, my content PLT partner, Ryan Millhoff and I have originally designed our course (7th Grade Social Studies) to be completely digital using Blackboard. Although we are essentially paperless we believe in a blended learning approach to working with our students.

As we grow as teachers, our course evolves and changes, and our students open our eyes to new ways to teach and learn. I strive to combine face to face learning that is discussion rich, with digital/collaborative learning. I believe that the blended learning approach really balances a variety of teaching/learning approaches to create a fun and engaging learning environment.

I currently serve as a Blackboard Coordinator for my school and I have also previously designed curriculum in Moodle for a private company called VIF International Education and I really enjoyed using Moodle too!

Why am I taking this course?

I am taking this course as I am extremely interested in being able to teach online for North Carolina Virtual Public Schools! I am also hoping to improve my approaches to creating the digital social studies course I presently teach/design. I am also looking to stay current in the implementation of emerging technologies!

The Key to Effective Icebreakers?

  • Must be purposeful with a goal to build a sense of community between all students
  • Should nurture different personalities/learning styles
  • Should create a safe space for learning