by Adam Grybowski
Brad Currie ’01, ’07 has emerged as a leading advocate for technology in education
The first time Brad Currie ’01, ’07 introduced streaming video to his students — in 2006 — it wasn’t clear the middle school had enough bandwidth to support the technology. He carted into his classroom an LCD projector attached to a computer. To keep the connection strong, Currie pressed play on the video and held the ethernet wire in place with his fingers.
“At the time, most teachers didn’t want to have anything to do with the internet,” Currie recalls. Streaming video for students “was a pretty big deal, even though now we don’t think twice about it.”
Since that moment, the pace of technological change, and its effect on the learning experience, has only hastened. Today, all students in the Chester, N.J., school district, where Currie is dean of students as well as supervisor of instruction, use Google Chromebooks and have access to Google Apps for Education, a free suite of online productivity tools.
Meanwhile, Currie has emerged as a leading advocate for the power of educational technology. He’s written three books on the topic, most recently, with co-authors Billy Krakower and Scott Rocco, 140 Twitter Tips for Educators. He regularly provides professional development to teachers through his organization Evolving Educators.
Surprisingly, Currie wasn’t always interested in technology. He decided to be a social studies teacher as a high school senior, his ambition modeled on the behavior of his coaches. An athlete who played basketball, baseball and football at South Hunterdon Regional High School in Lambertville, N.J., Currie was impressed by his coaches. “They had a passion for helping student-athletes improve their abilities and motivating them to be better,” he says. “I realized I could have the same impact on others as they had on me.”
While working part-time for the family business, Niece Lumber in Lambertville, he began his secondary education at Raritan Valley Community College and eventually transferred to nearby Rider, enrolling in the University’s School of Education. “I knew Rider had a great reputation in preparing teachers,” he says. He earned a bachelor’s in secondary education in 2001 and a master’s in educational administration in 2007.
It wasn’t until Currie was hired to teach computer applications by the Hanover Township School District in 2001 that he started honing his craft as a technology teacher. He attended conferences and began earning a string of certifications. During that time, the power of social media and technology only became more relevant and powerful.
“We are in one of the most exciting times in education right now,” he says. “Technology is the not the be-all and end-all in education, but coupled with an ability to connect with students, it creates a formidable approach to make learning fun for kids.”