Episode #129: Transform Education by Making Learning Sticky with Debbie Tannenbaum

By Barbara Bray

Join Barbara Bray in conversations with awesome educators, leaders, and influencers as they talk about their passion and purpose for planting seeds for change. Each podcast has a link to a related blog post with more information and resources.

Debbie Tannenbaum is a School-Based Technology Specialist in Fairfax County, Virginia who is in her fourth year in this position and twenty-second year in education. She shares with me how much she loves learning as a speaker, coach, and author. Debbie is passionate about helping students and teachers use technology as a tool for creation to activate and amplify learning.
Your WHY – let’s talk about your passion for transforming learning
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an educator. Not only do I love learning, but I love helping others learn. I was the one in front of the Raggedy Anne chalkboard, teaching my sister, her friends, cousins, and even some stuffed animals. My younger sister had a learning disability and I remember wanting to help her learn in better ways. Later in high school, I got involved in leading services at my synagogue for preschoolers and loved that too.  But when I discovered technology in my first year of teaching, that changed everything.

Why are you so passionate about integrating technology in the classroom?
I remember during my first year of teaching being exposed to the power of technology in the classroom. I was working with our school’s computer teacher and discovered Scholastic.com and the Trailblazer Hall of Fame. Students got an opportunity to nominate a famous African American to the Trailblazer Hall of Fame. As I introduced this activity to my students, magic happened. They were so excited about using the technology not only to learn but to share their ideas with an authentic audience.
A lot has changed in the past 20 plus years since that happened, but I continue to be amazed every day by the opportunities that technology provides our students. Technology offers both students and educators opportunities to learn that were not possible without this technology. I love helping both students and educators discover this and empowering them to use technology in transformative ways. As a lifelong learner, I love this stuff and there is always something new to learn. It is exciting and brings the world to our students.
Your Book “TRANSFORM- Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky”
My book was published on my 46th birthday, isn’t that cool? 
TRANSFORM is an acronym and each letter of the word is one chapter in the book. This book is my story. It begins with my teacher’s journey and tells how I began teaching behind closed doors, in a world of isolation, where teaching was truly a struggle at the beginning. Then, I share ways that we can revisit technology’s role in education and amplify learning using technology tools. Afterward,