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Educator Spotlight - Deanna Crawford

Otus Certified Educator Spotlight: Deanna Crawford, West Elementary School in Illinois

Author: David Specht | Blog |

Deanna Crawford is an educator at West Elementary School in Illinois and a graduate of the Otus Certified Educator (OCE) program. Recently, we had the opportunity to delve into her experiences as a special education teacher who has embraced the power of technology in the classroom. With more than 27 years in the education field, Deanna shared her journey from the business world to teaching, her district’s experience with Otus, and how the OCE program has transformed her approach to using educational technology. She also tells us how her newfound skills have impacted student outcomes and helped her provide valuable support to her colleagues. If you’re considering the OCE program, read on for Deanna’s thoughts on what makes it stand out among professional development opportunities.

Hillary from Otus: Tell us more about your background in education and current role.

DC: I am a special education teacher and have been for 17 years. Prior to that, I taught 4th grade for over 10 years. Teaching is my second career.

Otus: Did you always want to be a teacher / what made you go into teaching?

DC: When I was younger, teaching never crossed my mind. I wanted to work in the business world. That’s what I did for many years. My favorite part of the job was teaching new employees. So I went back to school and got my elementary education degree. Now I have two master’s degrees and continue learning.

Otus: How do you feel that technology impacts student outcomes? Any favorite tools that you use routinely with students?

DC: I feel technology has become a major part of a student’s education. I find that Otus is user-friendly for the teacher and the student. In fact, my students will complete the daily assessment (worksheet, activity, etc.) and leave the paper worksheets incomplete or undone.

Otus: What has your experience in the OCE program been like so far?

DC: Before starting the OCE program, I didn’t like using Otus. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I made a lot of mistakes. Through the program, I had student experience so I could understand how the students see the work. For me, that has made a really big difference. I’ve also learned how to make a variety of assessments. Until the program, I only knew how to create a lesson and found it cumbersome to grade them. Now, I like using Otus and use it every day. My assessments include audio, video, pictures, and a variety of question types. Since I started using it daily, my students are completing more of their work. I’ve also helped a couple of co-workers with questions about Otus.

Otus: What advice could you give to a colleague who was considering joining the OCE program and asked you about your experience?

DC: Do it! It’s worth it.

Otus: Have you ever participated in similar professional development programs offered by other educational technology providers, or was this a unique experience? If not, what made the OCE program unique?

DC: I’ve never had a professional development class or program like this. The OCE program is an immersion learning experience. I am a student and participate in learning activities and assessments. I am a teacher creating new learning activities and assessments. This is a great way to learn about the program!

Deanna Crawford’s experience as an Otus Certified Educator (OCE) highlights the significant impact that professional development opportunities can have on an educator’s ability to take full advantage of technology to improve teaching and learning. Through the OCE program, she transformed her approach to using Otus and saw firsthand how the platform can improve student outcomes.

Deanna’s advice to educators considering the program is clear: “Do it! It’s worth it.” If you’re an Otus user looking to enhance your skills and get everything you can out of the platform, consider joining the Otus Certified Educator program.

Not only will you gain in-depth product knowledge and learn new skills around assessment, grading, progress monitoring, and data, but you’ll also become part of a supportive community dedicated to enriching the lives of students and transforming the way we teach and learn.

The OCE program offers various options for educators to select their desired focus, including assessment, grading, and data-driven instruction, depending on which area they wish to master in the platform. Beginning Fall 2023, educators and administrators will also have the option to dive into progress monitoring tools – a completely new cohort of the program! There are three tiers of OCE achievement, each requiring the participant to complete specific professional development work to reach. The OCE program is a self-paced learning experience that is cost-free and entirely online. A new session begins each quarter, so register today to make sure you’re on the roster.

Click here to learn more about the Otus Certified Educator Community.

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