My Quest To Teach

March 13, 2017

EdCamp St. Augustine What An Adventure in Learning


EdCamp St. Augustine What An Adventure in Learning
by Elisha Taylor and William Jackson
Jacksonville, Florida

Welcome from William and Elisha

The exposure to diverse technologies, the collaboration with
educators with years of experience is important for new educators
and pre-service educators choosing a career in education.
Diversity builds strength and the understanding that education
requires diverse people to educate a growing student
population in schools and strengthen the literacy skills of
communities. Schools are a microcosm of their communities,
those that are struggling, in need of community services and
other intervention requirements show that extra care is needed
to meet the needs of students and in some cases families.

Communities that are flourishing and vibrant have schools in
many cases that are successes and energetic not just in schools,
but this vitality spills over to the community.
EdCamp provides a casual format for those in education from
teachers, administrators, support staff and even students to
come together and share in open discussions about how to
improve the educational culture and atmosphere of schools.
EdCamps are valuable for teachers because they can network
freely, talk passionately and praise each others successes with
pride and offer realistic strategies to help educational peers
improve classroom instruction. Instruction that is balancing
teacher centered and student centered instruction.
EdCamp; what better platform for pre-service educators still in
under-graduate programs to learn than on a weekend with free
breakfast, free lunch, high energy, diverse experiences and
seasoned professionals that have wisdom, knowledge and
PLCs/PLNs that work.
EdCamp is not influenced by political affiliations, special
interests groups, lobbyists or the infection of governmental
policies. This blog written by Elisha Taylor a 8th grade student
and William Jackson a public school educator and professor with
Edward Waters College teaching in the Education and Urban
Studies Dept. has attended and spoken at other EdCamp
venues in Florida.
The exchange of ideas, resources and developing technologies
that strengthen the engagement of student lead instruction and
hands-on learning are highlights.

Florida educators some of the best in the
nation…. EdCamp veterans

Because of the successes for teachers, students more and more
are attending and participating in EdCamp sessions. Students
can enjoy the engagement not just with teachers, but with their
peers and spark the interest to seek careers in education.
The educational model is changing so the faces of education
must change to meet the needs of the students that are walking
through the doors. Classrooms are global environments of
international mystery and sometimes language complexity.
Elisha has stated that, “I believe that there should be student
lead EdCamp so that many students around the state and the
country can share new ideas and thoughts, opinions on education
that influences our learning and use the best technology that we can
apply in our every day lives.

Give students the tech and see them fly

Elisha provides take away for his EdCampStAug experience
as he has done for EdCampMagic and WordCamps he
has attended.
1. The importance of coding and technology integration is
important and there should be certified teachers teaching.
2. Every child should learn some kind of coding because it
is the language of the future.
3. Code should be taught at a young age to build an eye for
detail and build patience.
4. Coding is everywhere and should be respected and recognized.
5. Students should learn or be exposed to as many programming
languages as they can and how to apply to real life experiences
not just because they have to.
6. In school coding can count as a core class because of its
affect on society and importance in starting jobs and careers.

Elisha had the honor of speaking and attending EdCamp Magic,
TEDxFSCJ and blogs with Professor William Jackson about
STEM, STEAM, Robotics and other areas. Elisha aspires to
attend MIT to be part of the growing climate of technology
integration and innovation in the country and the world.

Experienced and seasoned educators sharing
Tammy G. Neil – @TG_Neil
Google Certified Trainer, #FLedChat #RuralEdChat

If teachers do not prepare students to sit at the tables of
business, commerce, finance and education then students will
be left behind and out of the decision making process of
building communities and prosperity for its citizens.
I teach these lessons to my higher education students for
them to understand that they do value as future educators
and the educational system is still one of the best in the world.
Teacher discussion and demonstration is important
to learning.


January 27, 2017

What’s Next for Hidden Figures In The Future

What’s Next for Hidden Figures In  The Future
by William Jackson


Congratulations to Latanya Richardson and her daughter
Taylor Richardson for the success of showing Hidden
Figures in Jacksonville, Florida to over 200 girls.
The awesome story of how African American women
helped NASA to put astronauts into space and bring
them back to earth.
Girls and women from around Jacksonville, Florida
attended representing groups and schools from
around the city. As a teacher I had the honor to bring
several students from Venetia Elementary School a
Medical Magnet STEM that teaches grade K to 5th 
a Lee High School student. My only regret is
that I could not bring more.


The emotional and psychological inspiration of
this movie demands to ask what is next to keep
the seriousness and the historical value of this
movie moving forward. STEM and STEAM that
are being applied in the educational cultures of
schools is seen as not only career necessary, but
has scientific, business and commerce influences
in this country and on a global scale.
The movie brilliantly showed not just the struggles
of women in the NASA Space Program, but showed
the value and application of their education.
The reason why educational degrees are important,
the value of visiting the library to learn new things
and applying them to real world situations, and the
personal responsibility to prepare for the future.


There were many scenes where the women were called
“computers” as their analytical abilities where recognized,
but only later were they respected after showing and
demanding equality through leadership opportunities and
promotions that were withheld only because of their color.
Working with many types of math and integrating
mathematical equations that sometimes had to be created.
This shows that girls and women have the skill sets and
analytical abilities to function in complex and STEAM
areas that demand creativity and innovation.

Hidden Figures addressed several civil rights issues in the
areas of political and educational equality that in some cases
are still being addressed for Black
s, Hispanics and others of
the struggle still continues and there
have been many successes.


Girls and women will take away many lessons from the
movie and see how history was changed not just by
protests, by going to school to earn advanced degrees,
learning the laws of the nation, how to speak properly
without using profanity, the importance of family unity
and support and setting goals that everyone works towards.

Another important key is to carry or act like there is
self-pride, cultural respect and intelligence.
 A key lesson
shared is that children  
learned early that education is
the ticket to a better life even when there are
challenges to be overcome.

Even seeing the implementation of “new” technologies
at the time when early computers where not as easy to
use, but there was continued learning in programming
languages that demanded studying and forward thinking.
The movement to gaining educational parity and equality
is a great value for boys and girls of color, this movie is
worth seeing again and applied to the learning initiatives
in all schools to allow students to see the why they
need to be serious about their education and the vision
for their dreams of success.


Seeing the new IBM computers being used, but it
took a woman to learn the programming language to
make it work sends a message that women are as smart
and intelligent as men, even if those men are Black
or white.
There are no barriers than can stop girls and women
from gaining l
eadership skill-sets and applying the
intelligence to make positive and historical changes.
Parents, mothers, fathers, and grandparents if you
have not seen Hidden Figures take your children and
other children if possible to see this movie that not
only shows the historical application of education
and cultural  pride and respect, that gender is not
a liability
, color is not a curse, there is a blending of
historical successes and  global influence.


Hidden Figures opens the mind’s eye that anything is
possible, t
hat dreams can be achieved, and intelligence
is Dope and Lit.
What is next is up to parents, schools, churches and
communities to support children, youth and teens.
Time will tell, graduations rates from high school
and college will tell and the growing number of girls
and boys of co
lor in  STEM careers will tell.


January 16, 2017

There Are More Hidden Figures Around Us

Dr. Mae Jemison and Taylor Richardson

There Are More Hidden Figures Around Us
by Prof. William Jackson @wmjackson
Edward Waters College

“I’m just amazed at the shoulders that I’m standing
on to allow me to work to achieve my dreams.”
Taylor Richardson, attending “Hidden Figures”
premiere at the White House 2016

Dedicated to the past Hidden Figures that allowed
girls and boys to embrace STEM – STEAM – STREAM
and grasp new opportunities to fulfill dreams from the
depths of the sea, to the height of the clouds to the
deepest of space.
The movie ”Hidden Figures” 2016 is inspiring thousands
of girls and women to eliminate the fear of learning,
to understand the fun of exploration, embrace artistic
creativity, develop themselves as “thought leaders” and
“smart creatives.” To understand that it is ok to be smart,
gifted, talented and special. The perceived glass ceiling of
career limitations has been shattered by the flames of
curiosity to explore not just the limitations of earth’s
atmosphere and her seas, but has moved into the air less,
weightless and limitless expanse of space and time.

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE of Jacksonville, Florida

The emergence of STEM – Science Technology Engineering
Math is looking good to girls and women as careers explode
in diversity in the embracing of girls and women into areas
at one time exclusively open to men, white men.
The irony of “Hidden Figures” is that research has proven
that women are more analytical and able to comprehend
and apply mathematics skills faster than men. They are more
detailed oriented and specific about applying learning to
real world situations.

African Americans and others of color have been involved
with most if not all space agencies, this involvement is not
just as custodians, cooks, maintenance and other support
personnel. These positions are important, they help the
people do the jobs they to do and service this country.
The other aspect is not just as service personnel, but the
intellectual abilities that allow for NASA and other agencies
to meet with success and build a legacy through the
intelligence of everyone that contributes. People of color
have always and will continue to contribute, they have not
received the recognition they deserve.

STEM / STEAM are the hottest sectors in the U.S. job market
and has grown to international levels. Even before it became
a commonly used word the elements of STEM have been
important. Because of movies like “Hidden Figures” and others
doors of imagination and dreams are growing for girls,
women, boys and men of color and culture.

STEM does not start in high school or higher education, it
starts in elementary education labs, classrooms and weekend
competitions and events. It starts in after school programs and
new curriculum’s that teachers have a passion to apply new
and exciting ways to engage students that were once thought
slow or different, but were actually higher order and critical
thinkers, just bored with cookie cutter teaching strategies
dated from the 1950s and 1970s. Today’s students need to
be engaged and active learners.

William Jackson teaching a STEAMS
class – Science Technology Engineering
Math Sports – engaging studnets.

When I taught STEAM at an elementary Magnet it is important
that learning is relevant and students can apply their past
learning to new learning and integrate it to everyday life.
If students are not engaged mentally, actively involved, have
hands on activities and allowed to explore environments there
are lost opportunities to build the excitement to allow future
scientists, mathematicians, engineers, innovators and even
technical expertise in computers and robotics.

HBCUs are important in the education
of future STEM employees.

Many people still do not realize that STEAM and STEM run the
U.S. economy, look at the growth of careers that not only require
a college degree, but certifications. “The future of the economy
is in STEM,” says James Brown, the executive director
of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C. Even
President and Mrs. Obama have encourage STEM education
through grants and national programs.

Parents must understand as well that their children’s employment
are influenced by STEM. Employment in occupations related to
STEM science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is
projected to grow to more than 9 million jobs by 2022
nationally and internationally. Children now may now have to
find jobs in the U.S. and have to travel overseas, they must be
prepared to keep this nation competitive.

U.S. relationships with the world are important because if the
U.S. does not have friendly relationships globally then research
opportunities, international collaborations, joint projects and even
educational research will be at jeopardy. We cannot afford to be
secluded because the world is diversified in economic and social
Students should be asking what their STEM futures are and how is
their current educational instruction preparing them for the future?
Parents should be asking are their children being prepared to be
employed or setup to be under or un – employed.

“One of the things that I’ve been focused on as President is how
we create an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology,
engineering, and math… We need to make this a priority to train
an army of new teachers in these subject areas, and to make sure
that all of us as a country are lifting up these subjects for the
respect that they deserve.”
President Barack Obama, Third Annual White House Science Fair,
April 2013


Events like the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE by Mark Douglas McCombs
are foundations to engage youth, teens and young adults into
robotics, programming, design, innovation and as developers.
There are hundreds if not thousands of “Hidden Figures” in homes,
schools, communities, cites and this nation. They should be
encouraged, mentored and provided role models to spread their
wings to take flight to be unHidden…

Mark Douglas McCombs, center celebrating the
FIRST LEGO LEAGUE competition at The Bolles

Parents your child may be the scientist to discover a cure for cancer,
diabetes, heart disease; your child may be the next deep sea
explorer or engineer to develop light speed, force fields or even
new fuels to power the world. Uncover the hidden talent in your child
by supporting their education, their thirst for exploration and their
gifted abilities.

Statistics uses data from Occupational Employment Statistics


Jacksonville Florida FIRST LEGO LEAGUE

The Office of Science and Technology Policy

Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson



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