Featured Educator: Andreia Whytsell
World, Classical languages alive at Glen Burnie
"It's evident that she is both a teacher and a lifelong learner as I see her apply the technology tips and tricks that we share in our collaborative meetings"
- Dr. Taryn Ferch
World Classic Language Department Chair
Glen Burnie, Md. – As traditional learning was pulled from its traditional grip, teachers have been challenged with the “new norm” of teaching in a virtual environment. Many question the feasibility and hope not to lose the rigor of the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom, but it has been a labor of love harnessing the power of instructional technology and improving students’ language abilities for one Maryland educator.
Andreia Whytsell, a Spanish teacher at Glen Burnie High School in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, is no ordinary teacher. A proud United State Army veteran, Whytsell has been teaching foreign language – Spanish, French, and Portugese – for 10 years and is an exemplary educator who has a proven track record of utilizing technology in the foreign language classroom. The Maryland Society for Educational Technology (MSET) is proud to announce Whytsell as its October 2020 Digital Learning Showcase Recipient.
Instantly, Whytsell was an asset to Glen Burnie High School as she is described as a trained linguist who loves learning new things about language and culture by her World and Classical Languages Department Chair Dr. Taryn Ferch.
“[Whytsell] brings a new lens to the curriculum, thinking about what cultural details might interest students and how we as a team can infuse the culture into language learning and enhance the students' experience with technology. Her inquisitive nature shines when she asks insightful questions during planning. It's evident that she is both a teacher and a lifelong learner as I see her apply the technology tips and tricks that we share in our collaborative meetings,” Dr. Ferch indicated.
Aiming to teach the four language skills – speaking, writing, reading and listening – at its highest level, Whytsell latched onto Google Classrooms early in her career to engage students in her lessons. She often uses Slides to introduce new materials and vocabulary while also using those tools to allow for group collaboration and projects. However, to fully have the ability to assess the different skills she has branched off into using a variety of tools that compliment her work in Google Classroom.
For example, it’s not uncommon to have Whytsell engaging students in Flipgrid or Vocaroo to record their voice as a formative assessment. These tools allow her to assess students which she doesn’t want to lose in the current virtual environment. In addition, she uses Padlet to support how student writing skills are progressing. The tech-savvy Whytsell often has 100 percent participation as students are full engaged in her technology-rich lessons.
Ferch stated Whytsell has a great way of keeping students engaged with multiple activities in a classroom and not wasting any time. “I love seeing her give students feedback in real time and seeing her students work to complete full sentences. Students are able to pop into the chat and ask specific questions to follow up with her suggestions. She’ll also complete a Kahoot as they review vocabulary while having kids scan QR codes to move to their nect activity. That’s an amazing amount go technology in a 45-minute class and she made everything look effortless with a seamless flow in between activities,” Ferch explained.
However, Whytsell’s passion for teaching languages and learning about different cultures has not made her landlocked. As a native Brazilian, she traveled to several countries in Latin America and Europe and participated in educational projects in Chahuay, Sangarara District, Acomayo Province, Cuzco - Peru. She has a strong desire to help children, adolescents and adults to learn another language
“I enjoy working with students from a diverse background and I easily adapt to each student's needs. My main goal as an educator is to make sure all students are successful in their language learning path,” Whytsell stated.
Shown above is a virtual professional development facilitated by Whytsell for World Classical Language Department in AACPS.
About Digital Learning Showcase
MSET is taking the opportunity to highlight best practices in classroom teaching, leading, and learning with educational technology from around the state of Maryland. The goal is to spotlight innovations of members and nonmembers throughout different public and private school settings. Each month teachers, school leaders, and community members are asked to nominate individuals who support innovation and educational technology in a school setting.
MSET is non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting the improvement of the teaching-learning process through effective technology integration into all curricular areas as well as fostering and promoting excellence technology in education. MSET is an affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a leading international network for technology professionals.