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Melinda Mansouri: Dancing to Her Own Beat

Melinda Mansouri, the Web Design and Digital Media instructor at the Jordan Applied Technology Center (JATC), has witnessed first hand the impact that technology has in people’s lives. After 11 years teaching Performing Arts, Melinda completed a degree in Educational Technology and she’s been teaching technology classes ever since….

Melinda recently transitioned to the JATC after spending her entire career teaching at a traditional high school. For her, it was a natural fit and she’s excited about the real world skills her students are developing as part of her program.

One of the big things that students at the JATC accomplish is to complete a variety of industry certifications. In my Web Design program students can complete up to 3 certifications from CIW, which is on par with finishing an Associates Degree.

A big part of Melinda’s program is to constantly look for innovation. Her students have a great deal of freedom to explore topics and tools that interest them. Melinda also feels that sense of excitement as the JATC has provided her with the chance to design new programs for students. An example of this is the Digital Media program she created recently.

Digital Media is anything that is exciting, fun, and digital. If it's on a computer – then we get to do it. There are four main areas of focus including: animation, audio, graphics, and video. The students in Digital Media can earn certifications in these softwares from Adobe. The students love it, because they can develop an emphasis in a particular area.

Technology has provided Melinda with many opportunities to increase student learning and provide a positive experience for students. Over the years Melinda has looked for ways to integrate technology in her teaching and she’s witnessed the results in the work her students create.

I had a “flipped classroom” before I even knew what that meant. Being more traditional didn’t work because the students had different questions at different times, with different levels of understanding. By switching to video based instruction I find myself more available to work with the students one on one during class time. I joke that after the first ten minutes of class no two students are working on the same thing. I find that allowing my students to determine their own pace has accelerated the learning as my students work much faster than I would have expected.

Melinda loves to challenge the idea that technology is a “boys’ world”. Even though she didn’t start out looking for a career teaching tech, she has found that getting out of her comfort zone has made a huge difference in her career and she encourages other women to do the same.

Like a lot of women I didn’t know I was good at technology because I hadn’t tried it. It didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t think that it would be a career I would be good at. However, I found that I as starting working with technology I realized how much I liked it and that I was good at it. It led me to getting my masters degree in a Instructional Design and Education Technology (IDET). Technology has given me a chance at a second career in education.

Listen to the complete interview with Melinda below:

Take a tour of Melinda's classroom at the JATC:

Contributed by Jared Covili

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