Jennie Magiera, National Teachers Academy

Teachers have plenty on their plates already, so integrating technology into the classroom might seem like one more thing they just don’t have time for. But Jennie Magiera recognizes that not only is it worth the time, it has actually ended up making her job easier. An award-winning fourth- and fifth-grade math teacher in Chicago, Jennie won and implemented a 1:1 iPad technology grant last year. It was so successful that this year she’s overseeing the expansion of the grant to nine other classrooms at National Teachers Academy, part of Chicago Public Schools and the Academy for Urban School Leadership.

“I believe the classroom should reflect the world for which we are preparing our students,” Jennie writes on her blog. “If we are asking them to create, innovate and be outstanding as graduates, then our classrooms should be creative, innovative and outstanding places to learn.”

Jennie considers tech a bit like magic, opening up a range of learning opportunities that paper and pencil just can’t touch. But, “it isn’t enough to have devices in the classroom; teaching and learning should be redefined with the power of the devices in mind,” she writes. Redefining her own teaching with tech in mind has allowed her to connect more effectively with her students; they can each work at their own pace, and she can assess their progress in real time and adjust her approaches accordingly.

And Jennie’s embrace of technology has made her a rock star in the education world. Chicago Public Schools named her Tech Innovator of the Year, and she was also named an Apple Distinguished Educator and a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction. She’s a founder of the Golden Apple Teachers for Tomorrow conferences and is involved in the University of Chicago Teacher Leadership Institute for Math and Science. When she’s not teaching or coaching, she’s writing curriculum, leading workshops and traveling the country to speak at various conferences.

For an inside look into what Jennie means when she says “Technology + Education + Passion = Wow,” check out this video of her in action.