Cox and her fellow honorees were commended for creatively using technology to enhance students’ learning.
“I feel like I’m just a regular teacher doing my job like I’m supposed to do and to be put in that category with these other educators was just incredible,” she said.
Cox started a Bring Your Own Technology pilot program at Crabapple Crossing last school year. She helps her fellow teachers learn how to use different technology and implement it in lessons. The program started out with fourth grade teachers and expanded to fifth grade and talented and gifted teachers this year.
“Hopefully next year, we’ll throw in third grade with it as well,” Cox said.
She also started an after-school technology club for students and is a member of Fulton County’s first Vanguard Technology Team, where she instructs her colleagues on ways to teach with technology.
“The whole point of using [technology] in the classroom is to be able to do something that you couldn’t do otherwise,” Cox said. “I think the connection [aspect] is probably one of the biggest reasons that I love it. We’ve done a lot of different Skype [sessions] this year. We’ve connected with different authors and we’ve Skyped with a Yellowstone ranger who was able to connect with our curriculum.”
She said those are experiences her students might not get otherwise if they did not have the technology.
Crabapple Crossing Principal George Freiberger describes Cox as an “exceptional” teacher.
“She is one of the best at integrating technology into her classroom,” he said. “Her work ethic is unmatched.”
Freiberger said the school values being able to have Cox share her skill set to other teachers.
“Technology is just a resource,” he said. “It takes the teacher to use that resource effectively. The proper training and support for the teachers is critical. It’s not something that just happens overnight. It evolves over time.
“Heather’s one of those who have just embraced her own teaching practices and her own knowledge of how she can integrate [technology] and implement it in a way that supports her teaching and her instruction of her students.”
This school year is Cox’s second at the school. She started teaching in 2004 at Medlock Bridge Elementary School in Johns Creek.