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About me

Page history last edited by Janice Wilson Butler 14 years, 3 months ago

Don't know if you want the information about how I got where I am, but if you do, here is my story.  Or at least some of the high points.


Greetings, all. My name is Janice  Butler and I love being an assistant professor in the Educational Technology Online M.Ed. program at the University of Texas at Brownsville.  


My career in education?  Started several decades ago as a word-processing teacher in a small proprietary school in Brownsville - pre-Windows operating system, if you can believe that.  Although I owned a business, the excitement of teaching “grabbed me” so I began my second career as a secondary English teacher.


Next, I became a middle school counselor, then moved into Career and Technology counselor at the high school level. What a fun time in my life.  My circuitous path continued, I earned my doctorate at University of Houston, then moved to the U and I am now having the time of my life in my dream job - here teaching you online.


I have always had a high interest in technology and have primarily taught myself what I know. I began in computer programming when key punch cards were needed to “run a program.” No room for errors there and I simply cannot type without making multiple errors.  My first desktop computer was a huge monstrosity that costs a fortune. The best thing about it was that it broke every other day and I learned all manner of stuff watching the tech guy trying to fix the thing. This computer was a business machine and had no graphic capability. My first desktop publishing, therefore, was done on a little Commodore 64 machine – with no hard drive. I had to keep juggling 8 1/2" floppies (when they were really floppy) back and forth every time I wanted to add a graphic or change a font.  But, I thought I was working magic!!!!  Since then, I have kept up with technology and continued to work with computers in some function in all of my jobs – either as a yearbook sponsor, a computer lab manager or a technology trainer.


I still remember my first experience with the Internet – way back before browsers and the World Wide Web even existed.  I connected and sat there for a while having no idea what to do. When I called my brother, an electrical engineer, he talked me through going to several sites and I asked, “Hey, do these people mind me just going to their site – will they get upset if I look at their information?” Was it ever easier when Netscape and the WWW came around!

Thus, for my final degree, I decided to go into one of my passions – computers and technology. I entered the doctoral program at the University of Houston to earn my degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in educational technology.  My research interests include digital storytelling, low-threshold software applications, the open source movement and social interactivity in online courses.


Research Interests


Currently, I am interested in bringing the power and fun of technology to the classroom – for the benefit of the teachers as well as of the students. In K-12 education, all teachers are what Marc Prensky calls “digital immigrants.” As immigrants, we were not born in a world full of technology – but have seen the world dramatically changed into a fast-moving, rapidly advancing world of computers – becoming smaller, more accessible, more user-friendly – ubiquitous in our world of school, work and play.  As “digital immigrants,” we still carry a technology accent in varying degrees as we adapt to and adopt the changes around us.  Teachers have been particularly affected, because students coming to school today are “digital natives.” For them, technology just IS – it is such a part of their lives that they cannot envision a world without.  For the first time in the history of education, students are coming to the classroom knowing more about a subject (technology) than the teacher; they also bring with them the ability to access information and subject-area expert knowledge on any topic. This brave new world is a scary place for educators today – and yet, it is also a dynamic, invigorating, exciting time to in education. Those challenges in technology are also some of our best opportunities to reach this new generation.  Bringing my interest in technology and sparking an interest in others for using technology to become more effective teachers is of vast interest to me.


In the process of working with teachers learning how to use technology, I have also become interested in the process of change – how it happens, when it happens and when it does not happen. With technology as the driving force behind much of current school reform, we must take a look at how to make change more enduring – more than just a passing comment on school reform.


My family


My husband is into computers and is a tech-director at a call center. He knows all about hardware and networking, so we talk geek a lot.  I have one son, who, even though he is a digital native, frequently asks me to solve his computer issues.  Kind of strange. He is into reading fantasy novels and we share a lot of the same tastes in movies, books, etc.  He would rather read the book than see the movie.  I also have cats that provide me endless hours of entertainment with their own funky personalities and quirks.


My Hobbies


I have not had a great deal of opportunity to pursue my hobbies recently – but they include reading science fiction, fantasy and mystery novels, traveling, home remodeling, graphic design – and - oh, yes, learning new technology. Slowly, but surely, my husband and I are turning our very old home into a sanctuary for relaxing – but the process is slow.  We tend to spend holidays refinishing wood floors, converting a garage into an office, re-wiring, laying tiles and other assorted remodeling tasks. My goal, however, is to “do nothing” for two weeks in the near future.


Comments (2)

Alfredo Davila said

at 3:39 pm on Aug 30, 2010

:) Nice story !

Jessica Pettyjohn said

at 12:54 pm on Sep 2, 2010

Can I start the official Dr. B fan club and be the president? :)

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