Training Students to Use Technology Creates Real Potential

Daphne Bradford

Daphne Bradford is being honored as a Connected Educator Champion of Change.

On February 6, 1999 I had the pleasure of interviewing civil rights icon Rosa Parks for a Black History Month segment to be aired via Bailey Broadcasting Services nationally syndicated radio network.  During this “I can’t believe I’m talking to Rosa Parks” interview, I was amazed to hear about how she learnedto email in her 80’s.   Inspired by this conversation, I established the grassroots non-profit Mother Of Many (M.O.M.), on August 12, 1999.  America was on the brink of entering the 21st century and I had a dream of making history by bridging the digital divide between the civil rights generation, the hip-hop generation, and their children. 

Developing Digital Media Geniuses became Mother Of Many’s inaugural technology program.  Designed to provide technology training to economically disadvantaged high school students, the program prepares students for 21st century college and career opportunities.  The curriculum was first implemented in Watts, CA at Locke High School where I was hired as a Professional Expert to train at-risk students to produce radio news shows.  Watching students who were failing math, science, and English re-engage in education by earning certifications in industry software programs Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro was awe-inspiring.  In recognition of this, work Apple selected me as a 2007 Apple Distinguished Educator upon securing Locke High School as the corporation’s first Authorized Training Center for Education within the Los Angeles Unified School District.  This was the same year a hopeful Senator named Barack Obama began his presidential campaign and the same year the iPhone began changing global communication. 

I realized then that technology had a ubiquitous behavior that would become uncontrollable for educators if they did not connect with it and become friends. Providing Internet access space for all students, undocumented and citizens, was a necessity.  Looking into the eyes of a reformed student encumbered by a house arrest ankle bracelet while he’s telling me “Ms. B, you know you can help save me,” reinforced my goal to create a scalable model for schools across the nation.  This desire led me to partnerships with KABC-7 News and KNBC-Los Angeles digital news.  Some of my students earned internships at the Ogilvy and Mather Advertising agency.  Expanding my efforts, the Los Angeles Urban League contracted me to train Crenshaw High School students’ podcast engineering.  Using their new skills, these advanced students then published the book, Journey to the White House, and taught podcasting classes at the Cal State Dominguez Hills Osher Life Long Learning Institute.

Always looking for new opportunities, I was searching around and discovered Microsoft’s Innovative Educator (MIE) program, which honors teachers for effectively using technology in their curriculum to increase student engagement and success.  Upon applying, Microsoft selected me as a 2011 Innovative Educator and 2012 MIE Trainer.   This opened the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) door for Mother Of Many students to learn coding and game design.  The Crenshaw Digital Media & Gaming Team became the first group of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students to publish a game, Going Banana’s for Health, in the Windows 8 App Store.  M.O.M. also partnered with Dorsey High School’s Math and Science Magnet Academy to expand student’s interest in STEM related careers. It’s an honor to be selected for Mother Of Many students and partner school principals as a Connected Educator Champion of Change.  Thank you.

Daphne Bradford is the founder and president of Mother Of Many (M.O.M.), a grassroots organization dedicated to bridging the digital technology and STEM career divide with scalable models of success for schools across the United States.  

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