Nick Lind ’14W (MS): Using Technology to Help Kids Learn

Nick Lind ’14W (MS): Using Technology to Help Kids Learn

Nick Lind ’14W (MS)

Nick Lind ’14W (MS) always knew he wanted to be a teacher. Growing up with two brothers with autism helped him see that he wanted to make a difference, especially for people who learn differently than the perceived norm. “As a kid, I saw how systems work both for and against people,” he says. “It motivated me to want to be a cog in that wheel and to help improve the system.”

Today, Lind is doing that. Last year, he earned his advanced certificate in digitally-rich teaching from Warner’s Center for Learning in the Digital Age (LiDA), and is now pursuing New York State certification as a K-12 school leader from the Warner School. For the past five years, he’s been a special education teacher at BOCES in Rochester where he focuses on teaching global history along with core life skills.

Learning in a rich way

Lind’s students face a variety of challenges. All of them are diagnosed with a disability, primarily autism, anxiety, or depression, or a combination of them all, yet they are high academic achievers who are earning Regents diplomas. “It’s rewarding work,” he says. “When kids get it, they shine. And when they grasp technology and learn something in a new way, they thrive.”

Lind’s manner is engaging and compassionate, and he embraces technology to help his students grasp concepts and express themselves. “With a technology-based lesson, I can put a student in an augmented or virtual reality setting, where they could be on a battlefield or in an historic place. They can walk around, and they are learning in such a rich way.”

Or Lind might set up a Kahoot game—an interactive quiz where there’s a question on the front board and kids can answer right from their phones or laptops. These aren’t only fun tactics for the kids; they are meaningful learning experiences, and they also provide the teacher with valuable assessment data “in the moment” that can help inform instruction. That’s the key—using technology to help facilitate learning.

Lind also has students make digital notebooks out of a map. “I have them create a map on which they place digital pins,” he says. “When you click on a pin, you can then click through information they used or created for a project, such as a notes, videos, or website links.”

It’s a way for students to curate the work they’ve done, similar to what a physical three-ringed binder might do, but in a much richer way that doesn’t require flipping through dozens of pages. It’s engaging to create, and to use.

Grasping technology’s potential

Technology plays a key role in the kids’ success. Helping other teachers learn it and maximize its potential is important to BOCES, and to Lind. He now facilitates and runs study groups, mini-grant programs, and professional development sessions for his teaching colleagues after school.

“Often we camp out in my room and talk about what our digital strategy is and how we can best use technology. We discuss cell phone policies, ethics involved in using technology, and we go through some of the basics like how to get the most out of Office 365.”

Lind loves his job. “The culture is contagious,” he says. “When I first started working here, I immediately noticed the bond between the students and teachers. We are here for the students and they strive to give each day the best they can. There’s a real connection among us all because we understand where the other person is coming from, and we care.”

4 Take-Aways from Warner’s Digitally-Rich Teaching Certificate Program
According to Nick Lind

  • It’s important to have time to tinker and be creative with technology.
  • Even though technology can be cool and flashy, we should always ask ourselves: does it provide ways for kids to learn better, think deeply, and respond creatively? It must.
  • The hands-on nature of the certificate program provides a rich way for us as teachers to learn, is immediately relevant, and can be practically applied to our jobs as teachers right now.
  • The program provides an invaluable networking experience and links us up with peers with similar interests, goals, and challenges along with tech experts.

3 Core Technology Literacy Skills Kids Need
According to Nick Lind

  • Basic computer literacy: How do I navigate a website? Save a document? Format it and make it look the way I want?
  • Digital literacy: How do I know that what I am reading is true, verified, valuable, and relevant? How do I know a source is reliable and another one isn’t?
  • Digital civics literacy: How do I interact with people online? How do I behave with different communities online? How do I protect my privacy? How can I be safe online?

For more information

Preston Faulkner
Senior Director, Warner Advancement
(585) 276-3636 |

Learn more about Warner’s Center for Learning in a Digital Age.

Kristine Thompson, June 2019