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Majors & Degrees

From one Madison to another

August 16, 2023

A journey that began in Madison, S.D., ultimately led Viana Mote to another Madison – Madison, Ala.

A love of teaching and technology led Viana Mote to Dakota State. Sharing that passion with her students at James Clemens High School has earned her the Chiquita Marbury Technology Innovation Award after her first year of teaching there.

“I felt honored and thrilled to be recognized for something so meaningful,” she said. “I love exploring new technology tools and apps with my students.”

The award is sponsored by the Alabama Department of Education and Educational Technology section and is meant to recognize educators who are leaders in the use of technology. It was created to honor Chiquita Marbury’s impact as a technology innovator in Alabama.

Mote sees innovation as a means of improving upon something, describing it as a continuous process that requires creativity, passion, and commitment. Technology is often at the forefront of innovation.

Quoting education teacher and blogger Matt Miller Mote said, “I want my students and myself to put on ‘tomorrow glasses’ and prepare for a technological world that isn’t even here yet,” so she has her students engage in the use of technology to create and imagine possible future applications.

“Technology is such a big part of our world and the world our children will inherit. I feel that we are doing learners a disservice if we don’t equip them with technology literacy skills,” she said.

In her classroom, Mote incorporates technology into lessons on essential English skills. Students learn the basics, like writing letters and effectively speaking in speeches, but they can utilize digital formats like emails, podcasts, and explainer videos.

“I try to show my students that the skills they’ve been building throughout their educational careers have a place and a purpose in our technology-rich environment, and I hope that they see that they will be able to adapt these essential skills no matter what technology looks like in the years to come,” Mote said.

To stay current on emerging technologies, Mote interacts with her professional learning network, which includes teachers in her school, district, and state, and her online community on social media.

“Similarly, I encourage my students to collaborate and share ideas as they work on learning content and creating projects,” she said. “I am also always trying new technologies in my classroom, so I try to lead by example for my students by being willing to take risks and experiment with new tools as they emerge.”

Time at DSU

In December 2020, she graduated with her DSU bachelor’s degree in English Education, followed by a Dakota State’s master’s degree in Educational Technology (MSET) in May 2022.

A lesson she’s taken with her from her time at DSU is to “innovate inside the box,” inspired by a book from one of her MSET classes. She explained the concept developed by educator George Couros in the book “The Innovator’s Mindset,” which has helped her push for creativity and growth no matter the circumstances.

“Its applications abound in the classroom setting as I navigate working within the resources and time available to me,” Mote said.

She also took inspiration from professors on campus, noting that Dr. William Sewell and Dr. Kevin Smith continue to be some of her biggest supporters and mentors.

“I’m grateful to continue to learn from them and their wealth of wisdom and knowledge,” Mote shared.

Other impactful and influential professors for her included Dr. Justin Blessinger, Dr. John Nelson, and Dr. Haley Larson.

Outside the classroom, Mote’s favorite memories of DSU include football games, Friendsgiving meals, family days, and meeting her husband, Billy.

“The best memories are those that involve the friendships I’ve made and the community I’ve built, which have outlasted my time in Madison, S.D.,” she said.


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