EXCLUSIVE NEW LEARNING TIMES INTERVIEW
Question: How did your educational trajectory (background) affect your current work?
Answer: As far back as I can remember, I was a musician. Growing up, I would bang on my parents pots and pans in the kitchen and would create amazing drum kits with anything I could get my hands on around the house. When I entered 3rd grade, I started taking formal music lessons in school on the viola. I remember getting into high school without any idea what I wanted to do in college. All I knew was that I was pretty good at performing and I loved music. I went into Music Education and had a great time at West Chester University. Currently, I am the director of Orchestras at an amazing high school in New Jersey. My students are amazing young musicians and they are very hard workers.
Aside from music, I have always been into computers, designing, and building. I started building websites in my early teenage years. When I was in high school, my father and I started Bradbury Web Design and had fun creating websites for friends and family. This was the beginning of my digital career. As a stage performer, my parents always pushed me in front of crowds as much as possible. From as early as I can remember, I was in front of the public doing skits, leading Boy Scout songs, and leading the campfire nights on the weekends. I can vividly remember helping my father, the Scout Master, plan meetings, camping trips, and large scale conferences while I worked on earning my Eagle Scout award. All of these digital and public adventures helped to pave the way for me to be comfortable standing up in front of students, and adults as a teacher, broadcaster, public speaker, and conference creator.
Question: What professional experiences have been most formative to your current work?
Answer: Over the last few years, there have been many professional experiences that have been amazing memories. The one that is always going to be on the top of my list was the time that my students and I invaded New York City and performed at Carnegie Hall. It was an amazing night of friendship and music as they had the opportunity to perform in front of a full house. As a musician, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to conduct amateur and professional orchestras across the country. I have conducted symphonies, operas, and have had the pleasure to work with some amazing musicians. The groups that have meant the most to me were the student groups and regional orchestras that allowed me to come in and work with them during conferences and conventions.
As an educator, I have had the pleasure to take part in the Google Teacher Academy, the ISTE Conference and have helped to create a very successful EdcampNJ where more than 200 educators came together two years in a row to collaborate and learn together. All of these professional accomplishments mean so much to me, but the experiences that have been the most meaningful are the times when my students come up and are excited to tell me about their latest acceptance letters from their favorite colleges. As a high school orchestra director, I have the privilege of watching 8th graders enter our building, turn into young adults and send them on their way to accomplish their dreams. Pretty awesome… pretty amazing!
Question: How do you hope your work will change the learning landscape?
Answer: Three years ago, I created TeacherCast.net as a professional development resource designed to help teachers learn how to better help their students. Through TeacherCast, I have created hundreds of podcasts, live broadcasts, blogs, app reviews, screencasts, an iBook, universal mobile app, and more. TeacherCast is now one of the premiere educational destinations for educators worldwide and I am very proud to have created "A Place for Teachers . . . to Help other Teachers".
Question: What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
Answer: Over the past few years, education has seen numerous trends come and go. First it was mobile devices for educators, then it was BYOD and 1:1. We have seen Augmented Reality, Social Media and the rise of easy to produce video production projects. The one trend that isn’t going away is the human spirit. Students come to us every day and want to learn. It’s not the how, but the who that will impact learning. We don’t teach science and math every day… we teach children and it is imperative that we keep that in mind as we prepare to both teach and learn as educators. It is the students who will ultimately determine the skills educators will be learning in the years ahead. It’s about time we start studying the students, and not the data as we move through the next decade together.
Question: What are you currently working on & what is your next big project?
Answer: Right now, one can say, there is a ton on my plate. In the next few years, I plan on continuing to improve as an educator and will continue to find innovative and creative ways to teach my orchestra students. I look forward to seeing TeacherCast evolve from a website with some app reviews and pedagogy into the TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting Network. Lastly, I look forward to being the father of three amazing little babies. In November 2013, my wife and I welcomed triplets into the world. They are the love of my life and they are the major motivation for all of the work that I do both publicly and in the classroom. They are my rock and I can’t imagine any project bigger than the three of them.
Image: Courtesy Jeffrey Bradbury