Marti Sides honored as first FISD teacher to complete Master Technology Teacher Certification

At the December Frenship Independent School District Board of Education meeting, Marti Sides, a curriculum technologist at Willow Bend Elementary School, was honored as the district’s first teacher to complete the Master Technology Teacher Certification Program. FISD instructional technology coordinator Shauna Washburn has also completed the certification. Sides answered the following questions for FrenshipToday:

What drew you to a career in education?
I have always wanted to be a teacher. I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything else. Almost everyone on my mom’s side of the family is a teacher so it was only natural that education was the path that I also followed.

When did you become a curriculum technologist, and what do you do?
This is my 11th year in education. I taught 3rd grade in LISD for 1 year and then moved to FISD where I’ve taught for the past 10 years. I taught 4th grade at Casey Elementary for 7 years and then moved to Willow Bend when Casey closed. I’ve been the curriculum technologist there since its opening three years ago.
My job is really all encompassing when it comes to technology. I do a little bit of everything. I write the technology lesson plans for the teachers, troubleshoot computers and other technology equipment, run our school TV station, and keep up with our school web page. I also work with teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum, and, when I’m lucky, I get to teach the students during their specials time. I train teachers to use all of the new hardware and software that we acquire. I also help with the pre-kindergarten class when they come to the lab and even volunteer for lunch duty.

Why is technology important for today’s students?
Technology is so important for today’s students because in almost every field that you might go in to, technology is involved in same way, shape, or form. In addition, students learn problem solving skills when they begin to use technology. Sometimes the equipment, hardware, or software doesn’t end up working correctly and the teacher isn’t immediately available to help. There are a lot of instances where the students have solved their own problem before the teacher has the opportunity to even help. Life is like that too, and students need to be able to apply those same skills that they’ve learned by using one particular piece of hardware or software to others.

Why did you decide to take part in the Master Technology Teacher Certification Program?
I decided to take part in the Master Technology Teacher certification program because I had already participated in the IET program (Intel Equivalent Training), and both year one and year two of the TLC program (Technology Leadership Certification) that Frenship ISD offers – all are prerequisites for the MTT program. I had also just completed my Masters degree in Instructional Technology and felt that the timing was right and I wanted to continue to further my education in technology. I had just begun my position as a C-tech at Willow Bend and knew that there was a lot more that I still needed to learn. Some things I knew I could only learn “on the job,” but there were other things that I knew I would have to have training on and needed guidance and instruction on. Shauna Washburn, our instructional technology coordinator for FISD and the MTT course instructor, really helped me through the course.

How will students benefit from the knowledge you’ve gained through the Master Technology Teacher Certification Program?
I think that the students and teachers will definitely benefit from the knowledge that I’ve gained through the MTT program. There were things that I was unaware of before I participated in the program such as assistive technology. Now I have a working knowledge about assistive technology and can use that knowledge to help our students with special needs. There were also things that I knew about and wanted to learn about but felt like I never had the time or resources to do so. For example, I really wanted to learn how to create a podcast and learn how to create videos. The MTT program gave me a reason to learn about these things, as well as the resources to get started.

How will you benefit?
I will benefit from the MTT program because I will better be able to do my job as a c-tech. I will better be able to help the teachers find the technology that meets their needs in the classroom and also give them new ideas for making old curriculum exciting and new.

What other accomplishments have you made in your life?
My other accomplishments: I do hold the rank of godan (5th degree black belt) in both Kunami Ryu and Shotokan Karate. I have been studying these styles for the past 21 years under Sensei Darren Walters. I was salutatorian at Frenship High School in 1993 and then graduated magna cum laude from Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education in 1998. I received my Masters degree in Instructional Technology from West Texas A&M in 2006.
During my career in education I have been asked to give many presentations. A listing of those presentations can be found at
I was a top three finalist for the Texas Computer Education Association’s Technology Teacher of the Year in 2003 and was a Texas Computer Education Association Professional Scholarship Award Winner in 2005.
Despite all of the above named accomplishments and awards, I feel like my greatest accomplishments are my family – my husband Keith whom I’ve been married to for the past 14 years (15 in August), my 12-year-old daughter, Ty, and my 8-year-old son, Ryley.

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