Our latest Edtech Superhero shares on the new age of education. Emie Baylon is not your ordinary EdTech coach and mentor. Her passion and enthusiasm for helping others upskill and grow in the world of Educational Technology are infectious – Making her an obvious choice for our EdTech SuperHero series.
Based in the Philippines, Emie assists teachers and schools get the best out of their devices, whatever the operating system. As an educator certified by Microsoft and Google and a Distinguished Educator of Apple, she’s wholly OS-fluid. She derives great joy in helping others get the best out of their teaching environment.
As an educator herself, Emie Baylon enjoys being on her toes and learning about technology and its application within the modern classroom, which she believes is especially important due to the daily evolution of EdTech in the classroom. On top of learning the newest tips and tricks in applying technology to classrooms, Emie loves learning from her students and simply gaining more knowledge about the world around her.
Emie strives to bridge the gap between technology and education – taking great joy in helping people find a solution to a particular challenge they may have encountered.
Let’s find out more about Emie and her infectious perspective of the modern classroom!
Navigating the new age of education with Emie
1. What’s the first thing you do to get your day going?
Due to remote work, my office is just across from my bed. So when I wake up, I just run to the bathroom, and after that, I’ll check my devices to see if there are some announcements that I need to tell my students to freshen up a bit.
After this, I’ll eat a little breakfast; of course, bread and coffee would be necessary so that my day would be okay, and then I’ll do a little bit of silencing before coming to class.
I listen to music so that when I see my students, I’m calmer and more composed. As educators, we are always on our toes and always busy or always in a hurry; our students might invite that same energy very quickly.
So when I Imagine the rush of the day, an hour before the class starts, I take a few minutes to pause before starting my day.
2. What’s your go-to meal for breakfast and tea or coffee?
Bread and Coffee. Coffee is non-negotiable. I like it black, and I need to have it to pump up my day, and at the same time, bread is so easy to prepare in the morning. After that, I can go back and be ready to work.
3. What inspires you to work every morning, and what do you find the most fulfilling part of your work?
I don’t know if this is also the same thing that other people would feel, but whenever I wake up and see that my students are trying their best to come into class, that inspires me.
The fact that they’re making an effort to show up even if on the days they struggle to join classes, overcoming that challenge for me is an inspiration.
“…whenever I wake up and see that my students are trying their very best to come into class, that inspires me.”
That’s why I try my very best to make it a point always to be positive with my students because to me, that is an inspiration, and it will impact how the students will do the work that you assign to them.
It’s pretty tricky, and their presence and engagement with the lesson despite their difficulties inspire me, which inspires me to continue working.
4. What inspires you to go to work every morning and indeed throughout your career?
These days, particularly in the Philippines, everything has been so scarce that even a little bit of rain might cause a delay on your internet connection. So I think having online students is always ready and prepared for your class and any questions you might ask them, and they deliver work on time. Perhaps to some, these might not be something significant, but to meI think those are little things that count.
5. Which music best describes your working style?
In the morning, I listen to a lot of classical music because it stimulates your thinking and encourages your brain activity and creative thinking.
“…classical music stimulates your brain activity and creative thinking.”
But towards the latter part of the day, especially when I wait for my students to come into my virtual conferencing tool, I usually listen to K-pop music. It’s usually some BTS.
6. What do you love most about your work?
Now With remote learning, I love it. I love it.
I don’t have to leave the house like I usually do as I live in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and my work is in another city, in Muntinlupa, so it takes me two hours to get to work every day. So having remote work is something I enjoy because, in just an hour, I am prepared. All I need to do is just step out of my bed, and everything is here, in front of my little office. I just tell myself that everything will be okay, I’m not going to be late, and I super enjoy remote working.
“All I need to do is just step out of my bed, and everything is here..”
I also enjoy that I can easily be accessible to students. With just an instant message, I can easily inquire about anything I need to ask. I can also easily and quickly share documents with my colleagues as well. It’s easy for me to reach out to them. That’s why I like it.
There is also another side to it. Here in the Philippines, we love and are very particular about working for eight hours a day. There are people like me who travel for two hours to get to work. So when I leave school, I have to make it a point that I’m no longer thinking of schoolwork on a typical day.
But with online learning, with remote work, you need to extend yourself a little bit. Sometimes students might continue talking to you in the wee hours of the day, like at 9:00 pm, and you’ll still have a meeting. Before, I would always have to tell my colleagues that I could only stay until a particular time because I needed to travel back home and get some rest for the next day.
“… with remote work, you need to extend yourself a little bit.”
I hope that if we’re going to be shifting back to face to face, I hope that we will be able to adapt a little bit of remote work still because they enjoy it a lot.
7. Are you team Google or team Apple?
I have all of them; I have a Microsoft tablet here with me, I have an app open right now on my iPad, and I’m using a Macbook for this call, and I have another Windows computer beside me. So it’s safe to say I have everything.
But, I would like to say that I am a platform-agnostic person. What matters to me is that whatever platform I have right now serves me and has a purpose and serves me in doing my work.
It doesn’t matter whatever platform it might be. It’s the best, especially here in the Philippines. Most of our schools adopted a bring your device (BYOD) mode of learning. A student might have an iPad or a Windows computer, or a Macbook for that matter. If I’m not helping the student, I won’t be of service to them, depending on what device they have their device.
“What matters to me is that whatever platform I have right now, it serves me and has a purpose and serves me in doing my work.”
That’s why it’s crucial for students to ask their teachers and for teachers to cope with those devices in virtual environments or class for that BYOD method to work – so that I can serve my students. Simply due to how things go in a classroom with technology, there will come a time when teachers need to do a lot of troubleshooting to overcome issues that are encountered along the way.
8. What invaluable advice can you give to fellow educators about motivating students during blended learning or general tips for how to cope?
What matters these days, especially when everything is too unpredictable, is that you don’t compromise on just being human because students won’t remember or they will remember most of your topics, or sometimes they don’t know.
“…don’t compromise on just being human….”
I am more invested in the fact that I’m forming human beings, and at the same time, I’m more invested now in hearing these students out because, at this point in their learning where everything is too distant and removed, I’m sure they are feeling helpless.
They’re experiencing many difficulties, especially if they need assistance with certain things they don’t understand or if they don’t understand or want to talk to somebody. Generally, in a face-to-face environment, it’s easy for them to just go to the faculty room and call me to speak and share their insights or even have lunch with me if they want to have lunch with me, but now it’s entirely different.
I think what I can advise other people to do is to share something about themselves. This way, students will learn about the content that you’re teaching them and know what it is to be human because that’s one thing that matters the most. If your students want to talk to you about, let’s say, a specific problem, hearing them out is essential.
It’s part of social-emotional learning, and for me, I value those things the most. I know it’s a challenging thing for teachers, especially with all the technological challenges that we as teachers are faced with. I’m fortunate to have all this infrastructure available to me and that it’s working for me.
However, I think more than technology; it’s really who you are as a person that your students will remember. So it’s imperative to share who you are with them and give your attention when they need you to hear them out.
“….it’s really who you are as a person that your students will remember.”
Often with remote learning, it is easy for teachers to just leave everything to learning management systems, assuming that the students would be able to do things on their own and would be able to manage their own time. Even with simple instructions, it may be difficult for students to do things on their own.
Students have told me that it’s also essential that I, as a teacher, create time for them to help them to understand things. I believe that’s also one thing that we have to put into practice if we continue doing online learning; school administrators should create programs for social-emotional learning because, at the end of the day, our students are not only academically challenged, these students are also having emotional challenges, but also have emotional challenges and mental health challenges along the way.
“…., it’s important that school programs for social, emotional learning should be established in schools in place….”
So it’s essential that people like me, teachers like me, are readily equipped to handle these situations so that students would again not compromise that idea of humanity.
Teachers will continue to be that human factor that will educate them about important things around the world. That’s one thing that I wanted to share as advice to other teachers.
Lastly, it pays to be positive. It pays to show that to your students. Even if your cameras are off, I would like to believe that the students would feel the passion of your teachers.
It’s important also that you show them that you’re very passionate about what you do, right? You must show positivity towards negative things. You want to show your students that there’s always light after the long dark tunnel.
So in teaching, it’s essential that while there are struggles along the way, teachers must show students to seek out the brighter side of things so that they will be able to appreciate that, and there’s something that they could look forward to.
9. What do you think educators can take away from dealing with the challenges that have arisen through the pandemic?
I think one enthusiastic, and I’m answering this in the context of teaching in the Philippines because as an ed-tech mentor myself, I would like to believe that educational technology has been in existence for quite some time, is the adaptation to the use of educational technology.
Many of our teachers here in the Philippines have been so comfortable doing face-to-face classes in the traditional way of teaching. They did not anticipate the pandemic and that the use of technology would become so prevalent. Educators were used to conventional education and using boards, talking to students, and using their passion and presence to deliver their work well and perform beyond what you would expect them to do.
“..they did not anticipate that this pandemic would come and that all these things will be relevant to them.”
However, the transition was so rapid. No one expected it to be like this. The good thing for me was that our school had already transitioned to a blended learning environment. That’s why in a sense, we were able to prepare teachers to be able to handle technology with our students.
I was also able to mentor teachers on how to cope with the technology, whether it’s done online or in a face-to-face manner. But I think one great takeaway that teachers should continue with from remote learning is the idea of using technology as a way to deliver work efficiently. Because in this remote learning world, they could see how they could easily share documents without emailing you. So they were able to appreciate the power that technology provided to help them to be more productive.
Technology also provides more ways for teachers to create more opportunities for student engagement. It’s not only your in-person presentation that can be used to educate and connect with students. Now, you can introduce them to virtual tours. Even from the comfort of your own home, you can conduct a lot of virtual field trips, let’s say, a cross-cultural understanding of how it is to be a student in South Africa and how we are as Filipino students.
“Technology also provides more ways for teachers to create more opportunities for student engagement.”
Technology can provide different ways for creating student engagement. It can also create many ways to simulate certain things that can enhance learning, such as Augmented Reality can make the class more enjoyable for your students and engage in how product design may change in the future.
Through such technology, teachers can show students how they’re going to sketch out ideas in the future, for example. Even robotics, for that matter, at our school, we have a program for robotics integrated at school. We can utilize the technology that robotics can offer in enhancing the lessons that we give the students and the education they can attain.
Those are some of the takeaways that I hope could still be adapted into our regular curriculum as we start to move back to the normal routine.
10. What is your Mantra for the year?
I would always tell my students two words, action & passion.
Because when you act on something that you’re passionate about, it’s easy for you to pass it on to other people. Action-passion is my mantra every day. When you want something done, when you want something to happen and connect with others, you have to put effort into it, and if you have to be passionate about it to be able to engage with the challenge so that it will happen fully.
Developing relationships around the world and connecting with other educators.
With the work I’ve been doing with Apple, Google and Microsoft, I’ve met a lot of passionate teachers, whether locally or internationally, and they are doing a lot of great things – whether in the public sector or the private sector.
Some so many people are making an effort to make a lot of difference in education worldwide.
“It’s nice also to make people feel that they’re not alone. There are also people walking the same boat as them.”
Thank you so much for your time, Emie. It was very insightful and inspiring speaking to you. This conversation also came with so many lessons for me. I appreciate the importance you place on educators sharing and showing their passion to their students.
Thanks again to Emie for taking the time to chat with us, and I hope that our readers feel your passion just as much as we did. It was an absolute pleasure speaking with you. After the shift that the pandemic has caused in so many of our lives, I think many of us can benefit from remembering just how influential educators are and that they are our superheroes.
Team Mobile Guardian