30 K–12 IT Influencers to Follow in 2021
This year’s top influencers are educational technology innovators, advocates and leaders. Discover the ways they’ve worked to share resources and succeed in spite of challenges.
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Editor's Note: Don't miss our latest K–12 IT influencer list. See who you should be following in 2022.
Educators who rose to the many challenges presented this past year often did so with the aid of educational technology. Many K–12 districts adapted to new learning styles, sometimes more than once, as the year progressed. Classrooms across the nation relied on remote, hybrid and in-person learning models to continue providing meaningful educational experiences to students.
The essential ed tech for teaching evolved alongside classrooms as educators and IT professionals discovered innovative solutions at each turn. These K–12 IT leaders worked with one another, and with students, to create the best environments for learning. They fought to close digital equity gaps and shared resources for everything from classroom management systems to professional development to help other educators succeed.
While we can’t be certain how remote learning will continue to change the future of education, EdTech is confident that these bloggers, podcast hosts and social media influencers will be leading the way. To keep up with the latest trends in this ever-changing landscape, be sure to follow these 30 K–12 IT influencers. If you’re featured among the 2021 K–12 IT Influencers listed below, be sure to spread the word, and don’t miss our influencer images for your social media profiles and websites.
Alejandro Rivera is a principal at Jericho School District in New York, a top-rated district for academic achievement. He consistently promotes the hybrid and remote learning activities of his elementary school’s students. See what George A. Jackson Elementary School is innovating next by following Rivera on Twitter.
Alice Keeler advocates for educational technology’s integration into teaching and supports the effective use of technology to best connect with students. She is forging a path in the world of digital learning environments on her blog Teacher Tech with Alice Keeler, where she shares resources with other educators.
Allie Beldin uses her blog, Saved by the Beldin, to provide educational technology tips and tricks to other educators. She provides resources in three categories: instruction, student engagement and remote learning. Beldin was the first Google for Education certified trainer in her county in Georgia, where she teaches middle grades math and science.
Amber Coleman-Mortley discusses teaching students difficult lessons on social justice and equality in her blog, Mom of All Capes. When she isn’t interviewing guest experts on the podcast she hosts with her three children, called Let’s K12 Better, Coleman-Mortley works as the director of social engagement at iCivics, a small ed tech nonprofit that provides civic education through video games and classroom resources.
Librarian Andrea Keller champions technology as a resource and shares her experiences with distance learning (and distance Girl Scout troop leading) on her blog, Bee in the Bookends. She’s very active on social media and even creates videos about being a middle school librarian on TikTok.
Brandon Johnson encourages teachers to take new approaches in the classroom to increase student engagement. He was previously named a Top 25 STEAM educator to follow on Twitter. Now an area superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Texas, he can also be found giving workshops on leadership and the classroom experience.
Brian Buffington is the director of instructional technology at Pioneer Regional Service Agency in Georgia and a keynote speaker. He loves helping teachers innovate with technology to provide the best student engagement experience. Buffington also created the Buff Nuggets podcast last year to share tech tips and teaching inspiration.
Bryan Miller is an ed tech consultant and the senior director of global strategic outreach at Wonder Workshop. He shares his expertise on educational toys that promote computer science and STEM, and the importance of learning through play. Miller also helps schools construct new makerspaces that integrate technology, pulling from his 15 years of experience as an educator.
Christina Kishimoto is the superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education. She frequently uses social media, like her Twitter account, to share resources for teachers and insights into the state of learning across Hawaii. Throughout her career in K–12 and higher education, she has focused on improving equity in education.
Kindergarten teacher Christine Pinto is the co-author of a book focused on play-based learning with technology called Innovating Play: Reimagining Learning through Meaningful Tech Integration. On her blog, also titled Innovating Play, Pinto provides resources, tips and advice for other teachers of young students.
Daniel Stitzel is a former middle school educator now working as the district technology integration coach for Streetsboro City Schools in Ohio. Presenting at conferences in the past on topics such as blended learning, educational technologies for teachers and student intervention resources, Stitzel loves sharing his ed tech knowledge with educators beyond his district.
The eTwinz, Alberto and Mario Herraez, teach fifth and sixth grade students at Canyon Creek Elementary School in Utah. Originally from Spain, the eTwinz are Spanish immersion teachers who believe strongly in integrating educational technology into their pedagogy. They present at conferences on 21st century teaching tools and practices, sharing global experience with other educators.
Felisa Ford is a co-creator of the “Good Trouble: Lessons in Social Justice” world of Minecraft: Education Edition. As a digital learning specialist for Atlanta Public Schools, she believes in the power of technology and its ability to facilitate important conversations around equity in the classroom.
Jaime Donally is the founder of ARVRinEDU, a website dedicated to helping educators implement immersive technology into their classrooms. As an educational technology consultant, she works with educators to bring augmented and virtual reality to students. Donally has written two books on the subject of immersive technology in education.
As an educator, James Varlack works to bridge the gap between education and technology. He hosts the #RGVEduChat, a 30-minute conversation with educators that poses four questions a week. Through these questions and other posts, he frequently engages with other educators on social media.
Josh Harris is the director of educational technology for the Alisal Union School District in California. He has a passion for educational tools, such as Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education, that can help educators take steps to close the digital divide. He shares tips and resources with educators on his website, Edtech Explorer.
Karly Moura is a technology teacher on special assignment and computer science teacher at a STEM school in California. She shares educational technology tools and professional development resources on her website, Karly’s PD Resources, to expand other teachers’ toolkits.
Keith Krueger is CEO of the Consortium for School Networking and frequently promotes news and resources to the K–12 community on Twitter. He works to empower users of educational technology globally, having visited Australia, Asia, Europe and South America over the course of his career to discuss information and communications technology in education.
Kimberly Bryant is the founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit dedicated to introducing young women of color to technology and computer science. Bryant’s focus on expanding opportunities for girls of color has led to much recognition, including a Jefferson Award for community service and attention as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People and a White House Champion of Change.
Michael “The Tech Rabbi” Cohen is a designer, educator and creativity instigator. His mission is to help educators around the world reveal their own creative abilities so they can empower students to solve interesting problems and become positive contributors to our global society. When he isn’t traveling the world sharing his message, he serves as the director of innovation for Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys School, where he manages and teaches at the Schlesinger STEAM and Entrepreneurship Center.
Michelle Moore is a speaker and educational technology advocate. She has spoken on leading with professional learning in the K–12 space and promotes digital equity, professional development and innovation. Moore is an ISTE educator and is passionate about inclusive STEM.
Nicole Laeno, EdTech’s first student influencer, is video blogger with a large following on YouTube and TikTok. She creates videos about her experience as a high school student in the digital age, dealing with such relevant topics as daily educational technology and hybrid learning.
Rachelle Dené Poth is a Spanish and emerging technology teacher. She is the former president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and now hosts the ThriveinEDU podcast. Her passion for emerging technology and innovating the student experience is evident in her keynote speeches and the five books she has published.
Founder of the educational consultancy Liberty Leadership Development, Randall Sampson calls himself the company’s “chief curation officer.” He works with schools to curate and assess student data to create equity in school systems. As a result of his work, schools across the country have increased graduation rates and enrollment in Advanced Placement classes, particularly among minority and underprivileged students.
Randy Rogers believes strongly in empowering students and their learning through technology. As the director of instructional technology for Judson Independent School District in Texas and member services chair for the Texas Computer Education Association, Rogers helps educators create experiential and engaging lessons for students through the use of technology.
Tricia Louis advocates for educational technology through her role as a technology integration professional for the Richland School District in Wisconsin. She is certified through Google for Education and Microsoft in Education, and she shares Tech Tuesday Tidbits on her blog every week.
Tyler Witman is an instructional technology coordinator in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Witman co-founded the Google Educators Group of Northern Virginia to share Google for Edu resources with other educators in the region. Through his website, Witman EDU, he offers teacher training in various educational technologies.
Victoria Thompson is a STEM coach and consultant for education in technology. She works with educators in the state of Washington (and across Twitter) to create inclusive STEM environments and bridge equity gaps in STEM education. She has also been a guest on many podcasts to discuss her anti-racist work in ed tech.