Interview with Morgan Dixon, iCEV Education Specialist
We recently hosted a Facebook Live interview with Morgan Dixon, iCEV Education Specialist, to learn about special populations group in Career & Technical Education. To view the Live interview, visit our Facebook page.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your experiences?
My name is Morgan Dixon. I have been working with CEV Multimedia for the past two months. Before that, I taught 7th grade English and reading at Frenship Middle School for six years, and I loved it! I absolutely loved my students and loved the chaos, but when I graduated with my master’s degree in December, I decided it was time for a change.
What brought you to iCEV?
Well, that’s a little interesting. Frenship has an externship program where teachers sign up, and they spend three days in the workforce. Last I was set up with CEV, and I got to write some of the blog posts and do a lot of editing. In May, this job came open, and I applied, and here I am!
What is your role here at iCEV?
My job as an education specialist is to help teachers with their special populations. There are a lot of other things I do, but right now, that is the main focus.
Can you give us a quick overview of special populations as they relate to CTE?
I don’t know if it’s possible to do it quickly, but this is just a brief overview. Special populations include students with disabilities, both intellectual and physical. They also include homeless children or children that live in a house where there is only one parent, or they are a single parent themselves. They can also be students where one or more of the parents or guardians are out of the workforce. English Language Learners (ELLS) are also considered special populations. It also includes children from military families. Special populations also apply to students who are in non-traditional fields, meaning females going into primarily male-dominated jobs and vice versa. Finally, special populations include gifted and talented (GT) students.
Can you tell us about the Special Populations & iCEV blog series that is coming out?
The main thing for teachers who are working with special populations is to understand what those special population groups are. You should ask: What are their needs? What do they need to succeed? How can you best work with those students and help them achieve what they need to achieve and get the most out of your class? The first blog is just basic definitions of each group, and then there are six different blog posts focusing on the various special populations and their needs and how to use iCEV curriculum to address those needs.
How can iCEV help address the needs or modifications special population groups might have?
For those of you who use iCEV, you know there is a ton of stuff on our site. We have videos, PowerPoints®, career interviews, assessments, vocabulary, activities and projects. There is a lot of material. Having that many resources can be awesome, but I tell teachers that they don’t have to do every single piece of content listed on the course playlist.
What I love about iCEV is that you can use all of the materials for differentiation. Let’s say you have a GT student who understood everything you were teaching and needs some extension, so you could set him or her up on a more difficult project. Then maybe you have someone who understands the content a little bit, but they’re still struggling. You can set them up on an activity or project that is on their level. Then you can use something much simpler to work with students who need one-on-one assistance. You have all of the students working on the same topic but working at their own level and their own abilities. To me, that’s the best part of iCEV.
What do you hope CTE teachers get from this blog series?
It can be overwhelming at the beginning of the year when you get your class roster, and you have 25 to 30 students, and 15 of them have paperwork. You might ask yourself, “What do I do? How am I supposed to teach such a wide variety of students?” Yes, it’s overwhelming, but my hope for this blog series is for teachers can understand it’s not as bad as it may seem. Yes, it’s going to be difficult, but if you can break the needs down according to category and get to know your students, then you can focus on content. My hope for these blogs is that I can do some of the behind-the-scenes work to let teachers know what their students need. That way, you don’t have to focus so much on the background, but you can focus on your students and how to apply that information to your individual class.
If a teacher wants to know more about special population groups, what should they do?
Google is your best friend. If you have a student from a special population you’ve never dealt with before, for example, a child who from a military family and has been at a different school every year, and you need to know how to help that student fill in those gaps, the first thing I would do is Google. Just by spending 15 minutes researching the special population group, you are going to get some information that will help. Next, talk to your admin and your peers, and if that doesn’t help, contact me. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does.
How can teachers contact you?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call the iCEV office at 800-922-9965.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am working on resources we can implement into all of our lessons. If you have experience teaching special populations and there is something you have had success with, please share with me so I can share it with the rest of our users. If you have a question about something or if there is something you think should be added to iCEV, please let me know, and I will see if we can add it to our materials.
Also, I will be at the Oklahoma ACTE conference from July 31 through August 2, so if you’re in Oklahoma City, please swing by our booth and say hi. I would love to meet you!