My name is Judson Birkel
My Name: If the name Judson is popular in your family, we’re probably related. I’m named after my great grandfather – Judson Tolman. That’s not pertinent to this blog, but I figured I’d throw it out there for anyone who finds the name “Judson” to ring a (family) bell.
My Education: In high school I had a great computer science teacher who really made me love programming. When I got to college (Brigham Young University) I worked towards a Computer Science Degree and found myself not really enjoying that route anymore. I loved programming, but I preferred teaching the basics over
banging my head on the computer wondering why my stupid program wasn’t working at 2 in the morning programming large 100 hour assignments. I loved teaching and have been doing it in various degrees for many years. I found a program that worked perfect for me – the Technology and Engineering Education program at Brigham Young University. The whole program focused on preparing future teachers to teach technology subjects to middle school and high school students. And what was even better, the program encourages you to focus on a specific subject area, and I focused on computer science. I graduated from BYU with a Bachelors of Science in Technology and Engineering Education with a minor in Teaching Computer Science. While at BYU I had opportunities to learn (and learn to teach) basic electronics, robotics (Lego NXT Mindstorms, the Basic Stamp, and the Arduino), web development, computer game development (with Adobe Flash), 3D graphics and animation (Maya), Java programming, C++ Programming, basics in computer hardware, Computer literacy, woodworking, and manufacturing (as well as many other subjects I’m currently forgetting).
My Post-BYU Education: Currently I’m a student part time at Western Oregon University where I’m working towards a Masters of Science in Education: Technology Education. This program will help me to build my understanding of how to better use technology in the classroom. Many concepts I use in this course will come from ideas, observations, and useful insight I receive from that program.
My Profession: I’m a teacher/educator/tech-guru. I started out teaching computer science part time at Lehi High School in Lehi, UT during the 2011-2012 academic school year (while finishing up my teaching degree at BYU). I also had an opportunity, while there, to teach Physics with Technology as my Student Teaching experience. I loved teaching Computer Science and I believe the students enjoyed me as their teacher… Physics with Technology, on the other hand, proved to be rather difficult, especially since it wasn’t my academic forte. But it was a great learning experience and taught me that Computers is what I’m great at teaching and where I should focus my attention. After I graduated from BYU, my family and I moved back home to Oregon to pursue a teaching career (in what is possibly one of the hardest states to find a teaching job). I snagged a great job teaching Computer Literacy in Oregon Virtual Academy where I’m currently teaching and thuroughly enjoying the opportunity to teach online from home. I do have to say, teaching from home definately has its prose and cons.
My hobbies include (but are not limited to):
- Singing (I’m a tenor and love A Cappella)
- Programming (my language of choice is Java)
- Web Development (more as a hobby than a career)
- Wood Working
- Sports (namely bicycling and swimming now, but I use to be a decent soccer player and hurdler)
- Bookbinding (As odd as that may sound, it’s a hobby I picked up at BYU… and haven’t had time to pick back up again)
- Anything that would fall under scouting (camping, hiking, outdoors, wilderness survival) – I am an Eagle Scout.
- Cooking (anything non-onion related. Death to Funions!)