SPEAKER INTERVIEW: Amy Mascott
Amy Mascott is the creator of teachmama.com , where she shares tools and resources parents can use to become the best teachers for their children. Capitalizing on learning opportunities in the every day and inspiring curiosity through games and play, Amy encourages a ‘lifestyle of learning’ where parents both prepare their children for school and help them to grow excited and informed about the world around them. Recognizing the need for more peer collaboration, Amy built the community ‘we teach’ a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas, and grow into better educators—no matter the classroom. ‘we teach’ has grown quickly into one of the most successful and highly-trafficked educational forums on the web. A reading specialist, writer, consultant, and mom to a crazy-cool 8, 6, and 5-year-old, Amy’s reflections on literacy, parenting, and social media have been featured on dozens of online and print publications, including Scholastic Parents Online, PBS Parents, readwritethink.org, Mom’s Homeroom, and more.
How did you get involved with blogging?
I am a firm believer that it’s time for all parents to become more active in their children’s education, so four years ago, I created teachmama.com, where I share tools and resources parents can use to become the best teachers for their children. I really encourage a “lifestyle of learning‚”where parents capitalize on learning opportunities in the every day and inspire their children’s curiosity through games and play, preparing their little ones for school and helping them to grow excited and informed about the world around them. I started teachmama.com because my friends were calling me on a daily basis asking what they should be–or could be–doing to help their children learn the alphabet, numbers, how to read, etc. I figured if they had questions, then most likely other people did as well, so our blog was born. I just started sharing what we did that day, during the evening once the kids were in bed, along with the research that backed what we were doing. It kept my mom-of-three-kids-under-three-years-old brain sharp, it kept me focused as a parent, and it made my pals happy.
What’s your favorite technology to help you blog/write/tweet/edit?
I LOVE Pinterest–it’s so beautiful, relaxing, and addicting. But I also love Hootsuite because it allows me to schedule tweets, FB updates, you name it from one dashboard. And I can see all of my FB pages & twitter accounts from one dashboard.
If you could travel back in time and send yourself a message, what would it be?
Very simply, it would be to stop for a minute, breathe, and focus on the present. I was always–always–looking forward to that next step, that I’m not sure I really lived in the present when I should have and enjoyed where I was. And I think that kind of focus and patience, especially in a digital world, is super important; we need to think before we hit that ‘send’ button.
Any advice for young bloggers?
Post the goal or focus of your site in the upper part of the sidebar so that any time anyone lands on your page, he or she knows exactly what they will find. It lets people know what to expect, and it helps keep you focused on creating relevant, meaningful content.
What do you think is the greatest opportunity for digital teens today?
We’re trailblazers. in a field that is moving at the speed of light, we’re looked to for information, advice, and guidance, so it’s incredibly important that everything we do–from blogging, to tweeting to instagramming, to facebooking, you name it–is done with the utmost integrity and grace.
What are you going to talk about at the conference?
Parenting Digital Kids:
1) Safety, security, and privacy- practical and tactical information like what to be aware of when using services such as Facebook, YouTube (video settings), and geolocation based services, the public nature of information through social media tools and blogs, and practices to help preserve your personal identity.
2) Managing media consumption- screen time, social concerns, age appropriate content for children
3) Educational value of technology- ways technology can enrich our lives when used appropriately
4) Digital etiquette and manners- modeling appropriate behaviors
What’s next for you after the Digital Family Summit?
I’m really working hard to bring a new program to ‘we teach‘—-a program that brings educationally-focused products and services to all 4000+ members of the forum each week. One product each Monday will be revealed on the forum, and members can purchase the item at 50-70% off of regular price. Kind of a ‘fab.com’ for teachers and parents.
I’m also working with PBS Digital Studio and will be partnering with their YouTube Channel, so my channel will be part of PBS in a few weeks! Fabulous partnership!
Lastly, I’m thrilled to be one of the two anchor voices for the Scholastic Parents Blog to be launched at the end of the summer. I’ll be working closely with Allie McDonald of No Time For Flashcards, and I’m over the moon about it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Gertsacov is the co-founder and co-organizer of Digital Family Summit. He wears many hats, including those of a professional clown, an author and publisher, an artist/educator, a non-profit administrator, a P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario, and the esteemed hat of the Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland.