Vista Unified School District
With parents who were both computer teachers, Devin Vodicka was probably destined from birth to become fascinated with technology. “My Dad was an engineer who built computers at home,” recalls Devin, “and his joy was sharing this passion with his children.” Devin’s family had one of the earliest Apple II Plus computers, which became such a relic that the Smithsonian eventually requested it for the museum’s technology collection. The family’s interests in technology and education must have been contagious, because Devin’s sister is a teacher as well.
Devin had his first job in a classroom while he was still in high school, helping in the computer lab at a local elementary school. Even at his young age, Devin’s leadership skills emerged quickly, and he found himself running the lab within a few months. “Not many people in the school knew about computers,” Devin remembers, “so they were glad to put me in charge!” After graduating from college and earning his teaching credential, Devin began teaching first grade, where he was immediately tapped by the principal to improve the school’s use of educational technology.
When he became the principal of both a brand-new elementary and middle school, Devin was able to create a vision for how technology would be integrated into the building, and to build a team of teachers who would be excited about using these resources in the classroom. As the project director, Devin became responsible for re-writing the district’s technology plan.
When Devin looks back on his career, he’s a bit surprised at how technology has been a continual focus. “It has just sort of evolved,” he says, “in each new job, I’ve always been assigned to work on technology. But it’s fun for me, and I enjoy building my knowledge and skills.”
Devin strongly believes that technology is a powerful tool to improve teaching and allow principals to use resources most effectively to impact student learning. He also sees technology’s potential for creating a customized learning experience, which could break down the institutional nature of the educational system and make learning appropriate for each student’s individual needs.
However smitten Devin is with computers, he stresses that the social element of education cannot be overlooked, no matter how impressive the technology appears. “We must continue to integrate ‘high tech’ with ‘high touch’ if we really want our technology investments to make a difference for students,” he emphasizes.
Outside of education and technology, Devin’s passions include reading and spending time with his wife and four-year old daughter He particularly enjoys books about quantum physics, a topic which he finds interesting because, “It shows how interconnected everything is, which is important in an educational system where we sometimes forget how interdependent we are on one another.”