CodeJoy Welcomes Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth, Esq. to Join the Teaching Roster This Summer!

Updated 5/10/2024: CodeJoy's Amanda Jeane Strode interviews Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth, Esq. regarding her exciting involvement in this year's Pathfinders Summer Institute PD course, Beyond the Hype: Practical AI for Educators!
May 3, 2024 by
CodeJoy Welcomes Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth, Esq. to Join the Teaching Roster This Summer!
CodeJoy, Susan Willems

Get ready to dive deep into the world of education and emerging technology with CodeJoy's Amanda Jeane Strode and special guest teacher Dr. Rachelle Dené Poth, Esq. Rachelle will be joining the CodeJoy team to help deliver professional development for 2024’s Infosys Foundation USA Pathfinders Summer Institute courses. Rachelle’s course, Beyond the Hype: Practical AI for Educators will be a hands-on, exploratory session about practical AI tools and real-world applications for educators. Beyond the hyperbolic fear mongering, the reality of AI is much more cooperative and creative than you think! In this course, we’ll use AI as our creative co-pilot, fueling innovative lessons and deeper student engagement. 

Rachelle is not your average educator – she's an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, podcaster, and teacher, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. Teaching Spanish and STEAM: Emerging Technology at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA, Rachelle's impressive credentials include a Juris Doctor degree, a Master’s in Instructional Technology, and soon, a second doctorate in Educational Technology with a focus on AI and professional development (Update: She did it! She has her second doctorate! Congratulations!). Join us as we explore her insights on AI, AR, VR, and STEM, and discover her latest book, "How to Teach AI," available through ISTE, coming in July 2024.

Amanda Jeane Strode (AJS): What course are you teaching this summer and what makes you excited about it?

Rachelle Dené Poth (RDP): Beyond the Hype: Practical AI for Teachers

The thing that makes me really excited about it is that it’s focused on AI and that is something I’ve been teaching about and presenting on for over six years now. It’s been really fun to see the journey in that.

I’ve done a lot of PD and training at my school, at conferences and webinars. It has been interesting to see there is still hesitancy with AI. People are asking, “Is it going to go away?” There is also a feeling of overwhelm too. “Is this something else I have to learn?” Sometimes teachers think it doesn't apply to them or they can't bring it into their classroom because they are teaching a certain grade level or content area.

AJS: How are you feeling about this collaboration with CodeJoy?

RDP: I’m super excited! I’ve known about CodeJoy and known Kelsey for a long time. I have just gotten to know Matt and some other people on the team. I’m thrilled to be involved in something like this, because I think it’s such a good opportunity for educators. CodeJoy is super responsive. They’ll provide all the support that teachers and educators of any role need, and they’re so friendly! They’re great to know as people and great to partner with and learn from.

AJS: What do you find rewarding about teaching educators?

RDP: I really enjoy when I’m teaching somebody else something that they don't know. Also, I use a form to get feedback from teachers. I ask for some information like, “What’s your level of comfort?  What have you been using? What are your questions and concerns?” When I read through, some teachers will say, “I’m not going to use it,” or “It doesn't have a place.” It’s understandable because they are concerns that teachers have, and I know what that’s like. There are concerns about AI or using any technology. I just love the interactions and I always learn from the other teachers too. They help me to think about new ideas or look at things differently. The best part about doing this work is the authenticity and the relationships you build. That helps you to build your skills and have a bigger network that supports you and brings new ideas into your classroom, too.

AJS: When did you first become inspired in a STEM field?

RDP: I have always loved technology, ever since I was a kid. Anything coding, computers, as soon as they were available, I was always eager to spend time learning. People often wonder what a Spanish teacher is doing teaching about AI, metaverse, blockchain and all of these different things.  In my school, about 8 years ago, we received a grant to change our library into more of a makerspace. It was a STEAM lab, so with me teaching Spanish and the arts, my principal had asked me to teach one of these rotations for 8th grade. [...H]e called me into his office and said, “So you’re going to teach hummingbirds and the kids are going to take the French and Spanish culture…”.  In my mind, I was like, “What is he talking about?” I was thinking about the Hummingbirds outside and that I’d never been trained for this. I thought, “Does that not violate a school code, or is it safe?” I shook my head and said, “OK, sounds great, awesome.” As soon as I left his office, I googled STEAM and how to use Hummingbird. Of course I found Birdbrain Technologies, fortunately located in Pittsburgh so I could reach out to them. I did that for two years and while I was not very good at it because I didn't know everything, the kids were great at it!

AJS: What are you looking forward to this summer?

RDP: I’m going to be really busy this summer! I attend and present at the ISTE conference every year. The first time I went was in 2015, in Philly. I look forward to the end of June to have time to actually go and learn. I’m looking forward to working with CodeJoy, with Aaron [Maurer]. Maybe a little bit of downtime, if I can fit that in. Maybe some extra sleep! I use summer as a time to learn and read.

AJS: What are your thoughts on the potential impact of AI on the role of teachers in the future?

RDP: When I go to a conference, I will ask, “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of AI?” For 5 years, I would get responses like “Terminator, Skynet, i Robot,” and then last January, it was “ChatGPT” and other generative AI. Last month, I was presenting at a conference and a woman said, “DANGER, DANGER!” and I laughed so hard! So I asked, “Raise your hand if you have a concern,” and this woman put both her hands up.

As far as the roles, it’s not going to replace the human teacher. You still need that human interaction. The impact is that AI will continue to replace or help with a lot of the different tasks that take teachers' time away from students and learning. I think teachers are going to look at what they do and where they spend their time a little bit differently. Instead of spending 5 hours working on lesson plans or writing letters of recommendation, I could create a template using one of these different tools and now I have extra time. “What do I do with that extra time? Do I work with students or collaborate?” It’s going to force teachers to reevaluate how they spend their time. There is a high percentage of time spent doing clerical tasks, and doing things that can be offset by the use of AI.

AJS: Can you give us a preview to something we will be learning about in your course, Beyond the Hype: Practical AI for Educators, this summer?

RDP: We are definitely going to look at what AI is and develop an understanding of it. We are going to spend some time looking at some tools that I personally have vetted. We will give teachers a chance to create, share, and brainstorm new ideas, and see the benefits of AI. Hopefully they’ll feel, “Wow, I usually take 5 hours to do this but I found this tool that does these 5 things in a fraction of the time.” There will be a lot of opportunities for hands-on, joining in, collaborating and testing out tools. It’s going to be fun!

I recommend it for everyone, especially those who feel they don't have the time or it’s not for them – this is an opportunity! It’s pockets of information over a flexible time span. It’s going to be well worth it because most schools and educators have not had any training or PD on AI.

We can’t thank Rachelle enough for joining us this summer to embark on this journey with our new course. We'll not only define AI but also equip educators with an array of tools to enhance their own efficiency and productivity. From teaching students about AI to fostering ethical and responsible usage, we'll explore various classroom-ready tools to make learning engaging and safe. Across all grade levels, we'll emphasize the fun in creation while ensuring a foundation of ethical and responsible AI usage. For hesitant teachers or those seeking confidence, this journey seeks to provide a supportive environment to explore, learn, and ultimately integrate AI seamlessly into their teaching practices. If you’re a public school teacher or public librarian, we hope you’ll join us! Register for Beyond the Hype: Practical AI for Educators by clicking HERE!

Rachelle is a columnist for Edutopia, Getting Smart, Defined Learning, and NEO LMS. She has a blognewsletter and podcast, and leads a community of educators on Facebook. Connect with her via and

Twitter(X): @Rdene915

Instagram: @Rdene915

Facebook: THRIVEinEDU



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