Tech and Transformation

Brad HughesBlog, Connect Better, Differentiate Better, Engage Better, Innovate Better, Lesson Plan Better, Reflect Better


  • Debbie Tannenbaum is the featured guest on The Good News, Brad News Podcast.
  • Debbie’s transformation through technology has been both professional and personal.
  • A growth mindset and willingness to be vulnerable can yield surprising results.
  • There is power in taking small steps towards big accomplishments.
  • Connecting with others is essential to growth and transformation.

Hello again, reader!

This is Brad Hughes, school principal and Chief Encouragement Officer from Ontario, Canada.

So glad you’re here to preview Episode 27 of The Good News, Brad News Podcast, with my guest, educator and author Debbie Tannenbaum.

Debbie is an elementary school Technology Specialist in Fairfax County, Virginia. She’s a wife and mom of four children aged 13 to 20. She’s also a nationally-recognized presenter, host of the EdTech website, a Teach Better blogger, and a published author. TRANSFORM: Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky is Debbie’s first book.

In her teaching, coaching, speaking, and writing, Debbie prioritizes tools that ignite and amplify learning and empower student voice. Once a self-described ‘struggling teacher,’ Debbie discovered her confidence and voice as she helped staff and students discover theirs.

I talked with Debbie about how her journey as an instructional coach and author has been one of not only professional but personal transformation. Here’s a preview of our conversation.

What has you most excited about your book release, and what outcomes were you hoping for as a newly published author? 

I’d never thought about publishing a book before 2020. I just had a story in my heart to share, and so I started blogging. As those blogs continued to build, I just knew that there was something there. I remember somebody telling me that my story is different than everyone else’s. My story is not that ‘perfect story’ where there were never any ups and downs. I’ve had ups and downs—and now I’m having this huge success that I could have never dreamed of. It really shows you the power of a growth mindset. If you persevere through things, you can reach unbelievable heights. I’m hoping that my journey can serve as a framework for others as they go through their own transformations.

I'm hoping that my journey can serve as a framework for others as they go through their own transformations. Click To Tweet

In addition to tech tools and tips, your blog also details a very human journey of growth and personal transformation. Why include these reflections in a techie blog space? 

My blog isn’t just about the tech tips. It’s also about modeling a risk-taking mentality and a growth mindset. And honestly, the more vulnerable I get, the more I feel like my blog resonates with people. I want teachers to know they’re not alone. I was alone for a long time as a teacher and I thought it was just me. If you’re not connected with other people, then you’re missing something that could really turn you from good to great

When I think of all the changes I decided to go for in the past two years, and the many things I tried out that were out of my comfort zone, I realize they’ve all been made possible through technology. Technology helped me realize I could do hard things.

It’s been a process of self-discovery—but it’s not something that just happens overnight. You really do have to dig deep and say, ‘What stories am I telling myself that aren’t necessarily true?’ I grew up thinking people were, you know, out to get me a little bit. I don’t feel that way anymore. The world is out there and I enjoy it; it’s a much more joyous way to live.

What I really value about the process is the whole idea of paying it forward—the same way people helped me believe I have something special here, and then to take strategic steps to share it with others.

The many things I tried out that were out of my comfort zone have all been made possible through technology. Technology helped me realize I could do hard things. Click To Tweet [scroll down to keep reading]

What would you suggest to someone that senses their potential for transformation, but doesn’t know how to begin?

Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to just get started, because it’s scary. I’ve learned that when you’re scared, that’s a sign that you’re leveling up, and so I’ve really been trying to continue to push that. I want my kids to see that and I want my students to see that. I want them to grow up seeing those things because I didn’t grow up seeing those things.

Remember the power of gradual change—that idea of 1% better each day and finding small ways to get there. When I started writing my book, I started with letters. And then they became words, and then they became sentences. And then they became paragraphs and chapters and, finally, a book! But it started with that first letter. And the fact that my book is resonating with people just tells me that it was absolutely the right way to go.

Finally, if somebody wants to take that step, get connected because you can’t do it alone. None of us can do it alone. I think that’s just so important to remember. 

I've learned that when you're scared, that's a sign that you're leveling up. Click To Tweet

Be sure to check out my full conversation on Tech and Transformation with Debbie Tannenbaum, coming soon in Episode 27 of The Good News, Brad News Podcast.

About Brad Hughes

Brad is an elementary school principal in Ontario, Canada with over 25 years’ experience in education. He is currently at Forest Hill Public School in the Waterloo Region District School Board. Before school leadership, Brad taught for 16 years in classrooms from Kindergarten to eighth grade, most recently teaching middle school Visual Arts, French and Special Education.

Brad is a certified Self-Reg School Champion and has an ongoing commitment to reframing the joys and challenges of school life through a Self-Reg lens. He’s passionate about improving kids’ lives by loving and supporting the adults that serve them.

Brad is a Training & Development Specialist with the Teach Better Team, an Admin Mastermind Mentor, and the host of The Good News, Brad News Podcast on the Teach Better Podcast Network. You can also catch Brad with Rae Hughart Friday mornings at 7 ET/6 CT on the Teach Better Daily Drop In morning show.