Meet Wess Trabelsi, a Content Specialist for Model Schools on the Instructional Services team. He works with teachers and administrators to help them integrate technology into their classrooms. By assessing their needs and objectives, Wess can assist schools with installing and using educational apps that offer more differentiated learning, are more interactive, and in turn, are more fun for students. This drives student engagement.
“Providing ‘multiple points of entry’ is essential to keeping students invested in their learning,” he says.
Wess grew up in Paris, France, where he attended the Institut National des Telecommunications (INT), where he earned a master's degree in Business Management. After a few jobs in the entertainment industry, he shifted his focus and earned a master’s degree from Touro College in New York City in Childhood Education & Special Education. He taught Grade 5 for nearly four years in Brooklyn before joining Ulster BOCES this November.
In 2020, as the pandemic forced classrooms to go virtual, Wess, like many of his colleagues, had to figure out ways to help his students access remote learning, and train them how to use it. Most importantly, he needed to create lessons that would interest his students enough to keep them logged on and tuned in, a common challenge for educators during this time. He expanded his “teacher toolbox” until it became even more effective than it had been in the days before the pandemic hit. Now, it has even more ways to engage students—including interactive slide presentations, games, small group discussions, videos, and a new game-changer known as a “silent conversation.”
“This is where a student can share their thoughts with just their teacher,” he explains. “So I was seeing that students who normally never raised their hands in the traditional classroom setting were suddenly participating a lot more, because they could do it in a private way that suited them.”
“Increasing choice for students personalizes their education. It makes it more accessible to them. This is the direction we want to keep going in,” he adds.
Wess enjoys doing the work of researching the most effective and beneficial technology, so that busy teachers don't have to.
“The pace of change in education continues to accelerate at an incredible rate,” he says. “We don’t even know what the world will look like in another two years, so it is difficult to prepare students. Therefore, the best skill we can give students is the ability to know how to adapt and teach themselves new things.”
Wess adds that he is a “big believer” in public schools, and he is passionate in promoting equity for all. “The pandemic accentuated the gap between students regarding the level of support and resources from home,“ he says. “That is why it is so important that we, as educators, work to bridge that gap and make learning accessible to every student.”
Besides being passionate about education, Wess says he has a great love for oenology—the “study of wines”—as it is a great part of his French heritage. He also enjoys cooking all kinds of cuisine and studying geopolitics.