This is part of a monthly “My Student Experience” series in which the NC State College of Education highlights the student experience through profiles, stories and videos.
The youngest of six children, Keith Lindsay ‘22PHD often felt like his ideas were the last to be heard. But when he went to school, his ideas were fostered in ways he had never experienced. Those teachers helped him find his true self and inspired his career path.
“I had incredibly talented and resourceful teachers. School opened a fascinating discovery of my community, my state and my place in the world — a journey of self-discovery that continues to this day,” Lindsay said. “I chose to dedicate my professional life to teaching and learning to help others experience the wonderful gifts that teachers gave me.”
And for more than 20 years, Lindsay served as a high school English teacher in North Carolina — four years in Guilford County and 17 years in Wake County.
While teaching English 12 a couple of years ago, Lindsay converted his classroom to all digital. He says that through standardizing his content and instructional approaches, he felt well positioned to respond to the needs of his culturally diverse student population. But he witnessed vastly different outcomes for his students of color. Lindsay says he learned firsthand how standardization can marginalize some student groups in ways he did not anticipate.
“My study of the intersection between culture and online learning began during those years and continues to inspire my desire to remove barriers for learners across a myriad of cultural and ethnic identities,” he said.
Wanting to improve his ability to design and deliver technology-enabled instructional systems and understand how to interrupt those issues among his culturally diverse students while also using technology-enabled instruction to help manage his workload, Lindsay enrolled in the NC State College of Education’s Ph.D. in teacher education and learning sciences in the learning design and technology program area of study.
As a graduate teaching assistant, Lindsay works under the supervision of Assistant Teaching Professor and Assistant Director of Professional Education Sarah Cannon ‘16PHD. They collaborated on the creation of the college’s newly launched edTPA Support Class: Planning to Submission in 12 Weeks, where Lindsay serves as the lead instructional designer and facilitator.
He says the course was created based on an awareness that educators whose pathways to professional practice do not pass through traditional four-year preparation programs must often rely on ad hoc materials and coaching to be successful on their edTPA portfolios, the teacher performance task required for North Carolina educators to earn an ongoing teaching license.
“Dr. Cannon and I were inspired to develop a program to assist a group of educators who are often working full-time while pursuing a teaching license. We know that investing in the future of our communities by supporting prospective educators is a key mission for the College of Education, and we are thrilled to be able to offer assistance to these educators with our edTPA support class,” he said.
The course was designed because many second-career educators told them they needed help. Lindsay says they created a step-by-step approach that takes away the guesswork for the participants, and they’ve done the conceptual thinking and designed a program that simplifies the edTPA process and positions educators well for excelling on their portfolio submissions.
Being involved in the creation of this course and the development of its digital content aligns perfectly with Lindsay’s career goals. With a passion for understanding how culture and design interact to support diverse learner groups, Lindsay is able to support novice educators through the course, which often provides him with real-time information that he can use to redesign the instructional products that he and Cannon have developed.
“As a practitioner by heart, I am always looking to bridge the gaps between the instructional products we design and the audiences who actually use them. Our edTPA Support Class is an ideal microcosm for me to continue to develop my instructional design skills with a keen eye on the intersection of culture and context with the course we created,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay also works as a graduate research assistant on the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative team at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, which is part of the College of Education, where his work includes assessing micro-credentials, facilitating online professional development and doing qualitative research that supports the Friday Institute’s mission to provide high quality professional development for K-12 teachers across North Carolina and the world.
Upon graduation, Lindsay anticipates working on strategic design teams and being involved directly in the redevelopment of instructional programs to attend to the needs of a variety of cultural groups
“I am committed to revolutionizing the creation of learning resources by integrating culturally-sustaining pedagogies within digital contexts,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to spearhead new initiatives to update instructional programs from a culturally-sustaining lens.”