FETC 2009 Presenter Profile: Leslie Fisher


Leslie Fisher's interest in technology began while studying music at the University of Southern California, where she quickly realized the value of utilizing computers for music mixing and recording. Fisher grabbed her 300 baud modem, jumped on the Internet, and started looking for music resources.

"I soon realized that I was spending more time discovering technology than playing music," recalled Fisher, director of Vandenberg, CA-based Fisher Technologies. "So I changed my major and tried to figure out what geeky thing I could do for the rest of my life."

After graduating from USC with a business and marketing degree in 1989 and, following a quick stint as a trainer, Fisher joined Apple in 1992. When the Internet took off in 1994, she was one of the first Apple employees assigned to study Internet growth and implementation. In 1997 Fisher fell victim to the company's massive layoff plan and spent most of her severance package "golfing and waiting a few months to look for a job."

"The day after the layoff, my phone began to ring with Apple customers requesting consulting, training, and presentation services," said Fisher, who recognized the entrepreneurial opportunity and jumped on it. "I created Fisher Technologies to help educators with their technology implementations and decisions."

Today, Fisher's brainchild is a worldwide company specializing in Web development, Web tools, digital photography, editing, and workflow. With nearly two decades of technology know-how under her belt, Fisher will be presenting two sessions at the 2009 FETC conference later this month: "Putting Yourself in Web 2.0" and "Gadgets You Must Have."

The first presentation will find attendees bringing their own computers and learning how to add themselves to the world of Web 2.0 by using blogging, social networking sites (like Twitter and Facebook), and other tools. "This is their chance to create accounts, get them posted," said Fisher, "and discover how these online entities tie into their educational resources."

Fisher said the topic is particularly relevant for educators who can use social networking sites and other online resources to increase their knowledge and connect with "birds of a feather" that are doing "amazing things" in the classroom. "Educators can use Web 2.0 technologies to harvest this information," said Fisher, who pointed out that many institutions have cut themselves off from these benefits and opted instead to block many Web 2.0-powered sites from their systems.

"What they don't realize is that there is a large amount of helpful resources out there on sites like Twitter," said Fisher. "It's time to start unblocking those Web 2.0 sites and enhancing the way the classroom works."

As if that weren't reason enough to learn how to maximize social networking sites, consider the fact that the majority of today's students have already tapped into these online resources. The Web's casual atmosphere and spirit of networking enables student-teacher interaction that in the past was unheard of.

"When I was in grade school, I certainly didn't have a way to add a teacher to a Facebook page," said Fisher. "Today, these sites put teachers and students on a level playing field. It's pretty neat to watch them be able to communicate in this way, both in and out of the school environment."

But not every teacher wants to be able to communicate with students in the Web's 24/7 environment. "It really depends on the educator," said Fisher. "Where some educators want to grab onto new things, a small number still don't want to embrace it, and others don't want to participate in a Web 2.0 utility that their students are using."

Fisher's second presentation is guaranteed to be "a lot of fun," according to the tech guru, who said she plans to introduce educators to a host of new gadgets, software titles, and Web 2.0 resources. "The gadget-heads just love these types of presentations," said Fisher, who personally enjoys introducing teachers to the latest and greatest solutions.

"I never had the guts to become a teacher, and I consider it an insanely noble profession," Fisher explained. "This is the closest I can get to it--by giving teachers information and tools that they can use to enhance their work in the classroom and in their day-to-day lives."

The session will kick off with Fisher introducing attendees to a number of new Web 2.0 sites and then moving into the latest software titles, mobile technologies and devices, and hardware options that are most applicable for educational professionals. "I love to watch teachers discovering technology," said Fisher, "so I really go crazy in this session."

Further information about Fisher's upcoming presentations can be found on the FETC 2009 site here.

About the Author

Bridget McCrea is a business and technology writer in Clearwater, FL. She can be reached at [email protected].