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Student profile: Jason Kries

Name: Jason Kries
Location: Milford, NJ
Age: 34
Job title: Educational technology coordinator/Technology integration specialist

It’s always cool when Udemy students pay forward what they’ve learned in our marketplace to help others learn. Jason Kries, a former classroom teacher himself, loves gaining new knowledge and sharing it with others.

Jason’s always been a self-motivated learner, and he’s spent his entire career in the education field. As a middle school history teacher, he saw that technology was “the most effective way to grab kids’ attention and get them interested.” Later, at the small K-8 school in central New Jersey where he currently works, a full-time position for a tech integration specialist came up and he grabbed it. Still, Jason acknowledges that “it was a little bit of a leap” for him as a self-taught techie. He knew things would come up he hadn’t encountered before, but he considers himself adept at identifying problems and finding the quickest way to solve them. Moreover, he’d been learning with Udemy already so he had a go-to resource for ramping up fast on new skills. Jason does web design for himself and for side projects, and Udemy has helped him take advantage of opportunities to generate freelance income.

Today, Jason is the only staff person at Holland Township Elementary School dedicated to technology, which includes everything from devices like tablets and Chromebooks to helping teachers with software for assessments, planning, and classroom use. On the administrative side, there’s IT involved in reporting data required by the state of New Jersey.

While he’s tried other online education providers, “Udemy has been my favorite,” Jason says. “I’ve yet to take a course where I didn’t get something out of it.” Among his courses so far have been “Camtasia Mastery – Creating Killer Videos w/ Camtasia Studio,” “Beginner PHP and MySQL Tutorial,” and “Learn Illustrator CC in 1 Hour.”

Most recently, Jason took Benjamin Anderson’s “Become a Game Maker with GameMaker Studio” and a bunch of other game design courses to help students participating in a competition to build their own video game. He knew the kids would need guidance through the process, but he didn’t have much experience with the subject either. Jason gives high marks to Benjamin’s style and pacing, which is significant coming from someone who’s spent a lot of time in the classroom himself. “Udemy does a great job of curating quality courses from great instructors,” he says.

With his busy days at work as well as parenting responsibilities, “online learning on my own schedule is the only way for me to grow and cultivate new skills. Udemy allows me to do this from home and on the go with the mobile app.” He thinks that flexibility will help his young students as they continue their educations and use technology more and more too. Jason believes online learning is particularly useful because “there is no way we can know what skills today’s students will need in 10 years.”

Jason predicts that the kids in his school today will take advantage of platforms like Udemy later on as they start looking for jobs or even sooner, in college, when they’re confronted with a project or challenge they’ve never seen before. “To have the growth mindset that they can go to Udemy and learn on their own — that’s the most important skill to have,” Jason says. Being a “21st century learner” is the key for all of us to be successful in the future.

Jason loves his job because it combines his two passions: technology and interacting with students in the classroom. At the moment, he’s most excited to learn development skills for 3D environments such as virtual and augmented reality, and “I’ll be in the lookout for Udemy courses to light the way!” As he puts it, “Udemy has truly changed the way I learn new things.”