December 6, 2010
Technology Opened Doors for this Stay-at-home Mom
VALDOSTA -- Beverly Porter grew up with Tinkertoys and Penny
Brite, not Avatars and bitmaps; therefore, somewhat of a
techno-panic set in when the stay-at-home mother of three decided
to pursue a college degree amid a culture of online classes and
PowerPoint presentations. Fourteen years and three degrees later,
Porter serves as the Educational Technology Center (ETC)
administrative coordinator -- aiding area school districts and
Valdosta State faculty and students as they navigate through the
World Wide Web.
“If everyone is open to being able to learn something new every day, their lives will be richer for it. Life is a learning process, and it is changing all the time,” Porter said. “Technology is the tool that allows educators to meet their students in their world and engage them in the learning process. My role is extremely rewarding and constantly changing, which keeps life interesting.”
Porter’s first introduction to the computer was in the mid-1990s, when she was charged with updating the library catalog system as a Lake Park Elementary School Media Center volunteer. Designated the “Best Volunteer of the Year,” Porter was soon hired as a paraprofessional in an area elementary media center. The gratifying, yet challenging, work prompted Porter to study computer technology at Valdosta State and Valdosta Technical College, now Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
“It took me eight years to complete my studies since I was working full time; but during the summer of 2004, I received three degrees in a two-week period,” said Porter, who earned an associate's degree and Bachelor of Applied Science from VSU and an associate's degree of Applied Technology from Valdosta Technical College. “That was also the same year my baby graduated from Lowndes High School. I thoroughly enjoyed all classes and the opportunity to learn something new each day to enrich my life.”
In 1998, Porter began working as a lab assistant for the ETC. She put her education to work as she maintained files and computer laboratories for the center, which facilitated computer competency programs for 22 school systems. Although Porter’s title has changed throughout her tenure from senior secretary to help desk specialist, her commitment to promoting technology use in classrooms, K-16, has remained constant.
“It takes all kinds to make the world go round,” said Porter, who enjoys quilting and church activities in her spare time. “We all have to understand that life is an adventure, and we all learn from each other. Understanding computers and other complicated ideas and hardware is possible for all ages. If you open your mind to learning, then you will be more than willing to find the time to learn. If I can do it, anyone can do it.”