The nerdy teacher takes on technology


Nicholas Provenzano is not only recognized for his teaching skills, according to students, but also recognized nationally and internationally for his use of technology inside and outside of the classroom.

Provenzano is an English teacher at Grosse Pointe South High School who has been recognized and given opportunities around the globe because of how he uses technology.

“Technology has done a wonderful job at allowing me to keep things better organized for my students, to give them greater access to assignments and readings. It’s allowed me just to save time on making copies and things of that nature,” Provenzano said.

According to Provenzano, his class is almost 100 percent paperless, almost all of the students’ work is done from their electronic devices.

“I also think the access to technology has given teachers and students the ability to approach projects and different types of learning from various ways. Kids aren’t stuck with the one piece poster board for presentations or a PowerPoint. There are so many different options,” Provenzano said.

Provenzano says that having his students use Google Docs and Google Classroom has been a great thing because it has allowed for better feedback.

“Technology doesn’t make anyone a better teacher but it definitely allows us to tweak our lessons to make them more concise. It’s really impacted the way that I set up and run my classroom,” Provenzano said.

According to Provenzano, he has gotten the chance to go to Cambridge and Singapore this past year to give talks about education and technology. He also got the chance to go to Twitter and give a talk on digital citizenship.

“It has always been kind of crazy when you think about the things that I’ve been asked to do,” Provenzano said.

Along with giving talks about technology and education all around the world, Provenzano has also given talks about a device named Raspberry Pi, a microcomputer used to make technological innovations.

“I’ve created a Photo Booth with it, I’ve created a GIF camera, I’ve built my own Amazon Alexa using one. There are innumerable projects that you can do with it so I’ve just been tinkering with it, playing with it and so they brought me out to talk about it,” Provenzano said.

On the week of April 10, Provenzano was followed around all day at school by a reporter and photographer from the New York Times and was asked about what it’s like being a teacher that focuses on technology, according to Provenzano.

“Just using this stuff has sort of taken me on a crazy adventure I wasn’t expecting,” Provenzano said.

Along with having the title of English teacher, Provenzano has also been given a few other ones because of  his use of technology, according to Provenzano.

“In 2013, I was the State Technology Teacher of the Year and the same year, I was the International Technology Teacher of the Year. The Michigan one is called MACUL and then the international one is ISTE. I am what’s called a Google Certified Innovator, I am a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, a Ted Ed Innovative Educator,” Provenzano said.

Provenzano is not only highly appreciated in the world of technology but also by his students, according to Ryan Downey ’19 and Lauryn Hicks-Watkins ’19.

“He was a great teacher he really knew what he was talking about when it came to English and things in general. Mr. P was funny, smart and cool. He was so nice and understanding, which is hard to find all those qualities in a teacher,” Hicks-Watkins said.

Downey, like Hicks-Watkins, emphasizes not only Provenzano’s personality but his teaching methods.

“He is a very nice and funny guy who is a good teacher. He knows how to help his class learn,” Downey said.

Provenzano is valued as being a great teacher and an innovator in the world of technology but his favorite part, according to him, is being a teacher.

“I’m very honored to do the things that I do and to work with some amazing people from all over the world. To get that type of recognition is always kind of neat, but for me it’s always sort of boils down to what I do in the classroom with my students. That’s the number one priority for me,” Provenzano said.