Innovate to Educate Entry
C.O. Greenfield Elementary School
Chaz Figueroa, Librarian
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What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?Our initiative is to provide each student with a laptop or tablet in each class. We are most proud of our new 3D lab and how it broadens our students understanding and deepens their content knowledge. We also purchased a 3D printer and students are able to investigate blueprints and study design principles. Much of this work is done in our coding elective. Our coding classes are also working through Khan Academy's platform to develop an animated film using different coding skill sets through Pixar Animation. These skill sets have provided our students the structure for them to use their imagination and to be more creative in trying to develop their own movie clip with the use of coding. They also have experienced java-based programming training through hour of code and google scratch.
What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?Some of our biggest challenges are trying to implement each student with working technology, including hardware such as laptops and desktops. Another challenge was dealing with an unreliable WIFI network. Since our district has been faced with multiple cash sort falls, it has created a negative impact on our technology team and how fast they could implement each student with working technology. We met these challenges by eliciting donations of refurbished hardware for each student. The one-one technology goal was met by donations from multiple donors. Our WIFI network remains a challenge and teachers must remain flexible when planning things that rely on internet as it may not work any given day.
What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:
Having the hardware, programs (internet-based or software-based), and teacher education and buy in. Without adequate and consistent upgrades to both hardware and software, students fall behind their peers at more affluent schools. Teachers need proper training, including time to try out software. However, before teachers are trained, leadership must work with teachers to ensure all voices are heard and every teacher is on board with the school's mission. Lack of this important component, teacher buy in, is the biggest roadblock to technological advances in the classroom. When teachers adopt the belief in the program, get education, and are presented with adequate hardware and software, the program will come together.