Innovate to Educate Entry

Independence Charter Middle School

Shelly Cherry, Library Media/Technology Specialist

What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?

I've been teaching computer programming for two years to my middle school students using Code.org curriculum. I also use several free (Prodigy, Khanacademy.org, Mobymax.com, pbslearning) and subscription web-based programs (Brainpop.com, NWEA Maps, Scholastic Magazine). Our technology classes this year have changed from ninety minute classes to forty-five minute classes that integrate technology into subject matter topics. For example, the art class teacher brings her art classes to read the Article
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What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?

The first biggest challenge was teacher buy-in. Working with the teachers, before school started, I presented the schematics of how the new technology core subject integration would work. There was of course apprehension to coming up with their own technology lessons. I presented several ideas for their review, from using the related links in their textbooks, typing reports instead of handwritten, PowerPoint presentation, etc. I've actually had a good response from Elective teachers. Art students
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What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:

The first major component is teaching the teachers how to integrate technology into their subjects through hands-on experiences and support.
The second component is having up-to-date technology itself. We are having issues with this component with the massive budget cuts.
The third component is student and parent buy-in. We must have the means to provide the student with technology enriched curriculum that meets the educational needs of the student both vertically and horizontally.

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