Innovate to Educate Entry
Independence Charter Middle School
Shelly Cherry, Library Media/Technology Specialist
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|Technology Integration into the Core and Elective Classes|
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 Scholastic Magazine online, watch an Art History video on Khan Academy or complete an art video and quiz on Brainpop.com. PET has brought students into the lab to use Brainpop.com videos on personal hygiene or research biographies or high school/college sports admission requirements. The core subjects use the lab to introduce or followup on a topic of study. Our lab is wired, but runs thirty computers off an old Windows 2000 Server. WiFi in the building is used by teachers for teacher laptops. We have several laptops that are running XP or Vista. The new integration strategies are providing students with a better understanding of how technology applies to all academic areas, not just technology class. Careers and colleges are explored for technology Integration and future planning.
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 come in with the art teacher for research, artist biographies and online Scholastic magazine scavenger hunts. The music teacher uses free music writing program for music creation. The Health/PE teachers uses the computer lab to promote personal hygiene topics and research high school sports requirements. As you can see, our Elective teachers have been taking advantage of this new opportunity. Now I need to inspire the core teachers to integrate technology activities.
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.