Innovate to Educate Entry
Jefferson Township School
Kelly Villa, Supervisor of Instructional Technology
What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?We have had several technology initiatives over the past year. Google Classroom in the MS and HS for the 15-16 school year and 3-5 Grades for the 16-17 school year. We implemented a Lego Club using an app and iPads at the elementary level. We also have been using SKPE with other districts and UMASS to have our students explore Emily Dickinson's home and learn from other students. We began using the Google Cardboard/Expeditions in many classrooms. Our first grade students went to the moon. The increase use of technology has improved teaching and learning throughout the district. I have been in classrooms to observe the innovations taking place and the students are able to just start telling me all that they are learning and doing. The students seem excited to learn. We have many different types of learners throughout our district and the technology is really helping our special education population.
What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?The biggest challenge is access to computers and other technology equipment. Our teachers have used Donor Choose to help support some of the initiatives. Some teachers have began to bring their own devices and technology to school (BYOD) to use with the students. I continually try to budget more computers and upgrades for each school year. Planning the budget out and preparing for the needs of the district has been helpful. I continually talk with the teachers to understand their needs so that I can present and back their needs. Time is also our enemy. I wish that we could implement more professional development days into the schedule so that the teachers had the time to explore technologies, learn from what others are doing in the district and try out some of the ideas. I began putting out a Technology Newsletter to showcase some of the initiatives around the district. This allows for some teachers to begin trying when they see it can be done.
What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:
|Active engagement and collaboration|
|Professional development. All stakeholders must support the technology innovation.|