This issue’s Tech Teachers are Mr. Corben, Mrs. Gillett, Ms. James, and Ms. Ewald. For those of you who do not know Mr. Corben, he is a teacher in the British School who is currently working on a project called SaveTheRhinos. He incorporates various aspects of tech tools, such as Twitter and YouTube, to spread the word of the organization. Furthermore, Mr. Corben also encourages his classes to design posters and slogans to raise awareness for the rhinos.
SaveTheRhinos is an organization that aims to accomplish several factors in an attempt to evade further dangers for the rhinos. Activities that the organization does include:
- Increasing the number of rhinos in genetically viable populations in the wild
- Enhancing the integrity of ecosystems
- Ensuring that local communities benefit from conservation activities
Recently, Mr. Corben scheduled a Key Stage assembly (similar to the High School CT gatherings), where his class presented the prospects of the organization to the entire British School community. During the assembly, the class performed a self-directed skit and also exhibited numerous videos concerning the activities that SaveTheRhinos has done.
Other than the SaveTheRhinos campaign that Mr. Corben introduced, he also utilizes his tech knowledge in the classroom . He does this by allowing his students to explore. Above all else, he appreciates the D.I.Y. approach the most. He realizes the strengths and weaknesses of his students, which is why he lets them choose how to do their schoolwork. The launching of the Genius Hour is a prime example illustrating the versatility of Mr. Corben’s classes. He got this concept off of one of Google’s ideas, which allows its employees to dedicate 20% of their work time on what they want to do. Mr. Corben wished for his students to be “self-directed”, and to be able to work on things that they are truly passionate about.
Through his constant promoting of technology-related appliances and innovative approaches to global campaigns, Mr. Corben is constantly improving and updating the way his classroom.
Mrs. Gillett has also been selected as Tech Teacher for her brilliant integration of technology in her Physical Education classes. She downloaded the iPad application, “Coach’s Eye”, and augmented her lessons to make them more efficient for her students.
Coach’s Eye, the iPad app, is an innovative application for all athletes from amateurs to professionals to use. It includes many features, such as side-by-side comparisons of athletes’ video footage, a quick access camera for capturing spontaneous action, a video editor to point out flaws in form, and an advanced video sharing that allows for the user to share footage on social networking sites. Coach’s Eye can be used for a variety of sports, which include but aren’t limited to crossfit, football, fitness, golf, baseball, physical education, soccer, and track and field. Each sport contains a dedicated subsection, and each subsection contains a plethora of videos, which talk about every minute detail of the technique being performed.
Mrs. Gillett used this application by downloading the app, installing it onto several iPads, and having her students split up into groups of three. Each of the groups would record one’s technique and save the footage for analysis. One member would do the recording, one would pass the ball, and the one digging the volleyball would be recorded. This efficient system was very useful in teaching her students to learn proper form, as Mrs. Gillett could slow down the video and draw on it using pen tools and line tools to point out flaws in their form.
On top of all of these features, Coach’s Eye also includes a number of bonuses. First off, it has a hand-picked leaderboard full of good examples for each sport. This leaderboard features footage of athletes performing perfect examples of each technique. While the full scope and features were not needed for Mrs. Gillet’s physical education class, she still utilized it very effectively to help her students reach their highest potential.
Mrs. Gillett’s integration of technology in her Physical Education classes was something new, something fresh, which is why she is one of the Tech Teachers of the Month for April.
As a religion teacher, Ms. James is always trying to get the conversation going. She uses various technology tools not only to connect within her classroom but also with the outside world. Her use of blogger, constantly seen in her MRE classes, is a unique way to promote collaborative interaction. It is not only visually attractive but also is an interesting way to turn in homework.
Students taking religion courses will understand, we are only allowed our laptops when Ms. James is lecturing with her smart board. As soon as the lecture is done, we are obliged to put it away to begin a discussion. As a teacher who cherishes relationships, she sees technology as a distraction that interferes with connections. “If I really wanted a to make a connection with you, I would put all that away.”
She began using technology more frequently about three years ago when she was impelled by the “unstoppable” nature of technology. The students’ progressing familiarity with technology compelled her to adjust to our environment. She believes it is a necessary skill because we are living in a growing technology environment.
“Things do change,” she says, as she talks about the use of computers. “The computer is what pen and pencil was to me”. Observed from her teaching experience, Ms.James is convinced that students need computers just like she needed pencils. She seemed a little down while talking about the effect of computers in her teaching career. She says technology benefits us in many ways but it mostly interferes with true learning. “Learning doesn’t happen in our computer, it happens in our hearts.” She loves interacting with students as she teaches and seeing their live emotions as they listen to her speak. However, as computers developed, technology became a barrier: student’s eyes fixed on the screen instead of on her. “It’s a progression of human existence, its like calculators and typewriters.”
Ms. James utilizes technology in her classroom not only for visual representation but also as an innovative method of teaching. She attempts to enhance its use by learning to use new programs, such as Skype, not as a challenge, but as a tool to gain broader insights and perspectives around the world and expand social relationships. Her active use of technology and passion for teaching justifies her qualification for “Tech Teacher of the Month.”
A passionate english teacher, Ms.Ewald integrates Haiku and various other programs into her lesson plans and utilizes the online convenience. For example, she embeds Google Documents and Presentation in Haiku for online courses. She also makes students type up their homework into Google Presentations so that everyone can view each other’s work and comment on it for help and encouragement. Other tools she uses are Voicethread, Goanimate, Storify, and Preslide. The list is endless! Instead of the same old writing on paper, Ms. Ewald’s enthusiastic use of technology encourages her students toward active learning and enhances their creativity in writing.
Ms. Ewald always looks for new ways to teach students and recently she has been inclined toward using Storify and Glogster for student projects. Storify allows the writing to be brought to life with the use of social media. Furthermore, Glogster enables students to illustrate settings in a novel. With such graphics, students are able to produce creative outlines for character, plot, and setting in their novels. They can reflect on their own work and can determine what they truly understand about their writing through visual objects. “It is different than just writing on paper. The biggest difference is made when students realize their words are important because of the online audience at large.
Ms. Ewald has been advocating the use of technology for a long time. Also,the constant development of technology allows her to find more ways in which technology could be integrated into any student’s life. However, before she utilizes the tools in her lesson or assignment, she analyses what students specifically need to know about technology. This is the reason why she considers the 1 to 1 an effectual program. 1 to 1 Laptop Integrated Program allows her to set up and design lessons that are personalized to each student. “The students don’t have to compete against other students at different levels, rather they can improve their own to higher ones.”
Ms. Ewald’s constant efforts to utilize new programs in the classroom and genuine interest in technology is the reason why she is one of the Tech Teachers of the Month.