Always thinking above and beyond the ordinary pen and paper, Ms. Wiebusch spends countless hours into learning technology and incorporating it into her students’ education. Her enthusiasm towards the use of the latest technology, such as the Haiku Learning Management System and her very own YouTube channel, “Wiebusch tube,” are some of the few characteristics that make Ms. Wiebusch shine as our recipient of the Tech Crewsaders Magazine, January Edition, Teacher of the Month, or TOM for short.
Juniors and Seniors will know... Within the fragrant aroma of her neatly organized room, you will find her with a remote controller in one hand and a SMART board pen in another. You will see the familiar blue load-up screen and the sound of the spinning fan inside the projector slowly fill up the room. You will see her meticulously clicking on her Macintosh track-pad and underlining key details of a speech on the SMART board. This is what a “normal” period in Ms. Wienbusch’s class feels like- comfortable, welcoming, and geeky.
Her enthusiasm for technology, however, goes beyond the classroom. She has been investigating the use of Haiku in her classes and has seen “Potential” in this new online learning management system. She has been using this new technology to facilitate online discussions and create new Wiki projects for notes on the lesson that will help students review for their exams and help those who might have otherwise missed the lecture, and keep up with the rest of the class.
“Technology is a tool” said Ms. Wiebusch as she described the numerous opportunities technology will bring to the new learning environment. Always looking for new ways to innovate, Ms. Wiebusch continues to use technology as the basis of her students’ learning. She believes that students are at a “disadvantage” if they do not have a laptop in class, because technology is at the core of so many of her classes. She breaks through the limits of the traditional “essay” with class projects, such as “Vocasts”, “Movie Clips”, “Videos”, and “Blog responses” that allows students to be more creative and innovative in the way they express their ideas. Moreover, as an English teacher, she believes that publishing blogs or written assignments in cyberspace improves critical thinking and the quality of the written expression. She said how uploading material online creates “impetus to work hard” since students are writing not just for the teacher, but for an entire group of people in the digital realm.
Ms. Wiebusch always looks for new ways to teach students and has developed a keen interest in the Google application, Google Sites. She uses this handy application to communicate and exchange information effectively with other faculty in the English department.
All in all, technology plays a significant role in our education… especially in Seoul Foreign School where the school has invested so much money into the latest technology for both Student and Faculty use. Teachers like Ms. Wiebusch have taken this opportunity to innovate and encourage a more “fun” way to learn.
Yet, technology can only go so far. Computers are stupid, and by stupid I mean really stupid. They do exactly as you tell them to, but other than that, they are just pieces of hard-wired electronic components. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable a teacher is or how versatile he/ she is with the latest technology, computers will do exactly and only what they are told.
Our second Tech Teacher of the Month for January is Mrs. Jackson. She is new to the school, and has used many different tech materials to accelerate the learning environment in her previous international experiences. However, what was really appealing to the Tech Crewsader this month was the process that she chose to implement tech tools into many student project, in a way that promotes student-led exploration. For example, she first suggested the use of Glogster for a student’s upcoming project. At first, it was observed that some students were not efficient with Glogster and had different unique difficulties of their own. As a result, Mrs. Jackson’s allowed the student find the tools to accomplish the task of the project on their own, as long as the requirements are still intact in the final product. It is also pointed out to us that students, if given the opportunity, will find the right tool that will suit their abilities and their needs on their own, but the key is to be firm with the foundation and the purpose of the given project primarily. Through this student led process of finding and experimenting with different Internet tools, technology integration in Mrs. Jackson’s classroom is definitely on the right path to success.
She realizes that technology is not perfect, and frustrations occur at times. For example, she has had her share of problems with Fakebook, a program designed to create a fake profile of a famous person (e.g. Napoleon Bonaparte). Nevertheless, her experimentation with various programs shows her innovative side, one that is ready to try out new things. It is inevitable that there is a momentum to push education technology in Mrs. Jackson’s classes.
Coming from a one-to-one school, Mrs. Jackson understands what the laptop program is capable of bringing to both students and teachers alike. In fact, she said that it would be difficult for her to move to a school without a one-to-one program. Although laptops can be troubling at times for teachers, for it can also be at times a distraction, Mrs. Jackson has seen no disciplinary issues with computer use thus far. We hope this continues to be true.
She’s been advocating the use of technology for the entire year, and has learned about more programs herself than she ever did before. She’s still learning more about technology, and which programs are appropriate in which situation. Her explorer-like attitude is what helps advocate our goals if integration and the school’s goal of innovation. Always striving to improve, Mrs. Jackson is currently using Google Apps, alongside traditional Office suites, proving that she is willing to change for the future. Using the tools around her, and turning the classroom into a mecca of efficiency, she is without a doubt the epitome of the title “Tech Teacher of the Month” that we give to teachers: Innovative and efficient.