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Posted: 09/04/13


TEACHING TEACHERS. Above, teachers and administrators listen as Leslie Fisher, owner of Fisher Technologies, holds a session on using Google programs on an iPad. Teachers received iPads and Chromebooks on Aug. 26 and learned about using them and various programs during a four-day "technology carnival."

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

RCS staff learns role of
devices in the classroom

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      In the old days, students learned from a teacher and a textbook and were expected to recall that knowledge from memory.
       Now, though, Romeo teachers are learning there is an app or program that helps take notes, upload multiple documents and even create bar codes that contain assignments or videos.
       "There is an app for everything," said Mariah Touchette, district instructional technology coach. "They can do their homework on it, it will supplement what they're learning and will also let them go and keep learning outside at home."
       Romeo Community Schools staff received and learned how to use devices purchased through the voter-approved technology bond at a "technology carnival" held Aug. 26-29 at Romeo High School and the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center.
       Along with learning how to use their new iPads and Chromebooks, teachers attended classes held by national and local experts on using programs, apps and websites for instruction.
       Leslie Fisher, director of Fisher Technologies, was the keynote speaker during the orientation. She is a K-12 technology conference speaker that has held workshops nationwide, and worked with RCS staff on Aug. 26-27 regarding classroom technology use.
       She said she was impressed with Romeo's technology initiative, from the distribution process to the district taking the time to learn instead of "shoving technology" into the hands of staff and students.
       "Technology is not an answer to everything," she said. "I think that these guys are doing a really good job of making sure students still get to be students."
       Fisher said it's important to identify how students work and learn best. In Romeo's case, she said the technology prepares students for the future since it goes beyond the old ways of learning from memory and books.
       "This is what the students are going to be using when they get out of school," she said. "It is almost assumed now that when they get out of a classroom that they're going to be able to use technology."
       Kevin Honeycutt, a technology integration specialist at the educational service center ESSDACK, also spoke to Romeo staff. Honeycutt works with educators around the country, and said only a small percentage of districts are moving forward with this type of initiative.
       "I can't wait to see what the kids are going to do, new evidence of learning, what that looks like, the community getting used to seeing this and being proud of it," he said.
       Honeycutt, a member of the Board of Education for his local school district, said his district did a grades 9-12 technology initiative. He said at first the focus is on the devices, but it wears off and learning becomes the centerpiece.
       "Teachers tend to get more flexible, kids get more choices on how they hand it in," he said. "Because all those ways that they're doing this align with the way the workforce is doing business, that can only be good."
       County and local speakers held classes on subjects like the note-taking software Evernote or the free programs offered by Google. Lori Ferrington, a Romeo High School instructor and Google Certified Teacher, taught and attended sessions. She said the technology reflects modern society wherein kids already use devices in everyday life.
       "Technology has transformed the way we learn as a society, this idea that you can look something up in an instant," she said. "Just bringing that to the classroom brings our students into a more meaningful learning environment."
       Instructors shared her enthusiasm throughout the sessions. Romeo High School teacher Roxanne Anderson called the four-day event one of the most beneficial in-services she attended, adding that the technology will open up new doors for students.
       "It's going to give them opportunities we couldn't do before, which was research right in the classroom," she said. "It's cutting edge."
       Her fellow teacher, Eric Creps, was still determining ways to use the technology, but recognized that it levels the playing field for students.
       "Some of them may already have access to these kinds of devices and technology and the new world, but a lot of them don't, so it's an opportunity for everyone to get that," Creps said.
      


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Retrieved 10/25/2014 at 6:11:11 PM.
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