Join us Thursday, August 9 at 1 p.m. EST for “What’s New in SMART Notebook 11,” presented by AVI-SPL’s Professional Development Curriculum Director Kelly Derushia. SMART Notebook 11 was released in the spring and adds numerous features to engage students. Join us for this webinar on the new features included in Notebook 11 such as: HTML5, new toolbars, Activity Builder, crayon and photo media tools. Learn how to integrate web tools into your SMART Notebook files and how to build interactive games with the Activity Builder. This webinar is geared toward SMART Notebook users that have used Notebook before but now have Notebook version 11 and want to learn what is new and different.
If you want to know how students learn, just ask them. Their opinions and insights are authentic and more valuable than just about anyone else’s! I had the privilege to interview a few sixth-grade students in Ms. Janet Tolson’s math class at Seven Springs Middle School in Pasco County. I wanted to know what they thought about using technology in the classroom to improve their learning.
I asked Rachel, a student in Ms. Tolson’s class, what technology she already uses at school to improve learning:
“We do research on the computer, we have two computers in this classroom, and a computer lab we can go do,” Rachel told me. “One of my teachers has a SMART board which helps me to understand things better. I do well in all of my classes, and most of my tests are paper and pencil. I have an iPad and can purchase books to read on it. My sister is in high school, and she has an iPad and uses it there. I also use technology at home for learning, like Study Island, and Coolmath.com for math facts, and games for learning math.”
When I asked what she thought it would be like to have all of her textbooks on a digital device, Rachel answered that while it would be nice not having to carry around a backpack, students might not be prepared to take care of technology devices. She also said she’d still like to use textbooks.
Emma, Ellen and Chandler from Ms. Tolson’s class provided me with more valuable insight. Here are a few of their quotes:
“Having an iPad would keep you from carrying books. We could get digital books from the school website. Kids would know how to use any device if their teachers know what websites to show us.”
“SMART boards would help to visualize concepts, because you can write on them better than a regular erase board.”
“We use the computer lab but are allowed to bring digital readers to school.”
“I like computers for some things but not all. I would rather have paper and pencil for FCAT to help you focus more. Looking at a screen hurts your eyes.”
“Kindles look more like a book than an iPad.”
“SMART boards help if you interact with it.”
“We use Study Island for homework.”
“If you have a device, you might get distracted.”
“Teachers should use apps so kids could play and learn.”
I was also lucky enough to talk with Ms. Tolson to find out what type of professional development would really help her to use technology more effectively. Ms. Tolson has been teaching for over 20 years and is a Pasco County Teacher of the Year finalist. In summary: “At least one full week with one team at one school, of co-teach work-embedded lesson planning and delivery would help to change the way we teach and the students learn. Or spend the week with department heads who can then model for their teachers. I need someone ‘on call’ who can come assist me and help to move the lesson forward. I can take it from there.”
To learn what is really happening in school today, ask to visit and spend time with the folks that matter – the students, who really do know more than adults about how they learn; and the professional educators, who know what would help them to use technology. Listening and providing a variety of opportunities for all teachers, such as onsite co-teach, can help reach more educators and make a difference.
We often think of teaching as a lifelong profession, with educators taking up post in a classroom and staying there for 30 years. But did you know that the teaching profession has the highest burnout rate of all public service careers?
An article in the November/December issue of THE Journal, titled “Combating Teacher Burnout,” reveals that the average new teacher tenure is three to five years, and that Gen-Y teachers (those under 30) account for one fifth of the workforce. Education policies and practices focus on student achievement and learning gains, while studies show that teacher turnover costs districts approximately 7 billion dollars a year.
The article also notes a study by the American Federation of Teachers and the American Institutes for Research, which found what teachers want most: time to collaborate, differentiated pay for high performance, and technology not only to provide engaging lessons, but for peer collaboration, such as video conferencing.
Education technology also provides teachers a method to quantify learning gains, give feedback to parents and administrators, and improve communication. Teachers who feel that they have, and are, making a difference in the lives of their students, often stay for just that reason. The intrinsic value of knowing your choice of career has changed lives can offset some of the profession’s stressors.
That being said, wouldn’t it be great if we all could take two minutes to remember a teacher who really did make a difference in our lives? Sometimes we relate a story to a friend about school and a particular teacher or coach, but it never gets back to the subject. I’ll bet you could find some of your teachers on Facebook (or your children’s teachers) who you know made a difference, and thank them personally and wish them a happy holiday season. That’s another way technology can help combat teacher burnout!
Recently, AVI-SPL has had the pleasure of welcoming Patti Palancia to its team as education consultant. Palancia brings considerable experience to this role; prior to joining the company, she worked five years for SMART, the leading provider of interactive whiteboards and related technology solutions for the classroom.
Palancia’s extensive background in the field of education includes 13 years as a teacher in Ohio and Florida. She’s also been a clinical educator, teaching classroom management skills to students from St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida. In the near future, she plans to extend her impressive credentials even further by working toward a master’s degree in instructional design and technology.
During this discussion, Palancia talks about her work here at AVI-SPL and how she helps educators and school administrators add the latest technology to their classrooms to enhance learning objectives.
If you’re at FETC 2011 today, be sure to stop by booths 1413 and 1513 and see the great teaching tools available for educators like you from AVI-SPL, the leading provider of education technology products and classroom AV integration in Florida.
And be sure to check out this testimonial on the advantages of working with AVI-SPL to integrate AV technology in a number of K-12 classrooms.