Teachers Tech It to the Next Level
Ed Tech Methods Course
They began with the story of Snow White. A group of fourth graders at Kelly Elementary used the beloved story to learn about character traits, vocabulary words, and dictionary skills; then they used Google Drawings, hyperlinking, and Google Images to demonstrate what they learned and share it with their classmates. Their project shows illustrations of the evil queen, contains links to Webster’s Dictionary for definitions of words such as “arrogant,” and quotes the text (e.g., “‘…whenever she looked at Snow White her heart turned over in her body, so great was her hatred for the girl.’ (paragraph 16)”) to support their conclusions.
The students’ teacher, Amy Adams, is using the skills she learned in her Ed Tech Methods course, taught by CUSD’s Joseph Hartman (Director of Assessment and Technology) and Robert Allen (TOSA-Technology Teacher on Special Assignment) to involve her students in a new way. The Ed Tech Methods course is designed to support teachers possessing advanced technology skills — the “high flyers”—who are ready to take the next step in classroom innovations.
It is a priority for the District to offer all its teachers professional development in the latest instructional technologies reflecting the skills required of 21st century professionals. One of the challenges is that each teacher has different needs and different levels of technological expertise. So, besides offering training sessions for teachers several times a year on topics such as assessments and Google applications, CUSD also offers, through Alludolearning.com, self-paced online courses that allow teachers to learn at their own pace, at school or at home. In addition, some teachers attend technology-related conferences, taking in the state-of-the-art and then communicating it to their fellow teachers.
This new Ed Tech Methods course is intended to be a “trainer of trainers” forum. The thirteen K-12 teachers taking the course are both proficient and motivated to collaborate with their colleagues and to share what they have learned. They are developing powerful uses of multimedia tools in the classroom — such as Soundtrap (an online, collaborative music-making program) and WeVideo (a cloud-based online video editing software similar to iMovie) — for project-based learning. And they are demonstrating how students can create podcasts, interactive websites, or videos that can help share their knowledge with fellow students.
The Ed Tech teachers are also using more multimedia, research, and assessment tools for inquiry-based assignments that call for diving more deeply into conceptual questions. Rather than simply ask “What are the rules of grammar?” students might ask “Why do we have rules of grammar? What are grammar’s functions? What if we didn’t have grammar?” As students work to find answers and present their findings, they learn important soft skills, such as researching, creative and critical thinking, and effective communication.
CUSD’s technology instruction is based on standards adopted by the International Society for Technology in Education. It aims to train teachers to integrate advanced technologies and digital and media literacy into their instruction to enhance student learning. This group of power users looks to expand their knowledge of technology tools and explore ways to use these tools to intensify student learning.
Technology TOSA Allen says, “We are excited to continue working with Carlsbad staff, students, and community members to develop methods for supporting innovative teaching and learning with Ed Tech via multifaceted-approaches to professional development.”