Quick response (QR) codes lining school halls instead of bulletin boards? Would your child benefit from a flipped classroom, where they watch video lessons outside of school and use classroom time for collaboration, hands-on lessons and projects? These are just a few of the topics discussed at the CMS Instructional Technology 2012 Conference at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology on Aug. 9.
Malinda Dameron is a third-grade teacher at Huntersville Elementary. This is her second year attending the instructional technology conference. Dameron has participated in several free, multi-day conferences on technology and science that were offered by the district this summer, each of which has taught her something new.
Dameron’s classroom is equipped with three computers, but no interactive board. She works to develop as many opportunities to use technology as she can and is looking forward to a time when more resources will be available.
“Our school has been very successful with student learning,” Dameron said. “Our students are more engaged with lessons that use technology and there seems to be more learning at home. Students are very visual learners. When they use technology, I can see more learning occurring.”
Last year, Dameron learned about wiki pages. She took the information back to her school and her team incorporated the technology in their lessons. This year, she’s taking advanced wiki courses and also incorporating beginner classes in concepts that are new to her.
“What I’m learning is incredible,” Dameron said. “At some point, we’re all beginners. The conference offers something for a wide-range of teacher learners, and the sessions are quick and informative.”
Dameron and her colleagues received the lessons from technology and teacher experts from across the region.
Presenter Karen Van Vliet is a library media coordinator at Troutman Middle. She and co-worker, Kathy Beck, presented on “Gen Z — Curators of Social Media” at the conference. Van Vliet and Beck have designed an online toolkit of web-based resources for teachers. From research tools to portfolio and storybook design, students are able to create masterful projects in minimal time.
“Technology is so ubiquitous. It’s in homes, in the workplace…it only makes sense to have it in our schools,” Van Vliet said. “New teachers expect to have technology in the classroom. For some tenured teachers, it’s an unknown and there is a learning curve. Teachers are students, themselves. They want to learn and make classrooms interactive. I encourage them to get out there, have fun and explore.”
Dameron admits that a challenge to learning the technology is the time needed to learn the new techniques.
“I like having these opportunities during the summer,” Dameron said. “Now I have two weeks to go home and explore before going to the classroom.”