As technology evolves, the influence that it has on society has made it clear that it is here to stay. How is Winton Woods implementing it in all classrooms to advance their scholarly academic careers? “At Winton Woods City Schools our instructional technology program extends well beyond providing each student with the device (Chromebooks),” said Winton Woods Director of Technology Rhonda Hobbs. “As an integral part of putting devices in the hands of our students, we prioritized putting a technology coaching team into place to support our staff and students as they utilize technology with a purpose. We envision our students researching and responding on their devices. It is important that they connect with others beyond the classroom walls to gain global perspectives and have interactions with people about their ideas and their future. The technology coaching team provides all students with tools and support to improve learning outcomes.”
Jennifer Haller is one of our incredible technology coaches. Ms. Haller works with students and teachers for the purpose of helping them to produce quality projects. She finds brilliant, innovative and creative resources that students can use. “I do the research, and find technology that can help enhance learning and engage students,” said Haller. She schedules class time to teach the new tools to students. Programs include WeVideo for editing video and creating podcasts, ClassVR, CoSpaces to build virtual realities, and Thinglink, to name a few.
“Just because students are digital natives does not mean they know how to use technology effectively, efficiently, and productively,” said Haller. For one of her workshops, she teaches the basics of google drive including cool hidden features, and organization tips and tricks for class such as creating and color coding folders. “Although students use technology almost everyday, we can not assume they know how to use it well, so we teach them how to take a deeper dive into technology.” Ms. Haller hopes to continue to close the gap between technology and academic stability. “Many of our students are already tech savvy. Our technology tools can be used to connect the school with their everyday lives. We are closing that gap. Students upload videos, incorporate photos, and create something amazing everyday while they are using Tik Tok. Now, they are taking those skills and using them in the classroom.”
Not only is technology benefiting students and engaging them in the classrooms, but it is something they are using to make a difference in the world. “Technology is a tool, not just a learning outcome,” said Dr. Tamra Ragland, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for Grades 7-12. “Through project-based learning, we want our students to raise awareness, change a mindset, make a difference, or drive change. The outcome is that they are making a difference in these ways. Technology is a tool that helps create the desired outcomes.”
When Haller meets with any student her hope is they will have a “Oh, I did not know I could do that with this.” This is when the light bulb shines brightly while students interact with technology. “These tools have opened doors of interest. It also has helped to enhance the learning of students in a variety of ways. Students are equipped to have a choice in creating incredible websites, innovative podcasts, and captivating video, as they transition from paper to 21st Century skills in technology.” She hopes all students will have continuous growth every time she meets with them, allowing them to stay motivated and inspired to learn more.
PHOTO CAPTION: Winton Woods Instructional Technology Coach Jennifer Haller doing a workshop with a class at the Winton Woods North Campus high school about WeVideo, a program for editing videos and creating podcasts. Photo by Kevin Gill.