By TERESA HAMMOND
The education process and the means used to teach are evolving. As technology becomes more prevalent in the classroom, so too does the need for the educator to gain instruction on using such resources.
Earlier this year 54 Oakdale Joint Unified teachers and administrators attended a two day Google in Education Summit in Napa Valley. The two days series is hosted each year to provide teachers with cutting edge training, as well as guide the teacher in 1:1 classrooms (meaning for every 1 student there is 1 device).
“By the beginning of next year all Kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms and 7th through 12th grade English and History Departments will have either Chromebooks, iPads or laptops available to each student for use in their classroom,” Assistant Superintendent Kristi Rapinchuk said.
Fair Oaks sixth grade teacher Keith Burns attended for the second time this year, noting that six of the 17 who attended from the Fair Oaks campus were repeat attendees.
“It was one of the best trainings I have been to,” Burns stated. “One reason is that most of the presenters are people in the classroom so they are using the apps, extensions and techniques that they are teaching with students. All levels were covered from kindergarten to high school.”
According to Burns many of the teachers attending were beginning with google docs and Chromebooks. Courses are rated by level serving the full range of user ability.
“The energy is such that even beginners come away excited and with great ideas and tools,” Burns noted.
“In order to provide a relevant 21st Century Education, just providing the technology itself is not enough,” Rapinchuk said, “there has to be ongoing qualitative professional development so that teachers feel comfortable integrating the use of technology within the existing curriculum.”
“The benefits for students include teachers better equipped to manage and full of ideas that will engage and educated,” Burns added. “There are sessions on how to have students write in google docs then use goobric to attach a rubric to the writing. Students can assess their own writing then a teacher can use the same rubric that would be attached to the actual student writing complete with teacher comments.”
Rapinchuk noted, “Effective integration of technology into a school district’s curriculum tends to begin with substitution.
“But ultimately,” she continued, “the goal of 1:1 access in Oakdale classrooms is to transform the learning experience into an opportunity for students that would be impossible without the presence of technology.”
“The opportunity to work with colleagues from multiple grade levels and sites as well as administrators was invaluable,” Burns said of the overall two-day experience. “So too was the chance to see each other outside of the school site and have an opportunity to connect and bond.”