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Teaching Teachers About Tech
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Providing meaningful technology support, learning, and community to teachers is the goal for the Tech Learning Community project, which is being facilitated in the Oakdale Joint Unified School District by Danesa (Jepson) Menge, a seventh grade Language Arts teacher at Oakdale Junior High School.

Menge, who is also a Google certified teacher, explained that the Tech Learning Community project is a joint effort that came about through the California Teachers Association (CTA) Teacher Leadership Cohort this past July. She applied for the program and was one of 24 teachers selected to participate.

Menge is a Region 2 CTA Teacher Leader and explained that each region has six CTA members doing a project for the program. Each region meets throughout the year and shares their findings with their projects and how the projects are going. The teachers in the program are expected to complete a project that will be shared and reviewed by other educators in California and possibly beyond, she said.

Menge is working with a teacher from Tracy Unified School District to provide technology support to their respective school districts. The pair created a website with lessons that can be used by teachers using technology and other resources. It is a collaborative effort between CTA, Oakdale Teacher’s Association (OTA), and Tracy Educator’s Association (TEA).

“Throughout the year we hope to inspire more teachers to connect and participate with us as we engage teachers across our school districts in discussion about technology and the new California Common Core Standards (CCSS),” Menge said.

As well, they created professional development for their areas. Menge came up with “Tech Thursdays” for Oakdale. She said the goal of Tech Thursdays is to provide technology support, share technological skills, and also advance and enhance technology use in the classroom. It’s for any teacher in the district at any grade level and will include topics for assignments such as using iPad apps, websites, or student blogs.

The first Tech Thursday for Oakdale teachers is Sept.26 at 3:15 p.m. at OJHS. Menge said she’ll review the purpose of the program, talk about its goals and have the teachers vote on what they want. She said Tech Thursdays are going to be teacher-driven, meaning they choose what they want to learn more about. She said her goal is have them all attend a Tech Thursday and for the teachers to then go try out what they learned in their classrooms.