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Equipping the Teachers with Knowledge
LONG BRANCH — The district’s teachers are catching up to their students.
This year the city’s school district provided the middle school with Samsung Galaxy tablets donated by Verizon, giving one to each of the 951 students. Now, they’ve begun equipping their teachers with the know-how to teach with them.
Last week, two dozen middle-school teachers took part in a three-day workshop to learn how to apply technology to support digital-age science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning in their classes.
The workshop, led by instructors from the International Society for Technology in Education, aimed to provide insights into the applications and tools educators can readily use to get students engaged in STEM subjects.
“We never had any training with the tablets,” sixth-grade teacher Denise Schulz-Nick said, but the workshop gave them “some innovative ways to teach.”
The workshop was provided through a grant the district also received from Verizon. Ellen Yu, a spokesperson for Verizon, said the district received a $35,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation’s Innovative Learning Schools program. The district was one of 12 schools nationwide to receive such a grant from the foundation this year.
“It’s not just about giving a grant or money. We feel our success comes from the community and in return we support our community. This grant will help their kids stay engaged in learning and stay in school,” Yu said.
One of the new programs teachers will be using in the classroom come fall is Google Docs.
“It’s very user-friendly and can be used to analyze data and create activities on templates that can be group-shared,” Schulz-Nick said.
Schulz-Nick also believes their students NJ ASK scores will jump up come exam time because of the tablets and programs. NJ ASK — short for Assessment and Knowledge — is a standardized test that all third- through eighth-grade students must take.
Another application Schulz-Nick picked up from the workshop is QR codes, which the students can scan with their tablets to bring up a learning assignment.
“It’s really going to broaden their learning. We’ll be able to make the learning process easier with new ways to differentiate lessons and instructions in and out of the classroom,” said Robin Reinhold-Canneto, the math facilitator for the middle school.
Superintendent Michael Salvatore hopes to achieve that goal with the tablets and the workshop.
“My hope is the training encourages teachers to become comfortable as co-learners with their students and colleagues around the world. This partnership with Verizon is designed to close our gap in teacher performance, so that all teachers feel the same level of comfort with digital tools in the classroom,” Salvatore said.
This article was written by Dan Radel for the Asbury Park Press www.app.com