Tech Tools for Teachers
Today's post is contributed by Rudy Fyles, Executive Director of Facilities
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Northwest Council for Computer Education Conference in Portland. It was attended by just short of 2,000 teachers and administrators from throughout the Northwest. As most of you know, the Puyallup classroom of today is already looking very different due to the infusion of technology from the 2004 bond program. As executive director of facilities, my interest at the conference was to gain more insight into educational applications of the hardware and software the district is installing in its new schools and to see how it was working for teachers.
As we open two new elementary schools, one new junior high, and replace two junior highs, we will be equipping the classrooms with state-of-the-art technology (sound amplification, smart boards, ceiling-mounted projectors, DVDs, video (local and streaming), and both wired and wireless Internet access. We tested these installations in four of our Puyallup schools with Puyallup teachers.
I can tell you quite confidently that the district is on target with these installations. While I don’t have room here to share all of the details, I believe the district will be making a great leap forward with the installation of this new technology. Sound amplification alone in each classroom will serve to improve student learning greatly, not to mention help teachers preserve their vocal cords.
Perhaps the most significant realization I came away with from the conference is that the technology we are installing will help teachers and students learn - not only in the more traditional modality of discursive communication, but also with presentational aspects of communication. This will better fit some of our students’ learning styles and will be more inclusive. We all understand the value of addressing different learning styles - verbal, musical, kinesthetic, etc. These new technologies will make it easier for teachers to apply the appropriate styles for a particular group of students.
Yes, there will be a learning curve. That’s part of the excitement. There will also be a price of ownership to sustain the technology, but I’m convinced it will be to the benefit of all of our students and teachers.