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Encouraging educators from across the state to take hold of new teaching and new learning opportunities is the focus of a three-day conference hosted by the West Virginia Center for Professional Development. It’s called Infusing Technology, and its overall theme is for educators to learn how to effectively teach in a digital age.
The Infusing Technology Conference welcomed approximately 100 educators from across West Virginia. The event will host more than 40 sessions during the three-day conference to help teachers bring technology into all aspects of their teaching. That includes classroom management, lesson planning, and project-based learning. Keeping students engaged during this technological boom and making the criteria personalized for them is the overall goal. Michelle Tharp, the Coordinator for Technology Integration at the West Virginia Center for Professional Development says teachers have to keep up with their students.
“So what we’ve seen is that our students aren’t engaged with worksheets anymore.” said Tharp, “They don’t want to be a part of a flat piece of paper. You know, instead of doing a book report on a piece of paper that only their teacher may see or maybe their parent may see, they can do, you know, a book report, and have it to be oral and have it to be videoed and then on YouTube, and the whole world could see. So it’s much more engaging, they want to engage in that digital, global world, and we have to be a part of that to inspire them.”
This three-day training will focus specifically on a variety of iPad apps and resources that have been used effectively by other educators in their classrooms. Instruction will also introduce the web-based equivalent for those apps, so that teachers relying on computers rather than iPads may still use the resources. But iPads are heavily encouraged.
“For me with iPad, tablet technology, it’s accessibility. So when we talk about a mobile tablet technology, that student has access to all the resources that are available. I mean, that, to me is just amazing, and then, before our students come to us, as a young toddler, their whole entire learning process is through exploring their environment, and then we ask them, this is the only time you learn, and then they’re done, and so what we’re saying, no, we want you to continue that lifelong journey and be inspired to want to learn more, and by giving them that mobile technology, they can access whatever they want at home.”
Linda Mundy, a 5th grade teacher at Cross Lanes Elementary School in Kanawha County will be entering her 41st year teaching. She is very eager for the technological advance and push for iPads in classrooms. She notes that during this past year she had ten iPads in her classroom.
“It’s a time when we can be exposed to a lot of different apps and strategies,” Mundy said, “to hone or broaden our horizons, and ways to reach out and motivate our students, and a way to see the bigger picture in all of this, cause it is a digital world, and this is the way the children see things and a way to reach these children. Not a paper, pencil world anymore.”
Kanawha County is said to be providing iPads for all middle and high school students during the upcoming year, and as a result, teachers and administrators are seeking more training to fully utilize these technologies.
This year’s Infusing Technology Conference will conclude on Thursday, June 26th.