Teachers Taking Time for Tech

Teachers Taking Time for Tech

This week, teachers from the elementary schools, JFK and the high school joined together for a two day tech conference at Ryan Road Elementary School. Led by Tech Integration Specialists, David Cantler, Kate Jopson and Rocky Mariani-Prall as well as DLCS Coordinator, Molly McLoughlin, the conference came about as a joint effort to support teachers in providing tech instruction. Previously, Dinah Mack, John Crescitelli & Molly McLoughlin conducted a similar summer workshop at JFK, funded by the NEF, and participants found the time hugely beneficial in increasing their comfort and knowledge of tech tools.

With generous donations of bagels from Tandem Bagel, and some afternoon snacks from Sarah Prall Photography, teachers started the day off learning about Google drive, Classroom and Schoology. In between sessions, teachers drifted through the library to see if their names were selected for the “Swag Table”–a table full of tech related gear the participants could win as a result of participating in the conference. The two days were designed with choices for teachers on tech topics in the morning, followed by an Edu Camp model the first day in the afternoon where teachers put up post-it notes of what they wanted to learn about and collaboratively taught what they knew to each other. Day two involved lessons on the 3D printers, MakerSpace lesson plans, iPads and teacher work time in the afternoon where lessons from the days activities culminated in teachers working on prepping materials for their classrooms.  The tech integrators circled around and offered support in answering questions.

As teachers mastered new skills, they earned some of the district’s first micro-credentials/badges.  Keep your eye out for buttons proclaiming, “Podcasting Pro” and “Google Forms Guru”.  These badges are helping to create a forward moving culture of learning and sharing.

“It was exciting to watch teachers from different buildings come together to learn and share the great things they’re doing in their classrooms,” Molly shared.

“I had so much fun at this pd, I really liked that the sessions were short, to the point and if I had to sum it up in one sentence I’d say, today’s tech conference was PD done right!” teacher Michael Merritt said.

Also joining the teachers from Northampton were two teachers from the Smith Campus school and a teacher from Montague. Students Ethan and Grace watched children while the teachers worked, entertaining them with coloring, outdoor fun and the generosity of Ms. Egitto for loaning her Kindergarten room.