Dozens of teachers get a glimpse of the future today at the Greenbush Education Service Center. The session focused on technology, and how it can be used to enhance their student’s learning.
When you think of using technology in the classroom, many of us might think of something like using a 3D printer, or virtual reality. And while that was on display, and certainly can be used to teach a wide range of topics, that wasn’t necessarily the only focus of today’s conference.
The teachers I talked to say there’s no way around it, technology isn’t part of their student’s lives, it’s one of the keys to helping them become better students.
“It’s used every single day in our kids lives, in the classroom and out of the classroom,” says Tim Vesco, Fourth Grade Teacher, Franklin Elementary, Frontenac.
And Tim Vesco says because of that, the right technology used the right way can have a huge impact on his fourth grade students at frontenac’s franklin elementary.
“The kids are familiar with it, and they’re comfortable with it, and it’s a part of their lives every single day, so as educators we need to find ways to engage the students with the technology,” says Tim Vesco.
Conference keynote speaker Tara Martin says to engage the kids, the teachers have to be real.
“Being relatable, exposing vulnerability, always approachable, and learning through life, so real is an acronym,” says Tara Martin.
And to help teach what’s available and how to use it, they even turned to some of the best experts: kids.
“Our presentation was about building relationships and technology and mental health,” says Hannah Patterson, Senior, Blue Valley High School.
Patterson and about a dozen other kids from Blue Valley High School came to Greenbush to represents the caps program.
“So, CAPS stands for Center for Advanced Professional Studies,” says Hannah Patterson.
The high school students are studying to become educators in the future, and say it’s going to play a huge role in how we teach and learn in the future.
“The way that technology can expand people’s thinking, and can help kids with certain difficulties, like in reading, can be used at every school in a different format,” says Taylor Falkner.
Martin says the key is for teachers to use opportunities like this to keep up with the latest trends and how to use things like Snapchat.
“That’s kind of scary if you’re an adult trying to learn Snapchat, I know I was like, ‘oh, my gosh, I’m never going to figure this out,’” says Tara Martin.
And that’s where Vesco says teaching becomes a two way street. He says teachers need to feel free to ask their students, and maybe even switch roles with them for a moment.
“And that’s OK to do. We’ve got to, sometimes as educators we think we’ve got to know all of the answers, and it’s OK for us to not know all of the answers, let our students help teach us, help teach our classrooms, and it just builds a community that way,” says Tim Vesco.
But it wasn’t all classroom learning. The teachers had a chance to experiment with virtual reality equipment, and see the latest digital blackboards.