Teachers get education on technology at camp

Cove Herald/TJ MAXWELL - Sylvia Dewald, a teacher at S.C. Lee Junior High, right, assists Copperas Cove Junior High teacher Jill Guerin during a class on using blogs as a teacher’s aid during Tech Camp Tuesday at Copperas Cove High School.

By Mason W. Canales

The Cove Herald

Copperas Cove Independent School District teachers spent this past week at Cove High gearing up for the upcoming school year with technology tools.

There were 170 training seats filled by teachers on the first day of CCISD's Tech Camp as educators listened to camp keynote speaker Tammy Worcester's lecture entitled "Keeping Your Head Above Water in a Sea of Information." The educators then went into breakout sessions on using different technologies in the classroom.

Those periods included three hour session including topics on projects students can do using Google, setting up web pages, using interactive whiteboards, and more. There also were several 90-minute sessions on using certain programs and other similar topics.

Tech Camp started at the high school three years ago, said Beth Best, the district's instructional technologist. The idea is that teachers can come into a classroom setting and learn about technology use in the classroom on their own time and choose what interests them for their future teaching skills.

"If we could get teachers more comfortable with the technology, they are going to be more apt to using it in the classroom," Best said. "At the camp, they can see it in action."

Each year the learning sessions are different, but there are some repeats. However, the district tries to offer those sessions on different skills so progression of knowledge continues to increase, Best said.

Some popular sessions included using a Mimio, a digital projector which makes a whiteboard more interactive, she said.

While the camp focuses on the teachers, the program is really all about the students, Best said.

Cindy Fisher, a fifth-grade teacher, has attended the camp every year it has been offered. She made it appoint to attend, because she knew her students knew more about some of the technology then she did.

"It was the fact that the camp is integrating technology into the classroom," she said. "There were things the kids knew that I didn't know, and I wanted to be able to talk to them on the same level of their own knowledge."

As of Tuesday, Fisher had taken classes in using Microsoft office and using blogs and other websites.

"I can't wait to get back to the kids and use what I have learned," she said.

For Cynthia Rodriguez, a CCISD technology integration specialist at Clemmons Parsons Elementary, the camp also brings several benefits.

Rodriguez is a facilitator at the camp. Normally, her job is to teach students and teachers at Clemmons Parsons about technology, but this camp gives her more time not only to work with the teachers, but focus on certain topics and work more directly with them, she said.

"This is a great arena to get a bunch of people together all at once that want to learn," Rodriguez said. "There is no way I could teach a class of 40 (at the school). There is only one of me."

Best plans to continue to offer the summer camp for teachers as more years come. She believes that will only continue to help teachers and students.

"They care about learning the 21st century skill for the student," Best said. "They learn what will meet their needs for the students."

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.com

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