BCS Teacher Technology Training to Transform Student Learning Experiences
We are living in a digital age where technology affects everything from how we live to how we learn. Butler Catholic School is committed to helping students achieve digital fluency by incorporating technology throughout the curriculum. Students at BCS have the opportunity to use laptops, iPads, Chromebooks and coding robots. But how that technology is effectively used by faculty in their lessons is truly the key to enhance each child’s learning experience. In order to ensure that teachers are both equipped and comfortable to utilize technology available at the school, BCS held a “Technology Workshop Week” at the end of June for all faculty members.
Butler Catholic School Principal, Sister John Ann Mulhern, asked teacher, Kristen Singleton, to create a week-long training workshop for her fellow teachers. “As an educator, the most important part of utilizing new technologies is how to best integrate them into the curriculum, so they are of true benefit for the students” said Mulhern. “I wanted to give our teachers not only the time they needed to train on the available technology resources, but think through how the technology supports and amplifies their lesson plans. I knew Kristen, not only as a computer teacher, but also a Spanish and mathematics teacher, could help provide practical and purposeful insight to the faculty” continued Mulhern.
The workshop week consisted of five sessions including Google Apps for education, integrating iPads into the classroom, creating a Google Classroom, utilizing robots and coding in lesson plans, and familiarizing faculty members with websites, links and other tools useful for teachers including a master list of free web resources. While the mornings were used for training, the afternoons were used to work on the resources introduced, and plan how those resources will be used in the classroom. This was the greatest benefit to the training, explained Singleton. “Many times we go to training and get ideas, but by the time we get home and have time to work with them and start to plan, we forget what we have learned, or have questions. During this training we had time to collaborate with other teachers, ask questions about how to work with the programs, and began to actually develop lessons that will be used in the new school year.”
Mrs. Maria Cosme, third grade teacher at Butler Catholic, is eager to use the information she learned from the training week. Mrs. Cosme stated, “The training and hands on experience we had during technology week has me very excited to start the new school year. I have so many new and creative technology based ideas to incorporate into my lessons. I have math centers planned, differentiation for reading skills practice, and virtual field trips. There are so many resources for the Chromebooks and iPads that we have been trained on that I didn’t know existed! The students will be engaged in the learning atmosphere through various websites and apps related to our curriculum.”
Effectively integrating technology into the school curriculum can increase student engagement, promote digital citizenship, and enhance the student learning experience. Butler Catholic School’s goal is to develop fully engaged 21st century learners who have the digital confidence necessary to succeed in higher education and the working world. Thanks to the faculty Technology Workshop Week, Butler Catholic teachers are even closer to ensuring this goal is a reality for its students.