21st Century Team will begin training Monday

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Cheryl Arnett's second-grade class is published.

Web published, that is.

On Arnett's class Web site, at moffatsd.org, several videos and projects are posted showcasing the students achievements during the year.

The videos are called "digital story telling," and feature the children's voices reading their own compositions while a digital slideshow plays on the screen. The videos are set to music and are visible to family, friends and fellow students anywhere in the world.

Arnett is one teacher that is on the cutting edge of using technological tools for learning, but soon there will be a 21st Century Team dedicated to the continuing development of using new media and technology in the Moffat County School District.

"In our schools, we're really lucky to have this kind of technology," Arnett said, as she played her class' videos for the Moffat County School Board at Thursday's meeting. "But it's not what you have, it's what you do with it."

On Monday, the 21st Century Team, which includes one or two representatives from each of the school buildings, will meet for a training session. The school district has brought in a consultant who will give the team a basis upon which they can train other teachers who will take the new tools into the classroom.

The technology training, called "The Networked Student," will touch on a few tools that some teachers already are incorporating into their curriculum. Wikis, blogging and Web publishing are all forms of collaborative learning, assistant superintendent Christine Villard said.

"When the students can post things and participate, it is really a cognitive dialogue," Villard said. "It increases their capacity to learn from others, and it's highly motivating."

Arnett has taken the digital classroom into her own hands, buying a Flip video camera for her class and taking digital pictures on field trips.

"Many teachers want to do this but they don't have the time to sit down and figure it out on their own," Arnett said. "But this year, we're going to have training on that."

One of her students starred in a five-minute video telling a story of her grandmother's experience in a historical flood in 1951. The student wrote and narrated her own video, as well as used pictures from her grandmother and others she found on the Internet.

When the grandmother, who lives in Kansas, heard about the project, she was able to log onto the Web site and see the final production.

"It's literacy, it's art, it's creativity," she said. "There's a lot of things involved here. We gave them all DVDs of everything we made, and the learning won't go away. It's going to be stuck in their memories."

Arnett found the projects very stimulating to her students, and she sees unlimited possibilities opened up by these new technologies.

"Things are totally different than they were before," Villard said. "Before it was hardware and software, but now it's this new Web 2.0. And we're noticing a lot of student motivation and teachers craving to learn more about these tools."

Villard said there was $90,000 left over from the Literacy Committee's funds that were dedicated to upgrading the technology in the classrooms.

Teachers were invited to apply for a basic package: a projector, a screen and a document camera, which is an interactive, digital overhead projector.

Some teachers were even awarded a Smartboard and other high-end technological tools.

"We have an increased infrastructure now," she said. "We have new labs, the teachers have new computers, a huge broadband network. I think what happens in the classroom is going to be great."

The 21st Century Team will begin it's training Monday, while about 100 more teachers will have two days of training in late August.

Villard said the professional development will continue throughout the school year.

Internet safety will be an issue brought up in the classroom as early as kindergarten.

"We want to educate on how to be safe," Villard said. "But on the other hand, it's such a wonderful tool to gather and share information."

Comments

Chris Elliott 4 years, 8 months ago

It sure would be nice if the Steamboat School district would support its schools with this kind of technology. We are still using overhead projectors! The kids in Steamboat are being left behind and are stuck in the 20th century!

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