Cutting edge class tools were among the subjects featured at the Dexter Chamber of Commerce Dexter Community Schools After Hours Showcase on January 19. Two of the instructional coaches were on hand to talk about technology and writing initiatives.
Meredith Nickerson is the Technology Coach for the Dexter school district. She trains teachers at Bates, Cornerstone and Wylie Elementary Schools.
“We have a strong philosophy of how technology should be used,” explained Nickerson. “We only use it if it helps support instruction. It’s a tool that we can pull out when we need it.”
The district started the iPad initiative in February of 2015 beginning with second grade followed by first grade, Kindergarten and Young Fives. Teachers can request apps that meet educational needs but they have to go through a rigorous approval process before being pushed to student iPads.
Teachers at Wylie began their training on Chromebooks in August of 2015 to support third and fourth grade curriculum.
Chromebooks were rolled out when school began in the fall and students learned how to use them at that time.
Teachers are asked to examine how technology compares to traditional tools used in a particular lesson. Nickerson said the goal is to seek out ways in which technology can significantly modify or redefine traditional learning tasks. Tools like Google Classroom, Google Apps for Education, and KidBlog are examples of what technology has brought to the classrooms.
In the flyer Nickerson gave to visitors, it states, “Good technology use does not involve one student ‘glued’ to one device. Students should be collaborating and communicating with peers as they use technology.”
There will be a community information meeting about student Google accounts on Tuesday, February 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Center for the Performing Arts at Dexter High School.
There will also be a community information meeting on February 29 about the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative, also at the CPA. That will run from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Kimberly Gillow, an instructional coach for the Writer’s Workshop initiative, was also at the Chamber event.
“The purpose is to implement in K-6 classrooms, teachers and students working hard to strengthen skills with daily writing time,” explained Gillow.
The Writer’s Workshop is a framework to teach writing that encourages students to write for a variety of audiences and purposes. Teachers have been participating in writing workshop professional development and learning labs.
Students are learning to produce and publish their writing using technology. The workshop includes small group, whole group and individual instruction.