If there is one area within education that is changing more rapidly than any other, it would be technology. The current generation of students have never known life without personal computing devices and social media. Most have never seen an overhead projector or even a chalkboard. Remember phone booths with pay phones? Our kids don’t. Our students are now accustomed to having instant access to information. We’ve made access to technology a priority for our students and staff with each building seeing a significant increase in the number of computing devices. In 2015 and again in 2016, Lawton Elementary School was one of the only schools in SW Michigan to give the state MSTEP assessments entirely on iPads.
How does all of this sudden change affect teaching and learning? The role of teacher has changed from giver of information to facilitator of information. Thankfully LCS has a solid core of tech-savvy staff who are utilizing technology in a variety of ways. All relevant student information including achievement data is now maintained in digital formats. To maintain and enhance our teachers’ technology knowledge and skills, we’ve dedicated considerable amounts of professional development resources to this topic. In February, all Middle and High School teachers were trained in the use of Google Classroom. Have a high school student? Ask them about Google Classroom. In March LCS sent six teachers to the annual MACUL conference in Grand Rapids. MACUL exists to help educators identify sound educational practices related to technology as well as understand the implications of rapid changes in technology (www.macul.org).
4th Grade Teacher Andrea Oswald is excited about: “………taking technology from basic substitution (using technology to substitute exactly what we are doing in class) to a level of redefinition that gives students opportunities they never would have had if that technology were not in front of them.”
Middle School Math Teacher Chad Williams said: “I thought the MACUL conference was outstanding. It was great to be able to bounce ideas off of others’ in the same field, same subject and even other instructors in different subject areas.”
Middle School Language Arts Teacher Amanda Lindemulder commented: “………..It was an incredible experience. So inspiring and informational. I wish everyone from the district could attend! I learned a great deal”.
Good teaching and learning tools are only as valuable as our ability to effectively utilize them. LCS will continue to work with our employees to identify their needs and provide relevant training while we continue the journey from good to great!