June 16 2011


June 16, 2011 // 0 Comments

SCHOOL BEAT RPS provides teachers with digital tools by MAGGIE THELEN Principal, Belmont Elementary School Gifted/Talented Coordinator Quick! In 140 characters or less, what do you think Abraham Lincoln’s advice to President Obama would be? This may seem an odd question for those of us born before 1982, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary for today’s Twitter-savvy students. Otherwise known as digital natives, Generation Y or the Net-Generation, today’s students are unique, due to their level of Internet access and daily  interactions with computer-enabled technologies. “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students of tomorrow.” While spoken by John Dewey around the turn of the 19th century, these powerful words apply to us today and into tomorrow as each new generation fills classrooms. How does today’s educator keep up with the constantly evolving trends in instruction and technology? Proudly, the Rockford Public Schools has taken advantage of a program offered through Central Michigan University in which in-district experts can design and teach a college level course sponsored by CMU. This innovative program allows our talented staff to share their areas of expertise, provides relevant professional development, and offers the benefits of earning college credit within one’s own professional learning community. This spring, district staff offered a course called “Differentiation for Highly Able Students Using Technology”, a three-credit class for teachers in second through eighth grades. The course targeted instruction for the highly able, but was also applicable to the needs of the diversity of students found in every classroom. To promote 21st century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, and communication while continuing to maintain a solid focus on required objectives, teachers in this class were introduced to technologies which change the way students acquire and interact with knowledge. Literary discussions are no longer confined by the classroom walls. Instead, students can blog across schools or around the world about literary insights and analysis. Technology allows us to remove the physical barriers that have—until recently—prevented students from easily communicating with like-minded peers with similar interests. Today’s students have unprecedented Internet access through home computers, iPods, iPads, and other mobile devices. While these devices can sometimes cause distraction, being “plugged in” has its advantages. When students create their own podcasts or listen […]

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