Tech teachers learn how to better engage students with Promethean panels
Now that nearly every teacher in the District has received a high-tech "Promethean ActivPanel" to use in their classrooms, tech teachers from each site known as "Tech Integration Leaders," or TILS, are getting in-depth training on how to use all of the special features of the panels that they can share with others at their schools to better engage students in their learning.
On Nov. 7, about 45 tech leaders spent the day learning how to split their screens to show the work of several students at once, make a wolf appear to be in the room with them, create animations to liven up science lessons, and more! In between watching lessons, they got a chance to collaborate with each other and try out what they learned. Erin Vallejo, MDUSD's Educational Technology Coordinator, said the District wants to be sure teachers are using technology to supplement their curriculum, not just because it's fun. The District has hired two Promethean trainers to work with teachers all year to help them use the panels to their potential. "They were excited to know they could do much more than what they thought," said Promethean trainer Chantel Caldwell, explaining that the first hurdle is getting teachers to understand that these panels are much more than just TV screens or computer monitors.
Sequoia Elementary teacher Mona Ricard was awed by the lesson that showed them how to go online to search for a 3D wolf, then "place" it in the room with them. "That was the 'wow' factor," she said, adding that she also appreciated "flip charts" that could be downloaded and layered on the screen, with teachers able to show math questions, then the answers to their students. "It's already set up so you don't have to reinvent the wheel," she said, adding that she also appreciated lessons on Newton's Laws, computer coding, weather and NASA images with astronauts. "It's not just a toy," she said. "It's useful to integrate and make lessons more engaging." She also learned how to record video on her phone, then show it on her screen. "There's a lot it can do," she said. "It's not just an overhead (projector)."
Westwood Elementary teacher Marie La Rosa said has found that students are more involved in their learning when they are standing at the Promethean panel showing their work. "The thing I got most excited about was being able to have four different screens at the same time, so you could have students each solve a math problem their own way and talk about what they did." Vallejo said as teachers master how to use the panels, they can shift their focus from the hardware to the software that will enhance their curriculum instruction.