When Christopher Luea, a middle school Spanish and robotics instructor, teaches a lesson, a robotic device, called a SWIVL, records him while rotating to follow his movements.
“Our Spanish language instructional theory is based heavily on comprehensible input and focused immersion,” he said. “Therefore, when students are absent or would do well to revisit lessons, these recordings offer a high-quality audio and video recording for them.”
During a Haslett School Board Meeting on Nov. 12, teachers from Haslett Middle School and Haslett High School showcased how they are incorporating modern technology into the classroom.
Chelsea Pennington, a high school math teacher, records her algebra outlines using a different kind of device.
“I am able to, with my document camera, record as I am writing the notes so you just see the note packet out in front of me and you can hear my voice,” said Pennington.
Pennington uploads all her outline videos to YouTube where students can even watch lessons from previous years, at their own pace, to feel more prepared in class when she is teaching that material.
“Now, kids are really starting to take ownership of their learning,” said Pennington.
Another piece of technology that was heavily discussed at the meeting was the use of Google Classroom.
Jessica Parks, a seventh grade science teacher, said that this program helps kids stay on track with their work when they are absent.
She said: “They can see what we did that day, including any videos, worksheets, or notes completed in class, and see what their homework is. Additionally, we can post online assessments in Google Classroom so kids can go back and study from them. This helps continue the learning process even when kids are not present in school.”
Parks said that Google Classroom has also helped her reduce the time it takes to complete her grading.
“Assessments completed using Google Forms are graded right away by the computer; the students can see their score as soon as they complete an assessment, see what questions were wrong and their correct answer,” she said.
Additionally, Parks mentioned that this program eliminates the human error of misplacing students’ homework assignments.
“Not having to keep track of many papers from each of my classes and having it all online helps me with my organization,” Parks said. “If a student has a question about one of their assignments, I can quickly pull it up on the computer and see their online work.”
Another feature of Google Classroom is that it allows students to comment on each other’s assignments and give constructive criticism.
Brandy Butcher, associate principal at Haslett High School, said that it is essential to teach students online social etiquette when they have access to this collaborative feature.
She said: “You have to teach kids that you cannot say, ‘This sentence is terrible.’ Like you need to say, ‘Perhaps, you need a comma here.’ You have to teach them how to give feedback and collaborate in an appropriate way.”
Cammy Wheeler, Haslett School Board trustee, said that technology can empower students to be in charge of their own learning.
“There is this balance of knowing I have this resource but I still have to respect it,” said Wheeler.