Walk-In Wednesdays Empower Teachers with Tech
Caption: Kindergarten Teachers Jen Boone and Kataisha McQueen work together exploring greenscreen technology
“Just as we encourage students to explore and experiment with technology, we want to encourage teachers to do the same,” says Miriam LaPeare, Ed Tech Itinerant Teacher, Elementary School Support. “This is a chance to try out some of the tech, play with it, and feel more empowered in using technology to enhance student learning.”
LaPeare is referring to Walk-In Wednesdays, an Ed Tech initiative this past spring which presented a series of topics related to using technology in the classroom. Grand Erie teachers were invited to drop in and ask questions, try out devices, and gather new resources. The results were an innovative run of hands-on workshops that allowed educators at all stages of their careers to get more in depth with greenscreens, Micro:bits, Minecraft, coding, and robotics to name a few, while applying these technologies to literacy, numeracy, and other aspects of the curriculum.
“I don’t think I’d be using even half of the technology available if it weren’t for these sessions,” said Jen Hysert, Kindergarten Teacher at Lansdowne-Costain Public School. “Until you come here and practice with the one-on-one support, it can all feel very complicated.”
Each Wednesday provided a brief introduction with some formal instruction on that week’s topic, but the key to success was getting teachers active in their own learning as they worked together testing out the resources they’d be taking into their own classrooms. With the knowledge and encouragement of LaPeare and Chris Bates, Ed Tech Itinerant Teacher, Secondary School Support, teachers were able to put themselves in their students’ shoes, proving you don’t need to be a technology expert to get a whole lot out of it.
Caption: Teachers Stephanie Stemmler and Jen Hysert set up a fun scene using the greenscreen
“A full day of professional development can be overwhelming,” observes Bates of how new technology has often been presented to educators. “These sessions focus on one thing at a time, and provide a space where it doesn’t matter what your entry level is.”
Technology is an important pillar in Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, with an aim of increasing staff knowledge of the technology available for teaching, learning, and workplace application. Walk-In Wednesdays carry out the plan’s goals by providing the environments for staff to use technology in an effective and seamless manner.