Texas leaders bring teachers up to speed on technology possibilities.
(TNS) — After a short visit to the International Space Station, teachers in Lyn Domsten's "Take an Expedition Anywhere" session were able to see different areas of New York, the North Pole and sites in Massachusetts related to the Revolutionary War.
Domsten's class was one of 20 offered Monday at George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa for ECISD staff and teachers as part of the 2017 EdTech Summit to show educators ways to integrate the latest educational technology into their classrooms and engage students.
Another edition of the EdTech Summit is scheduled for Thursday at New Tech.
Some 125 teachers attended Monday's sessions, Director of Instructional Technology Renee Jones said. Among those teachers were Sarah Miller, a kindergarten teacher at Ireland Elementary School, Staci Walton, an eighth-grade U.S. history teacher at Bowie Middle School, Alonzo Garza, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher at Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School, Leigh Conley, a fourth-grade teacher at Gonzales Elementary and Yesenia Barajas, who teaches Spanish at Odessa High School.
Miller, Walton and Garza were in Domsten's section on Google Expeditions. The technology uses goggles, a cell phone, router and tablet to let people get a panoramic view of any spot in the world -- or even in space.
"This would be a really cool, hands-on way to keep the students engaged," Miller said.
Even though they're young, Miller said this is how her students learn.
"This would be incredibly useful. It would just be a matter of getting the resources," she said.
Miller added that she had no trouble using the goggles.
"I did find it easier to stand up because you're constantly spinning in circles looking at everything, but it was totally fine for me," Miller said.
Walton, who has undergone training before with the technology, said she got interested in Google Expeditions because she has a lot of students who will never be able to visit some of the places they study in her class.
Garza, the science teacher from Wilson & Young, said Google Expeditions will be "very informative" for his students. He said his students study everything from anatomy to space and the technology will help them see things they wouldn't normally be able to, especially inside the body and out.
"They'll be able to see it instead of just sitting there and listening to whatever we have to say, they'll be able to experience it," Garza said.
He added that using the goggles was a little dizzying at first, but he got used to it.
"They have over ... 600 different videos. You can't find something you can use, then you're not looking," Garza said.
Instructional Technology Specialist Avery Hathorne was the lead learner for the summit for "Slide on into the 21st Century," which involved many things Google.
Hathorne showed her class Google Slides and showing them how to use it as a collaborative tool to "build 21st century learning skills in the classroom," help students learn to work collaboratively and in teams, which will help them prepare for the workforce or postsecondary education.
The summit hashtag this year is "techytribe." The sessions include teachers from all grade and technology proficiency levels.
Conley, a fourth-grade teacher at Gonzales, said she'll be able to use what she's learned in her classroom.
"I'm not technology savvy, so this is going to be something that will help me tremendously. I do plan to use this in fourth grade," she said.
Barajas from OHS said she thinks the technology will help teachers connect better with students. She said it's a little difficult to grasp at first, but Hathorne showed them everything the technology can allow them to do.
"... This is really important for us to really use in the classroom, otherwise we're sticking to old methods and it's not forward thinking," Barajas said.
Jones, director of instructional technology, said anyone from ECISD is welcome to attend the summit. She said the benefit of the summit is to give teachers the tools they need to make their lessons more engaging for students.
Ruth Campbell covers education for the Odessa American. Reach her at 432-333-7765 or 432-333-7765 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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