When she recently attended the Florida Education Technology Conference in Orlando her geek status was definitely to her benefit, as she addressed hundreds of teachers from around the state. Having been a teacher of teachers for eight years and a presenter at technology conferences for about six years, she was on familiar stomping grounds to say the least.
“This was a conference that promotes technology, and the use of it in the classroom,” Heather said. “It’s about 21st century learning.”
Heather co-presented with a friend at one workshop, and led a couple of others. One that she presented was called “K/12 Integrated Projects that Expand the Way you Teach.”View More images >>What, you say? What does that mean? Heather explained.
“It’s taking all of the subjects that children learn, and trying to combine them all into projects,” she explained. “It’s putting what they learn into real-life situations.”
Heather, a former IBM network engineer, has her own web site dedicated to teaching children not only how to research with and utilize the World Wide Web for their schoolwork, she is also keen on teaching kids about computer ethics. The site, crossercares.com, has a wealth of information, including resources and links for teaching in the technology age, real-life examples of project-based education and even a “menu of inspiration.”
The Island School students have lots of hands-on computer time, and all of the classrooms have “Smart Boards” (interactive white boards that use touch detection). Everyone has access to laptops as well.
“The technology in our school is awesome,” Crosser said. “While our region is on par with the rest of the country, I think we are definitely above and beyond that here. It’s not that we want to get rid of textbooks, which we still use for building background to what we are teaching, and for reinforcement. In a lot of ways we can keep those as a secondary measure and focus on project-based learning.”
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