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Teachers inundated with new technology


Eighty district educators receive iPads and two days of training on tools to develop 21st century skills in the classroom

The amount of information thrown at a group of 80 educators at a two-day Newberg School District technology-training seminar last week may have been intimidating or overwhelming at times, but the alternative of using outdated equipment and programs was probably much scarier for those in attendance.

Had it been 20 years ago, the presentation would likely have been comically slow and fairly limited in comparison. Even just five years ago, it would have been much flatter, lacking the level of interaction provided by hand-held mobile devices that seamlessly connect to the Internet.by: SUBMITTED - New age, new tools - Teachers work with new    applications for mobile devices during a    technology-training seminar sponsored by the Newberg School District Aug. 22-23 at Newberg High School.

Instead, participants, who spanned grades K-12, were provided with iPad Minis and presented with a deluge of educational applications by nationally-recognized educators Michelle Pearson and Laura Israelson.

Pearson, who was named Colorado Teacher of the Year and a finalist for National Teacher of the Year, and Israelson, the Colorado Power Library Technology Educator of the Year, introduced the Newberg educators to tools that can both help them meet kids where they are already at technology wise and promote 21st century skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity.

“It was really good just to be exposed to new tools,” Ewing Young fourth- and fifth-grade teacher Terry Evers said. “I think they catered to a variety of levels; you took what you wanted to from the workshop. We were showered with information, but at the same time, the emphasis was not to try to do it all. It stretched me to some new levels.”

The tools cover applications for interactive presentations, assessment, note taking and even ones that take advantage of social media platforms within the classroom. Over 40 iPad apps were covered, along with 15 Web 2.0 applications for classrooms without tablets and that can utilize the Adobe’s Flash Player program.

The seminar was just one of the latest steps in the district’s push toward 21st century learning and superintendent Dr. Kym LeBlanc-Esparza lauded the participants, who were equally impressed.

“It kind of kick started the teachers to another level,” Evers said. “It’s something we needed just because we’re getting so many kids that are really wired for the 21st century in the types of technology they use at home. That’s something I think we need to have available to them in the classroom.”