My name is Cathy Tippett. I teach kindergarten in Franklin, located in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. My 26 years of working in the education community have allowed me to witness many changes in the classroom. As the use of technology in the classroom has grown, so has my desire to incorporate it effectively to enhance learning for my students. My first taste of technology was a Tandy TRS-80 from Radio Shack. The students were so excited and eager to get to "play" on the computer. Just this week, my classroom was fitted with a new Promethean ActivBoard. I had been using a Sanyo projector and ActivSlate to show interactive lessons and the children were very engaged! But 5-6 year old children have difficulty operating the ActivSlate and pen. So, now they can interact with the ActivBoard, which is installed on their level...and they are all 'experts' interested in using this new technology.
A couple of years ago, I was looking for information on how to better incorporate technology with my students when I found Intel's Teaching Thinking with Technology Course. I participated in 40 hours of the course and was so excited to bring this new information on the thinking tools back to my school. I began to build lessons using the Ranking Tool, which is the best for kindergarten students. They "got it" from the beginning. I took them to the computer lab, paired the up and let them go. It was amazing! They were talking, collaborating, reasoning, thinking and explaining. Awesome! I videotaped them using this tool and submitted the video as one of my components for National Board Renewal. My renewal was successful because assessors could see these children learning and using skills which will be necessary for them in the 21st Century.
I offered a class to introduce these tools to co-teachers in my district. The class didn't happen...not enough interest. So, I talked with people, shared my experience with these tools and offered the class a second time. Sixteen teachers enrolled for the class which would be taught for 3 days in July...summer!
When the class began, only 3 teachers showed up. I was saddened but shared all I knew with those teachers and saw their excitment about incorporating these teaching tool into their lessons. One of the attendees was our district technology instructer, who had not expereienced this course. Hopefully, the spark will grow and we will be able to share with other teachers in the future.
I am amazed by how much Intel does to promote education around the world. The committment of this company to support and enhance learning is very commendable. Thank you, Intel!