During my years as a student of public education I never valued the opportunity for learning. I felt it was something I had to get through and was required to do. Going to college was never in my vocabulary. But after years of working two and sometimes three jobs to make ends meet, I decided I should get a worthwhile career. The essential question was, “Am I smart enough to go to college?” I timidly decided I would try a couple classes. I soon discovered I could be successful! The spark of success was enough to kindle my unquenchable flame of learning.
The second question was then, “What field did I want to receive a degree in?” As my love for learning flourished, the decision was simple, become an educator! I would not be an ordinary teacher, I would strive to be an extraordinary one, sharing and inspiring the wonderment of learning to my students.
As an educator, I am always looking for new ideas to motivate and promote student’s learning. As computers have steadily become more prevalent in the classrooms and homes, educators struggle trying to figure out how to effectively integrate computer usage into the classroom and still meet the curriculum.
I went to one of the first Intel Trainings offered. I must admit it was challenging to digest all the content. Still I could see some value to it. A few years later I went to another Intel Training. It was after this that I began to develop lessons following the framework of the Intel Unit Plan.
The summer of 2007 I came across an advertisement to be trained as an Intel Thinking with Technology Trainer. Since I saw how Intel aided in putting questioning back into my teaching, I embarked on becoming a trainer. During the class I was informed of the Intel Essentials Trainer class and chose to become an Essential Trainer as well. These choices not only helped to strengthen my teaching strategies but also others I have trained.
Intel has helped me discover how to put the best practices of instruction under one umbrella. The classroom is now student-centered with an abundance of choices for project-based learning. The students are engaged and are becoming well versed in the 21st Century skills needed for their future.
Students need to convene, communicate, collaborate, and become problem solvers. The Intel tools; Visual Ranking, Seeing Reasoning, and Showing Evidence help students develop the above mentioned skills. The students are constantly asking, “When are we going to use these tools again.” The change in my students’ attitude about learning has evolved from watching the clock for the time to go to sighs and complaints about having to go to the next class.
I am so fortunate to watch and facilitate the wonderment of learning not only for my students but also for the adult learners I instruct. Conducting Intel trainings for technology challenged and resistant teachers is an immensely rewarding experience. I love witnessing the transformation of these educators as they exclaim “I can do this in my classroom!”
A former technology illiterate teacher disclosed “The Intel tools have helped me develop the self esteem to use technology with my students. Plus the tools are easy to use!”
Karalyn (A Speech Pathologist) stated “Intel provides the framework to easily implement technology and best practices into my classroom. The use of the tools has many possibilities and helps to promote the use of open ended questions.”
I have observed ‘stand and deliver’ teachers move away from their podiums and not only allow, but also encourage students to create products representing their learning. The Intel Tools are frequently used in these classrooms. One of the educators confessed, “I think my students are learning more from their products than from my Study Guides.”
Students are coming into today’s classrooms having to “power down” from their technology rich lives. If educational systems don’t offer students ways to learn to meet their needs our drop out rates will continue to rise. Educators must be willing to help all students acquire 21st Century Skills they need for the future. I have witnessed the positive effects technology and the framework of the Intel lesson plan has done to transform a classroom.
It is an exciting time to be in the field of education, being a part of the technological transformations happening in classrooms. Intel continues to play a vital role in this process. I will continue my journey of making a technology rich learning environment for my students along with promoting the process with other teachers. Thanks Intel!