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Hundreds of UCPS teachers attend technology workshops

UCPS elementary teachers are all smiles as they attend a session at Camp Inspire, a workshop designed to teach skills necessary to build lessons for use with Promethean Interactive Whiteboards.

More than 300 elementary, middle and high school teachers gave up a portion of summer vacation to attend professional growth opportunities that will help bring their students into the 21st Century Classroom.

Camp Inspire

More than 100 Union County Public Schools elementary teachers met at Rocky River Elementary School on Aug. 8, 2012, to learn, create and rejuvenate their teaching practices during the second annual Promethean “Camp Inspire” Workshop.

“Each participant was given the unique opportunity to discover new and innovative ways to integrate Promethean interactive whiteboard technology into their daily curriculum,” said Linda Helbig of UCPS Technology Services.

A whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or floor stand.

Promethean interactive whiteboards are currently installed in many UCPS elementary classrooms. “This engaging technology allows the educator and the students to interact by touching a projected image on the whiteboard, allowing them to manipulate the lesson on the computer and the corresponding programs,” Helbig said.

Matt Barfield and his team from Promethean, as well as several UCPS educators, offered a wide variety of sessions on how the Promethean Boards can be used to enhance the teaching of the newly adopted North Carolina Common Core Standards and NC Essential Standards.

These hands-on-sessions were offered for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of users. Teachers were also introduced to the newly-released ActivTable by Promethean.

“This brand new device would allow up to eight students to participate around an interactive table and cooperatively manipulate an image on the desktop controlled by software specifically designed for students in a 21st Century classroom and beyond,” Helbig said.

Street SMART

More than 200 middle and high school teachers had their opportunity to get some hands-on technology training Aug. 15, 2012, at Porter Ridge High School during an event called “Street SMART.”

According to Scott Jacumin of UCPS Technology Services, Street SMART centered on the use of SMART interactive whiteboards and student response devices. Participants attended sessions throughout the day to learn and share ideas to enhance the use of technology in UCPS classrooms.

“Presentations by master teachers, representatives from Camcor Inc. and SMART Technologies allowed teachers to create engaging lessons that promote higher-order thinking and problem-solving strategies for today’s digital generation,” Jacumin said.

Sessions focused on the “interactive” functionality of whiteboard technology, which enhances student collaboration and creativity. “The goal was to have teachers learn to better infuse technology with curriculum in order to enhance engagement and ultimately help students prepare for the competitive global job market,” Jacumin said.

Sessions, which were provided for beginners, intermediate and advanced users, offered each participant strategies on how to implement secondary curriculum through the use of SMART products. Additionally, each participant had a chance to learn more about SMART Response Systems, SMART Slates and advanced tips and tricks on using the SMART Board.

A special session was also offered for all secondary administrators (principals and assistant principals) to learn how to better support their staff with the integration of SMART products into instruction. Representatives from Camcor and SMART Technologies were present to discuss both current and future trends in interactive whiteboard technology.

This was the first time for the Street SMART event, but Jacumin said they plan to implement summer technology conferences as an annual event open to schools throughout the region.


Written by: Linda Helbig and Scott Jacumin, both of UCPS Technology Services.
Posted: Sep 10, 2012 by Ben Shealy

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