Katie Masterson’s fifth grade students are creating digital narratives using writing, illustrations and voiceovers. “Sometimes when they do the voiceovers they discover mistakes or decide to write their stories a different way,” she says. “By the end they have revised and revised, and they own it in a way they wouldn’t had they simply written a composition, revised it once and handed it in.”
Kelley Roberts noticed the same thing when her students created illustrated reports with voiceovers about the rainforest. She says, “The level of achievement we’re seeing is far higher than it was before we had these technologies.”
But simply adding computers to our classes wouldn’t have made the difference. The Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) is integrating technology with student learning in a purposeful way.
At the forefront of this technological integration are twenty-five teacher-volunteers (including all of the teachers mentioned in this article) known as Ed Tech Pioneers. Before receiving computers for their classrooms they were trained in integrating computers with student learning and parent communication, and they continue to share their practices at monthly meetings.
As the Pioneers gain experience, they become ‘site experts’ who support colleagues integrating technology in their own classrooms— and many are eager to incorporate technology after seeing the Pioneers’ success.
One of the keys to higher achievement is the accessibility of additional resources. High school Spanish teacher Philip Hernandez says, “The computers enable me to tap into so many more resources and to differentiate my lessons far more than I could in the past.” It’s made a real difference for his students.
- In the hands of well-trained teachers, computers can unlock a passion for learning. For one very shy, quiet third grader in teacher Becky Linder’s class the key was the Storybird “She loves creating stories with Storybird so much that she figured out how to use it at home. She’s written three different stories, a thousand words each— beautiful words, dialogue, all this amazing action. I see so much more confidence in her. She writes all the time now.”
Unfortunately, today CCUSD does not have the funds to provide iPads and Chromebooks to every classroom with a teacher that has been or wants to be trained to use them. The Culver City Education Foundation (CCEF) contributed to the purchase of these computers last year, but much more is needed. That’s why CCEF is focusing our current fundraising campaign not only on raising the funds to continue the STEAM programs we already support, but also to bringing more computer sets to CCUSD classrooms. Your support can make it happen.
Please keep our students moving Full STEAM Ahead by making a donation to CCEF today, either at our website (www.ccef4schools.org) or by sending a check to: CCEF, PO Box 4178, Culver City, CA 90231. Thanks.