NAUGATUCK — Students were teachers and teachers were students during a daylong seminar Tuesday intended to improve the way technology is implemented in classrooms across the Naugatuck Public School district.
The first technology summit brought 111 teachers, along with administrators and three high school students, to City Hill Middle School, where they discussed creative ways to teach math, science, English and other subjects more creatively with web-based programs.
Each armed with a Google Chromebook, educators attended a variety of breakout sessions geared toward their specific subject areas. Classes taught by both professional educators and high school students were offered on web-based literacy, numeracy resources, how to use Google Chrome software, parent/teacher online communication, and several other subjects.
Naugatuck High School students Saleena Na, Gina Wierzbicki and Veronica Rangel taught a class on game-based learning that showed teachers how to make classroom learning fun and interactive. They showed educators how to sign up for and use online learning tools such as Kahoot!, a free game-based learning platform used to play and share educational games, and Quizlet, an online learning tool that has more than 60 million users who create and share educational flashcards.
“The way youth is developing right now, we use technology all of the time,” said Na, who will start her senior year next week. “We can get any information we ever wanted to know at the tip of our fingers within the next 5 seconds. So with teachers being able to utilize the technology and being able to share the information they’d like us to have electronically, it will help a lot in the school setting.”
Rangel, who will also be a senior, said she doesn’t believe there is enough technology used in classrooms. She’s looking forward to more in the coming year.
“It gives us a way to grasp information we don’t really grasp in traditional classes,” she said.
Christina Rinaldi, a teacher at City Hill Middle School, showed teachers how to use digital photography to enhance lessons ranging from elementary school language arts to high school math.
She discussed how to take good photos, upload them into Google Drive accounts, edit them, and put them into free presentation software. And she presented ways students could have fun with assignments. She showed examples from student work that was completed last year after she brought seventh-graders to downtown Naugatuck and had them photograph architecture while they learned about it in class. They then wrote about what they learned and created an online presentation that included their own photographs.
Cross Street Intermediate School teacher Paul Donata said the summit was important because technology helps keep students engaged.
“It keeps it fresh and helps us get beyond the traditional paper and pencil,” he said. “Technology doesn’t take their place, it just offers students a different way to express themselves.”