Tulare County educators learn to teach with tech

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Before teachers can implement technology in the classroom, they need to learn it themselves. (KFSN)

Before teachers can implement technology in the classroom, they need to learn it themselves. One district in Tulare County is seeing positive changes thanks to special coaching and training.

Adam Juarez is a technology coach at El Monte Middle School in Orosi.

"We start giving kids email accounts in kindergarten," Juarez said.

He's helping kids and their history teacher navigate Google My Maps on their Chromebooks.

"With Chromebook you can search up more information than a book," said Maria Manzo, 7th Grader.

While some teachers embrace technology in class, others are a little old school.

"When they start seeing the benefits in how kids are more engaged and they're more efficient as teacher or as educators in general, then my phone starts ringing a lot more," Juarez said.

Science teacher Mindy Peña converted to a digital classroom and saw big improvements in benchmark scores and behavior.

"Last year was a really rough year. The discipline was out of control. But when I brought out the computers, they understood how the process went -- everyone was on task. It changed my year. It saved me!" said Peña.

Tech coaching empowers teachers to create environments where students can create content not just consume it.

"I feel more confident and the students are aware of the expectations so as they are using it i'm monitoring i will use technology every day if I can," said Gladys Villa, ELA.

The goal is to lead with learning, not the technology itself.

"I think we can use technology to break down the walls of the classrooms and connect students and businesses all across the world,: said Katherine Goyette, Ed Tech Integration Consultant, TCOE.

Educators are sharing what they've learned on regional Twitter chats at #cvtechtalk. And they use hashtag classroom cribs to get ideas on redesigning learning spaces!

At Mulcahy Middle School in Tulare, technology students are on bean bags and others are using higher desks. Chairs with wheels give kids mobility for easier collaboration.

"When they feel more comfortable in an environment, they are more apt to learn," said Katy Thompson, Technology Teacher.

That freedom sparks creativity! If kids aren't afraid of technology, perhaps educators shouldn't be either.
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