Troy teachers get training

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2003

Over the past two weeks, Troy City School teachers have taken part in computer classes to prepare for the fast approaching school year.

"Technology changes so fast and teachers are learning that by next year they'll need more knowledge," said Linda Carroll, who serves as a technology consultant for Troy City Schools.

Before the end of the 2002-2003 school year, teachers signed up for a variety of classes that covered basic computer skills, webpages, email and internet and the Alabama Virtual Library. The classes were a few hours or several days long, depending on the material covered.

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The classes were held at Charles Henderson High School in the business computer lab.

The class "Teach to the Future" was one of the longer classes because it taught teachers everything from planning to doing to assessing technology-based assignments and presentations.

Tom Dreilinger, who teaches for the inservice center at Troy State University, is teaching the project-oriented class using materials from Intel Inc.

"This program is for advanced users," he said. "It's sponsored by Intel Inc. and they provide everything. The teachers get a textbook with useable handouts plus a disk with most of the items so they can print them out again and again."

The book and the disk are free, which makes the class free for the teachers. Carroll said the system was able to find grant money to pay the teachers a stipend for attending.

The class is a win-win situation for the teachers because not only do they receive free resources, but they also receive CEU credit worth 40 hours and they can get 3 graduate credit hours.

"It just shows you that this course is not at the elementary level," Dreilinger said.

The class is project oriented and as the teachers learn how to make PowerPoint slides and newsletters, they are also putting together the same projects they will assign their students in the fall.

"When you see something, you retain a little bit, when you read something, you retain a little bit more, but when you research something with the intent to teach it, you retain 95 percent of what you learn," Dreilinger said.

At the conclusion of the class, teachers should walk away with a unit plan that incorporates presentations, newsletters and webpages.

"Kids aren't afraid of technology," he said. "They're interested in it and they like to use it and you can focus that fun on learning."

The free disks also contain examples of projects from other classrooms. Dreilinger said the teachers find the class helpful because it is practical and not theoretical information.

"I've taught close to 100 teachers in the last six months and all of them have walked away raring to go and ready to try this in their classroom," he said.

The teachers in the workshop are also able to discuss ideas with one another to come up with workable ideas and classroom solutions.