Today’s Contributor: Kent Hawes
He is the Director of Media & Technology at Travis Heights Elementary.
At Travis Heights Elementary, use of technology predominantly happens in the classrooms where students utilize 1:1 chrome books to access software, specifically in reading and math, as part of a rotational model that also includes direct teacher instruction and student-led, traditional instructional activities.
In addition to the classroom, students visit the media/computer lab each week to develop technical skills. Campus-wide we have established our commitment to being respectful to each other, equipment, and minding safe, respectful conduct when using the internet.
Our youngest Thunderbirds have excelled in learning the key basics. How to sit at the computer, using a mouse to drag and drop, managing browser windows, and logging into their accounts for various programs. An important part of learning for these students has been how to best use the math and reading software in the classroom and understanding how to target the best results.
The technical skill level for all our students has increased significantly since we started the program a few years ago. Skills that were once never seen until 3rd grade or later are now present with our 1st graders. We have started our keyboarding practice to identify letters and functions of special keys like shift, backspace, and enter— leading to developing routine practice with the home row, speed, and accuracy. Upper grades have tapped into coding and access the AISD Cloud to use Google tools to create/ collaborate on projects. Our 4th grade recently completed interviews of people and how they immigrated to Texas. This Project Based Learning unit included producing audio recordings linked to QR codes. And stay tuned— our Tech Leadership Team has been developing a monthly ‘television magazine’ highlighting campus happenings that debuted this Fall!
A huge credit goes to our teachers who have integrated technology into their classrooms and made it a common practice. The information gained through student use of these software tools greatly informs student achievement for content mastery. Not only is this valuable for quickly refining activities to target individual needs, but as teachers we share the information with students so they can own their success and know what they need to do to improve. They love it!