The Central Independent School District “Dog-Ovation” on Friday prepared teachers for the coming school year and promoted the use of more technology in classrooms to better engage students.
“It’s to get our teachers comfortable with technology and show them that technology is a tool they can use in the classroom to make their lives easier,” Kyle Ivey, the instructional technology director and creator of “Dog-Ovation,’’ said. “It’s something we need to train our kids in, to have those skills for the 21st century.”
This is the second year the district has done this. The term “Dog-Ovation” came from connecting the school mascot — the Bulldogs — and the need to continue innovation, especially with technology, Ivey said.
Lori Gracie, the executive director for the Texas Computer Education Association, spoke to teachers about the need to update the way they teach to match the current and future students.
“Education is not just about preparing them to get through high school now,” she said. “I wish it were, that would be so much simpler. We have to prepare them for the rest of their lives. And that is a paradigm shift ... and that’s not just the high school now.”
Students in elementary, junior and high school now face jobs that have not been created yet and a working field where many jobs are, and will be, taken over by electronics, she said. That means they have to be prepared to take on different roles that may not even exist yet, Ivey said.
Kindergarten teacher Brianna Byrd has returned to CISD to teach for her sixth year. She thinks the new era of technology in schools is amazing.
“It’s amazing, knowing that we’ve got kindergarten children that come in already able to learn how to use a cellphone or computer better than we do,” she said. “Knowing how to teach them to use that technology in a good way and to apply it into the future of their education. I think it’s a great tool for us to have and use.”
It’s important for them to know how to use this at a younger age will help them at later grades with more complex projects and in college, she said. They can give step-by-step instruction on how to be safe on the internet while not making them fearful of what can be accomplished with it, she said.
But in order to keep that education safe the teachers have to have a clear understanding of how the technology works and what their kids will see, she said. And this is one thing the school has been good about, she said.
“A lot of teachers are scared of technology, as well as everyone else in the world,” Ivey said. “And so sometimes it scares us to think we may accidentally put something up that kids are going to see that’s inappropriate, and it’s just really showing them to get rid of those fears and to do what they do best — teach.”
He said this was a problem at their first conference, but this year more of the staff has been amenable to the program and implementing technology in their courses.
The program also included breakout sessions where teachers were taught how to interact with technology that would help them engage with students and show students how to work with it. They learned about virtual reality, holograms and the basic smart boards most of their teachers have now.