Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Innovator: Mark Hammons, Educational Technology Coordinator, Fresno County Office of Education (CA)

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Innovator: Mark Hammons, Educational Technology Coordinator, Fresno County Office of Education (CA)

Article excerpt

An educational technology trainer, speaker and former music teacher and percussion director, Mark Hammons devotes much of his professional time to coaching Fresno educators through hands-on learning sessions. An Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Teacher, Hammons talks here about the many ways that technology can show what students are thinking.

>> THE Journal: What's the goal when you hold coaching sessions within Fresno schools and districts? Mark Hammons: Our goal is to help teachers, with whatever they have, to provide more opportunities and exposures for kids to use technology to create something unique. We want the technology to be used in ways that allow students to show their thinking processes throughout a project, as opposed to just showing the end product.

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In Fresno County, we have also had a big upswing of Google App schools coming on board, so this year we've been getting teachers familiar with how to design lessons that utilize Google Classroom most efficiently, which saves them time and energy in the long run.

We're also modeling different learning spaces and trying to encourage changes in the class structure. A lot of teachers are getting technology in the hands of their kids, but are still teaching in an old paradigm where it's a bunch of rows and a lot of "watch me do this." We want to create opportunities for kids to learn in a different way, so we've been changing some of the setups in classrooms to make them conducive to a more personal learning environment.

>> THE Journal: What's one strategy you've used to help students show their thinking process through tech? Hammons: One way we're doing this is through screencasting. For example, students will have two minutes to use an online manipulative to explain their thought process. This means that teachers don't have to take valuable class time having everyone give a miniature presentation, and it allows them to see the individual thought processes of students, particularly those who don't typically raise their hands in front of class. I've had a lot of teachers say they now know their students in a way they couldn't before when those kids were so closed off in the more public setting.

>> THE Journal: You're a big proponent of Google Classroom.

Why is that?

Hammons: The biggest headache for a lot of teachers before Classroom was when students would create a doc and share it with you. …

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