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

Innovator: Kirsten Wright, Educational Technology Teacher, Desert Sands Unified School District, la Quinta, CA

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

Innovator: Kirsten Wright, Educational Technology Teacher, Desert Sands Unified School District, la Quinta, CA

Article excerpt

For the last eight years, Wright has supported staff and students across 20 elementary schools in the K-12 Desert Sands Unified School District. After earning her master's degree in technology from the University of Oregon, she was an elementary school teacher for seven years prior to taking her district position. The certified gTrainer is now in the midst of guiding Desert Sands elementary schools through a technology-driven redesign of their classrooms.

>> THE Journal: You described this as a pivotal year of innovation. What's involved in the classroom redesign? Kirsten Wright: We started about a year ago, through a partnership with Samsung, and we now have a couple of schools that we're using as pilots. Our idea was to get rid of the LCD projector and bring in large-format display TVs: three in each classroom, one with a touch overlay. We're trying to change the entire furniture setup, breaking away from the old concept of kids sitting in rows, and instead creating innovation centers. The students have Chromebooks that they use 1-to-l, the teacher has a tablet, and then we're bringing in furniture to enhance the mobility. Examples would be those Kite tables that can be configured in all sorts of different ways, allowing a lot of movement; or the Swivl robot stands that you put your device in, then you have a remote attached to you and it follows you around the room so that you can record yourself teaching. With that we're trying to flip the classroom as well, encouraging student-centered, hands-on learning.

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>> THE Journal: What do you hope will be the outcome of these changes? Wright: We want to see students who are engaged and excited about learning, becoming leaders in the classroom, taking their knowledge beyond the classroom walls and continuing to learn when they get home. We're already seeing that with this implementation. I was just in a first-grade classroom and after an hour, one of the kids said, "Wow, nobody had their behavior card pulled this morning!" And that was because they were all engaged.

>> THE Journal: What's worked for you in terms of professional development? Wright: One of the most important things I'm doing is getting into the schools and modeling lessons with the teachers, some of whom are fearful of the technology and don't want to be the first to expose the students to it. …

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