Magazine article District Administration

Technology Showcase Struts Its Stuff

Magazine article District Administration

Technology Showcase Struts Its Stuff

Article excerpt

WHEN ALAMO HEIGHTS (TEXAS) Independent School District opened in 1909 as a rural, two-room wooden-frame school, who would have thought that 96 years later its students would become teachers to their own parents?

In fact, officials in this 9.4-square-mile district, which serves Alamo Heights and several surrounding communities as well as part of San Antonio, couldn't have imagined the scenario before Jennifer Faulkner was hired three years ago. As the district's director of instructional and information technology, Faulkner implemented the AHISD "Technology Showcase," a springtime technology extravaganza where K12 students strut their electronic stuff and invite parents, grandparents and neighbors for an afternoon of seeing just what it is they're learning in their classrooms.

The Teacher Perspective

Faulkner had begun a similar program in New Braunfels, Texas, where she was the district's technology director for nine years and a classroom teacher of math and science for 15 before that. "Having the teacher perspective is really critical in this position," says Faulkner, who oversees everything that's plugged in. "You have to understand who the client is"--largely, teachers her age who didn't grow up with technology. "Teachers my age are in an awkward stage where we don't feel like we're experts." The district's superintendent, Kevin Brown, adds, "Jennifer has the ability to develop relationships with teachers. A teacher at heart, she can sit down with them and get technology in the classroom."

Brown also credits Faulkner with helping teachers bring new experiences to students rather than just imparting information. "The showcase allows us to see very relevant examples of technology," he says. "Its best practices for the teachers has generated a lot of excitement in the district."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As Alamo teachers learn the tech skills with which most of their students were seemingly born, Alamo students learn how to teach during Faulkner's showcase. …

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