Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Computer Training Aims to Help Teachers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Computer Training Aims to Help Teachers

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

CALLAHAN -- Today's students need to understand computer technology to survive in tomorrow's world, Callahan Middle School science teacher Brad Underhill said.

But public school teachers must master that technology first, if they are to teach their students well, he said.

Underhill soon will be in a position to help his fellow teachers gain that mastery.

The Florida Center For Instructional Technology selected Underhill as one of 31 educators statewide to participate in the Florida Digital Educators Program.

"I expect to be able to come back and bring these skills to the teachers of our district," Underhill said.

Underhill will travel to Tallahassee later this month for the first of five weekend sessions designed to make him a "Florida Master Digital Educator."

He'll teach what he learns to teachers in Nassau County and neighboring counties this summer. Underhill will provide basic computer training to teachers to prepare them for more intensive computer training offered by their school districts.

In turn, those teachers will use those skills while instructing their students, he said.

"We've got technology classes that are really great and classes such as language arts, for example, but the idea is to start combing those things together to start individualizing instruction and assessment. We want to show all the things you can do with a computer and how to integrate it in the classroom," Underhill said.

Once teachers master computers, students can be provided with computers on which they will do all their work, he said. That will eliminate the need for textbooks and allow teachers to better educate students at their individualized speeds and methods, he said.

As part of Underhill's application to become a Florida Digital Educator, he had to demonstrate how he implements technology in his classroom now, he said. He requires his students to create Web pages and to complete a project in Microsoft PowerPoint, a presentation program commonly

used in the business world.

Underhill praised Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's "Technology Tools for Teachers," a $237 million teacher recruitment and retention initiative, unveiled Jan. …

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