Successful technology integration requires time, support, and reflection. Schools need to ensure that they have a network of mentors and coaches to support teachers' technology integration efforts. When we think about “mentors” and “coaches” we often think about teachers, expert hires, or other IT professionals. At Abbotts Hill Elementary, the METI, Linda Dickinson is giving the word “mentor” a new meaning. Linda has started a program at Abbotts Hill called Technology Titans. I asked Linda to describe the progam and how it began. According to Linda:
Abbotts Hill’s Technology Titans Group is comprised of one student from each of the second, third, fourth, and fifth grade classes (twenty students in all) and is one of our school's "Talent Pool" Enrichment Clusters (along with Art, Music, and PE). The group's purpose is to empower students to serve as technology emissaries. They were selected by the teachers as having shown a keen interest and skill in technology and also demonstrated that they take responsibility for their work and learning. These are the "go to" students in their classes for questions regarding technology and particularly regarding online resources available to students and staff. The children take tremendous pride in their role and its accompanying responsibilities, so much so that they requested group t-shirts and many wore them with pride weekly!
Since the beginning of the school year, the group has met three mornings a week for thirty minutes. The first semester was spent familiarizing the Titans with Abbotts Hill’s MackinVia Portal and its many groups and resources (https://fulton.mackinvia.com/Groups?rpp=60&s=0&mknsid=b89b0b90-8fd2-4c65-8ea6-c77ea5c6fa84). They focused on the Research Group (which includes county provided resources as well as links to many other student-friendly research sites), the Creating Products and Projects Group (which includes many online product creation sites), and the Online Story Time Group (which contains links to countless e-book sites).
On the two mornings each week when the Titans did not meet, the students were charged with teaching their classes what they had learned, thereby spreading the word and excitement about the myriad of online resources.
During the second semester, the Technology Titans created short newspapers to highlight their favorite sites within MackinVia. These newspapers were distributed to each of the classrooms and are also posted on the Media Center website (http://abbottshillmc.weebly.com/student-projects.html). The students then selected independent projects that they wished to pursue in small groups using resources available on the school’s MackinVia portal. Some worked on coding, others on iMovies, e-books, Kahoot creations, Concept Maps, and trading cards.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it is also true that it takes children to lead the way in terms of technology utilization. Abbotts Hill’s Technology Titans have provided the school with the support and excitement that classrooms needed to more fully embrace technology. The students had the opportunity to enhance their communication, leadership, and technology skills and were critically important in the technology education efforts this year.
585 Cobb Ave
Kennesaw, GA 30144