Editor’s Note: Lee Briggs will be blogging for Weekly Reader in the 2010-11 school year. Take it away, Mr. Briggs!
I grew up with computers in education – and in a way, they’ve grown up with me. My father was a high school math teacher who was interested in computers in the early 1980s. He eventually became the district’s technology coordinator. Even as a child, I saw what works with instructional technology (The Apple IIe) and what does not (Laserdisk). I also got really good at Oregon Trail.
I attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for elementary education. I worked my way through school by maintaining a lab of Macintosh computers for the journalism department. I met my future wife there. I also got my first taste of how computers in education are managed and maintained from the technical point of view.
I worked for a small district outside of Madison where I had the chance to be part of an HP grant to incorporate technology into schools. It was then that I began my love affair with interactive whiteboards and saw how dramatically a tool can affect instruction for the better. Working with the grant team gave me a chance to see how a community of educators, working together, can make a difference.
Now I work in Greenwood, a small rural school district. I am a Math and Reading Teacher in the mornings and a technology teacher in the afternoon. I also help with gifted and talented classes and assist other teachers in their technical needs. I work with a fantastic group of teachers who embrace the new like no other group I have seen. Kids often come in to school talking about the upcoming hunting season and cleaning calf pens, only to then sit down at a computer and post their reading work on our online Moodle forum.
Throughout my time in college and in my teaching career, I have explored which practical tools can improve student learning and what strategies work in a real classroom with real kids. I have been lucky to work for districts that are supportive of new ideas and teachers who adapt to changes in the classroom with enthusiasm and creativity.
I am hoping that this blog will be a place to document some of the things I am doing here in my district as I work to incorporate technology into the classroom. I also hope that this blog can be a place that starts meaningful discussions about what is happening in classrooms everywhere, that we as teachers can share the things that work in education today.
I look forward in the school year to come to hear about some of the other wonderful things that are happening in classrooms around the country in this, the most exciting time to be a teacher.