New Initiative Grows Tech Integration at CCA

Kathryn Nguyen
Our school is taking technology integration to the next level as faculty pursue certification from the International Society for Technology in Education and spearhead a new effort to elevate curriculum.

We’re at a point in history where technology touches almost everything in the developed world. While some may resent technology’s growing role in our daily lives, it’s our responsibility as educators to provide students with access to technology and understanding of its potential. By integrating technology into both Elementary and Secondary curriculum, we can prepare our students to respect technology as a tool for innovation.
[We're ensuring] that students are using technology to create materials and not simply consume information.
I serve as the Director of Library and Technology Integration at the secondary level at Calvary Christian Academy. My colleague, Holly Veith, is a technology integration teacher and collaborates with faculty and students to encourage effective use of technology to improve student achievement and understanding of the curriculum. Kris Hughes, Elementary Library Media Specialist, and Laura Morris, technology teacher, serve as the elementary tech coaches and work with teachers and students to not only infuse meaningful technology into the curriculum, but also ensure that students are using technology to create materials and not simply consume information.

We believe that all students should have access to the tools they need to grow and excel in their education. In 2016 we introduced a 1:1 Chromebook initiative. This provided 5th–12th grade students with a personal Chromebook they could use for educational purposes. As we strive to expand this initiative, as well as iPad use in the lower grades, we’ve also launched a new project: the Tech Integration 2.0 Model. Classroom teachers will meet with one of the tech coaches bi-annually for a “Tech-Talk”. The objective of these talks is to have teachers evaluate themselves and their technology use in and outside of the classroom. They’ll evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and how can technology help them and their students meet their academic goals. From there, we’ll work to assess what types of professional development and support is needed to achieve these goals.

So far, the tech coaches have met with about 75 teachers this year and it has been amazing to hear the passion our teachers have not only for teaching and their disciplines but also their desire to do all things as unto the Lord and collaborate with others to improve their practice. The second round of “Tech-Talks” will be conducted in the spring when we will discuss any changes in the self-evaluation. Having these mandatory meetings has created the opportunity to shift from teachers only coming to see a tech coach when issues arise, to regarding the tech coaches as partners in improving teaching and learning in the classroom.
Technology has the power to transform the way students interact with and impact the world for Christ.
Thanks to the CCA Fund, our tech coaches at CCA recently attended a training led by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in order to obtain certification, to help facilitate the most effective use of technology possible. In order to obtain ISTE certification, the tech coaches attended two days of face-to-face training where they collaborated with about 30 other educators, administrators, professors and trainers from across the country at the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) in Austin, Texas. The TCEA is working along with others in partnership with ISTE to provide training and oversight during this inaugural 6-month long certification process. The tech coaches will also participate in a 9-week online course with the TCEA cohort to gain a better understanding of the ISTE standards and how to put the indicators into practice. The final portion of the certification consists of an individual ePortfolio of activities that align to the ISTE standards, including professional development training for our CCA teachers to put the ISTE standards into practice with our students. The outcome will be that CCA will have four ISTE certified tech coaches and the culture of teaching and learning will be transformed by teachers and students having a better understanding of the standards-based use of technology in education. We are also interested in becoming ISTE certified trainers to provide this same opportunity for professionals at other schools in our area.

At CCA we are called to make disciples spiritually, academically, and socially—all of which could include the use of technology. We are all saturated with technology in our daily lives and it is our responsibility as educators to model and teach technology use in ways that students can understand the positive as well as negative impact it can have in their lives, and how to use technology wisely. Technology has the power to transform the way students interact with and impact the world for Christ. We’re excited to see how our students find new ways to make a difference in the world as their knowledge of technology grows.

 

Kathryn Nguyen is the Director of the Library and Tech Integration at CCA. For the last 12 years she has worked in the secondary library at CCA with teachers and students to improve teaching and learning through technology. She and her husband Thai serve at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale with their daughter Kinsey who is a Junior. Their older daughter Kyra is a 2014 CCA graduate and is now serving the Seattle school system with Americorp.
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