Technology in the Classroom - Adding Mobile Tech to Lesson Plans

Verizon officials were on-hand for the Aug. 1 Greenville Middle School teacher technology training. Pictured (left to right): Leigh Acker, Greenville Middle School principal; Chelsea Cates, Greenville teacher; David Harns, Verizon Wireless government account manager; Michelle Gilbert, Verizon Wireless public relations manager for Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region; and Jamie Kuzma, Greenville teacher.

While the students of Greenville, MI, were busy squeezing as much fun as they could out of the last few weeks of summer vacation, their teachers were busy learning about technology in the classroom, specifically how to integrate mobile technology into their lesson plans.

As one of only 12 schools across the country selected to participate in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program, Greenville Middle School received a $50,000 educational grant from the Verizon Foundation to train instructors on how to use wireless technology to elevate students’ learning experience.

To kick off this two-year training program, we teamed up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to host a three-day workshop for 12 designated educators in science, math and technology. Over the course of the workshop, teachers learned several techniques for creating engaging lesson plans that leverage the educational resources mobile technology provides.

Greenville Middle School technology in the classroom workshop

During the training session, teachers broke into individual groups and worked on developing lesson plans.

Greenville Middle School Principal Leigh Acker, who has been in education for nearly 30 years, recently spoke to mLive about her experience, stating: “I remember being excited about having a TV and VCR in my classroom and being able to use a copy machine.”

Assistant Superintendent Diane Brissette also added, “Using this new technology in the classroom is unlike anything else that we’ve ever experienced. Our teachers can’t believe how much they’ve learned the last two days – and they’re ready to jump in and use it in the classroom.”

The workshop also focused on demonstrating how applications can be used to stimulate students’ interest and educational growth in subject areas like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). For example, science teachers can use the Google Sky app to turn their astronomy lesson about the solar system into an “out of this world” learning experience. Math teachers can even bring their geometry lesson to life by asking students to use their device to take pictures of real-world examples of right angles.

“When I was observing classrooms last year, I went into an eighth grade science room where pretty much the whole lesson was on the device. It was a much more student-centered way of teaching,” said Principal Acker.

It’s when teachers use mobile technology in the classroom to supplement their lecture and/or textbook material that truly unique learning moments are created and learning is taken to new heights. Just as instructors naturally adjust their teaching styles to cater to students’ unique learning needs, using technology in the classroom allows instructors to connect with their students and teach concepts in new, fun and engaging ways.

As they returned to school this fall, 900 Greenville Middle School students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade are receiving mobile devices and Verizon Wireless data plans to use for educational purposes. Now, kids with limited access to high-speed Internet can use their device to do research and complete homework assignments at home.

By partnering with schools to make mobile technology accessible for all students, we’re providing the next generation of leaders with the skills they need to be successful.

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