Technology summit aims to revolutionize valley classrooms

Technology summit aims to revolutionize valley classrooms

INDIO, Calif. - A packed classroom on a Saturday.

The students: valley teachers, eager to learn how to integrate technology in their curriculum.

"We're moving forward and saying we're not going to do it the old way anymore. We're not going to stick with those bubble sheets, and have that stack of papers teachers are used to grading," said Sally Adams, technology facilitator at the Desert Sands Unified School District who helped bring a special technology summit to the valley.

The inaugural two-day EdTechTeam California Desert Summit featuring Google for Education aims to familiarize teachers with digital tools to enhance the learning experience.

"The sessions range from getting going for beginners, to getting geeky for people who are ready to start transforming what they're doing in the classroom," said Molly Schroeder, digital learning specialist for EdTechTeam.

Jim Roethler teaches AP History and AP Government at Desert Christian Academy and knows in order to communicate effectively with students today, you have to know your way around their devices and apps.
"It has changed a lot since I began teaching 30 years ago. For an old dog like me trying to learn new tricks can be tricky and I'm just trying to get caught up. I'm a little behind the curve," Roethler said.

This year, DSUSD rolled out more than 17,000 Google laptops called Chromebooks.

At the summit, teachers got interactive lessons on how to use them and how to incorporate Google applications that streamline things like testing and grading.

"Students can take tests online, the teacher gets immediate feedback and can reteach right that minute," Adams said.

"One of the really cool things was how to present remotely. Like if I'm out of town and need a substitute teacher, I can record my lesson with notes and it was a pretty cool application," Roethler said.

And with just a few weeks until summer vacation, teachers still have time to put their new skills into action.

"There are things they'll learn this weekend that will change what they're doing Monday," Schroeder said. 

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