With handmade circuit boards and 3D printers on hand, teachers from Sonoma County gathered to demonstrate their innovative approaches to engaging students through technology at Sonoma State University's Teacher Technology Showcase on Feb. 11.
Carlos Ayala, dean of Sonoma State's School of Education, says technology is creating a new way of teaching. "Technology gives students the opportunity for collaboration, teamwork and sharing," says Ayala. "The Teacher Technology Showcase is the future of tech in the classroom."
At one booth, Stacey Logsdon, a teacher at Kawana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Santa Rosa, demonstrated how she uses a program called Edmodo, which she likens to "Facebook for the classroom." Her elementary school students use this website as a social network where they can interact and engage in discussions about class assignments online.
"The idea is finding what technology can do to help identify what students know and are able to do," says Ayala. "With that, educators can identify what students need to do next."
Ayala hopes technology will eventually allow teachers to track students' progress to further allow them to personalize their students' educational experience by identifying strengths and weaknesses.
"Our job is to understand how to teach and how students learn," says Pamela Van Halsema, an administrative analyst in the School of Education. "We want to use technology as a tool to learn."
She says the Teacher Technology Showcase ultimately gives Sonoma State students and community members the opportunity to see how local educators are using modern media and technology in the classroom. "It can open up the joy of learning."
The Teacher Technology Showcase has been hosted annually by Sonoma State's School of Education since 2011.