Teachers Lead in Web 2.0 Initiative

In Naples, Florida, Collier County Public Schools Instructional Technology Department has introduced more than 600 students to Web 2.0 technology with the help of dedicated educators and an Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Grant.

The EETT program improves student achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. The goal is for students to become technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade and establish research-based instructional methods, through the integration of technology with both teacher training and curriculum development that can be widely implemented.

Martha Green, Collier County School District Instructional Technology Specialist and project manager for the EETT Cyber Café Grant, led a group of teachers from Golden Gate Elementary School, Golden Terrace Elementary School and Golden Gate Middle School. The program they created targeted fifth and sixth graders, as well as students who are English Language Learners (ELL) in grades three through eight.

To prepare for the program, teachers voluntarily participated in Florida Digital Educator Training in summer 2008, and met every other week during the 2008-2009 school year for after-school training in Web 2.0 tools, technology integration and project-based learning in science and language arts.

The teachers introduced students to a variety of tools, including wikis, podcasting, and blogging, along with other specific applications such as Angel, which allows students to do classwork online, and collaborative websites such as Voki, which was used to enhance vocabulary-learning.

Laptops were implemented last year in the ELL Sheltered Classroom grade 3-5 at Golden Terrace Elementary for students with limited English skills – many of whom were also new to the United States. These students now have access to a computer throughout the entire school day. Their teacher, Katy Al-Khabbaz, says her students are more engaged because of the technology and the ease of its use. Last school year, she was able to teach writing by modeling. Her third through fifth grade students created PowerPoint presentations in conjunction with their Pre-Laureate Research Projects.

In the classroom, laptops are improving fluency because they provide listening, speaking, reading and writing experiences while meeting the needs of the visual, auditory and kinesthetic learner.

“I am very enthused about the program,” Ms. Al-Khabbaz said. “The computers provide immediate feedback that the students can use.”

The result has been a classroom where students collaborate well, spend more time on assignments, and behave better.

For more information about EETT grants, visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/edtech/index.html.