Director of Technology, Center Grove Community School Corporation, Greenwood, IN
As the technology director for a high-performing, awardwinning school district, Julie Bohnenkamp knows she must deliver high-quality training to keep students engaged and help teachers personalize and differentiate their instruction.
Luckily, she’s a natural at it.
In the past five years, she’s written grants to secure more than $1,000,000 in funding. The money has helped her create one-to-one classrooms, provide iPads for special education, and provide top-notch professional development at every turn. Bohnenkamp’s colleagues say that her insight into how technology enhances instruction and learning is unsurpassed. It’s no wonder she was named Faculty Member of the Year in 2011 and appointed by the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction to the 12-member eLearning Leadership Cadre in 2012.
For the Multimedia Classrooms Project, Bohnenkamp asked teachers to apply for a ceiling-installed projector, document camera, DVD/VCR, mounted screen, and wall control. To receive the equipment, teachers had to attend a basic training before they began using it in the fall and attend at least two more workshops during the year. One-fourth of the 400 teachers applied to receive the equipment in the fall of 2007. Today, nearly every classroom is outfitted with multimedia equipment. Teachers say their students are more engaged than ever before, and many teachers became more interested in technology due to this project.
Thanks to a $200,000 Classroom Innovation Grant from the Indiana Department of Education, Bohnenkamp bought iPads for the elementary schools’ kindergarten, special education, and English language learner classrooms and started an eBook library program in which students check out Nooks from the media centers. The iPads were loaded with specialized apps so they became personal digital assistants for each student. The data collected from the program showed significant gains in literacy as well as improved classroom behavior.
To move into the digital age, Bohnenkamp launched the Discovery Education Science Techbook project. With the school board’s approval, she bought 2,600 netbooks so that students can access an interactive online science curriculum. Due to the success of this initiative, Discovery Education created videos featuring two teachers using the product.
“The community, board, teachers, and superintendent place a high priority on technology and empower me to support their vision,” says Bohnenkamp. She is especially proud of the projects that have a data component. “I enjoy collaborating with teachers to analyze the data and come up with true findings that we’re making a difference,” she says.
Naturally, Bohnenkamp ensures that teachers have proper training and support. In addition to meeting for significant blocks of time during the summer and the school year, there’s an online professional development community. In February, Bohnemkamp’s team held a Digital Learning Day and asked teachers to have students try to create something digital. Teachers posted their ideas on a blog and uploaded samples of student work. Last summer, the technology team planned a statewide conference and hosted more than 100 sessions on iPads across the curriculum for 550 teachers.
Bohnenkamp is excited to win the Tech & Learning award and hopes it will honor the work that her entire department and teachers have done. “A leader empowers and supports the work,” she says, “but the results are a team effort.”
What She Uses
• Adaptive Curriculum
• Apple TV
• Discovery Education Science Techbook
• Five Star Student Data Assessment
• Lightspeed/My Big Campus
• Overdrive Digital eLibrary
• Scholastic FA STT Math, ReadAbout, Read 180
• VMware View