Marketing and Communications

eTech grant allows BGSU to partner with local schools


Local schools are partnering with Bowling Green State University teacher education students to learn how to more effectively use digital technologies in the classroom, as part of Project TESS (Technology Education for Student Success). A $100,000 Ohio eTech Teacher Planning Grant is enabling teachers and students from Ft. Meigs Elementary School in Perrysburg, Miller City-New Cleveland (MCNC) Schools and Rossford High School to utilize clickers, Neo Boards, iPads and more to implement innovative instruction.

Drs. Savilla Banister, Lan Li and Sharon Subreenduth from BGSU’s School of Teaching and Learning work with the school technology personnel, including Lisa Caswell (Ft. Meigs), Denny Mumaw (MCNC) and Carrie Rathsack (Rossford) to provide monthly professional development sessions for teachers.

BGSU undergraduates in teacher education also are benefitting from the project. They have the capability to connect with practicing teachers via collaborative digital technologies such as Skype, NINGs, wikis and Google Apps. Using these tools, undergraduates follow teacher blogs about their classroom activities, ask questions about their future careers in teaching and “visit” live classroom experiences.

At Ft. Meigs Elementary, third and fifth graders are experiencing ubiquitous computing, as each student has access to a NeoBoard. These tablet-like devices are used for a variety of learning activities. Students are completing writing assignments, accessing reading assessments (STAR), working on academic skills in Study Island (a website for individualized activities linked to state standards) and collaboratively editing in Google Docs. They also use the devices as a classroom response system, allowing teachers to do formative assessment of their learning. In addition, teachers are using interactive whiteboards (IWBs), iPads and digital cameras to craft engaging lessons to support student learning.

According to Banister, Miller City-New Cleveland teachers are using their iPads to deliver content in new ways by using apps such as ShowMe, an IWB for iPad; ExplainEverything, to create dynamic lessons, and EduCreations, to create videos of interactive whiteboard lessons. With the app Teacher Assistant Pro, they can more easily collect data on student achievement in the classroom. They are also using a variety of Google resources, IWBs, and video-capture tools to engage students in active learning projects. Students are using Web 2.0 resources such as the online presentation tool Prezi and the online animation tool Voki to create science and social studies reports. “Project TESS has opened up opportunities at MCNC to pursue additional possibilities with technology integration, including a one-to-one initiative with electronic textbooks,” Banister said.

In the Rossford schools, teachers have focused on learning how to using Senteos, the classroom response system for the SMARTBoard, as an assessment innovation. High school teachers also use the clickers for homework checks, discussion starters, cooperative learning activities, and feedback. In addition to the SMART Response system for assessment, teachers are also learning about other digital tools and strategies to successfully implement those tools into their courses. Some examples include: Edmodo, used for teacher participants' online professional development and in some classes with students, and SMART Notebook software, used to create or modify interactive, engaging lessons for use with the SMARTBoard.

Additionally, Rossford teachers are learning more ways to integrate digital images and video into their courses and how to use Excel spreadsheets for teaching-related assessment, management and data analysis, as well as for student learning activities.