Early Adopter Teachers Help Lead Laptop Initiative

HISD is calling upon some of the district’s most tech savvy teachers to help launch PowerUp, HISD’s groundbreaking initiative that will eventually give every high school student a laptop computer.

“Students learn differently than we did as children so you have to engage and empower them with technology,” said Bellaire High School teacher Seth Mintz during a training session involving select teachers from the 11 schools involved in phase 1 of PowerUp. Mintz and the other teachers were hand-picked by their principals because of their proven willingness to embrace technology in the classroom. This group of early adopters have been tasked with helping their campus colleagues embrace the initiative and its potential.

The PowerUp early adopter teacher group and their principals gathered in mid-July for four days to train with over a dozen educators from the Mooresville Graded School District located in Mooresville, N.C. MGSD received national recognition for undertaking a digital technology initiative that provides every student in grades 4-12 with a computer to use at school and at home. MGSD educators shared their insight with the early adopter group and trained them on tools, websites, and software used to engage students and differentiate instruction.

“They have shown us a lot of cool stuff and when I say ‘cool stuff’ there are so many things I have not seen before,” said Bellaire teacher Norina Terry. “Not only is this initiative going to make my job easier but it will ultimately make my classroom more student-centered because the kids will be the ones driving the instruction.”

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Terry’s colleague Ashley Heng agrees and believes the laptops will help her better connect with her students. “Having that unlimited access to teachers, classmates, and knowledge will make learning that much easier for them.”

The early adopter group will continue to receive training and support over the next several weeks leading up to the distribution of laptops to all teachers at the 11 HISD schools in late August of 2013. Students will receive their computers in January 2014.

“We are working with these teachers around topics such as how do we use technology to differentiate instruction, how do we personalize learning for students, how do we create opportunities for students to create and communicate their knowledge in digital ways,” said Lance Menster, Assistant Superintendent of Professional Development. “This initiative is not just about a device, it’s about changing the way our teachers deliver instruction.”