"Technology doesn't need to stop just because we are outside the classroom" says Erica Robarge, 3rd Grade teacher at Defiance Elementary School. Erica maintains a classroom website for her students and parents as well as a Tizmos site that she provides for her students to access games and activities from home.
In addition to her website, Erica has become quite proficient at using her SmartBoard Interactive whiteboard which she first received 6 years ago. Over the years she has created and shared with her colleagues "hundreds of lessons" in Smart Notebook. The past two years she has been asked to share her expertise at the district in-service day providing training to her fellow teachers on different aspects of using the SmartBoard.
In 2007 Erica was fortunate to receive a set of CPS clickers and a tablet from eInstruction which she tries to use as often as possible with her students. "I have transferred all my Science worksheets and English lessons into lessons I can use for my clickers and I also use the clickers to spice up test preparation." she says.
Creating these materials takes a lot of time but "if I can make the learning more interesting and 'trick' my students into learning by also having fun, it makes the time I spend worth it." says Erica who's advice to teachers who want to learn more about using technology in their classrooms is to “Just go and play. You learn best by exploring.”
Erica's favorite project with her 3rd graders was when they did a video yearbook project at the end of the year. The students brainstormed events that happened, wrote skits for their newscasts, found pictures or created PowerPoint slides, and then recorded themselves summarizing their year. "At the end we added pictures of ourselves and short bios to create a great memory. I can’t wait to try it again!" she says.