By Andrew Canino
Public education often feels like a hot-button issue when so many conflicting opinions and emotions are at stake. How can educators best decide how to educate a diverse group of learners while both challenging them and meeting their specific needs? Luckily for Rolesville High School, teachers like Amy Hodge are passionately seeking new ways to bring the outside world to their students in the classroom.
Hodge, an English as a Second Language and French teacher, recently received a Classroom Technology Awards grant sponsored by the Wake Electric Membership Corporation for her proposed project, Paperless and Rigorous. The grant is worth $3,000.
“I was looking for ways to go green and still increase the rigor in my classroom,” Hodge said. “This past summer, I did some research on Google Classroom and became Level 1 Google Certified. I really wanted to try and give my students the technology skills they needed to do some of the paperless work in their future workplaces.”
Hodge emphasized the need for these soft skills to be taught in her classrooms, saying, “My students are very good with Snapchat and Twitter and things like that, but they aren’t very good with what I thought were the basics. Some students still struggle with attaching a picture or something like that to an email.”
Hodge learned about the Classroom Technology Grant via an email through work.
“It was perfect timing because we were about to start the summer,” she said. “I looked through it, and I thought I’d give it a shot. I’d never written a grant before.”
Hodge has many long-term goals for Paperless and Rigorous.
“I really would like to continue to get as much technology into the hands of the kids as possible,” she said. “Google Drive has awesome collaborative features. I’d like my students to be able to utilize those collaborative features. We’ve done some online galleries and family galleries, but I’d really like them to get more into collaborating, learning how to store their documents online and work together on the same project from remote locations.”
She also has many varied activities planned for her students to complete through Paperless and Rigorous.
“Either this semester or next semester, my students are going to take a virtual walking tour of Paris,” Hodge said. “I presented it with the other French teacher at the state conference this past October. Using Google Maps, they’re going to be able to drop the Street View icon into Paris, and they’ll be able to walk around into shops, read the signs and answer questions based on the signs they see in a café, restaurant or butcher shop.”
The thought of the virtual adventures ahead made Hodge smile.
“It’s a great way to go abroad without having to actually go abroad,” she said.