Athens, Ga. – Julie McCullers, a third-grade teacher in Oconee County who uses a blog to generate interaction between students, parents and teachers, received the Spotlight on Georgia: Technology Innovation Award for October from the University of Georgia Educational Technology Training Center.
The award is given each month to a teacher who is implementing effective technology integration strategies in the classroom. Recipients are chosen from more than 200 schools in 15 districts across Northeast Georgia.
McCullers, who teaches at Malcom Bridge Elementary School, uses technology to make a real-world connection for her students. By using a blog, or Web site where readers can leave comments in an interactive format, she posts important, high-interest topics that come up in her classroom. Both students and parents can comment on these posts. Parents can stay informed of what their children are learning and even other teachers in the school and community may comment. The blog fosters a way for all stakeholders to contribute, said McCullers.
“One of my parents actually volunteered to come to our class to read a book that was related to one of our blog posts that she read,” said McCullers. “The parent said, ‘Without the blog, I would have not known about this specific topic in my son’s classroom. It’s a great way to get a sneak peak into the daily activities.'”
The blog allows students to write in an interactive way that is different from traditional writing. It also gives McCullers a place to highlight some of the students’ in-class writing and recognize their excellent thoughts and stories.
“We love being able to read the comments on our blog,” said McCullers. “It’s such a nice pat on the back for us to get a comment and to know that someone is interested in our classroom.”
The UGA center in Athens, one of 13 across the state, has a staff of 10 educational technology professionals working with Northeast Georgia school districts to improve and promote research-based methods of instruction with teachers.
Their emphasis includes the integration of multiple technologies to enrich the curriculum, effective uses of technology to increase school productivity and distance learning to provide opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible.
See McCullers’ class blog at: http://jmccullers.edublogs.org/
For more information about the Spotlight Award and past winners: http://ttc.coe.uga.edu/spotlight/index.html