February 9, 1998
98-117

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

South Georgia teachers get high-tech computer training

SPECIAL ADVISORY/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: VSU will host an informal media briefing at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13 in Room 222 of VSU's College of Education. Training staff and participants will be available for interviews at this time.



Teachers from public schools across the region are converging on Valdosta State University. Their mission: learn high-tech teaching techniques to take back to the classroom�and better prepare children for the 21st Century.

Valdosta State University's College of Education is taking part in a statewide Department of Education initiative designed for "INtegrating TECHnology in the Student-Centered Classroom." InTech training is being led by VSU's Educational Technology Training Center (ETTC), currently set to train 160 educators throughout 1998.

Teachers from surrounding counties are learning the best ways to integrate computer technology into a classroom setting, according to Mimi McGahee, ETTC director. She said more than 650 schools are sending teachers to various state sites to take these classes. At this point, VSU is working with approximately 25 schools from surrounding counties. Elementary school teachers are currently taking training shifts.

"Each school can send a team of five educators, plus a media specialist or technology specialist," McGahee said.

The training allows the teachers to learn more about a range of computer-based activities, including: e-mailing, incorporating software programs and the Internet into theme-related/curriculum-based classroom projects, as well as creating multimedia presentations. The teachers work both independently and in groups to enhance their technological skills. The sharing of schooling strategies is one of the strengths of the program, McGahee said. Once the teachers become more comfortable with the technology, they can share these skills with their colleagues as well as their students.

"I am extremely pleased with the response we have received across South Georgia for this training," said Dr. F.D. Toth, dean of VSU's College of Education. "Fifty percent of the households in our country now have computers. It is essential that all teachers acquire the competencies needed to use this teaching tool in their classrooms."