GREAT STORIES – Intel Teach – February 2012

Posted by on March 9, 2012 in News, Professional Development | Comments Off on GREAT STORIES – Intel Teach – February 2012

You Can Go Home

After graduating from Calhan High School in Calhan, Colorado, about 35 miles east of Colorado Springs, Cindy Kanuch headed out into the world. First stop was Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado for a history/government degree. Then she was on to Auburn University in Alabama for a MA in History/Archival Administration.

Next up was employment at the Alabama Department of Archives and History working on a variety of archival and museum collections. That job included serving as the lead archivist on an NEH grant to process the Civil Rights Era papers of George Wallace and other pro-segregation government officials.

But Kanuch missed home. It was, after the years away, where her heart was. So she returned to Calhan in 1997.  It wasn’t long before she began volunteering on a daily basis in her oldest son’s classroom. In 2004 she came full circle when she was hired as the high school’s History teacher at the 520 student preK-12 school and she’s been in that position ever since. This year she’s teaching World History, American History, and College Western Civilization as well as a literacy tutoring program “I’m teaching at my alma mater in the classroom my favorite History teacher used to have,” Kanuch said.

Remembering that she’d been fascinated years ago when people talked about the fabulous new World Wide Web,  Kanuch was intrigued when a lifelong friend and Calhan teacher,  Carolyn Gardner, offered an Intel Teach course. With Gardner’s encouragement, Kanuch signed up.

Intel Teach is a free project-based learning program developed by Intel Corporation. The Intel Teach Program improves teacher effectiveness through professional development, helping teachers integrate technology into their lessons and promoting students’ problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.

Kanuch’s first Intel Teach class consisted of a combination of classroom and homework. “I actually preferred the in-class time because Carolyn was right there to answer questions and encourage me when I felt overwhelmed,” Kanuch said.  “The Intel class taught me how to design lessons starting with Student Objectives/Learning Outcomes and Curriculum-Framing Questions.”

Inspired by her first class, Kanuch followed it with a second Intel class on Project Based Approaches.

That class met in person only a couple times, relying more on online exchanges and independent study. “Through this class I was introduced to Moodle as well as Project Based Learning design and implementation,” Kanuch said. “I created the framework for a Project Based Learning unit based on history through literature, art, and music.”

“I am one of those people who love to learn,” Kanuch said. “I love being in class and learning something new. The Intel class offered me new approaches and provided that guided learning experience I hadn’t had in an area lik technology, that I was uncomfortable exploring on my own. And Carolyn had been teaching for so many years she had a wealth of information, advice, and helpful critiques.”

The downside?  Kanuch’s school district has only two computer labs for Pre-K through 12th grade and they are hard to reserve. In addition, the district’s students don’t all have computers and internet access at home.  So Kanuch keeps up her technology training and hopes for a school budget that will give students and teachers more access to technology.  “When that time comes I will be ready,” she said.

Kanuch praises Intel Teach for being based on solid academic practices and for helping novices become comfortable with technology.  “I would recommend Intel Teach because it provides a ‘safe’ way for us technologically ‘nervous Nellies’ to dabble in technology without getting overwhelmed,” Kanuch said.

She began with little technological experience, but with Gardner’s continuing help she’s on the right path.  “I still am not as proficient as I would like to be, but the classes have given me a great foundation,” Kanuch said. “I have just received a Smart Board and a set of classroom clickers, so I am gradually incorporating more and more technology into my lessons.”

As young people become more proficient in technology, it is incumbent on educators to adjust their manner of teaching, Kanuch said.  “I love the thought that with technology I can connect with people and information from around the world.  The resources available are phenomenal.”

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