At the ISTE 2010 conference in Denver a couple of weeks ago, there was a lot of excitement in the netTrekker booth. Booth visitors got sneak peak at the exciting changes coming to netTrekker for back-to-school. We had a full line-up of great customers presenters sharing their own best practices for using netTrekker in their classrooms. And we had over 125 educators participate in our Explore a New World of Personalized Learning passport game. The game required educators to learn about the new enhancements coming to netTrekker, find out how netTrekker helps personalize learning, and attend one of the many customer-presented workshops.
The lucky winner of the passport game was Roderick Hames, Business Education Instructor at Crews Middle School in Gwinnett County Public Schools, in the metro-Atlanta area. Roderick won the grand prize of a brand new Apple iPad and a one year netTrekker subscription for his school. We asked Roderick to share a little bit about himself, and it sounds like the netTrekker subscription and the iPad will fit perfectly into what he’s already doing to engage students with technology in his classroom. He shares some great examples below of how he’s made the print-to-digital transition with digital content and project-based learning activities. Thanks to all who stopped by to see us at ISTE, and congratulations, Roderick!
About Our Winner
My name is Roderick Hames and for the past 19 years I have taught computer applications, keyboarding, programming, entrepreneurship, and web design using both Mac and IBM to middle school students. I hold an Ed.S degree in Business Education from the University of West Georgia. In addition to my teaching assignments, I also serve as Program Specialist which is a leadership position at the county level to help facilitate staff development and other needs for a group of 25 other middle school computer teachers.
My website: http://www.crews.org/curriculum/ex/compsci/ is widely regarded as a hub of resources for not only my own students but teachers around the country as innovative and engaging relevant lessons. I also work after school coaching an intramural sports program. I have presented at numerous national, regional, state, and local conferences. This was my third time presenting at ISTE (formerly NECC).
I do not use any text books, my entire curriculum can be found online. My activities are project based and student centered. I work my units around a theme for each grade level. For 6th grade it is city planning and urban development. For 7th grade students learn about leadership character qualities and for 8th grade students focus on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. I work hard to create my lessons as realistic and engaging as possible. I also strive to make harder lessons video based so student can learn at their own pace. My passion is to see kids who can successfully use technology as a tool to accomplish a project that would otherwise lack creativity and skill. Since one of my passions is seeing young adults prosper and reach their full potential, using technology is a great tool to bring out hidden talents in children. I love to see kids who problem solve and can express themselves in creative professional ways using technology.
I am excited about winning the subscription to netTrekker and an Apple iPad. I fully expect to see kids who would have struggled presenting in class fight to use the iPad to present.
netTrekker is excited to introduce this week’s Spotlight User. Juanita James is a Media Specialist at Pillsbury Math and Science Technology Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Juanita shares how she had a breakthrough in teaching second graders new research skills with netTrekker.
Research is one of our media standards and for years I had been struggling to teach my second grade students how to do online research, or any research for that matter. I tried various types of print materials and a variety of online sites with no success. This quickly became frustrating, especially since we have a high percentage of non-English speaking students and English speaking students who struggle with reading.
I had been using netTrekker with students in third grade and higher, and they really liked it! I didn’t think that second graders would be able to log in and follow directions to get to a resource, but they did! Even non-English speaking students could do this.
At that time we were learning about habitats and animals that live in different environments. I listed names of animals, then students logged in to netTrekker and searched the name of the animal they wanted to learn about. They were able to find pictures and videos containing information that they could then relate back to class. They could even read some of the print information in the Elementary section! As a result, they were able to complete simple animal reports with facts obtained through netTrekker.
netTrekker has completely eliminated my frustration of trying to teach research to second graders!