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Florida Teachers Gain New Skills

posted on August 27, 2014, under Conference, Education by

by Sandra Doran

From left: Eudora Stephens and Brenda Trim (Beryl Wisdom Adventist School in Orlando) and Grant Iverson (Walker Memorial Academy in Avon Park) participate in Florida Conference’s first-ever iPad training event held this summer. (Photo: Richard Howard)

From left: Eudora Stephens and Brenda Trim (Beryl Wisdom Adventist School in Orlando) and Grant Iverson (Walker Memorial Academy in Avon Park) participate in Florida Conference’s first-ever iPad training event held this summer. (Photo: Richard Howard)

More than a dozen teachers chose to spend one week of their summer vacation at Walker Memorial Academy in Avon Park learning new ways to use technology, according to Frank Runnels, Florida Conference Vice President for Education, who made the experience possible. “These people did not have to be there,” says Runnels. “Our teachers’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn new things is just incredible.”

Florida Conference’s first-ever iPad training was conducted by veteran science teacher Gordon Davis and his son, Ethan, who holds a degree in Media Communications from Full Sail University in Orlando. “The whole purpose of the course is to help teachers understand three key points,” says Davis. “First, the ultimate evidence of learning is creation. Second, the best assessment is the creative product. And finally, students should be producers rather than consumers.”

With this philosophy as his guiding directive, Davis taught teachers to “mash apps,” combining tools to provide students with exciting avenues for their creative energies. Teachers gained new ways to engage students using popular iPad applications such as Explain Everything, iMovie, Capture, iMotion HD, GarageBand, Pages, and Numbers.

“I can’t wait to put all this into practice in the classroom,” remarked Winter Haven teacher Vicki Turner as she worked on a project alongside others from small and large schools. “My students are going to love it!”

Throughout the week, teachers proudly showcased their own projects, demonstrating that the best way to learn something is to delve in, try it, and then teach it to someone else.

The technology class was just one of four classes offered by the Office of Education this summer. Nearly 50 teachers packed up their own classrooms and put in another week learning iPad skills, gaining Responsive Classroom (Positive School Climate) techniques, shadowing a mentor teacher in Biology Field School, and discovering new Trends in Education.

“In Florida, teacher training is of paramount importance,” says Runnels. In addition to the local training, more than 70 teachers pursued course work this summer on the graduate level.


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