The Art of Educational Time Travel

Contributed By

Philip Charles Stephens

Contributing Writer

The Art of Educational Time Travel

Posted in Community | January 18, 2018

Regina Snyder is an instructor at Los Alisos S.T.E.M. Magnet Middle School in the city of Norwalk, California. With its focus on science, technology, engineering, and math, the tools and curriculum have to keep pace with major innovations in the world, and Regina’s classes are no exception.

“I teach Engineering Technology, Robotics, and Video Production,” Regina explains. “Five years ago my school piloted an iPad 1:1 program with our Magnet students, and I am now in a situation where all of my students have both a personal iPad and a desktop computer to use in the classroom.”

Being in the field she is in, Regina is also a tech guru at her school. She took the opportunity by the horns and cowrote a professional development program called Tech Trek (yeah, that Tech Trek), a gamified Schoology course that differentiates instruction for educators with a wide spectrum of tech knowledge.

You can learn about Regina and Tech Trek via this video she posted on her webiste, http://snydertech.weebly.com

More Time for Everyone

The 1:1 program gave Regina’s students an important tool, allowing them to access programs and educational materials at home. This resulted in more time to focus on schoolwork. But Regina also needed help saving time.

Engineering, Robotics, and Video Production assignments take a lot of time to assess and grade. Each student’s completed assignment—in the case of an animation, program, or video—could take between 5 and 10 minutes to view. Regina managed to use the new technology in a way that has improved communication and streamlined the entire educational process.

“Schoology has made it possible for students to record what they've accomplished in class and send it to me digitally,” Regina says. “I view what they've done when I get home and provide them with feedback on the submission.”

Fostering a Personal Touch

Being able to review work from home means Regina can spend more class time working with students who are struggling, or even those who just need some encouragement and inspiration. She has found that more advanced students can use Schoology to progress at a faster pace by accessing new content and upcoming lessons online.

“If a student or group goes off in the wrong direction, I can still give them feedback before the next class session starts,” Regina says, “and my trail blazers can go as far with the curriculum as they like.”

Vital and Versatile

Access to resources and teacher feedback is vital to a good education, and Regina is quick to point out how versatile Schoology is in this regard.

“I tell my students that Schoology is like time-travel,” Regina explains. “It allows us to stop and go back or forward in time. Students who need yesterday's video? Go to Schoology. Students that are ready for the next challenge? Go to Schoology. Want to know what's going on right now? Yep, Schoology again.”

Bringing Order to Chaos

Even with the high-quality educators and technological resources that schools like Los Alisos have at their disposal, providing a comprehensive education to meet the needs of every student is still a challenge.  

By utilizing new technological tools and methods into her classroom, Regina has transformed a complex curriculum and hectic routine into a more tranquil process that makes it easier for students and instructors to meet their potential.

“Projects that used to take days for me to view are on my phone and I can grade in the comfort of my own home,” Regina say, smiling. “Now I just need a Google car to drive me to and from work so I can grade during my commute too!”

 

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