In districts that have heavily invested in refitting science and math classrooms with computers and 21st century technology, plans are underway for middle school teachers to receive technology training through a grant.
Classrooms are reorganized with small tables that enable work in small groups, with touch screen computers and other equipment, such as high tech calculators and microscopes.
In Sarasota County, Florida, teacher who work in these revamped classrooms must know how to facilitate learning and be familiar with all the technology; and about 145 math and science teachers will get additional training though a multi year $500,000 grant.
The math and science teachers are all working at the district’s 8 middle schools and will learn not only how to use the technology, but how to adapt their teaching styles to the new classrooms.
The grant was highlighted at a recent School Board meeting during a presentaton about the new program and how it will affect teachers.
“This is a profound change in middle school student learning,” said Susan Scott, the executive director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, a nonprofit that provides extra support for the school system.
The Education Foundation won the grant from the Helios Education Foundation that will pay for the in-house training. The district will reassign two veteran teachers to conduct the training, pay for their replacements and then provide substitute teachers for the rest of the middle school teachers as they rotate through the training and learn to write a tougher curriculum and use technology in their classes, according to Scott.
“It’s an opportunity we haven’t had,” said Page Dettmann, who oversees the district middle school principals.
The teacher training comes as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation has financed the middle school math and science classroom renovations, a years-long project at each of the district’s middle schools.