New teachers receive free iPods at tech training on real-world math, science

Tech Training

New teachers receive technology training

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(April 13, 2010)--This month, two dozen new math and science teachers received free Apple iPod Touches at a technology training workshop offered by the UTSA Generating Educational Excellence in Math and Science (GE2MS) program. Funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation, the workshop trained teachers to engage students by integrating technology in their classroom lessons.

"We live in times where most teens already have an iPod, MP3 player or smart phone, but their schools haven't fully embraced technology," said Joseph Lazor, director of the UTSA GE2MS program, which supports new teachers and undergraduates who want to become teachers. "Rather than having students check their technology at the door, we're showing teachers how they can integrate it into their daily lessons."

In addition to training the teachers in iPod basics, the three-hour seminar covered math and science applications ("apps") appropriate for the classroom. Sample apps include:

  • Periodic Table, a reference application for chemistry students
  • Ratio, a ratio conversion application for cooking
  • Poll Everywhere, an app that allows teachers to poll students and receive responses in real-time
  • FlashCards, a flashcard-making app for teachers and students
  • Pics4Learning, a free educational photo library

Science teacher Russell Willis at the Southwest ISD alternative school, Boot Camp, found the training session extremely helpful.

"I've been looking for ways to keep my students engaged, and a classroom set of iPod touches is much less expensive than a classroom set of computers," Willis said. "If I had a set of iPods, I could make my lessons more interactive and I would be able to better keep the students' attention."

Technology instructor Donald Hawkins with the Region 20 Education Service Center said teachers can no longer afford to ignore technology in the classroom.

"The teachers can't stop it, because the kids already have it," said Hawkins. "We're seeing a lot of teachers who think, 'The technology is there if I need it.'" Instead, they need to start looking at it as a necessity for their daily lessons."

The UTSA GE2MS program, formerly known as UTeach, is a collaborative initiative of the UTSA College of Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development in partnership with local school districts. The four-year program allows UTSA undergraduates to earn a science degree while becoming certified teachers. While in GE2MS, participants receive academic support, career advice and opportunities to observe local classrooms. The program also works with local school districts to offer supplementary training and incentives to new teachers.