While Monday was a school holiday for students in the Lowcountry, Beaufort County teachers took the opportunity to catch up on their learning, as part of the district’s “Best Practices Day”.
Nearly 2,000 teachers gathered at schools across the county to attend sessions taught by master teachers and staff considered experts in various topics, sharing skill and knowledge to be implemented in more classrooms.
One of those is Kindergarten Robotics.
To the naked eye, the Dash and Dot Robot looks like a toy, but its purpose is actually to teach critical thinking and collaboration.
“Back then was books and paper and pencil and now everything is technology,” said Connie Peeples, a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Beaufort Elementary, “I have to learn every year along with my Pre-K and that’s one reason I’m here today.”
Many teachers like Connie Peeples chose to attend sessions to help them keep up with the newer generations coming into the classrooms.
“Technology is second nature to all of our students,” said Beaufort County School District Superintendent Jeff Moss, “They all have more power in their hand than we did throughout our entire educational career.”
Alayne Lawson, a kindergarten teacher at Bluffton Elementary, has witnessed the changes in the kids in her class today from just a few years ago.
:They’re used to being entertained more and having constant things thrown at them,” Lawson said, “They’re a lot more independent, they don’t need that whole group sitting staring at the teacher anymore.”
Monday she taught other teachers “iPad Boot Camp”, covering everything from QR codes where students scan a picture with their iPad or phone to access and online textbook, as well as virtual tests providing instant answers and scores.
“It’s good for the students to get that feedback too, because they can see right then on some of the online ones, if they answered correctly or not, and then you can make it a learning opportunity,” Lawson said, “That’s how they learn now, that’s their life, that’s what they’re comfortable with… it’s not just replacing paper it’s giving them opportunities they didn’t have before.”