Cool Schools: PHM coach helping students, teachers use technology in the classroom

Cool Schools: PHM coach helping students, teachers use technology in the classroom

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A new type of coach is helping students and teachers better incorporate technology into their classrooms. 

“Technology is all around our students,” said Jessie Kinney. “It’s their future. It’s what they’ll be working with.” 

Kinney is the technology integration curriculum coach for the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation. She started three years ago and travels to all 11 of the district’s elementary schools. 

“I just help teachers look at their curriculum and design curriculum that integrates technology within it,” said Kinney. 

They work in all subjects. 

“We can integrate technology within the reading curriculum, the math curriculum, social studies, science,” said Kinney. 

Recently, Kinney helped a fourth grade class at Bittersweet Elementary. Their teacher wanted them to see what it looks like to code on something besides a computer. 

Kinney designed an outbreak activity in which the students coded robots on iPads and used them to deliver packages. 

“I kind of like how fun it is,” said Olivia Miller, a fourth grader. 

“It was hard,” said Carter Haney, another fourth grader. “You had to turn it in different angles.” 

“They could actually see the robot doing it,” said Kinney. “They were able to debug their codes quicker and it just engaged them.” 

Kinney says because technology is constantly changing and teacher workload, educators may not understand how to best use technology in their lesson plans. 

“It’s nice to have that person who is able to stay up to date on it and be able to learn it and then help pass it along so that when other teachers, once they learn it, can share it,” said Kinney. “It’s just a nice little way to help bridge that gap and then help students learn it too.” 

Kinney and students says by improving the utilization of technology, it leads to a deeper understanding, better grades, and more. 

“It helps you learn different things,” said Haney. 

“It’s amazing when you see them actually be successful in whatever they’re trying to do,” said Kinney. “They have that moment where like, ‘Oh I get it!’ and then I hope that they take that excitement and use it later in their life and in the classroom.”

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