Grand Meadow teacher looks to fine-tune classroom tech use

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

A kindergarten student in Lindsey Krejc's class in Grand Meadow writes using a Smart Pen. -- Photo provided

As high-tech gadgets become more and more popular in schools, one instructor is pressing the question of how best to use them.

“All of the different pieces of technology hold their own purpose,” said Lindsey Krejci, a kindergarten teacher at Grand Meadow Public Schools.

Four students in Lindsey Krejci’s kindergarten class in Grand Meadow watch Candy Land come to life through use of a Smart Pen.

That was the what drove Krejci to give two seminars to other teachers in the Twin Cities Monday. At this year’s Total Information for Educational Systems conference at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, she discussed new and creative ways to make use of devices like the Smart Board and Smart Pen.

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“It was all about technology and its role in the classroom,” Krejci said.

Smart boards, which Grand Meadow started phasing in about seven years ago, are interactive white boards that let students move images and shapes around with the touch of their fingers. In Grand Meadow, they became a standard part of the classroom two years later.

Smart pens, which take a special type of paper and stickers, let an instructor program in audio that can guide students as they go. The pens prove particularly useful in continuing to guide students even while Krejci is busy assisting others.

“The kids can go ahead and work in a smaller group,” she said. “It’s almost like I’m there.”

They also allow Krejci to record her students reading, for example, so she can show their parents during conferences how their child is doing.

Instructors can incorporate technology in their curriculum for students of any age level, she said, and such learning tools help keep students engaged.

Many of the students are already familiar with iPods and other devices from seeing them at home, Krejci said, but have not used them to learn. As someone who has long been interested in technology, she enjoys showing them how.

“They are always so excited when they get to use technology,” she said. “It’s really neat to see.”

As a whole, Grand Meadow has embraced technology. The school has one iPad for every student in grades four through eight, and also iPods. While such tools have proven useful in the classroom, Krejci said, they can only be an aid to the learning environment: They cannot do the whole job.

“It doesn’t take over good teaching,” she said.