Local teachers attend seminar

Local teachers attend seminar Jennifer Weber, Peggy Dimock and Cindy Heckenlaible from Vermillion recently completed a 20-day immersion session of the Governor's Academy for Technology in Teaching and Learning (TTL) at Black Hills State University, Spearfish.

TTL is a yearlong professional development academy for South Dakota educators. Participants spend time during the summer academy learning to use several different hardware and software items. However, teaching in the information age requires that teachers not only update their skills and knowledge but also work toward the transformation of their roles as educators. Therefore, the major academy emphasis is on helping teachers learn new roles and teaching strategies that can improve student achievement by integrating technology into the curriculum.

Follow-up during the succeeding school year will include various learning and collaboration opportunities, including continued dialogue with colleagues through electronic mailing lists (listserv), electronic seminars and e-mail.

The primary purpose of the TTL academy is to establish a growing cadre of highly trained educators across the state who actively change teaching and learning through the integration of technology into curricula. These educators will model effective teaching in their classrooms. As an instructional leader, they will assist fellow educators in learning how to use technology to enhance the teaching/learning process.

The TTL academy was created by Gov. William J. Janklow two years ago. After numerous contacts with educators across South Dakota and the nation, the governor became convinced that traditional staff development efforts were not providing teachers adequate opportunities to use technology to effectively enhance teaching and learning. After conferring with the CEOs of major computer corporations, he concluded that to have a significant impact, staff development needed to include intensive instruction over a period of time and provide teachers with time to investigate, experiment and collaborate with their colleagues. Futhermore, teachers needed to be engaged in authentic tasks, developing curriculum products for use in their own classrooms rather than working on "hypothetical" situations.

Acting on these convictions, Gov. Janklow approached South Dakota's Technology and Innovations in Education (TIE) organization and Dakota State University about creating an academy that met his requirements. As a result, a pilot academy, TTL '97, was prepared during the spring and early summer of 1997 and delivered in July of that year.

According to the vast majority of participants, the pilot academy experience was successful far beyond the academy to accommodate even more South Dakota teachers.

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