FETC Presenter Profile: Jennifer Womble on Integrating Technology

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Like many educators, Jennifer Womble wears more than one hat. A high school AP psychology teacher at Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, FL, Womble also serves as a technology integration specialist who trains teachers how to use equipment and software. Taking it a step further, she then shows them how to most effectively integrate those tools into today's classroom.

Womble is presenting three sessions at the FETC 2009: "Developing 21st Century Learners with Technology-Rich Lessons"; "Transforming Teaching and Learning in a Flat World"; and "Grant Writing 101: You Have Seen Something You Want, How Do You Get It?"

Here, Womble gives details on each session and its applicability for educators.

THE Journal: Tell us about the three sessions you're presenting at FETC 2009.

Jennifer Womble: “Developing 21st Century Learners with Technology Rich Lessons” is about engaging today's students, who have grown up in the modern world of information technology. This can be challenging for educators, who at this workshop will learn about technology integration skills, resource information, differentiated instructional strategies, and curriculum ideas for the modern classroom. Teachers will be introduced to the features of SharePoint and Microsoft Office Professional, including Publisher, and learn how to effectively use technological tools, including digital cameras, scanners, document cameras and audience response systems.

In “Transforming Teaching and Learning in a Flat World,” I will look at exactly how to transform students, classrooms, and education in the 21st century. Thomas Friedman pondered the question, "...[W]hat is the right kind of education to prepare our young people for those jobs?" in his 2007 book, The World is Flat Release 3.0. What is the "right stuff" to teach digital natives, and how can we integrate these 21st century skills and global attitudes into our classrooms? Educators have the ingredients to the "secret sauce," and they are cooking up some solutions classroom by classroom across the country. At this session attendees will hear about the steps these classrooms are taking to design activities and environments where students emerge as passionate global learners.

Last but certainly not least, the “Grant Writing 101” session will show participants how to search for technology grants and how to successfully apply for those grants. Writing a grant is an excellent way to get what you need to make a difference. As a classroom teacher who has earned [more than] $1.6 million in grants to improve technology and equity for all students in the classroom, I will show attendees the steps to earning grants from local, state and national resources to support their technology needs.

THE Journal: Why is grant writing so important?

Womble: The grant writing session was developed after I noticed that many educators at conferences were picking up on technology tools that they could use in the classroom but were unsure of how to go about getting them. While the federal and state governments have supplied a lot of money to technology, many times that funding goes for machines, not software. As a result, a lot of teachers and administrators need help writing grants to supplement their classroom technology needs.

THE Journal: Why should educators be focused on developing 21st century learners?

Womble: We need to help instructors use all of the tools at their disposal to make their classroom a richer, more engaging environment. To get there, teachers need to put together project-based lessons and use a "constant improvement cycle" that not only integrates technology in the classroom, but that truly prepares students with literacy skills that they can take out into the work world. In this session, I'll show teachers how to put together all of the technology pieces to make lessons richer for those students.

THE Journal: Explain what you mean by "learning in a flat world."

Womble: The concept is based on Thomas Friedman's series of books, the third edition of which points out that teachers need to change the way classrooms operate, in order to help students become more globally minded and productive in order to function in the world's changing economic systems. And while the book wasn't meant to transform education, it does address education at the teacher level, and looks at what instructors are doing to bring together cultural awareness, productivity, rigors, and grading levels and how they're raising the bar in a way that engages students in meaningful learning.

THE Journal: What other insights will attendees take away from your sessions?

Womble: These workshops provide an interactive learning environment where an array of people from different backgrounds learns from one another. Many times, the administrators and IT professionals share their own tips and resources, and brainstorm and network with each other. There's always a great synergy in the room, and it gets people pumped up to get back to the classroom and put the strategies to work. The atmosphere can't be beat.

Further information about individual sessions at FETC can be found here.

About the Author

Bridget McCrea is a business and technology writer in Clearwater, FL. She can be reached at bridgetmc@earthlink.net.

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