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Jason Clark
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Featured Teacher:  Heather Turner

Heather Turner
Information Literacy Specialist
Solvay Middle School
Solvay Union Free School District

Heather Turner is the Teacher-Librarian at Solvay Middle School where she has worked for the past four years, serving the information literacy needs of students in grades four through eight. She has six years of teaching experience overall.

Heather's Twitter: @HeatherATurner
Heather's Blog:

What are some of the innovative ways you are integrating technology into your curriculum?

Heather utilizes technology in all facets of her teaching.  The success of her information literacy program relies on collaboration with all classrooms and grade levels.  She commonly will ask teachers what they want the students to learn and will work with the teachers to devise a plan to best accomplish their goals. It is important to Heather to not use technology for technology sake, but rather apply appropriate tools to support the teachers' curricular initiatives.  

Heather recently participated in a "Bring Your Own Device" Pilot through the CNYRIC's Model Schools Program in an effort to expose teachers and staff to a variety of technology integration tools. During the month-long pilot, students and teachers had the opportunity to leverage ten Chromebooks, ten iPads,and ten Google Nexus 7 Tablets to support student learning. Heather can foresee a time when such devices might be items on a school supply list.  She has found that different technologies provide more options for students.  Whether tablet, notebook, desktop, or videocamera, each one has its place. Allowing students to bring their own devices to school has the potential to personalize learning for each student. Heather observed that the students needed very little introduction to utilize the devices to be productive and successful.  She noted that each device provided quick access as opposed to waiting up to 5 minutes for traditional desktop and laptop computers to boot and for students to log-in to the network.  Students could utilize their time more efficiently and behavior challenges were lessened. Heather's Library Learning Commons webpage proved to be an important hub for students to access a variety of resources regardless of the device they used.
How have students benefitted from your technology integration initiatives?
Heather has exposed her students and staff to cutting edge technology, integrating and recommending such tools as Edmodo, Google Drive, Remind 101, Weebly, and Meograph (among others), Heather has found that students are increasingly engaged with course content and are inspired to learn. She has noted that students are comfortable with technology. She even has a team of students that serve as the library "iStaff," managing the library desk and understand the technology, projects, and problems with which fellow students struggle. She has fostered digital literacy among her students to help them be self-sufficient problem solvers. Be sure to check out some of the projects Heather's 8th Grade ELA students created on  Weebly, demonstrating what life would have been like for teenagers during World War II.

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