CTE Teacher (sixth/eighth grades)
Camillus Middle School
West Genesee Central School District
Kelly Boswell is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher at Camillus Middle School, part of the West Genesee School District. There, she teaches Career and Financial Management (CFM) to the eighth grade, and Family and Consumer Sciences and Digital Literacy to the sixth grade. Kelly is in her fourth year with the district, and has taught at the public school and collegiate level for over 14 years.
How has Kelly brought innovation into her classroom?
Students in Kelly’s classes use technology on a daily basis. She integrates the Google Classroom learning management platform into her classrooms, which allows her students to access essential course materials any time they need them, in or out of school. Likewise, students are able to access and turn in their assignments digitally from anywhere that provides access to the internet. Google Classroom also allows students to collaborate with one another on class projects, and complete formative assessment assignments. Through the use of Google Classroom, Kelly is able to seamlessly incorporate (and distribute) a number of digital resources and tools to her students.
Kelly uses a variety of different digital tools with her students on a regular basis, by utilizing the new Promethean interactive display and a class set of Chromebooks. One such tool is Flippity, a program that works with Google Sheets to create a multitude of different interactive activities. Kelly uses the random name picker for calling on students and dividing them into teams. Students then learn how to create spreadsheets, and utilize Flippity to create study tools such as flashcards, quiz shows, matching games and more.
Another tool that is used regularly in class is Nearpod, an application that allows teachers to create presentations using the Nearpod website and deliver instruction to students by pushing content out to multiple devices at once. The teacher controls the presentation from a master device, while students follow along on a class set of internet connected devices. To enliven instruction, teachers can also embed multiple choice questions, polls, videos, quizzes, open-ended questions, and web-links in their presentations. Kelly modified a pre-created lesson during the financial literacy unit about “values, needs and wants.” In this activity, the students:
- Answered an open ended question about: “Where they see themselves in 10 years.”
- Circled items they wanted to have in the future using the drawing feature.
- Listened to a teacher-created audio on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
- Posted on a digital idea board the things they value most.
- Responded to each other’s posts within the digital idea board.
- Took a poll about what they would do with $1,000.
- Ended with the “Time to Climb” competitive game (quiz).
Kelly feels that educating students on how to be good digital citizens is very important in today’s world. She has the good fortune to teach a Digital Literacy class to the sixth grade students at Camillus Middle School. Here, she uses a combination of CTE Strong curriculum (to engage her students) and Common Sense digital citizenship resources to teach them how to safely navigate the digital world in which they’re growing up.
How have students benefited from Kelly’s technology integration initiatives?
The increased use of technology in Kelly’s CFM curriculum has really brought life into the class! She can see more engagement and interest in the topics when they’re implemented through some of these new applications/platforms. Students are all participating, and based upon how the Nearpod or HyperDocs are set up, they can go at their own pace. Learning is fully put into the students' hands, and the feedback has been very positive so far.
Not content to settle for what she has accomplished so far this year, Kelly has plans to add even more technology integration going forward. Almost every career will require some sort of knowledge regarding the use of technology as we move forward, and technology knowledge and skills are becoming increasingly vital for full participation in 21st century life, work, and citizenship.
As required by a 2018 law, New York State Education Department has engaged with workgroups of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, and business/industry professionals to develop computer science standards that will prepare all New York State students to live and work in our dynamic, technology-driven world. As such, Kelly will be adding these standards to all of her curriculum.
Mrs. Boswell would like to thank the West Genesee Central School District. for supporting teachers by providing so much professional development related to technology integration. She couldn’t do this without the district’s Instructional Technology Department: Rob Leo, Barb Ritch, and Jeanette Lannie respond within minutes when she has a question or needs to troubleshoot an issue. She would like to thank the students and their willingness to try new things, and their honest feedback enables her to inform instruction to best meet their needs.
Is This You?
Are you the type of teacher who thinks about technology integration and new ways to enhance instruction, engage students, and make learning fun? Know someone who fits the profile? Recommend a "Featured Teacher" so we can recognize and celebrate great work in the area of instructional technology!