Technology engages students in classroom
Megan Croke loves to bring the world to her first grade class at Thomasville Primary School.
Croke's first graders have “visited” far away museums and zoos, places some of them may never get to see in person. They tap into the endless source of information known as the World Wide Web.
All of this is made possible through technology and Croke is ready to see more of it.
Croke's desire to bring the best resources to her students earned her recognition as Thomasville City Schools 2013-14 Technology Teacher of the Year.
"It feels great," Croke said. "It's all for the kids. Technology excites the children and engages them. It keeps learning fun. I love my kids and I love to see them grow and learn and just enjoy school. They're excited to come to school."
Croke's efforts to integrate more technology into her classroom has produced a 21st Century learning environment where children are engaged. In the spring, her first graders organized a lemonade stand that raised money for a nonprofit dedicated to fighting childhood cancer.
After raising more than $1,200 for Alex's Virtual Lemonade Stand, Croke's class received a social media award for their efforts to update their progress through pictures on Twitter and Instagram.
With TCS facing budget concerns due to the struggling economy, Croke writes grant applications to secure funding for projects that enhance the achievement of her students. Croke recently received a $5,000 TFI Foundation grant that she used to purchase 10 iPads for her class. She has three more grant applications pending with hopes of creating a one-to-one classroom with every student having their own iPad.
"Mrs. Croke approached me last spring about what she can do to get more technology into her classroom," said Mike Ingram, Thomasville City Schools technology director. "We're real proud to be able to support Mrs. Croke in her endeavor."
Assistant Principal Crystal Sanders has a child in Croke's class and can attest to the impact that technology has on student achievement.
"I'm very lucky to be able to speak about Mrs. Croke both as an administrator and a parent," Sanders said. "I can say first-hand that technology in her classroom is not an add-on. It's just the way she delivers her instruction. It's truly one of those classrooms where you walk in and it seems seamless. The kids don't feel like they 'get' to use the technology. It's just part of what she does every day in the classroom."
Croke graduated from East Davidson High School in 2006 and earned her bachelor's degree from East Carolina University. She is on schedule to complete the graduate program at Gardner-Webb University in December.
"It means a lot that all my hard work has paid off," said Croke. "It's nice to get recognized for working hard. It makes me feel like all this is worth it. I have access to so many resources using technology. They're going to use it when they go to jobs one day. It's so easy with first graders. I give them any kind of technology, a website and an iPad, and they're teaching me things."
The other three city schools also named their 2013-14 Technology Teachers of the Year at the Oct. 1 Board of Education meeting. Nick Sweitzer, Diane Roberts and Kristen Kennedy were named Technology Teachers of the Year at Thomasville High School, Thomasville Middle School and Liberty Drive Elementary School, respectively.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.