Remember that day your little one picked up an iPhone and was blissfully quiet for 10 minutes? Part babysitter, part nemesis, “screentime” continues to be a mixed blessing in the household. What is undeniable is that kids “get” technology so much quicker than we their predecessors. It’s a powerful tool when used the right way… and in the classroom it’s a bundle of learning potential just waiting to be tapped. Enter Ashley Sullivan. Former Lincoln teacher, her passion for marrying education and technology has led her to filling the newly created Burlingame School District role of Integrated Technology Specialist.
Sullivan’s remit, in direct response to teacher requests and funded by the 2015 BCE grant to BSD, is to harmonize teaching and educational technology. And where better to start than the Bay Area’s very own Burlingame? The gateway to Silicon Valley and home to our wonderful elementary schools and middle school.
Sullivan and the District’s vision is already being realized. She’s circulated her Professional Development Menu to BSD teachers backed up with a regular Blog. In her own words, these tools provide a “smattering of ideas, tips, how-to’s and strategies that I can share”. She’s asked teachers to take a look at their own curriculum and identify where it can be enhanced with technology. And in order to guide and advise, Sullivan will be working directly with kids, one day per week at each elementary site, with lessons in Common Sense Media addressing issues like the digital footprint, cyber bullying, and the power and pitfalls of social media – that has to be music to any parent’s ears.
In BSD classrooms we’re seeing smartboards in grades 3 and up, replaced with high definition flatscreen TVs and Apple TV which will integrate with the iPads in the hands of our students. TK – 2nd grade students will stay with smart boards for their touch screen attributes.
What’s more, Sullivan has developed a comprehensive three-year plan in tandem with BSD’s existing Technology Plan. It aligns the use of technology as a tool to enhance Common Core standards teaching and learning. Each grade level will be using the hardware and software required to get the ball rolling in Burlingame schools!