Students in Johnson’s classroom log into a special web-based learning site, where they can all compete and learn on their own individual tablets. The central classroom projection screen is linked to the students’ devices and quizzes them about the subject material. Students celebrate when they are awarded points for their correct and timed responses to the math problems displayed.
“My students love this,” said Johnson. The tablet that Johnson uses allows her to control the display on the classroom projection screen and oversee the student’s progress, while giving her the opportunity to physically move throughout her classroom and provide help to individual students.
Johnson said that much of the equipment that she uses in her classroom was funded through grant requests that she posted online. While keeping up with technology can be a challenge, she said that networking and sharing professional development is key to helping all teachers stay current.
“Today’s teachers are competing with many different distractions. Technology is absolutely key to engaging students,” Johnson said.
Johnson is in her fifth year of teaching at Beneke, but she has spent more years than that at the school. She is a former Beneke student, and her own current-day students can still find her grade school photos in the school if they know where to look.
“One of my former teachers is still working here, and she has pictures of me from when I was in her class. The kids get a kick out of that,” she said.
For future classes, Johnson hopes to begin video conferencing with other schools and classrooms in the area using Skype. She wants to be able to show her students that learning happens and is accessible to them outside the four walls of their classroom.