Published by: Jon Ketchum
This school year John Downs, the Technology Facilitator at Jefferson Middle School in Winston-Salem NC is helping to rally his 80 fellow teachers to start their own classroom campaign for technology. With slimming state budgets and a need for new tech-resources within the school, Downs has asked his colleagues to join Digital Wish.
As Jefferson Middle School's first hired Technology Facilitator, Downs holds weekly grade-level and subject-specific tech-tutorials for students and staff. Beginning in 2000, these workshops have helped his school become more proficient in current internet trends such as wikis, google docs and blogs.
"My job is to serve this school in everything technology and I try to offer as much as I can," Downs says.
Although Downs claims that Jefferson Middle School has a high commitment to technology, he also notes that his staff is severely underprivileged when it comes to tangible tech-resources.
"You know in some ways I feel like we are five steps ahead and in others I feel like we are five steps behind," says Downs. "Most of the money that we receive for technology goes to my salary, which I am happy about, but in the same sense it doesn't help us get new technology each year."
To counter the school's need for new tech-tools Downs and Mike McDowell, Jefferson Middle School's Improvement Team Chairman suggested that the faculty take individual measures put technology into their curriculum. To do this McDowell suggested that every teachers should register on Digital Wish to begin a classroom-campaign.
"A lot of the teachers, were pleasantly surprised around Christmas when parents and community members donated to their Digital Wish classroom after we sent a mass email," Downs says. "In the email the teachers insisted that instead of receiving Christmas presents they would prefer a contribution to their classroom wishlist."
With twenty-five Jefferson Middle School teachers now registered on Digital Wish Downs hopes that he will soon be able to educate his staff using new classroom technology. His vision is to one day have a strong enough infrastructure at Jefferson Middle School so that each teacher can have a whiteboard for their classroom. As read in his Digital Wish profile, Downs believes that the best way to educate 21st century students is with 21st century tools.
He writes, "We live in a digital age, and students have become accustomed to learning in digital ways. As teachers we need to have access to the latest technology in order to connect with our digital learners."
To learn more about John Downs' school-wide technology campaign you can visit his profile here.