iChampion partners with Tarleton to promote the use of technology in classrooms

By Ashley Inge

Staff Writer

iChampion, presented by the Collaborative Regional Education Initiative Academy (CORE) is partnering up with Tarleton this summer to host a summit discussing the use of technologies in rural classrooms.

As you can see from this blog post, technology is playing an increasingly significant part in today’s education so it’s vital that this technology is available for every child. However, rural schools often don’t adopt or get funding for technology. This is where iChampion comes in.

The director of digital learning for Stephenville ISD, Brianna Hodges, explained what iChampion is.

iChampion logo
Photo by tarleton.edu

“Last year we created iChampion Summit and basically, it’s a professional learning opportunity for teachers and educators, and the goal was to provide an authentic learning opportunity for teachers specifically geared around leveraging innovations, [for] technologies and different types of learning experiences to engage kids, and last year was our first year. We had a little over 250 educators and 40 presenters,” Hodges said. “We were just really blown away with how successful it was last year.”

According to Tarleton’s website, the summit will promote the use of technology integration and innovation in rural school districts across Texas. Day one and two of the conference will include sessions modeling innovative practices for both PK-12 and higher education classrooms. Day three has been reserved for Google Certification Training: Educator Level 1 and 2.

66% of students report that digital learning improves studying efficiency, so it’s no surprise that this discussion has come about. It’s hoped that technology integration will improve learning and education as a whole.

Hodges also explained how the summit benefits teachers and faculty.

“It’s super beneficial for educators because it gives them the opportunity for truly engaged collaboration with practitioners, so we have current teachers who are in our area as well as educators from all over the state who are open and available to attend the summit. Higher education faculty also attend and they can present their research and they can discuss what is prevalent and on the cutting edge for education both in theory and in practice. One of the great things about how this summit itself is set up is that it allows for this interaction outside of their district and so that really kind of develops a professional learning network, and then that leads into opportunity for shared experiences and sounding boards and just different perspectives that multiply beyond just the two-day summit,” Hodges said.

Hodges said that the reason for creating the summit was to create a network of learning for teachers and staff at schools.

“We wanted teachers to have an opportunity to learn from other teachers whilst working in the classroom. We wanted to have some exposure and to increase confidence and just overall knowledge.”

Hodges believes the summit is a great way for teachers to gain confidence in their abilities and that partnering with Tarleton will be beneficial to educators.

“I love that we’re able to see the confidence of our teachers continue to grow. We have teachers that have been all across the spectrum of learning, and some of them are very excited about their skills and they are able to move through at a swift pace. And, there are others who [feel that] this is very new and very different for them, so it’s an opportunity for confidence. One of the benefits for partnering with Tarleton is that it creates a shared experience for what our in-the-classroom practitioners are experiencing, as well as what pre-service teachers are experiencing and what the faculty are preparing them for. It’s really exciting that we can come together to provide that shared experience,” Hodges said.

The iChampion summit will take place this summer on July 25-26. The certified Google educators academy is on July 27.

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