Teachers improve technical skills Educators spend summer learning to use computers

Catching up with students

July 22, 1998|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

You must master the mouse.

That's lesson No. 1 for Anne Arundel County school teachers taking summer computer workshops.

"In the beginning classes, they learn what a megabyte is and how to use the mouse," said class coordinator Colleen Eisenbeiser. "We want to raise their comfort level with the computer."

Teachers are getting left behind by their students, many of whom come to class with expertise honed by hours of experimentation on home computers. The workshops are intended to help bring teachers up to speed with their accomplished students.

Sponsored by Anne Arundel Community College and county schools, the workshops at Annapolis Middle School, Carver Staff Development Center in Crofton and Glen Burnie Town Center cover basic word processing and using the Internet, Windows 95 and spreadsheets.

The classes are free, thanks to county support through December 1999, Eisenbeiser said. The aim is to have about 4,000 teachers and staff take advantage of the workshops.

"With language arts, I just want to dive in and take my kids to the computer lab everyday," said Carol Loll, who was learning yesterday to create e-mail projects for her Annapolis Middle School students.

Loll was one of 10 teachers in the workshop at Carver Staff Development Center. During the two-day class, teachers opened an e-mail account and developed a sample class project. Using the e-mail account, teachers can connect their students with schools all over the world and exchange information and ideas.

"To be able to go to the Internet and pull out exactly what I want the kids to research is great," Loll said. "It takes a lot of teacher preparation to keep them on track, but the students get a lot out of it."

So do the teachers.

"It's a wonderful exchange of ideas between teachers from all lTC over the world," said Eloise Downer, the workshop instructor.

Carolyn May, media specialist at Magothy River Middle School, said she organized a small project last year, connecting seventh-graders with high school students in Japan, but ran into technical problems she wants to avoid next year.

"This class expands on what I already know," she said.

Loll and May have more computer experience than some teachers. But the children are often more experienced than the teacher.

"That encourages some teachers," Eisenbeiser said. "But it is intimidating others."

Stephanie Schrader, a computer aide at Chesapeake Bay Middle School, has taken several of the classes this summer. Her job is to teach the teachers and be ready to answer their questions.

"Most know word processing," she said. "And there is a high percentage that don't have the time to experiment with it all. The newest crop of teachers already have experience with computers and the older ones are trying to catch up. Most of them jump right in and take the workshops."

Pub Date: 7/22/98

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