2018-02-08 / Living

“Tech Walks” at GBCS


English Department Chair Nicholas Popadich discusses items which pop-up on his smart board in the classroom during his American Literature class (details above). The students were tasked with research on background information about ravens in anticipation of reading Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven.” English Department Chair Nicholas Popadich discusses items which pop-up on his smart board in the classroom during his American Literature class (details above). The students were tasked with research on background information about ravens in anticipation of reading Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven.” GRAND BLANC — Administrators of Grand Blanc Community Schools (GBCS) spend a couple hours about once a month learning first-hand how technology is being used in the classroom. Small groups visit active classes to see technology in use at elementary, middle and high school buildings. Teachers share lessons which involve creative uses of technology in their class. The students are observed during their lesson and the administrators are briefed about their activities.

There are amazing things going on at all levels incorporating the tax-payer voted technology bond in the district. Superintendent Clarence Garner and his staff recently visited the high school American Literature class of Nicholas Popadich. The students were discussing literary works by Edgar Allen Poe, but had just finished a more up-beat section which involved creating a website about Grand Blanc High School alumni.


Superintendent Clarence Garner interacts with students during the Tech Walk. 
Photos provided Superintendent Clarence Garner interacts with students during the Tech Walk. Photos provided To do so, the class recruited willing alumni for interviews during the recent Alumni Day activities. In some cases, they also followed up with email and phone calls to get more details for their modern-day biography writing.

Once alumni have approved the biographies, Popadich will post the students’ work to the alumni page so former and current students see the ways these graduates have found fulfillment in life.

The lesson required students to practice writing and publish it on the web. Possibly just as important, Popadich required the students to prepare questions, interview an adult, and follow through with professional communication. These are all valuable skills in the world they will enter when they leave school.

On this particular day, as the students studied the poem, “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, they were able to throw on their headphones and listen to a familiar celebrity read the piece on the site electricliterature.com.

The students then answered questions via an application called Socrative, a program which allows teachers to instantly connect with students online. Students who are shy, unsure or embarrassed might choose to stay silent if they have to raise their hand and speak, but this technology allows students to type in their answers on their Chromebook.

Responses instantly populate on the instructor’s computer and smart board and although the teacher knows who answered, the writing appears anonymously on the screen the class sees. There are more responses with more detail, and therefore more points of view shared with the class and discussed.

Popadich’s class is also equipped with an Epson Smart Projector, which allows him to interact with his computer screen in front of the class. When those answers are posted on Socrative, he can scroll through them right in front of the class without having to interrupt the interaction by returning to his desk and computer.

The technology helps to keep the students engaged, as well. Popadich’s classroom is just one of many where technology is helping teachers keep students interested and excited. It’s important for administrators to see the difference the technology is making in the classroom so they can make smart decisions about future innovation and implementation.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Tech Walk which will take place in March. — P.S.

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