Thursday, March 13, 2014

If You Don't Think You're Making a Difference, You Are!

EdTechTeam Guest Blogger Lisa deLapo
Director of Instructional Innovation
Holy Names High School, Oakland, CA
Presenter, Napa 1:1 Institute 2014

Luisa, Lisa, Eva, and Amanda from Holy Names High School

We all talk about getting students to be creative, collaborative critical thinkers and good communicators. But when are we going to start walking the walk since we obviously talk the talk? The Digital Divas student-led tech-integration class at Holy Names High School not only talks the talk, they strut with pride when they walk the walk.

Amanda Harris ('16), Luisa del Rosario ('17), and Eva Cole ('15) are from Holy Names High School in Oakland, California, and they represent the Digital Divas. They have presented at two GAFE Summits and the local CUE affiliate events as well. They have also been invited to K-8 schools to present and train teachers and students to use Google Apps for Education. Led by the school's Director of Instructional Innovation, Lisa DeLapo, the girls show their unique ideas about how teachers can use Google Apps in the classroom.

These students are dedicated to representing students who don't learn via traditional lecture and textbook ways. Two of them have significant learning differences, and they have utilized technology to help themselves learn and create. Amanda said at the recent Roseville GAFE Summit, "I want to advocate for students like me, students who don't learn by memorizing or by listening to lectures." Amanda, the first student to do a Google Demo Slam at a GAFE Summit, is the creator of the Digital Divas.  

The Digital Divas is a co-curricular course at Holy Names High School.  They are the student-led technology team.  Instead of only doing hardware and software tech support, they also train teachers in our local communities on using Google Apps for Education in the classroom setting.  The Divas meet every Thursday afternoon, and we train on new and innovative products in the educational technology world.  We invite guest presenters from CUE, GAFE Summits, and other cool instructional technology events to teach our students new tools used by teachers.

Amanda is a pro at using Google Presentations. She has been using them since she was in the 7th grade at St. Joseph Elementary School, where incidentally, Lisa DeLapo was Director of Technology.  Lisa helped the students use Google Apps for Education and was featured in a Google blog about students and teachers using Chrome and GAFE (Google Blog). At Amanda’s GAFE Summit sessions, you’ll learn how to use Google Presentations to help students learn. Luisa’s favorite tool is Google Documents, and she presents different ways students and teachers can use Docs in the classroom.  Eva teaches about using Google Forms for summative and formative assessment and includes some creative uses of Forms for students.

On the drive home from GAFE Summit Napa, Eva reflected out loud, "It surprised me that over 400 teachers showed up during their winter vacations to attend a conference on how to better help students learn. It makes me want to try harder in my classes, knowing that teachers are doing this for me."  

If you don't think you're making a difference, you are.


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