WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Now that we are in the digital age, school teachers need to know how to use the latest technology in the classroom. Teachers in the Wichita Falls School District are now one step ahead when it comes to doing just that.
Incoming teachers and the ones already there are becoming what’s called “Google Certified" meaning they have an understanding of how to use things like Google Drive and Chrome Books in their classrooms. They’ve been successful doing so and are one among the top 100 districts around the world for the amount of certified teachers.
“We thought the Google certification exams would be a great way to show what they already know in G-Suite for education, how to use it in the classroom and the power of G-Suite for our students," Frank Murray, WFISD director of instructional technology, said.
Around a quarter of WFISD teachers have some level of Google certification.
“Now we have 226 teachers that are level one, level two certified in Google certifications and we also have 88 that are just level one and working on their level two,” Murray said.
New skills learned from the Google Suite are changing the structure of some parts of the classroom.
“So that teachers know what they need to reteach the kids right away, instead of doing it on paper and six days later and trying to figure it out,” Murray said.
It’s been the district’s mission in the last few years to keep expanding these certifications, including to teachers who continue to work towards their degree.
“So when they gradate, they are ready to integrate that technology in the classroom the day they start,” Murray said.
At MSU Texas, the teaching program is getting their students certified on both certification levels as part of their course requirements.
“It’s really important for out professors to start speaking that same digital language within the learning environment,” Marcy Moore, MSU Texas innovation specialist, said.
Now that the focus is on digital first, it makes sure those new teachers stick around.
“Retention was big for us so we wanted to add something to the curriculum here that gave them the tools that made them be successful into the classroom,” Moore said.
So both the students and the teachers are ready to learn in the online world.
“Instead of writing a paper, they might go and build a Google site for it, they might make a video of it, so giving them options of how they want to learn and how they want to turn their work in,” Murray said.
Google has recognized the work being done by the district and made them one of the 14 Google reference districts in the state. This means they are helping set the example for the growth of technology integrating into schools.