Schoolcraft brings in 'innovation director' to help embrace new tech
SCHOOLCRAFT, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Technology is nothing new in schools these days, but some local schools are finding new ways to use it.
We visited one local district that recently hired an innovation director to turn things upside down.
For years, every student in Schoolcraft has had access to an iPad, but this school year they are learning to use them in new ways, and taking the technology to the next level.
Schoolcraft Director of Innovation Matt McCullough is changing the way these kids are learning even the most basic skills.
"Technology is just a tool. Just like a pencil or piece of paper. We have to make sure we're using it correctly," he said.
Using things like iPads, McCullough is helping to mix things up.
"I coach students, I also coach teachers," he said.
He's helped the teachers create new classes, using project-based learning and maker spaces where students can learn and design things they're interested in.
In the junior high, they're combining high and low tech.
"When I do things with my hands, when I touch stuff and when I build stuff, I...remember it," said 4th grader Christina Standish.
Christina's class is using both clay and iPads to create what they want. She and her classmates say it helps the subject matter stick.
"In regular classes, we have to sit and we listen to the teacher more, and we're not on our own, and in this class, we're partnered up and doing our own thing," said 7th grader Allie Walther.
With the new classes, McCullough says they're getting the students ready for college and beyond, even at a young age.
"Hopefully they can learn why they're learning things and then apply it to the real world," he said.
The teachers tell us the idea is not just to teach students how to use iPads and other technology and complete projects for grades, but to really enjoy and understand what they're learning.
It also helps teachers reach their students in they never could before.