The Heights Herald

Teacher wins TIES technology award

Ms.+Passage+helps+Lamee+Ibrahim-Waday+%289%29+with+her+online+English+Cornell+notes.
Ms. Passage helps Lamee Ibrahim-Waday (9) with her online English Cornell notes.

Ms. Passage helps Lamee Ibrahim-Waday (9) with her online English Cornell notes.

Casey Mahon

Casey Mahon

Ms. Passage helps Lamee Ibrahim-Waday (9) with her online English Cornell notes.

Peter Heryla, Staff Writer

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Technology can be a great tool in education, but it requires time and dedication to learn how to use it. English Teacher Ms. Jill Passage has jumped on the technology wave, effectively incorporating it into her classroom. As a result, she was chosen as a TIES Exceptional Teacher award recipient.

The Minnesota-based technology education organization recognizes two teachers from the 48 state districts who effectively use technology in the classroom.

“TIES looks for teachers that are seeking new ways to use technology in ways that matter,” personalized learning facilitator Ms. Leslie Maher said.

Recipients of this award do more than just use technology for extra flair.

“The teachers need to use technology in a way that impacts student learning,” Maher said.

The process of choosing a winner starts in the individual districts’ technology department. Maher monitors teachers and their technology use pass on information to the Teaching and Learning department. Superintendent Kathy Kelly has the final say.

In 2016, TIES recognized 77 teachers from 38 school districts in Minnesota. They can teach at any grade level, and in any position. The only award requirement is that the teachers incorporate technology into their classroom.

According to Maher, Passage’s technology use has impressively improved student writing.

“In our English classes, we want students to write a lot, but that means the teacher needs to give a lot of feedback. Sometimes, it can be really hard to connect with students in big classes. Ms. Passage is really good at helping students plan, critique and think critically about their writing,” Maher said.

Passage uses technology in the classroom in a variety of ways, particularly with Moodle and Google Classroom.

“I always try to have some sort of electronic presence where students can, not only communicate with me, but also have access to things that went on in class,” Passage said.

She also tries to individualize and increase class engagement with games and other activities. Students in her classroom stay engaged and focused, ready to learn.

“I like how she incorporates technology through games and fun activities. I’m able to have fun learning about a topic that at first might have seemed uninteresting,” Levi Woolridge (9) said.

Always on board to try something new, she has recently incorporated Google Expeditions, a virtual reality educational tool that puts students in environments across the world, into her curriculum.

One of the more recent online activities Passage has used in her classroom is an online bulletin board. Students in Pre-AP English 9 use the bulletin board to compare acts of civil disobedience to the acts of Antigone in the Greek Tragedy.

“Any time I can use an activity that encourages students to participate, I love it. Otherwise they just sit there and they become distracted,” she said.

Passage received her award at the 2017 TIES Education Technology conference on December 11th. She joins past Columbia Heights winners, Mr. Matt Townsend and Mr. Scott Larson.

While learning and incorporating new technology into classrooms can be challenging, this English teacher embraces the idea as a way to reach more students.

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Teacher wins TIES technology award