Alabama teachers attend technology conference

For teachers, a new school year means dozens of new faces and names to learn. These days, it also means new technology. The Alabama Department of Education wants make sure our teachers don't fall behind.

"What I tell teachers is the message stays the same in terms of the content. But the way we deliver that message has to change," said Eric lee, the instructor for the workshop "icreate for ipad".

It's one of more than 50 sessions offered at the Alabama Education Technology Conference. "It's a workshop where you use the Mac work app called ibooks author. And it allows teachers to create their own interactive for the ibook app on the ipad," said Lee.

Teachers use words, pictures, and 3d animations to create their "book". From there, they transfer the book into an{} ipad, hook it up to a projector, and share their lesson with the class. "Basically it allows a teacher to take things that are more traditionally paper based and make it more dynamic, interactive, multi media based," said Lee.

Cameron McKinley is technology coach for Hoover city schools. Students, she says, need help managing how to use technology. Which is where teachers must step in.

"We find out that a lot of the kids are getting their information from everywhere and so our role becomes a facilitator to try to help them understand how to evaluate information and how to use it. Its helping them manage the huge amounts of information out there," said Linda Felton-Smith, who works in the office of learning support on the state level.

She says, with a teacher's guidance, students begin to feel empowered to help one another with technology. "I think one of the most wonderful things is getting the kids really involved by them doing projects and then being able to share those projects with their classmates. And students tend to be really excited about opportunities like that," said Felton-Smith.

In fact Hoover City Schools are already using a networking tool called Edmodo. It's like an academic networking site. Teachers and students can log in an share information on certain topics. In fact, McKinley tells me one student posted a video of his science project on edmodo.

Linda Fulton-smith tells me the state has "bench marks" for each grade. These are skills they expect teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans. For instance, on the lower end, they expect students to learn key pad placement and their way around a computer in general. By high school, they expect teachers to incorporate power point projects and maybe even skyping into their lesson plans.