In order to recognize the teachers who have gone above and beyond with implementing the effective use of technology in classroom instruction, this year the Thomas County School System named the first ever Digital Learning All-Star Teacher at each school and for the district.
“With the help of local E-SPLOST funds as well as several grants received over the past several years, the Thomas County School System has made a significant investment in technology for our students and teachers," said Erin Rehberg, Digital Learning Coordinator for Thomas County Schools. "This year we thought it would be very beneficial to reward those teachers who have used the technology provided to them to effectively transform the learning process in their classrooms. Not only do all of our Digital Learning All-Star Teachers effectively use technology with their students, they are also known for helping their peers with various technology tools.”
Each school held a nomination process with the winner for each school completing an application in order to compete for the district title. This year, the district winner was awarded a laptop computer courtesy of ByteSpeed Computers and will be able to attend an educational technology conference in the fall.
Jennifer Braswell, a first grade teacher Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School, was selected as the district winner. In her application for the district award, Braswell wrote, "In reality, the focus of effective technology instruction should not necessarily be on how to work technology but on teaching students the 'headware', or how to use technology wisely, as responsible digital citizens. Therefore, it is the responsibility of today's educators to learn how to work, and how to use, technology wisely as a tool to accelerate pedagogy."
Sharonda Wilson, principal at Garrison-Pilcher said, "Ms. Braswell taps into the minds of our young learners through her use of technology in the classroom. She engages them and grasps their attention by allowing the students to use something that is a part of their everyday world, technology. Ms. Braswell teaches the students; then they wow her with the skills and knowledge learned. She is a collaborator and encourages her colleagues to give all components of the digital learning environment a try."
“Jennifer does an outstanding job of creating interest and enthusiasm for learning in her students with the use of technology as a natural part of her teaching,” said Laurie Dawson, Digital Learning Specialist for Garrison-Pilcher. “She is always willing to share ideas with her fellow teachers as well.”
School level winners include Chris Cox (Hand-in-Hand Primary School), Jennifer Braswell (Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School), Jocelyn Simmermaker (Cross Creek Elementary School), Emily Hotchkiss (Thomas County Middle School), Michelle Johnson (Thomas County Central High School), Wil Lewis (The Renaissance Center), Shantel Thompson (Bishop Hall Charter School), and Lindsey Ray (Pathways Educational Program).