A Technology Initiative in the Palm Beach County School District
Project SMaRT is a technology initiative through the Department of Educational Technology in the School District of Palm Beach County. The project seeks to support student achievement, promote student and teacher technological literacy, and encourage effective integration of technology resources into classroom instruction.
First announced by Teresa Wing in January 2005, Project SMaRT seeks to support student achievement, promote student and teacher technological literacy, and encourage effective integration of technology resources into classroom instruction through the development of Technology Integration Mentors (Ambassadors) and representatives (Lead Teachers). Project SMaRT began as a No Child Left Behind: Enhancing Education Through Technology (NCLB:EETT) Title II-D Grant Initiative through the Department of Educational Technology designed for certified secondary teachers from approved private or charter schools and public schools that are part of the Palm Beach County School District.
The project’s main goals are to improve student achievement, bridge the digital divide, and improve teacher professional development. Professional development focuses on teachers using technology effectively to teach. Project SMaRT is not about teaching teachers how to use technology. We strive to teach teachers how to integrate technology into their everyday curriculum. We do not believe that technology replaces curriculum, rather it provides a medium to deliver curriculum.
Project SMaRT takes a long-term professional development approach, and all participants are expected to commit to remaining in the project for multiple years. Participants begin their training by getting acquainted with existing District standard programs. They learn how to utilize them in their everyday environment. Participants meet with colleagues from other schools in the project to discuss innovative and challenging steps to integration. In addition, participants learn how to create digital content to deliver, enhance, and motivate today’s digital learners. Participants in the project share what they have learned with their colleagues at their school centers as well as with other colleagues around the District through the annual District Technology Conference.
Lead Teachers are equipped with technology tools such as laptop computers, digital cameras, scanners, and camcorders, and they are expected to develop and integrate instructional multimedia projects that support their curriculum areas. All activities are geared toward increasing student achievement. Lead Teachers are expected to participate in training sessions designed to support them in this effort. The equipment is issued to Lead Teachers through the Department of Educational Technology, and they may use all equipment as long as they remain a member in good standing in the project.
This project is designed for certified secondary teachers from approved private or charter schools and public schools that are part of the Palm Beach County School District. Potential candidates should have some basic computer knowledge but they do not have to be ‘super-users.’ Prospective candidates must demonstrate an open mind to new ways of teaching.
Participants are accepted into the project once per year in August or September. If you are interested in joining Project SMaRT or if you would like to know who is part of the project at your school, contact John Shoemaker, Project Facilitator. At the first workshop, new Lead Teachers will meet their SMaRT Ambassador who will be the communication channel for future training, meetings, and orientation.
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