Technology has transformed the way Karen Lirenman teaches.
The Grade 1 teacher from Bonaccord Elementary is getting international recognition for the way she incorporates technological tools into almost every aspect of the curriculum, from art to math.
“In my classroom, technology has allowed my students to have way more choice in how they learn, show and share their learning. If my students are curious about something we can Google it, or even better Skype in an expert.”
This year’s recipient of the Kay L. Bitter Vision Award from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Lirenman says creative applications have basically revolutionized her classroom by breaking down communication barriers and facilitating collaboration and engagement among her students.
She’s able to more easily accommodate the various learning styles of students; for example, students who struggle with writing can now add voice to their drawings by explaining their learning in words instead of being held back due to limited writing skills.
But Lirenman is also quick to point out that the technology – from global blogging and read aloud projects to Skype, Twitter and dozens of other applications – is just a tool, and the focus is and has always been on learning.
“Technology has opened up the world for them by allowing them more choice in how they learn, show and share their learning.”
Lirenman is only the second Canadian to win the Kay L. Bitter Vision Award, which is given by the Washington, D.C.-based ISTE to a teacher who advances the field of technology in education and demonstrates vision and innovation.
“The reality is this award is really all about them,” says a modest Lirenman.
Lirenman received her award at the annual ISTE conference in San Antonio June 23-26.