Communication specialist shares update

Technology Integration and Communication Specialist Erin Johnson gave the Rice Lake Board of Education an update on how the first year of her job is going at its Feb. 24 meeting.

In a social media update, she said both Facebook and Instagram have seen a big increase in page likes this school year from last. She has featured new staff, school board members, school counselors and soon will be featuring the foreign exchange students. She said “throwback” photos of the superintendent and principals have been a fun addition.

Johnson said she is still learning how to use the new electronic sign and it has been fun. Although she has mainly highlighted high school events so far, she wants it to be a districtwide source of information for the community.

Johnson said she is always looking for opportunities to share school happenings with the local radio, cable television and newspaper.

Yet most of her time, she said, is spent on technology integration—identifying technology tools and strategies, helping staff become more comfortable and removing barriers for students.

She said it involves connecting with staff, administrator and instructional coaches. She scheduled time in each building once a month, but said she is often there more than that.

She helped with a screencasting program in language arts, taught fifth-graders how to use the fab lab at the high school,  and introduced augmented reality tools like a merge cube and  virtual college tours.

Johnson said middle school students filmed “A Day in the Life of” video and sent it to a school in the sister city of Miharu, Japan, and they are waiting to receive a video back from them.

She has also done GIFs for students to more quickly learn skills in elementary physical education.

Other examples of technology she is helping to integrate into the district include a new digital science curriculum, Google Read and Write, Xelllo and ACP tutorials, podcasting, interactive lessons, Google Classroom, school store commercials, digital spelling tests, extensions to help students focus, video lesson creation, learning about Braille, voice recordings, Google Lit trips, assistive technology and more.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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