HPU professors help area teachers integrate technology into the classroom

innerspace cavern for webBy Kaleigh Tankersley, Howard Payne University junior

BROWNWOOD – August 7, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently hosted area math and science teachers in a three-week professional development experience. The teachers, instructed by HPU faculty members, learned various activities to use in the classroom as well as how to better integrate technology with teaching.

Dr. Pam Bryant, dean of HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics, along with Dr. Mike Rosato, dean of the School of Education, co-authored a grant proposal through the Teacher Quality Grants Program in 2012 to integrate the Apple iPad 2 into the elementary school math and science classrooms. The initial focus for the grant was on force and motion; however, the grant was extended for a second year in which the focus has been on earth science.

As part of the grant, each teacher received an iPad 2, a stipend and many hands-on activities and iPad applications to take back to his or her classroom. The summer component included having the teachers go on several field trips, including Inner Space Cavern, Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Station, Dinosaur Valley State Park and The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Natural Science Center. There is also an academic year component in which the teachers will come back to the HPU campus several times during the fall and spring to extend the application of what was learned during the summer component.

HPU instructors included Dr. Bryant, Dr. Rosato, Dr. Gerry Clarkson, associate professor of physical sciences and chair of the physical sciences department; and Lauren Kirk, instructor of education.

This summer experience for teachers was made possible by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Teacher Quality Grants Program, which provides funding to higher education institutions to promote improved instruction in mathematics and science for Texas school children by providing professional development for their teachers. According to the THECB website, the Teacher Quality Grants Program makes awards through a competitive review process, with the most highly ranked and recommended projects being selected for funding.

Participating schools included Bangs Middle School, Brookesmith Elementary, Brownwood Intermediate, Coleman Elementary, Comanche Middle School, Early Elementary, May Elementary, Richland Springs Elementary and Woodland Heights Elementary.

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Photo cutline: Area teachers, along with HPU deans Dr. Mike Rosato and Dr. Pam Bryant, visited Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown as part of a three-week seminar hosted by HPU.