Lab School @ Punahou Keeps Teachers Connected

December 7, 2011

Educators who participated in Lab School @ Punahou last summer reconnected on campus recently to talk about how they’ve incorporated what they learned in their own classrooms.

The morning session held at Case Middle School on Nov. 11, 2011, gave participants a chance to exchange information and ideas during large- and small-group discussions and presentations focused on the innovative tools and methods they’ve been using throughout the fall semester.

The event followed up on last summer’s annual Lab School @ Punahou, which provides teachers from public and private schools two weeks of professional development designed to help them use educational technology in relevant and meaningful ways.

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The summer session features a cohort structure that allows educators to delve deeply into specific areas of interest. Last summer’s cohorts explored renewable energy, mobile technology, media and digital ethics, design and fabrication, and interactive whiteboards.

Maryknoll School teacher Heidi McGivern, a presenter at the follow-up session, said that participating in the media and digital ethics cohort had “profoundly impacted” how she teaches her Freshman Seminar course.

Lab School “generated so many ideas that I was able to catapult the course to a whole new level,” said McGivern, citing guest speakers, character-education elements, technology tools and computer applications she first heard about last summer.

During the follow-up session, teachers also had the opportunity to videotape interviews documenting their professional development. They were asked to explain an educational issue that had addressed using what they learned at Lab School, what approach they used, how it worked out, and how they knew their students were “getting it.”

Quyen Vego, a 6th-grade science teacher at Jarrett Middle School, said a higher level of student engagement was immediately obvious when she brought inquiry-based science lessons about renewable energy back to her school.

“With English-language learners, this hands-on curriculum has been a huge improvement. They ‘get it’ so much more quickly,” said Vego, whose school includes many recent U.S. immigrants.

The session’s participants also got a glimpse of what’s in store at Lab School this summer, including workshops on project-based learning, “flipped classrooms,” and other educational innovations. Lab School @ Punahou 2012 is scheduled for July 2 – 13, 2012, with pre-registration expected to begin in March.

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