(Above, Jennifer Armstrong (right), manager of the GRU College of Education’s Instructional Resource Center, assists GRU alum Breanna Gilmer with setting up her digital presentation on literacy education.)
AUGUSTA, GA. – At a recent technology visit to a special education class at Waynesboro Primary School, Jennifer Armstrong recently noticed something truly special.
“They were completely engaged and amazed,” she said. Armstrong used an augmented reality app that allowed the students to turn writing and drawings the student had on their paper into a 3 dimensional ball that floated on the app. The students were rapt. “Technology can break through the cognitive barriers that may arise from special needs.”
As the manager of the Georgia Regents University College of Education’s Instructional Resource Center, Armstrong is leading the center’s expansion. In addition to regular workshops for students, faculty, and staff, the center is now offering customized workshops targeted to the needs of each school system, individual public school or private school.
Armstrong holds an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology, provided instructional technology professional learning with more than a dozen local school systems for six years through the CSRA Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA). Dr. Mike Doolittle, principal at Lewiston Elementary, hosted Armstrong for ongoing training sessions for his staff.
“I can’t tell you how much we improved with all the training Jennifer did with our staff,” he said. “Every time she came, she had something fresh.”
Doolittle said that teachers who were not technology-minded found an enthusiasm for digital tools through Armstrong’s very accessible delivery model and expertise. “Her knowledge in incredible,” Doolittle said.
That shift in mindset among educators is crucial to improving student outcomes, Armstrong said.
“Schools have invested lots of money in new technology, but that technology is being underutilized because teachers and students need more training. If we don’t feel comfortable with a technology, we don’t use it. And in order to prepare our students for 21st century jobs, we need to teach with 21st century tools,” Armstrong said.