A Phys-Ed Teacher Goes Tech

January 2, 2018 Alex Fleck

A student shows off their Earth Day project on a Windows 10 device

Louise Bernardini, a tech trainer from the District School Board of Niagara, shared this story of a remarkable digital transformation in her region. Follow the story of Dean Taylor's journey into edtech!

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Dean Taylor isn't just a great teacher. He's a great motivator and mentor to his students.

One of the tools he uses is Microsoft OneNote's Class Notebook.  But it wasn’t always that way.  A few years ago, Dean would have described himself as a low-tech teacher who feared technology and was more comfortable with a basketball than a tablet. Now all of that has changed!

A few years ago, Dean was selected by our school board for a pilot program where he was supplied with a class-set of devices and an Interactive projector.   The goal was to use Class Notebook with the technology and become a paperless classroomnot an easy task for a teacher who was used to bringing home a pile of paper each night to grade!

With a little training and encouragement, Dean was able to create a Class Notebook.  He learned how to create sections and distribute pages to the class, to groups, and to individual students.  Dean's students were able to complete the assignments in the shared Class Notebook, and he was able to provide immediate digital feedback.  He recalls a landmark moment where his partner brought home a pile of papers she was grading while he sat beside her, marking assignments on his tablet in the Class Notebook.  He saw a major positive result: his student's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) test results went up significantly!

Over the past couple of years, Dean has become something of a OneNote guru, although he'd never call himself that!  Of course, it's his teaching technique and ability to build relationships with his students that are his greatest strengths.

At the end of last school year, he asked his students to draw a picture representing their favourite part of the year.  One of his students wrote about the technology and how it made learning easier.  This student, now in grade 8, has become one of the school’s technology leaders!

A student's memory board, featuring paper cut-outs of his favourite moments

Recently, Dean introduced his students to the "Insert Video Recording" feature in OneNote.  One of his students, who experiences selective mutism, used this tool to record a message to the class for the assignment on Three Things About Me.  It was the first time the class had heard her voice! During a parent-teacher interview, the student’s father was deeply moved by the recording, since the student was also very quiet at home. Dean attributes the student’s success to the ease of use of the technology.

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As part of the IT4 Learning Training Team at the District School Board of Niagara, Louise Bernardini travels throughout the Niagara Region, providing training and support to staff and students.  Prior to this role, she was self-employed as a trainer, focusing mainly on Microsoft Office applications.  She is a Microsoft Innovative Educator and a Microsoft Office Specialist in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, and an MOS Expert in Word.
You can get started with Microsoft tools in your classroom at microsoft.ca/education. If you'd like to bring edtech training to your school, access free PD from our Microsoft Learning Consultants. Find online courses, resources, and networking opportunities with educators at education.microsoft.com.

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