Brenda started her teaching career in 1990 as a family and consumer science (what was once known as home economics) teacher. But after developing an interest in computers seven years ago, she received a second certification in technology and works as a staff development teacher, helping her fellow teachers to use the technology available in her school to its fullest potential. "One of the joys of it is helping them to learn to integrate the technology with the curriculum," she explains. Brenda also teaches technology-related topics to the sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Cabin John Middle.
For instance, the eighth graders she's teaching this year develop Web pages on their own and work in collaborative groups, assuming the role of a fictional travel agency. The students first create logos and letterhead for their agency using graphics software. They then virtually book flights for an imaginary client, find hotel reservations, and plan an itinerary, taking into account local weather and upcoming events. Thanks to the Internet, all the information they use comes directly from the real world.
The students conclude their project by synthesizing all the knowledge and skills they've built up into a business letter to their client. Not only have they learned a lot about technology in the process, Brenda points out, but "They can now say, 'Mom and Dad, I can help you plan our next trip.' "
On getting your feet wet with technology:
"Be adventurous - give it a try. Go with the flow and know that there will be days where it won't go as planned. That's okay. It's better to do that instead of not doing it at all."