When Trista was an elementary school student, technology didn't have much of a priority in school. "We used the computer for mostly playing games like Oregon Trail," she says. "I don't think that the school must have felt that computers were here to stay, because they put them into a storage closet that was shared with the custodian of the school."
But as a new teacher - this is her second year teaching - Trista uses technology every day. She keeps in touch with parents and colleagues with email, creates classroom presentations with PowerPoint, brainstorms with her students using Inspiration, and tailors worksheets to her students' needs with office software.
Trista teaches fourth and fifth graders in a self-contained classroom. This year, her students completed a get-to-know-you activity with a digital twist. They paired off, took pictures of each other with a digital camera, and then interviewed each other. Trista then helped her students put together a PowerPoint presentation of information about everyone in the class. "They are really proud when they show their parents what they did," she says.
On using technology to reach students more effectively:
"I have been using Inspiration, which uses webs and graphics. It helps students who are different kinds of learners (visual, auditory, and so on)... the students are excited to use technology and also amazed by it."