SOUTHINGTON — A new website will be able to help teachers across the school district connect with one another, share ideas, offer technology assistance and collaborate.
The website, called SPSTeachology.com, standing for Southington Public Schools, was spearheaded by Karen Veilleux, the director of technology for the district, and Christopher Richter, a teacher and co-chair of the SPS Professional Development Technology Committee.
“Basically right now it’s show and tell,” Richter said. “They share thoughts, they share ideas. It allows a conversation to be had. Teachers are looking for communication… these are the things we are trying to do for them.”
Nearly 30 teachers from across the district and in different grades are involved in the committee. Their objective is to look at ways to improve technology and professional development. The committee looked at weaknesses with technology in the district and found that the three main concerns were communication with teachers, show and tell and support systems.
During the Board of Education’s meeting Thursday night, Richter and Veilleux presented the website and their committee work.
One of the results of the committee was to form the website for teachers to better communicate and to share the technology they are using in the classroom. It’s an opportunity to share what works, and what doesn’t, and “to help (teachers) through whatever technical challenges they may face,” Richter said. Teachers’ Facebook pages and Twitter accounts can also be linked to the website to share ideas through social media. Posts are made about different sources of technology and others can comment on their experiences with them.
Veilleux also mentioned moving to Google docs in the classrooms to make it easier for students and teachers to work on documents together, another conversation the committee had.
They can both access the assignments and make changes back and forth, she said.
“It allows our students the ability to start work at school, log in and finish the work at home,” Veilleux said. “It’s all saved in the cloud.”
Terri Carmody, school board vice chairwoman, was pleased to know there were “experts on staff” such as Richter to help teachers.
Because of the changes with the mandated teacher evaluations from the state, Richter said they are trying to figure out when to “roll out” the finished website because they don’t want to overwhelm teachers. It could be something that is done slowly throughout next year.