After three decades in the classroom, Teresa Engler couldn’t picture herself anywhere else. But she yearned for more time to spend helping fellow teachers harness digital tools, a task she’d savored in her role as McGuffey Middle School’s technology leader. So when the opportunity arose to join the Dynamic Learning Project (DLP) and become her school’s full-time technology coach, Teresa was excited for the opportunity to embrace a new challenge.
“It was a tough decision to make, but this was my chance to truly make a difference,” she says. “To be involved in a research program that uses technology tools to bridge the digital divide in rural communities across the country was seriously a dream come true for me.”
From the very start of the 2017-2018 school year, Teresa noticed that McGuffey’s staff members greeted the DLP with enthusiasm. Many teachers invited her into their classrooms on the very first day of school, eager to learn. To build awareness and provide motivation, Teresa introduced a badge system that rewards teachers for mastering apps and trying them with their students. By the end of the year, instructors had earned as many as 20 badges, experimenting with everything from Google Classroom and Twitter to the presentation platform Pear Deck and the coding tool Pythonroom.