Grosse Pointe Park teacher getting creative with technology

Fourth grade teacher at Trombly Elementary School using netbooks, wifi hotspot and variety of programs to teach her lessons


GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. – When Susan Howey teaches her fourth grade class, she is always looking for ways to incorporate technology.

"Technology and our world in general, I think, are just changing so fast now and we, it puts some pressure on us. We have to keep pace with that and be relevant and really get the kids ready and what is waiting for them when they're done with me, with us," said Howey.

Howey teaches at Trombly Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park.   

Her class of 25 students recently did a Mystery Skype in which they Skype with another fourth grade class and have to ask questions to determine where that class is in the country.

"I like that we didn't know where we were so we show off our social study skills," said Madison Payne, who is in Howey's class.

Jack Corrion another 4th grade classmate, said how Ms. Howey uses technology and computers is a lot of fun.

"Its kind of cool to be like they're in another state and we're skyping them," said Corrion.

Howey said when she teaches she wants her students to use other resources in addition to her as the teacher.  She wants her students to see themselves as teachers.

"I try to approach it more as the guide on the side, you know, facilitating and standing off and letting them get together and collaborate and learn from each other and I find that to be so much more beneficial than if they just see me as their sole source of information," said Howey.

With the Mystery Skype, students are not just learning to use technology but how to self manage and work together.

"I think that's how life is, you know, smart people know when to ask for help and they go to each other, they don't just come to me," said Howey.

Howey used grant money from the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education to get net books for her class and make it a wireless hot spot.  It's being used as a pilot project to determine how to use technology in the classroom.

Howey uses a variety of different programs in her class including one that provides a virtual post it note system to communicate with her students.

With 20 years of experience, Howey said she is always looking for ways to improve her skills.

"I find myself going to workshops, and professional development, try to keep on growing otherwise you don't keep leading if you just stay stagnant," said Howey.