Six Valley educators who use cutting-edge technology in the classroom will head to Seattle later this month to hone their skills in digital video production and get hands-on experience in Google's latest products.
They are joining 44 other teachers from around the world in the two-day certification program. The Valley's contingent includes: Dave Childers, principal at ACEL Charter High School in downtown Fresno; Jon Corippo, media/English teacher at Minarets High School in O'Neals; Alice Keeler, a math teacher at Clovis High School; Will Kimbley, a former math/science teacher at Yokomi Science & Technology Elementary in Fresno; Andrew Schwab, a teacher at Le Grand Union High School District in Merced County; and Matthew Schwartz, a teacher at Laton High School.
They are all part of Central Valley Computer Using Educators, a tight-knit group of tech-obsessed school officials who trade information on the latest gadgets and help each other troubleshoot new techniques.
"It's really a feather in the cap for the San Joaquin Valley that so many of us were chosen," Childers said.
Many of the group's strategies – such as producing videos of how to solve math problems and posting them on the web, or using online documents to help students collaborate on projects from home – have been used in Valley classrooms for years.
Keeler uses the hit mobile game Angry Birds to teach about mathematical functions to her Clovis High students. She also asks them to text answers to algebra problems during in-class exercises.
"Many of my quieter students will text me when they have a question because they are too shy to raise their hand when they don't understand something," she said.
The Google certification isn't the only tech program on the group's agenda this summer. Next week, Corippo will head off to Apple's annual weeklong educational technology seminar in Phoenix.
In August the tech group will host its own event, the second annual Rock Star Teacher Summer Tech Camp at Corippo's Minarets High.
"We're going to be meeting some dynamic educators at these events," he said. "Then we'll have the chance to bring everything we learned home to train teachers here in the Valley."