Twenty four years ago, I was a new teacher in the NYC Department of Education’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. I struggled to get my kindergarten students to grasp concepts I was teaching. Most did not have any language skills. American Sign Language was not used at home, so many just pointed around my room to make themselves understood. I felt like I was playing a game of charades all day.
One day, during one of my graduate classes at Hunter College, someone came in to talk about “WNET’s National Teacher Training Institute”. This was a 4 day program over the summer to learn how to record (VHS) educational television programs and how to present lessons using visual technology. After attending, I wrote a grant to get money to buy televisions with VHS capabilities. I recorded shows through the night and built up quite a large video library. I applied for an award and won $4000 for “Excellence in Teaching Science” and quickly bought 3 tvs for our school classrooms.
I happily wrote a thank you note to the presenters at NTTI as my teaching had changed significantly! No more charades! I could take my students on a trip into a volcano or show how a snowflake is made close-up. I was then invited to become a “Master Teacher” and now i present my methodology of using technology in the classroom. I am also on the Educational Services Advisory Committee at Thirteen.
I no longer teach deaf children, sadly, and the technology has advanced significantly since the days of setting up my VCR. Now I teach science to preK-2nd graders and use PBS LearningMedia daily to enhance my lessons, shown on my Smartboard. I am still “Ms Frizzle” taking my students on journeys outside their neighborhoods to places many would never visit first hand.