Batesburg-Leesville, SC - Lexington 3’s Digital Learning Coach, Andrea Derrick, is blazing a new trail in the district as the first person to hold this new position. Although the position is new, Andrea is not new to Lexington 3 – in fact, she has lived in the community all of her life and gone through the district’s schools. She even taught Science and Math at B-L Middle for eight years and served as the District’s Teacher of the Year in 2007-08.
Now, Andrea has come home after working at Gilbert Middle School for three years as a Technology Integration Specialist. She is excited about this new opportunity and is already making a very positive impact, not only on the students, but teachers as well.
The first thing that Andrea will tell you is that she is not the “fix it” person as far as fixing technology devices. Her main focus is on helping students and teachers to use technology as instructional tools for learning. According to Andrea, “At the end of the day, there is nothing more powerful than a good teacher and good instruction in a classroom and technology can enhance the teacher’s ability to provide that instruction.”
As Digital Learning Coach, Andrea collaborates with teachers and school leadership to evaluate and integrate technology resources addressing curricular needs and learning goals. She also works with educators to develop lesson plans and activities involving the use of technology to meet educational goals; locates digital resources for units of study; demonstrates/models effective technology teaching; meets with individual teachers and small faculty groups to discuss curriculum; suggests way to use technology in the delivery of curriculum; and to support teachers as they actively integrate technology in their classrooms. She also works with students in the classroom setting to support the integrated curriculum and models effective teaching methods and best practices in a digital environment.
Working with faculty and administrators at all schools, allows Mrs. Derrick the opportunity to provide seamless instruction for all grade levels. Although finding enough time in the day to meet the needs of everyone can be a daunting task, she works tirelessly to ensure that teachers have the technology skills they need in order to use technology effectively. One of her favorite quotes is “Classrooms don’t need tech geeks who can teach, we need teaching geeks who can use tech.” by David Geurin. Andrea has found that even the most skeptical teacher can find ways to use technology in his/her classroom when given support. Finding the right tool to meet each teacher’s individual instructional needs is key!
According to Mrs. Derrick, teaching and learning that uses technology as a tool can provide many benefits in any classroom. Technology can help personalize learning, increase engagement, extend learning beyond the classroom walls, provide quick access to data and feedback for students and teachers, and make learning more authentic. Technology is one vehicle of strengthening instructional practices. While using technology is fun, technology integration is not about the BLING…. It is about driving student learning, enhancing instructional practices, informing instructional decisions and building student ownership in their learning. Learning should not fit technology….Technology should fit learning!
Andrea’s goal as Lexington 3’s Digital Learning Coach is to “empower both teachers and students with digital tools to enhance student engagement and bring depth and breadth to the curriculum being taught.”
Though this may seem to be a lofty goal, it is one that she is working to achieve every day.
Caption for photo:
Lexington 3 Digital Learning Coach Andrea Derrick works with B-L Primary student during Breakfast Club.