Lindsey Jurski, a Spanish teacher who has been quick to embrace new technology in her Northview High School classroom, has been named the Technology Teacher of the Year in Ohio.
A 1996 graduate of Northview, Mrs. Jurski received the honor during the eTech Ohio Educational Technology Conference in Columbus last week.
The award honors the exceptional efforts of a public or private classroom teacher who is a dynamic contributor to a technology-related community of practice.
Sylvania Schools' officials said Mrs. Jurski quickly embraced the interactive electronic whiteboard technology, such as SMARTBoards, into her classroom when it was first initiated in the district, and she has been a lead teacher in implementing a variety of technological tools available to her in her classroom.
Technology allows her to bring Spanish alive to her high school students; it energizes her lesson plans and allows students to be active participants in the learning process.
The Sylvania Schools' technology department also participated during the eTech conference. Sheryl O'Shea, director of technology; Carol Youngs, instructional technology director, and Steve Koszycki, computer technician, gave presentations on the interactive electronic whiteboard technology.
Mrs. Jurski was nominated for the Technology Teacher of the Year award by Mrs. Youngs as well as the technology department from Sylvania Schools.
The eTech Ohio Commission is a national leader in advancing learning through technology. It was established by the state and manages a network distribution of educational content and online learning.
In her presentation during the conference, Mrs. Jurski focused on a theme of "preparing our students to be successful in an ever-changing global economy."
Corporations, she told the audience, "want young citizens to be prepared to give presentations while utilizing SMARTBoards, software like Power Point and Excel, and video conferencing."
Technology, she said, helps educators create a vision for the future, and it helps to create a dynamic teacher-learner combination which taps students' natural motivation for technology use.
"We all know that students already understand technology as they are using it from a young age. From Xbox, to texting, to Guitar Hero, instant messaging the list goes on. Their brains are hard-wired with the most current technology and ready to go!" she said in her presentation. "So, it is my vision to see the teacher guiding them to using it effectively in order to help meet content standards."
In order to remain competitive in today's job market, students need to develop techniques that adapt with the 21st century, she said in an interview.
Mrs. Jurski said her students are learning skills that will help them thrive in an ever-changing global economy.
Technology plays in important role in several ways in Mrs. Jurski's classroom.
For instance, using a classroom Web site, students can view videos and then blog about their experiences, honing their language skills.
Some blogs are in Spanish to allow students a chance to practice the content being learned, Mrs. Jurski explained.
"I like the technology," said 16-year-old Lauren O'Hare as she and other classmates worked on writing stories in Spanish about people who play sports. "The technology helps me keep on track with homework assignments and the teacher can bring up [on the SMARTBoard] information for us from Internet sites."
Mrs. Jurski teaches 21st century skills in addition to Spanish, Mrs. Youngs said. "Over time, you see her do so many things, things that are real cross-curricular."
For example, Mrs. Jurski's students conduct surveys, make spreadsheets, create charts, and explain results to reinforce their Spanish language skills, Mrs. Youngs explained.
Such a lesson also incorporates the skills of analyzing data and making a presentation about the results of the survey.
In Mrs. Jurski's classroom, there is "always a center for technology," Mrs. Youngs said.
"She has done a lot of different things with technology that warranted her to be nominated." Mrs. Youngs added.
Sylvania teachers have been finalists in the eTech Teacher of the Year competition, but this marks the first year a Sylvania teacher has won the top award, Mrs. Youngs said.
Mrs. Jurski has been a teacher at Northview for seven years. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Toledo.
"When I was a little girl, I always played teacher. I decorated the walls like a classroom, and we always had chalkboards in our home," Mrs. Jurski said, adding that she is pleased to share her passion for learning with her students.
"I love what I do. I am helping students to develop their skills so they can be productive citizens in a global economy."