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In His Own Words:
Jordan Haney Shares His Thoughts on Winning ORAU’s 2010 Extreme Classroom Makeover

Jordan Haney: 2010 Extreme Classroom Makeover winner.

ORAU recently caught up with Rocky Hill Elementary Teacher Jordan Haney to see how he’s adjusting to the news that he has been named the winner of the 2010 Extreme Classroom Makeover.

Q. What will you do with the new technology that will be installed in your classroom later this summer?

A. I am still working out a final plan but, here are some of my ideas for next year:

  1. Put a laptop, iPad or desktop computer in every student’s hands at one time.
  2. Change a room full of wires into a wireless, free-flowing classroom.
  3. Add technology to the classroom that the students have at home—such as computers, iPods, or MP3s—so that when they leave school, the learning can continue at home.
  4. Bring some excitement into the classroom based on educational game play.

Q. Can you describe—in your own words— what the ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover opportunity means to you?

A. It will be hard to put how I feel into words. I still can’t believe I am getting this opportunity to makeover my classroom. I have to check the ORAU website to make sure my picture is still on the site. ORAU is giving me an opportunity to take my dreams and turn them into a reality. I will be forever grateful for this chance to change students’ lives and the way people think about teaching.

Q. How do you envision integrating the new technology within the coming academic year? 

A. With the endless educational content on the Web, I am envisioning students who understand how to take advantage of it. Also with the addition of laptops, I am envisioning an almost paperless classroom.

Q. How might certain aspects of the technology change how you prepare and conduct your lesson plans? 

A. With the new additions to the classroom, I will be spending most of my summer changing my lesson plans to include the technology. Instead of 25 students hovering over one screen to watch a movie clip, each student will have their very own screen.

Q. Do you feel that your students are ready to use the new technology? 

A. The students will come in at the beginning of the year at all different levels of technology use. The majority of the students in this community have technology at home so most of them will come in above the curve, but we will go through a training process.

Q. Do you have any predictions on how this kind of access to technology will shape your approach to teaching in the long-term?

A. I know it is going to change my approach to teaching. I follow a couple of technology teaching blogs, and I have always wanted to try some of the things they do in these schools. For example, some schools use iPods to record lessons that a student may have missed. Another possibility is using video conferencing to connect with classrooms from all around the world. Right now, my students write to five different countries and we are hoping next year to see them in person.

Q. What strengths as a teacher do you bring to this opportunity?

A. I believe one of my strengths as a teacher is that I still believe I am a student. Everyday more and more technology ideas come out. I am always willing to try to learn something new that has been proven to help students achieve. Until I retire from teaching, I plan on continuing to learn from other educators. Another strength I have is sharing. As a teacher it is easy to take ideas from others but to hoard your best lessons.

Q. What inspires you in your teaching?

A. The students inspire me. The look on a student’s face when the lesson finally clicks, seeing a proud parent hug their child because of an accomplishment, and watching students help each other when one of their classmates falls behind are just a few of the moments I get to experience every day of my life. My favorite part of the ORAU surprise was seeing my students’ faces. I would work 50 more years to have another moment like that.